How Much Does It Cost to Stain a Deck?

Average range: $550 - $850
Average Cost
(14’x18’ deck, minor repairs, cleaned, stained, and sealed)

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Reviewed by Sophia Fennessy. Written by

A deck can be a great place to entertain guests and relax after a long day. However, your deck can easily fall into disrepair and eventually rot away if not properly maintained. Cleaning, restaining and sealing are all ways to extend the life of your back deck.

Decks come in many different sizes, shapes, and materials. Because of this, the cost to stain a deck varies quite a bit. Pricing also depends on how much work is needed, such as power washing, stripping, and/or sanding. The average cost to stain a deck ranges from $550-$850, with the average homeowner spending around $750 on a 14’x18’ deck including cleaning, minor repairs, staining, and sealing.

Cost to Stain a Deck

Stain a Deck Costs
National Average Cost$750
Average Range$550-$850
Minimum Cost$300
Maximum Cost


Stain Deck Cost by Project Range

10’x10’ deck
Average Cost
14’x18’ deck, minor repairs, cleaned, stained, and sealed
14’x18’ deck plus use of a hybrid blend stain

Cost to Stain a Deck by Size

Due to the varying sizing of decks, the pricing can range from $300 and up. The prices below are based on size of the deck and include cleaning, restaining, and sealing:

Stain Deck Cost

Stain Deck Cost

Size in feetCost

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Deck Stain Costs by Type of Stain

There are many different kinds of stains to choose from. Stains provide protection from UV rays according to the amount of coverage of the stain you use. Below, you will find some of the options.

Deck StainCost per gallon
Deck resurfacer$25-$50
Solid Stains$25-$65
Hybrid blends$40-$60

Water-based Stain

Water-based stain is harder to apply as it dries very quickly and doesn’t allow for mistakes. It does create a protective film, but will, in time, crack or peel more easily than oil-based. Water-based stains are much easier to clean up and are more eco-friendly. A water-based stain is $20-$40 per gallon.

Clear Stain

Clear stain is used to enhance the natural color and allows the wood grain to show through. If you opt to use a clear stain, you will want to choose an oil-based product to provide better protection. You should expect to pay $20-$50 per gallon for a clear stain.

Deck Resurfacer

There are also a plethora of deck resurfacer products that provide a strong, slip-resistant finish to wood decks. Deck resurfacers are affordable but are not practical for a severely weathered deck.

Oil-based Stains

The cost for oil-based stain is $25-$50 per gallon. Oil-based stain is easy to apply, soaks into the wood easily, and doesn’t crack or peel. However, it takes longer to dry and is a messier clean up as soap and water won’t work.

Transparent Stains

Transparent stains will also show the color and wood grain, while adding a slight difference in the shade of the wood. Cost per gallon is $25-$60.

Solid Stains

Solid stains will change the hue and color of your current deck, and will conceal the wood grain beneath the surface. Solid stains are often used to cover blemishes in the deck and are the most UV-resistant of all the stains. These types of stain are $25-$65 per gallon.

Semi-transparent Stains

Semi-transparent stains create a darker tone of the color and range from $25-$90 per gallon. These types of stains are less likely to peel.

Hybrid Blends

Hybrid blends have the best of both worlds and are low in VOCs, a component that is bad for the environment and your lungs as well. Cost for a hybrid blend is $40-$60 per gallon.

Cost to Refinish a Deck

Refinishing a deck will refresh and strengthen your deck and make it look new again. Although you may be considering just staining, you will need to include some other tasks to prepare your deck for staining. Regardless of what you do, the following will extend the life of your decking.

Cost to Power Wash and Stain a Deck

Power washing will rid your deck of dirt, debris, mildew, and mold. Once the deck is completely clean, the stain can be applied and your deck will be ready to go! The cost of power washing and staining a deck will range from $300-$1,750.

Cost to Strip and Stain a Deck

Striping a deck is a process where stain or sealant needs to be removed before the new stain is applied. If stain is left on the wood, the new stain will not penetrate the wood and will just sit on top of it. A stripping solution will dissolve the old stain or sealant and it can then be washed away. Applying the stripping solution to the deck can be labor intensive. You can expect to pay $500-$2,000 to strip and stain a deck. If your deck has previously been covered with paint or solid stain, a stripping solution will not remove those sufficiently and the deck would also need to be sanded.

