How Much Does It Cost To Stain A Deck?
$0.50 – $1 Per Square Foot (DIY)
$1.50 – $4 Per Square Foot (Pro)
$448 – $1,010 Average Total
$1.50 – $4 Per Square Foot (Pro)
$448 – $1,010 Average Total
The average cost to power wash, stain, and seal a deck is $1.57 to $4.04 per square foot. A 12x12 deck costs $226 to $582 to stain when paying someone, or $59 to $176 to stain it yourself. A gallon of stain costs $20 to $50, which covers 200 to 300 square feet.
Get free estimates from deck staining companies near you or view our deck stain cost calculator below.
Average Cost To Stain A Deck
The average cost to stain a deck is $1.57 to $4.04 per square foot, with most homeowners paying someone $448 to $1,010 for materials and labor. Labor costs depend on the wood's condition, if the deck has railings, and whether power washing, sanding, and stripping are required.
|Deck size||DIY cost||Cost to hire someone|
|10x10||$41 – $134||$157 – $404|
|12x12||$59 – $176||$226 – $582|
|12x16||$78 – $222||$301 – $775|
|12x20||$98 – $268||$376 – $969|
|14x14||$80 – $226||$307 – $791|
|14x24||$137 – $360||$527 – $1,357|
|16x16||$104 – $283||$401 – $1,034|
|16x24||$157 – $406||$602 – $1,551|
|20x20||$164 – $422||$628 – $1,616|
|24x24||$236 – $590||$904 – $2,327|
- The average time it takes to stain a deck is 4 hours per 100 square feet, over two days.
- A deck should be stained every two to three years to improve the appearance and increase the lifespan of the deck.
- Signs of graying, discoloration, mold, mildew, rot, or warping means the deck needs staining.
- The best time to stain a deck is when the weather is dry with no signs of rain and between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit all day.
- One gallon of stain covers approximately 200 to 300 square feet.
Enter the dimensions of your deck in feet to calculate the cost to stain your deck and the gallons of stain needed.
Table of Contents
- Clean and Restain
- Power Wash and Stain
- Strip and Stain
- Sand and Stain
- Railings or Handrails
- Stain, Seal, and Waterproof
- Deck Painting
Deck Staining Cost Calculator
Start by measuring the length and width of your deck and steps to get the total square footage in feet. If you are staining the railings and spindles, add about 3 square feet of surface area per 1 linear foot of railing.
|Item||Cost Per Square Foot|
|Stain & Supplies||$0.41 – $0.96|
|Labor||$1.16 – $3.08|
|Deep Cleaning (Optional)||$0.48 – $1.18|
|Total||$1.57 – $4.04|
|Total + Deep Cleaning||$2.05 – $5.22|
How Much Stain Do I Need For My Deck?
Deck stains provide 200 to 300 square feet of coverage per gallon. You'll need 2 gallons of stain to cover a 500 square foot deck. Coverage depends on the stain brand, type, and the wood's age, condition, and porosity.
|Deck Size||Square Feet||Gallons Needed|
|12’ x 12’ Deck||144||1|
|12’ x 24’ Deck||288||2|
|24’ x 24’ Deck||576||3|
Average Labor Cost To Stain a Deck
The average labor cost to stain a deck is $1 to $3 per square foot, not including the price of materials. Labor accounts for 75% of the total cost depending on the deck's condition, whether the deck needs sanding or stripping, and the number of coats of stain applied.
|National Average Cost||$729|
|Average Range||$448 to $1,010|
Labor and prep work includes setup of equipment, moving any furniture, protecting surrounding areas, making minor wood repairs, power washing, and applying the stain. Some contractors offer cheaper labor by spraying vs. rolling on the stain, but it's not recommended, as spraying is not as durable.
Additional labor costs may apply depending on the condition of your deck:
- The cost to build a deck ranges from $15 to $30 per square foot, or between $4,400 and $10,000 on average.
- Old decks may need new deck boards or other repairs. Repairing a deck costs $500 to $2,500 on average.
