How Much Does it Cost to Stain or Paint a Deck?
$415 – $925
The average cost to power wash and stain a deck is $2.15 to $4.25 per square foot. Deck painting cost is slightly lower. Total cost is $415 to $925 for decks of average size when a contractor is hired to do the work.
Average Cost of Deck Staining and Painting
Expect to pay about $3.20 per square foot to have your deck power washed and stained or painted. If it is in excellent condition, cost might be a little lower. When more prep is needed or minor repairs have to be made, cost will be on the upper end of the range. About 70% to 90% of the cost is in painting or staining.
See the Retail Supplies Costs and Sample Project Costs below to narrow your deck cleaning and staining estimate.
Overview of Pressure Washing and Deck Staining
Removing dirt from the wood grain with pressure washing, aka power washing, let’s penetrating stain work deep into the wood to protect and beautify. The combination improves the looks of the deck and its durability. Depending on the aesthetics of your home, paint might be a preferred option. Just like adding stain to wood fences, this is something that needs to be done periodically to maintain the durability and finish look.
The downside is that this process must be repeated every few years to slow the decline all wood decks are subject to. Another option is to replace your wood deck with a low-maintenance, high-durability material like composite decking.
This deck washing and staining cost estimate, what we call a Costimate, provides cost factors, sample project costs, retail costs for equipment and supplies, and prices submitted by readers.
The goal is to give you data you can use to home in on what your deck staining cost might be. In turn, you can improve our accuracy by bookmarking Costimates and returning to share your project scope and cost once the work is done. We and other readers will appreciate it!
Product and Installation Supplies Cost Details
Deck Repair Cost Factors
Our cost range of $2.15 to $4.25 per square foot would yield estimates of $516 to $1,020 for a 12’ x 20’ (240 square foot) deck. That’s quite a range. Using HomeGuide’s numbers, the cost is a little lower at $360 to $960. The Homewyse estimate is more in line with ours at $495 to $1,185.
If you have evaluated your deck’s condition, these factors will help you estimate your potential cost more accurately. They’ll prevent surprises when you get deck cleaning and staining estimates from local contractors.
- The Size of the Deck – Of course the larger the deck, the higher the cost, but the cost per square foot drops a bit as deck size increases. This is because the crew is already on site, and travel/overhead expenses are spread over more square feet of deck. The Sample Project Costs below consider this factor.
- Whether the Deck Has Rails and Stairs – Adding deck railing and stairs increases deck cost by up to 30%. Cleaning and staining railing has a similar impact on cost compared with decks without railing or stairs.
- How Dirty it Is – Very dirty, stained decks cost more to wash than those that have been regularly maintained.
- Whether Repairs are Required – Minor deck repairs like fastening loose balusters or stair treads, or removing a little wood rot and filling the space, are included in this cost estimate. More substantial deck repairs like replacing deck boards are not.
- Deck Shape – A rectangular deck is the easiest shape to power wash and stain. When a deck has a non-rectangular shape or has multiple tiers, cost will be higher.
- The Quality of the Stain or Paint – As you can see from the retail costs below, high-quality penetrating stain and paint costs quite a lot more than cheaper products.
- Pressure Washer Cost – If you don’t own a power washer, your options are to borrow, rent ($) or buy ($$$). Don’t rule out the “buy” option; you’ll find plenty of uses for a power washer around the house including cleaning the driveway and the vehicles that use it.
- Whether you Have Tools – Little things like brushes, rollers, roller handles and paint/stain trays add up when putting together an itemized supplies list like the one below.
- Time of Year – Costs are higher in spring and summer when demand for deck maintenance is high. If weather permits during the offseason, you can save money during those months.
- Water Rates – If you have metered water, consider the 350 to 500 gallons of water it takes to wash average-size decks.
- Who Does the Work – You’ll save on labor costs if you pressure wash and clean your deck, though if you have to rent equipment, some of the savings will be lost.
Cost of Various Deck Repairs & Supplies
Here are costs for the equipment and supplies needed to pressure wash and stain your deck.