Cost to Stain Handrails

Make sure you ask your contractor if this is included in the pricing. Depending upon how intricate your railings 1 are, cost to stain the handrails 1 can add $4.50-$8.50 per linear foot 4.

Cost to Sand and Stain a Deck

Sanding 2 a deck is another time consuming task that can become expensive. If a deck is warped, it will require more sanding 2. In addition, if your deck was originally painted or a solid stain was used on it, sanding 2 will be required. Oftentimes after a deck is power washed, splinters may appear and you will want to sand 2 these for safety reasons. Additional costs for sanding 2 and staining range from $700-$2,300.

Cost to Stain Deck Railings

You may find that the contractor includes this in the pricing. However, if it is a separate charge, you can expect to pay $4.50-$8.50 per linear foot.

Labor Cost to Stain a Deck

Staining a deck is a complicated process and it is best to hire a professional. But, how long does it take to stain a deck? The entire process will most likely be about 2-3 days, depending on the products being used. The first day will be to strip, sand 2, and/or pressure wash the deck, while the second day will be for the actual staining. A third day may be needed to apply the sealer/waterproofing product. Most contractors charge by the square foot 3 and the average rate is $1.50-$3.00 per sq.ft.

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Deck Waterproofing Cost

Sealing and waterproofing are a vital part of keeping your deck looking good and extending its lifespan. Sealers are used for waterproofing, but in a wetter climate, a heavy-duty waterproofing product may be required. You could opt to leave off the sealing product altogether. In this case, the material of your deck needs to be pressure treated as well as made from a non-rotting wood such as cedar or redwood 4. There are a myriad of products you can use to seal and waterproof your newly stained deck.

  • Teal, tung, and walnut oil are all very similar in consistency. Made up of various oils, resins and solvents, these oils dry quickly and furnish a protective coating. The cost for a quart of any of these types of oil is $9-$20.
  • Boiled linseed oil is a slower drying component. This product will need to be applied several times over a period of days. Expect to pay $9 for a quart of this oil.
  • Lacquer is typically used for furniture and tends to yellow over time. Cost is $15 a quart.
  • Varnish or Polyurethane are both very durable. Spar varnish is the best choice for decks as it is more resistant to the elements. Spar varnish will cost $17 a quart.
  • Water-based finishes are easier to clean up and protect against mold and mildew, but they do need to be reapplied more often, every 2-3 years. Cost for a quart of water-based sealer is $17.
  • Many stains can be purchased with the sealant and waterproofing all in one product. The cost for these is $30-$50 a gallon.

How Much Deck Stain Do I Need?

A gallon of deck stain will cover approximately 150-300 sq.ft. This means that the cost for just the stain for a 300 sq.ft. deck will range from $50-$150, while a larger deck such as 400 sq.ft. would add up to $75-$200. If your deck is much bigger, for example, 600 sq.ft., you would pay as much as $100-$300 for the stain alone.

What to Do Before Staining a Deck

There are some things that you can do yourself in preparation for staining your deck. It is important to discuss what exactly is covered with your contractor before he/she gets started. Some contractors will charge more if there are extra jobs they have to do prior to staining. Some prep work that should be done ahead of time is:

  • The size of your deck is something you need to take into account before deciding to stain a deck. The more square feet that need to be painted, the more expensive the project will be.
  • Vehicles, grills, outside play equipment, lawn ornaments, patio furniture, etc. will all need to be relocated prior to staining. Make certain all hanging items such as wall thermometers or signs are taken down. Cover surrounding areas to keep stain off of shrubs, plants, and concrete.
  • Tree branches should be sufficiently pruned for easy access. Grass should be freshly cut so that edges of the deck are stained properly.
  • If the deck is located where children or animals frequent, you will need to come up with an alternative until the work is finished. Allow for drying time as well.