- The average cost to refinish a deck is $300 and $1,200.
Cost To Pay Someone To Stain A Deck
The cost to pay someone to stain a deck ranges from $0.50 to $5.50 per square foot depending on the condition of the wood, if the deck has railings, and whether power washing, sanding, and stripping are required.
|Method||Cost Per Square Foot|
|Stain & Seal||$0.50 – $1.50|
|Power Wash, Stain & Seal||$1.00 – $2.50|
|Power Sanding, Stain & Seal||$2.00 – $4.00|
|Strip, Stain & Seal||$2.50 – $5.50|
|Painting||$2.00 – $5.00|
|Railings & Handrails||$4.00 – $12.00 /LF|
Cost To Clean and Restain Deck
The cost to clean and restain a deck costs $1.50 to $4.00 per square foot. Restaining a deck without deep cleaning runs $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot and is recommended for decks in great condition. Prices depend on the type of stain, and whether the entire deck or if just the flats need new stain.
Cost To Power Wash and Stain a Deck
Power washing a deck costs $0.35 to $0.77 per square foot to remove dirt, debris, flaking stain, sealer, and stains. Renting a power washer costs $38 per day with a $50 deposit, while buying one costs $200 to $400 on average.
Cost To Strip and Stain a Deck
If old stain, paint, or sealant has to be stripped, expect to spend $2.50 to $5.50 per square foot for just the flats, and $5.11 to $8.20 per square foot for the entire deck including the rails and spindles. The rails and spindles add $11.84 to $23.77 per linear foot.
|Flats / Planks Only||$2.47 – $5.50 per square foot|
|Entire Deck, Rails, and Spindles||$5.11 – $8.20 per square foot|
|Rails and Spindles||$11.84 – $23.77 per linear foot|
A gallon of wood stain stripper costs between $20 and $30 and covers about 150 square feet of deck surface area. However, the process to strip and stain a deck is labor-intensive, which makes it expensive to hire a professional.
Cost To Sand and Stain a Deck
The cost to sand a deck before staining is $30 to $50 per hour and takes 3 to 10 hours, depending on the surface area. Decks in great condition only a light sanding with an orbital floor sander. A heavier sanding is necessary if the wood is warped or has water damage. Power washing raises the wood grain, which requires a second light sanding.
Cost To Stain Deck Railings or Handrails
The average cost to stain deck railings, handrails, and spindles are $4 to $8 per linear foot without stripping the wood, and between $10 and $14 per linear foot when stripping is included. It’s not necessary to have the railings stained as often, as they remain in good condition longer than the planks.
Cost To Stain, Seal, and Waterproof a Deck
Sealing and waterproofing a deck costs $1 to $3.50 per square foot for just the planks, and $5 and $8 per linear foot for the rails and spindles. A standard 12’ x 24’ deck, including rails and spindles, costs $548 to $1,298 to seal. The flats or planks need to be sealed every few years.
Sealing a deck protects it from water damage, rot, warping, and the growth of fungi, algae, and mildew. Although, sealing does not prevent UV damage, which causes the wood to gray, crack, and split as the natural oils dry up.
Deck Painting Cost
The cost to paint a deck ranges from $2 to $5 per square foot including the railing and spindles, or between $1 and $4 per square foot for just the planks. Painting a standard 12’ x 24’ deck costs $300 to $1,300. One gallon of deck paint costs $30 to $50 and covers approximately 300 to 400 square feet.
Deck Stain Prices
Wood Deck Stain Cost
Wood deck stain costs $20 to $50 per gallon and $80 to $200 for a five-gallon bucket depending on the quality and brand. Most deck stains cover 200 to 300 square feet per gallon, and the average deck requires two gallons depending on the porosity and condition of the wood.
