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How Much Does It Cost To Stain A Deck?

Typical Range: $540 - $1,050

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Average Cost to Stain a Deck

The cost to stain your deck typically ranges from $540 to $1,050 with an average of just over $700. This equates to an average cost of $2 to $4 per square foot for labor and materials. Higher-quality stains will run up the price, as will washing or sealing the wood prior to staining.

Your final project price depends on whether you want to do the work yourself or whether you need to hire a decking contractor for the job.

Deck Staining Cost Estimator

Average Cost$700
High Cost$1,050
Low Cost$540

How Much to Stain a Deck?

The price range of $540 and $1,050 depends on both the size of the deck and the type of stain you use. Depending on its condition, you may need to budget for other steps first:

The treatment the space needs also depends on the condition of the wood, its age, and the kind of maintenance has seen.

Deck Treatment TypesPrice Per Square FootPurpose
Power sanding, stain & seal$2 - $4Aggressive procedure for decks that are changing color
Light sanding, stain & seal$1 - $1.50Annual treatment for a maintained deck
Power washing, stain & seal$0.50 - $1.50Light maintenance

Labor Cost to Stain a Deck

average cost to stain a deck is $2 to $4 per square foot

A professional contractor will charge $1 to $2.50 per square foot of decking for a simple, single-level space. That does not include the cost of materials. The deck staining price will increase to $2.50 to $7 per square foot for more complex structures that include multiple levels, railings or built-in furniture.

Labor is the most expensive thing to consider in your overall project budget. Where on the above range you fall depends on the cost of living in your area, the quality of work, the type of treatment required and the competitiveness of decking contractors in the area. Prices will also be higher if the contractor is insured, bonded and licensed, an important quality of any home-improvement expert.

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Cost to Restain Deck

Expect to pay between $0.50 and $1.00 per square foot if the space in question only needs to a new stain without the earlier cleaning step. In most cases, though, at least a surface-level clean helps to prepare the wood and keeps your deck in better shape. Budget the average $2 to $4 per square foot to be safe.

Cost to Stain Deck Railings or Handrails

Staining railings on your deck ranges between $4 per linear foot and $12.50 per linear foot of railing. That includes power washing or power sanding, as well as individual handrails and spindles included on the railing.

Cost to Power Wash and Stain a Deck

Renting a pressure or power washer can cost around $50 to $65 a day. You can buy your own equipment at $150 for a low-end model or more than $1,500 for a top-end model. Hiring a professional power washer costs between $185 and $380.

Cost to Strip and Stain a Deck

A qualified contractor will charge about $50 per hour for stripping the wood, which can take between 10 and 20 hours. That includes applying a specialized cleaner, allowing it to soak in and removing it through sanding. It's a thorough, but expensive process to remove old paint and finish before you can apply new stain.

Cost to Sand and Stain a Deck

Sanding down your deck's old finish also costs $50 per hour, but only takes 5 to 10 hours. This is the more common option to remove paint and finish, and usually gets the job done well enough that the new stain shows the right color.

Cost to Stain and Seal

Sealing your deck costs between $550 and $1,275. You need to seal the wood every few years to protect it from the elements, an additional step to the staining to give it the right color. Combining both in one project reduces some overlap in labor, bringing your required budget to $800 to $1,700 in total.

Stain Prices

The price for the stain itself will range between $50 and $250. For a DIY job, the only other materials you'll need are tape and paint brushes, which you can buy for $10 to $20 at your home improvement store.

Wood Deck Stain Cost Per Gallon

On average, staining solution for a wooden deck ranges between $20 and $120 per gallon depending on its quality. Look for stain that penetrates the wood deeply, which likely costs at least $30 to $40 per gallon. Solid stains hide the grain, but last longer than semi-transparent alternatives that allow the natural shapes and coloring to shine through.

Deck Stain Types

Wood stain is made up of pigment (the color medium) in a carrier with a binder (alkyd, oil or resin) that binds the pigment to the lumber. The binder makes it possible for the pigment to penetrate the small openings left as the surface dries. You can choose from several types of solutions:

TypePriceBest For
Water-Based Deck Stain$20 - $90An environmentally friendly surface that is mold and mildew resistant.
Oil-Based Deck Stain$35 - $120Deep penetration and a natural look.
Solid Deck Stain$25 - $70Surfaces that look like paint and older wood.
Semi-Solid Deck Stain$40 - $90Slight amounts of wood grain.
Semi-Transparent Deck Stain$20 - $100An easily cleanable surface that highlights the wood grain.
Transparent Deck Stain$20 - $60Slight surface coverage on a subdued natural look.
Clear Deck Stain$20 - $50Natural wooden look.
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DIY Costs vs. Professional Deck Staining Costs

When you stain your own deck, expect to pay between $20 and $250 in materials depending on the mixture type and the surface area. You'll need to strip the old finish, remove all accessories and cover any plans. You'll also need to sand the wood thoroughly and clean the decking, or hire a professional power washer. All of these processes combined can take several days.

Hiring a pro for the job costs more but means you don't have to worry about these details. Trust the expert to know the details, like the fact that stain should never be applied when it's above 80 degrees outside. You can choose to hire a general contractor to supervise the project, which adds 10% to 20% to your project budget.

Working with a deck staining pro near you gives you peace of mind, prevents accidents and ensures that the job is done right.


What's the Difference Between Staining, Sealing and Waterproofing?

Staining, sealing and waterproofing accomplish different goals.

  • Stains can finish your deck and make it look great.
  • Sealers work by penetrating the wood to protect it from rot-causing moisture. They still allow normal humidity to enter and leave over the course of the day.
  • Stains and sealers may provide some waterproofing, but a separate coat protects better against mold and mildew.

How much to charge to stain a deck?

Most contractors charge between $0.50 and $2.50 per square foot to stain a deck. Extra processes like railings, pressure washing, and stripping old paint can add to that general estimate.

How much does it cost to stain a pergola?

Your budget for staining a pergola should be between $1,000 and $4,000. The higher cost is due to the number of ornamentations and elevation, making access difficult and increasing the time it takes to get done.

How much stain do you need for a deck?

You'll need about 2 gallons of stain to cover a 500-square-foot deck. Most stains come in 1-gallon containers and provide around 200 to 300 square feet of coverage per can.

How often should you stain a deck?

Most pros recommend staining your deck about every two to three years. In areas with cold winter, the first days of reliably warm weather during late spring tend to be the best time to get it done.

How long does it take to stain a deck?

The average time it takes to stain a deck is about 20 hours per 500 square feet. That includes 3-5 hours for the stain itself as well as cleaning and other preparation. Expect to pay for close to 20 hours of labor.

What's the best way to clean before deck staining?

For most wooden surfaces, pressure or power washing is enough. Old lumber with chipped paint may require sanding or stripping as well, which adds money to the project and increases the timeline.

Why should I stain my deck?

Staining protects the surface against mold, aging and insects. It can add a decorative look to the wood, while adding UV protection against sun damage. Perhaps most importantly, it adds both personality and value to your deck.

Should you stain under a deck?

You only need to stain the underside of your wood if it's visible and could otherwise compromise the overall look. Sealing and waterproofing is usually enough to prevent mold, mildew, and insects.

How much does it cost to paint a deck?

The price to paint your deck ranges between $2 and $5 per square foot, or $300 to $1,200 in total.

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