Deck Staining Cost Factors

The cost to stain a deck varies based on several different factors. Some variations are:

  • If the deck needs power washing, this will add to the cost of the job. A power washing job can add an additional $75-$150.
  • Repairs that may need to be done such as replacing nails, rotting or warped boards, treating mildew issues, or termite problems, can all add to the cost of your deck staining job. You can expect to pay an additional $50-$350 for these types of repairs.
  • Detailed sanding 2 or stripping will contribute to an increase in the price of staining your deck. You can check to see if the deck needs either of these by pouring water on it. If the water beads up, the deck will need to be sanded 2 if originally painted or treated with a solid stain, or stripped if originally stained.
  • The size of your deck will obviously also influence the cost of staining. As contractors typically charge by the square foot 3, a larger deck will equal a larger price tag. Smaller decks will cost $300-$500 with larger decks $750-$1,750.
  • Another cost factor is the type of material your deck is made of. When considering wood decks, the porosity of the wood determines how much stain will be required. This not only affects the cost of the stain, but also the cost of the labor. Staining more porous wood may add $100-$200 to the price of your project.
  • The quality of stain, sealant, and waterproofing products used will impact the cost of your deck staining job. Higher quality compounds can increase the pricing by $40-$100.

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Deck Staining Ideas

Stains are available in various shades, including cedar, redwood 4, browns, tans, creams, grays, and whites. Solid stains include green, red, gray, and blue. Bleaching oil can be used to weather the wood rather than using a stain or a color. You can choose a shiny or matte finish depending on your preference. Darker colors tend to be more hardy, but the more pigment that a stain contains, the less you will see the natural grains of the wood. You will want to weigh aesthetics alongside durability.

Deck with wooden floor and railings in white

dark Colored Deck Decorated with Colorful Furniture

large Deck of a House Overlooking Lawn and Trees

deck with Dark Floor and White Railings

Environmentally-friendly Deck Stain

If you are concerned about using products that are safe and environmentally-friendly, seek out products that are friendly to the environment and will not cause harm to humans or pets. Some facts to remember:

  • Oil-based stains contain VOCs, which create pollution and can harm the lungs.
  • Non-toxic brands will not control mildew, so you will need to add a product to prevent mildew growth. You can use a product called Wet and Forget that costs $30 for a concentrate that makes about 6 gallons.
  • Deck stain brands that are recommended for safety include: Bioshield, SafeCoat, and Vermont Natural Coatings. The cost of these products is $18-$40.

Deck Staining vs. Deck Replacement Costs

While you may be considering deck staining, it may be prudent to consider the cost of actually replacing your deck instead. This table will allow you to see the cost differences and the pros/cons of each choice:


Deck cleaning, sanding 2 or stripping, and staining


Easier & quicker process

Less expensive

Will look new without the costs

Needs to be done in 60-80 degree weather

No warranty on existing deck

Will eventually need to replace

Deck replacement


Brand new deck

More easily customized

Choose new style, color, material

New warranty

Increase home value

Much more expensive

Longer process

May increase property tax and homeowners insurance costs

How to Clean a Deck Before Staining

There are many tasks you can perform to keep your deck clean and in tip-top shape. Sweep or blow off your deck regularly to remove leaves, water, snow, and debris. Doing an annual cleaning with a deck cleaning solution, utility brush, and a spraying garden hose will keep dirt and debris under control. This will also keep away mold and mildew growth. When cleaning, do not use regular bleach to clean, but an approved deck cleaning solution. Make sure you cover shrubs and plants to protect them while cleaning the deck.

Keep trees, plants, shrubs and grass cut from around the deck to prevent moisture and rotting. Do not cover your deck with rugs made of natural materials such as jute. These retain moisture and can rot/mildew your deck.

Lastly, check your deck regularly for repair needs such as loose boards and nails, wobbly posts, rotting sections and moisture problems. Take care of these items immediately so they do not escalate into bigger problems.

Different types of materials require more maintenance. Here is a helpful list of the maintenance or cleaning necessary for each type of deck material:

Type of deck materialMaintenance / CleaningCost to maintain or clean annually
Fiber cement 5

Strong product

Requires little to no maintenance

Light washing with a spraying garden hose

$25 - $30

Modified wood

Better choice than wood

Requires little maintenance

Safe and environmentally-friendly

Light washing with a spraying garden hose

$25 - $30



Lifetime decking

Light washing with a spraying garden hose

$25 - $30



Insect- and rot-resistant

Clean annually

Pressure washing

$80 - $300

Vinyl 6

Not prone to peeling, chipping, or fading

Reacts to long-term cold by cracking, and heat by melting

Pressure washing

$80 - $300

Pressure-treated wood

Clean annually

Grows mold and mildew

Stain and seal every 2-3 years

Pressure washing

$80 - $300

Stain and seal


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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Deck Brightener