Types of Deck Stain
Deck stains are water or oil-based and come in a variety of different types. Transparent or clear stains provide a natural wooden look and work best for decks in excellent condition. Solid stains look similar to paint and help conceal flaws in older wood. A semi-transparent stain partially highlights the wood grain with added gloss.
|Oil-Based Deck Stain||$20 – $50||Penetrates deeper into the wood and provides longer-lasting protection. Gives a natural look and is water repellant. Needs to be reapplied every three to five years.|
|Water-Based Deck Stain||$20 – $45||Eco-friendly and contains a lower volume of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Provides better resistance to mold, mildew, and algae. Easy to clean with soap and water. Needs to be reapplied every two to three years.|
|Semi-Transparent Deck Stain||$20 – $50||Lightly pigmented to allow the natural wood grain to show through slightly. The pigment protects the wood from UV rays that cause graying and drying out. It comes in a wide variety of colors.|
|Transparent or Clear Deck Stain||$20 – $60||Translucent or transparent deck stain retains the natural look of the wood and provides UV protection with an added sheen. Clear deck stain is easier to apply and doesn't leave lap marks.|
|Semi-Solid Deck Stain||$45 – $80||Has more pigment than transparent stains and provides more UV protection while still allowing a bit of the natural wood grain to show.|
|Solid Deck Stain||$10 – $60||Offers the most UV protection and completely covers the wood, which looks like paint. Usually more susceptible to visible wear from foot traffic.|
Deck stain prices provided by Home Depot and Lowe's.
Deck Staining Materials
The average cost of materials to stain a deck range from $0.41 to $0.96 per square foot, or $100 to $250 for a standard deck. Prices depend on the size of the deck, the quality of products, and the process, including whether the old stain will be stripped.
|Material||Price Per Square Foot||Price Per Gallon|
|Deck Stripper||$0.12 – $0.21||$20 – $80|
|Deck Brightener||$0.03 – $0.11||$9 – $30|
|Deck Stain||$0.07 – $0.72||$20 – $90|
|Deck Sealer||$0.04 – $0.23||$15 – $55|
|Deck Stain + Sealant Combo||$0.05 – $0.29||$15 – $75|
- Deck Stripper – Deck stripper is used to remove existing stain and sealer and to clean the wood of dirt and blemishes. Deck stripper costs $20 to $80 per gallon, which covers 150 to 200 square feet.
- Deck Brightener – Wood deck brightener or deck neutralizer opens up the wood pores and restores the natural beauty of the wood grain. Deck brightener costs $9 to $30 per gallon and brightens approximately 250 to 300 square feet of surface area.
- Deck Stain – Standard deck stain enhances the appearance of the wood and protects from UV damage but provides little protection from mildew and moisture. A clear waterproofing sealer should be applied after the stain drys. Premium deck stains cost $20 to $90 per gallon and cover 150 to 300 square feet on average.
- Deck Sealer – A clear deck sealer or waterproofing applied after staining protects the wood from moisture and water damage. Deck sealant costs $15 to $55 per gallon and covers 125 to 350 square feet.
- Deck Stain + Sealer – The cheapest, fastest, and most common process uses a combination stain and sealer product. This protects the wood from UV exposure—which causes graying and drying, and moisture—which causes rot, warping, and algae growth that degrades the appearance and shortens the lifespan of the deck. Stain + sealer costs $15 to $75 per gallon and covers between 250 to 300 square feet on average.
- Sundries – Other materials or “sundries” include brushes, rollers, sandpaper, painter’s tape, and plastic sheeting that costs $10 to $30, depending on the process.
Deck Sealing vs. Staining vs. Painting
Why Stain A Deck?
Staining a deck protects the surface against mold, mildew, rot, aging, and insects. Deck stain extends the lifespan of the deck, repels water and moisture, adds UV protection against sun damage, gives the deck a decorative look, and makes the wood easier to clean.
Why Do Decks Need Sealing?
Sealing a deck provides waterproofing and protects the wood from moisture damage and growth of mold, mildew, fungi, and algae. If water soaks into the wood rather than beading up, it's time to seal the deck. For wetter climates, heavy-duty waterproofing products are available for extra protection.
