How To Choose Between Acrylic And Oil-Based Paint For Your Deck

If you're building a new deck or if your current one is in bad shape and needs repainting, it's important to choose the right type of paint. First, determine what kind of paint was previously used on the deck, as this will dictate the variety you should go with now. If the prior paint is still intact, use the same type. Otherwise, you will need to sand the deck down to the original wood if you want to change to a different option.

You can use a simple test to determine the paint variety already in place. If the paint comes off when rubbed with an acetone or rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton ball, it's water-based. If not, it's oil-based. For a first-time deck painting job, you can also choose between two main types of paint. Be sure to use formulas specifically made for decks, as they provide added protection from the elements and help prevent fading, mold, and mildew.

What to know about acrylic paint for your deck

Acrylic deck paint or stain is water-based and protects wood by adding a sealing coat to its surface. It has a life expectancy of approximately four to eight years and dries faster than oil-based deck paint, with a range of four to six hours, making it possible to apply a second coat in one day. Acrylic deck paint comes in many colors, making it a popular choice among homeowners.

Cleaning the surface of acrylic deck paint is simple with soap and water, and it is low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds), making it a safer and more environmentally friendly option. However, it's important to note that if you live in a colder climate, acrylic paint can become brittle and chip when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Always keep your environment in mind when considering which type of deck paint or stain to use.

What to know about oil-based paint for your deck

When it comes to oil-based deck paint (or stain), the first thing to know is that it provides protection by soaking into the wood, penetrating and safeguarding it from within. It is better at providing moisture protection, and many professional painters believe it to be superior. Additionally, this variety can last from five to 10 years before needing repainting. However, oil-based paint has several drawbacks to consider as well, not the least of which are the nasty VOCs.

Oil-based deck paint is high in VOCs, which means it is even more important to wear protective (PPE) gear such as a mask, respirator, and gloves. It also takes longer to dry, sometimes taking up to 24 hours per coat. This type of paint requires chemical solvents to remove from surfaces and is more dangerous for both people and the environment. Additionally, the cost of oil-based deck paint can be higher. No matter which type you choose, look for quality paint that has additives that may offer extra protection against the elements. This is critical to maximizing its lifespan.