If your deck is looking dull, you can apply a deck brightener. Deck brightener will highlight the original wood beauty of your deck and make it look new again. It contains no bleach and is non-corrosive so it won’t damage your deck. Its cleaning agents will not only remove dirt and mildew, but also prepare the wood for staining. Cost for deck brightener is $16 per gallon.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Permits. A permit is not required for painting or staining. If you are thinking about replacing your deck, unless you are replacing over half of the deck, you should not be required to have a permit. Your contractor will know the local requirements.
  • Choose an experienced professional. It is always a good idea to hire someone who has experience with the job they are doing. You may want to inquire as to whether the contractor is trained in staining and sealing a deck. Looking for reviews and testimonials will help you make the decision.
  • DIY. While it may be less expensive to do the work yourself, staining and sealing a deck can be a big job. DIY also leaves you with the mess, clean-up, and no warranty on the work done.
  • Warranty. Check to see if your current deck has a warranty on the stain and/or sealant. If so, repairs may be covered under the warranty.
  • Giving it a fresh look. For a fresh look, you could add some specialty items. Built-in 7 solar lights would cost $100-$200 installed. Built-in seating would add some warmth to your backyard deck and you should expect to pay about $1,500-$2,500. Pergolas are a very popular option and the cost to build one is an average of $3,500. Awnings and canopies are less likely to hold up under strong winds, but can be retracted and cost about $175-$300. Screen porches are the most expensive upgrade, starting at $6,000​.


  • How often do you need to stain a deck?

Wood decks will need to be re-stained and sealed every 2-3 years, while a more durable deck such as fiber cement 5 or aluminum may never require restaining.

  • How much to stain a deck?

The average cost to stain a 14’x18’ new deck is $750.

  • Is staining a deck necessary?

Deck staining is not always required. If your deck is aluminum or fiber cement, it will not require staining. In addition, wood decks built from cedar or redwood 4 may be hardy enough to thrive without staining. However, these wood decks will still need a sealant/waterproofing.

  • Can you use a roller to apply deck stain?

You can use a roller, but will need a brush to get to hard to reach areas.

  • Will rain ruin a newly stained deck?

Yes, rain will create a splotchy surface if it rains too soon after staining is done. Check the weather before starting your staining project.

  • Which deck stain lasts the longest?

Solid stains last the longest.

  • Should I stain the bottom of the deck?

This is a personal preference. If the bottom isn’t visible, it isn’t necessary.

  • Why does my deck stain peel every year?

This could be for several different reasons: improper prep work, poor quality or the wrong type of stain or sealer was used, or too much stain was used.

  • Is oil- or water-based deck stain better?

Both have advantages and disadvantages, but, in general, oil-based deck stains last longer and are more durable.

  • Do I need to strip the deck before restaining?

You can check to see if you need to strip the deck by doing the following: cut a small ‘X’ in several areas with a putty knife, place a piece of duct tape over these areas. If there are flakes of the stain on the tape, you need to strip the deck.

  • How much deck stain do I need?

A gallon of deck stain covers 150-300 sq.ft., depending on how porous your wood is. You will want to make sure to buy a little extra for margin.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Railings: (Also known as Handrails) A long bar designed for a person to hold onto, giving them support. They are usually found on the sides of staircases, and can also be found in bathrooms, for example, to help persons with disabilities
glossary term picture Sanding 2 Sanding: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)
glossary term picture Footing 3 Foot: A support for the foundation of a house that also helps prevent settling. It is typically made of concrete reinforced with rebar, but can also be made of masonry or brick. It is usually built under a heavier part of the house like a wall or column, to distribute the weight of the house over a larger area.
4 Redwood: Tree with reddish colored timber
glossary term picture Fiber Cement 5 Fiber cement: A building material made with cellulose fiber, concrete, and recycled materials such as glass
glossary term picture Vinyl 6 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
glossary term picture Built-in 7 Built-in: An item of furniture, such as a bookcase or set of cabinets, that is built directly into the structure of the room. Built-ins are therefore customized to the room and not detachable

Cost to stain a deck varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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