There are combination deck + sealant products that make it cheap and easy to protect your deck. However, higher-end stains typically don't include the sealant.
Is It Better To Paint or Stain A Deck?
Staining a deck is better than painting because it penetrates deeper into the wood for superior resistance to mold, mildew, and rot. Deck stain is less slippery, repels water, protects from UV rays, and easier to clean. Solid deck stain looks like paint and comes in various colors.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much To Charge To Stain A Deck?
Contractors typically charge $1.00 to $2.50 per square foot to stain a deck depending on the process. For power washing, sanding, stripping, staining, and sealing contractors charge $2 to $4 per square foot.
How Long Does It Take To Stain A Deck?
The average time it takes to stain a deck is 4 hours per 100 square feet. Staining a deck takes two-days. The first day is moving furniture, stripping, power washing, sanding, and repairs, while the second day is applying stain and sealer. An average deck takes 10 to 15 hours of labor.
|Deck Size||Square Feet||Hours of Labor|
|Small (12’ x 12’)||144||5|
|Average (12’ x 24’)||288||10|
|Large (18’ x 24’)||432||15|
How Often To Stain A Deck?
A deck should be stained every two to three years to improve the appearance and increase the lifespan of the decking. Signs of graying, discoloration, mold, mildew, rot, or warping means the deck needs staining.
When Is The Best Time To Stain A Deck?
The best time to stain a deck is when the weather is dry with no signs of rain and between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day and night. Anytime between August and October is the ideal time to stain a deck.
Should I Stain Under My Deck?
It is not necessary to stain under your deck unless you notice signs of rotted wood underneath. If your deck is built from pressure-treated lumber, it naturally protects against mold and mildew and keeps wood-boring insects out.
When To Stain A New Deck?
Stain manufacturers recommend waiting 3 to 12 months before staining a new deck. Waiting allows the wood to weather, and natural oils and resins are extracted by UV rays, which creates the ideal porous surface to hold the stain. The waiting period depends on the type of wood and stain brand.
When To Seal A New Deck?
Sealant manufacturers recommend waiting 2 to 3 weeks before sealing a new deck made from pressure-treated wood. To preserve the wood grain of mahogany or cedar decking, wait 1 to 2 weeks before sealing. Waiting allows the wood to dry and ensures the best protection from UV rays and water damage.
Why Does Deck Stain Peel?
Deck stains peel because of over-application, which creates raised lap marks and prevents moisture from evaporating. Peeling also occurs due to poor adhesion from improper preparation, poor weather conditions, or not waiting long enough for the deck to dry.
What Type of Roller To Use For Staining A Deck?
A mop or stain pad absorbs more stain than a traditional roller and enables you to stain a deck much faster.
What To Use To Clean A Deck Before Staining?
Before staining a deck, removing any prior paint or stain using wood stripper, then apply wood cleaner to remove dirt and pollen. Treat any mold and mildew, then use a power washer to rinse away the cleaner and allow it to dry for 24 hours.
How Much Does It Cost To Stain A Pergola?
Staining a pergola costs $6 per square foot depending on the size, elevation, and the number of ornamentations. A small 12×12 pergola costs $860 to stain, while a large 16×24 pergola costs $2,300 for staining.
How Much Does It Cost To Stain Exterior of House or Log Cabin?
The average cost to stain a house exterior or log cabin is $1.37 to $3.28 per square foot, which includes materials, area preparation, professional labor, and clean up. DIY costs to stain the exterior of a house are $0.50 to $1.00 per square foot.
DIY Deck Staining
DIY deck staining costs $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot depending on if you need to power wash the deck or apply paint stripper. An average 16×16 deck costs from $100 to $250 to stain yourself.
Renting a pressure washer costs $38 per day, and additional supplies such as tape and paintbrushes cost $10 to $30 from a home improvement store. Other tools you may need are:
- Protective Cloths
- Staining Pads
- Plastic Sheeting
- Brushes, Blocks
- Stain Pad
- Painter’s Tape
- Deck Brush
- Wood Filler
- Power Washer
- Stain, Sealer & Stripper
How To Apply Deck Stain
To stain and seal a deck, you should follow these steps:
- Remove Furniture – Remove all furniture, BBQ pits, and other items to prepare for pressure washing.
