Should I paint my decking?

Red garden decking

Spring is in full swing, which makes it the perfect time of year to be enjoying your decking project. In recent weeks, more and more of our customers have been taking advantage of their time at home to get started on their own DIY projects – and if our sales are anything to go by, decking is a popular choice! So if you’re amongst those starting their new decking project, you may already be wondering how to get your decking’s appearance shipshape in time for the sunshine. That may naturally lead you to ask: should I paint my decking?

Well it’s certainly an option, alongside staining and oiling your decking. If you do decide it’s something you want to do, then obviously not just any paint will do, you’ll need something that’s specifically suited for decking in particular. But before you start gathering all your equipment, it’s first a good idea to familiarise yourself with the pros and cons of painting your deck.

The benefits of painting your decking

Let’s start off with the upsides to painting your decking. While it’s not an option that everyone goes for, there are some undeniable advantages to doing it.

Choice of colour

The world’s your oyster when it comes to choosing what colour you want for your deck. It can be sunny and vibrant or sophisticated and reserved – it’s all up to you! Obviously, the main thing is to be realistic when you’re picking your colour. A bright colour that’s been freshly painted in the Spring sunshine might start showing up grit and dirt than something that’s been painted a little darker, but on the other hand it’ll look especially beautiful in the sunshine. There’s always a trade-off!

Thicker finish

The thicker finish of paint means that it can often fill any gaps and cracks in your existing decking boards, which can be handy if you’re looking to refresh an older decking project that’s recently been showing its age under the elements.

Easy to clean

This isn’t a hard and fast rule of course, as it depends on what exactly what type of paint you’ve chosen. Having said that, you may find that if the paint is of a decent enough quality (and it’s been given ample time to cure properly on your decking boards), then it creates a sort of hard shell. This shell can give dirt and muck a real tough time in sticking to your decking boards, which can make it a lot easier to clean.

Offers effective protection

Paint is sometimes underestimated in terms of the protection it can offer decking boards, and it’s surprisingly effective in warding off rot, mould and sun damage. However, the same stipulation applies – it all comes down to what type of paint you’re using!

Long lasting

Paint is reasonably resilient, and can last a pretty long time before you’ll probably have to think about re-coating it.


The disadvantages of painting your decking

Now, before you fetch the bucket and brush, there are one or two other things to consider too!

Painting is permanent

It’s easy enough to move from staining or oiling your decking all the way up to painting it, but the trouble is that it’s not so easy to move back again. Once you’ve begun painting your deck, that’s more or less your only option from then on. You can remove the paint if you’d like, but it’s a notoriously fiddly task and there’s no guarantee that you won’t cause damage to your decking by doing it.

Painting is far more unforgiving

With staining and oiling, it tends to be a relatively easy job because you can afford to get away with missing a few bits – always handy if you’re teaching yourself to do it for the first time! But paint won’t give you that much wiggle room. It’s far more obvious when you miss a spot, or don’t get the mixture quite right. That’s not to say you can’t paint your decking, but if you’re going to do it make sure you’re able to do a bang-up job!

It can start to peel

You don’t have to be an expert to work this one out, because it’s more or less what all paint does after a certain length of time. If you leave it long enough, your decking can start to flake and peel, normally due to trapped moisture. You’ll also have to remember to remove the existing coat before you reapply the new one, which can be a tricky job in itself.

It’s easy to choose the wrong colour

At first, having a much wider range of colour can seem like a brilliant thing. However, on the flipside it does mean you’ve got a lot more margin for error. If you’ve ever painted a room in your house the wrong colour, you’ll know what we’re talking about! Unfortunately, changing your mind with the colour of your decking can be just as much of a pain in the neck, if not more so.

Paint hides the natural beauty of the wood

While paint arguably allows you greater freedom of expression when it comes to deciding exactly what colour you’d like your decking to be, the tradeoff is that it does tend to obscure the natural beauty of the wood. This is one of the main reasons why oiling and staining your decking is generally a far more popular option for most people – it enhances the natural grain of the wood, giving it a beautifully natural appearance. Of course, it’s all a matter of taste at the end of the day, but it is something to consider!

Painted decks can be slippery when wet

This is arguably one of the most important points we have to make, as it’s all about safety. Depending on the sheen of the paint you’ve used (whether it’s gloss paint, semi-gloss or whatever), you might find it can become slippery when wet. With our somewhat notoriously unpredictable weather here in the UK, that can end up counting for quite a lot – so bear it in mind if you have to walk on your decking from the house to the garden, and vice versa.

These are just a few points off the top of our heads of course, and we’re not trying to sway you one way or another – it’s just good to bear all the facts in mind! While decking paint isn’t our speciality here at Savoy Timber, we’ll tell you what is – we’ve got a huge range of decking products available to choose from, ranging from our easy-fit decking kits to our brand new composite decking boards. And of course if you’ve got any questions about our products, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0345 0268 799!