- $28 – $45 for Electric / $50 – $80 for Gas | Pressure Washer Rental per Half-day and Full-day
- $265 – $725 | Residential-grade gas-powered pressure washer for those that want to purchase their own.
- $10 – $20 per Gallon | Deck Cleaner like Behr All-in-One Wood and Deck Cleaner.
- $30 – $55 per Gallon | Deck Paint and Stain/Sealer. Cheaper stains like Ready Seal start at about $30. Better brands like Behr Deckover and Cabot Deck Stain are closer to $50/gallon. Coverage averages 150-250 square feet. The less frequently the deck has been stained or painted, the more product you’ll need.
- $70 – $125 | Cost of a residential-grade orbital/palm sander and sandpaper.
- $10 – $15 each | Quality stain brushes from a brand like Purdy or Wooster.
- $25 – $40 | Pad applicator, pads, tray and pole handle.
Deck Repair vs Deck Replacement
Deck repair costs quite a bit more per square foot than building a new deck.
How do you know it is time to replace the deck rather than repairing it? These factors provide clues:
- Whether the damage is caused by general wear, tear and aging of the deck or by a one-time event. If the deck is generally in good condition but a limb fell on it or the turkey fryer got out of control, then repair is probably the cost-effective choice. Just consider whether you’ll be OK with the different looks of materials of different ages, especially if it is wood.
- The age and overall condition of the deck. If a large section of the deck is failing and repair costs amount to a third or more of the cost of a new deck, then replacement should be considered. After all, the remaining areas of the deck will continue to age, and the process seems to speed up as the years go by.
Sample Project Costs
Here are sample decks staining costs when the deck is professionally pressure washed and stained.
We’ve noted that the cost to wash and stain a deck is $2.15 – $4.25 per square foot.
All decks are 500 square feet.
Costs are per square foot.
- Good condition without railing: $2.15 – $2.50
- Good condition with railing: $2.75 – $3.35
- Poor condition without railing: $2.60 – $3.15
- Poor condition with railing: $3.25 – $3.80
- Good condition without railing: $2.25 – $2.75
- Good condition with railing: $2.90 – $3.60
- Poor condition without railing: $2.85 – $3.35
- Poor condition with railing: $3.65 – $4.00
Two-level Deck with Stairs
- Good condition with railing: $3.15 – $3.80
- Poor condition with railing: $3.95 – $4.25
Cost of Disposal for Damaged Decking
Often, a deck contractor will ask if you want the cost of disposal included. It’s certainly the most convenient route, but might not be the cheapest.
Whether your remove the damaged decking yourself, you might save on disposal costs in one of two ways. First, if it is a small amount of material, you might be able to get rid of it a little at a time in your weekly garbage pickup, if you have it. If it’s plastic, vinyl or metal, your local recycling facility might take it.
If you have to pay for disposal, consider a Bagster from Waste Management or a dumpster with capacity appropriate for the amount of material – decking and other stuff you want to get rid of.
Our dumpster cost estimate has full details.
Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $0 | No permit is needed for pressure washing and staining or painting a deck.
Related Costs and Installation Time
We’ve included deck repair cost per square foot and per linear foot above. Those prices worked out on an hourly basis look like this:
- $35 – $50 per hour | Deck Cleaning and Staining Labor Rates. A handyman will charge less than a painting contractor. Deck cleaning and staining is generally priced by the job, not per hour, but this gives you an estimate of labor rates they’re working with.
Here are typical time frames for common jobs.
- 2-3 Hours | Power washing a deck up to 500 square feet
- 1-2 Days without Rain | Allowing the deck for fully dry
- 12-15 Hours | Staining a 500 square foot deck depending on whether it has railings and its shape
DIY or Hire a Pro?
This outdoor home project requires basic skills if the deck is in good condition, and moderate skills if minor deck repair is required.
There are tips for successfully cleaning the deck in our Deck Pressure Washing Cost Guide.
This 11-minute video from Lowe’s is worth watching before tackling the project. Basic tips include staining or painting from the railing down, keeping wet edge on your stain, and working with the grain of the wood. Oh, and be sure to allow your deck to fully dry before applying stain.