- Power Wash – Power wash the deck to remove loose debris, sealant, and old deck stain that is peeling.
- Sand & Sweep – Sand the deck with an orbital floor sander using coarse 20-grit sandpaper for hardwoods or warped boards, or 50-grit paper for softwood decks or if the wood is still straight.
- Inspect and Repair – Check the planks and railings for loose nails and damages. Hammer the nails back in, replace the damaged boards, and use epoxy wood filler for any holes, cracks, or deep scratches.
- Sand Again – Sand again using 50-grit sandpaper for hardwoods, and 80-grit sandpaper for softwoods. Make a third and final pass with the next finest sandpaper of 80 to 100-grit.
- Protect Surrounding Areas – To prevent damaging the landscaping, wet the surrounding area, and cover plants and shrubs with plastic sheeting. Tape off any exterior walls adjacent to the deck.
- Clean with Deck Brightener – Apply a deck brightener to remove stains, residue, tannins, mildew, algae, and restore the wood to its original look. Let the deck dry for 48 hours.
- Apply Stain – Apply stain in a thin coat using a brush or roller. Spread out the puddles and work the stain into the wood using a broom or roller. If using a stain + sealant product, a second coat is usually optional. Allow to dry for 24 to 48 hours.
- Apply Sealant – If your stain doesn't include a sealant, apply a clear sealant/waterproofing product to protect the wood from moisture. Apply an additional coat of waterproofing over a stain + sealant in wet regions. Allow to dry for 24 to 48 hours.
- Rinse and Clean Up – Rinse the surrounding area and remove protective plastic sheeting.
DIY Deck Staining Tips
- Wait 24 to 48 hours after it's rained before applying deck stain.
- Be sure it will be able to dry for 24 to 48 hours afterward.
- Avoid staining a deck when it's above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Test the color on a hidden spot to make sure it's what you are expecting. Ask for a free sample before purchasing.
- Stir the stain thoroughly for a consistent color. When using multiple gallons, stir them together in a large container.
- When buying stain and sealant, account for waste that will fall between the cracks of the decking.
Hiring A Deck Staining Professional
Staining and sealing a deck can be a very time-consuming DIY project. A professional gets the job done faster and at a higher quality. Also, contractors usually have a lower material cost from discounts and buying in bulk. Before hiring a professional, be sure to:
- Ask friends, family, and neighbors for references
- Get at least three price quotes
- Discuss whether a one-coat or two-coat process will be used
- Ask if they intend to spray the stain or roll and brush. Generally, spraying stain is not as durable.
- Make sure the rails and spindles are calculated separately in linear feet.
- Many companies will bill separately for cleaning and staining. Get an agreement in writing to be precise.
- Remove the furniture from the deck yourself to save.
- Check out their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
- Check the Better Business Bureau for their reputation.
- Don't pay cash and never pay upfront.
Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted deck staining companies:
- Pray, Richard. “2019 National Construction Estimator.” 2019. PDF file.
- Gleason, Dennis D. “2019 National Painting Cost Estimator.” 2019. PDF file.
- Paxton, Albert S. “2019 National Repair & Remodeling Estimator.” 2019. PDF file.
How to Prep a Deck for Staining. (n.d.).
Wood & Deck Stain at Home Depot. (n.d.).
Exterior Stains & Floor Coatings at Lowe's. (n.d.).
Here’s How to Estimate Your Next Deck Staining. (2018).
Best Deck Stain and Sealer. (2018).
What’s the Difference Between a Deck Sealer and a Deck Stain? (2019).
How To Stain A Deck. (2019).
Wood Stain Buying Guide. (2018).
Clean, Seal or Stain a Deck. (n.d.).
Cost To Stain A Pergola. (n.d.).
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