How much does it cost to stain a deck?
Although most decks are constructed of pressure treated or synthetic lumbers that are somewhat impervious to the effects of weather, it is still necessary to consider treating the lumber to add a longer life span to the structure. This is usually done through the application of a sealant or a stain, and if the decking is not new it will also require some scrubbing or washing as well.
For the purpose of this discussion we will review the costs and materials required to stain (and clean) a deck measuring roughly 20'x25' (or 500 square feet) on a DIY basis. According to AskTheHandyman.net the average professional is going to require between three and five hours to tackle the work, with costs averaging at roughly $2 per square foot. This will include power washing, labor and all materials - including the treatment of any railings or spindles surrounding the deck. Clearly, it isn't necessary to hire someone to do this job, unless free time is at an absolute minimum.
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The average costs and materials associated with this project include:
- Pressure washing or scrubbing - experts disagree about the best approach to preparing lumber for staining, and they will either suggest the use of a pressure washer that can be rented or even purchased outright for costs as low as $50 to $200. Alternately, many professionals will recommend the use of cleaners and large broom-like brushes that will remove stains and adequately ready the wood to accept fresh stain or sealant;
- Sealant or stain - there are dozens of quality staining and sealing products available, and for a deck in the size described it will require at least five full gallons. The better stains will cost between $25 and $30 per gallon,and will come in a range of colors such as honey, natural, or redwood; and
- Supplies - generally anyone about to tackle a deck staining job will require at least one stiff brush with a long handle (though it must not have metal bristles), a pump action sprayer with which to apply any cleaners, a paint roller with a long handle to speed up the sealant application process, paintbrushes, tarps, and masking tape to prevent stain from reaching areas such as siding and stonework.
Enhancement and improvement costs
- Stripping the deck - up to this point we haven't yet considered the costs associated with removing pre-existing paint or stain from the decking. If this is necessary it will demand materials to strip the old coating, a specialized cleaner, and then a compatible sealant or stain, and it may require the use of a sander to reveal the raw or untreated wood and fully remove the original coating. This will add additional hours and costs to the project; and
- Hiring the Professionals - if you don't have the time or the inclination to tackle a deck staining project independently you can always hire professionals to do the work. They usually charge on an hourly basis and standard rates for a deck in the size indicated should run no higher than $400 in labor and materials. Should sanding and stripping become necessary, costs will increase substantially.