How Much Does It Cost Staining A Deck? A Detailed Breakdown!

Staining a deck is essential for its longevity, but the fluctuating costs often leave homeowners scratching their heads in frustration. From choosing the right stain to professional labor fees, the expenses can quickly pile up, making it a daunting task.  

Pros in the deck-building world know exactly how much stain to use and how to avoid mistakes like streaks or spills. But for many homeowners, the cost can be confusing. Want to stain your deck without any surprise costs? Here’s what you need to know:

The average cost of staining a deck is $0.75 for DIY and $4.25-5 with a professional. For example, a 20 x 20 deck measuring 400 square feet will take 3 and 5 gallons of stain for a single and double coat, costing around $1200-$1600, including cleanup, minor repairs, filling wood gouges, etc. 

A well-maintained deck is a valuable addition to the exterior of your home. To optimize this investment, it is crucial to take proper care of it. Typically, wooden decks need staining every 2-3 years. 

This not only safeguards against mold, rot, and insects but also repels moisture and shields from UV damage. Hence, dive into this article and unveil the secrets to balancing quality with affordability.

How Much Will It Cost To Stain Your Deck- A Complete Guide

When constructing a deck, you can stain the boards before or after setting them, based on your preference. Your deck’s total area and the number of stain coats you plan to use determine the quantity of stain required. Most decks typically need 1-2 coats, depending on the selected product.

A standard gallon of deck stain-and-sealer usually covers around 175 square feet with a single coat. However, a stain requiring two coats typically covers approximately 88-90 square feet per gallon.

Staining a deck is typically cost-effective, but increasing labor and material expenses can raise the price. On average, staining a 200-square-foot deck nationally costs around $800, equating to $4 per square foot. 

This estimate includes both materials and labor. For premium stains, especially suitable for hardwood types or to ensure maximum protection with your stain and seal, the material expense might increase.

Certain hardwoods like oak, hickory, and ash might require two coats, leading to higher material consumption and extended labor hours.

Here’s a breakdown of the estimated staining costs for various deck sizes:

  • A deck of 10’x10′ (100 square feet) typically costs around $400.
  • An 8’x10′ deck totaling 80 square feet, comes to approximately $320.
  • For a 12’x12′ deck (144 square feet), the average cost is about $438.
  • A 12’x16′ deck (192 square feet) has an average staining cost of $768.
  • A 10’x20′ deck spans 200 square feet and is generally priced at $800.
  • And a 20′ x 20′ deck (400 square feet) is usually priced at $1200

Deck Size

DIY Cost

Cost to Hire Someone

10' x 10'

$41 – $135

  $157 – $400

12' x 12'

$59 – $180

$226 – $438

12' x 16'

$78 – $215

$301 – $768

  12' x 20'

$98 – $265

$376 – $950

14' x 14'

$80 – $220

$307 – $787

14' x 24'

$137 – $354

$527 – $1,352

16' x 16'

$104 – $283

$401 – $1,030

16' x 24'

$157 – $400

$602 – $1500

20' x 20'

$164 – $425

$628 – $1600

How much does it cost to have a professional stain a deck?

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Your Deck Stain

The precise cost of staining a deck can vary based on several factors, which are as follows:

1: Deck Size

Naturally, larger decks will increase the project’s cost. However, the price per square foot decreases slightly as the deck size grows. 

2: Additional Features

Costs can rise by 20%-40% if your deck includes stairs, railings, ledges, or integrated benches that require cleaning and staining. 

3: Cleanliness

If your deck is particularly dirty or stained, cleaning costs can escalate, adding to your total deck staining bill. 

4: Repairs

While small repairs like fixing loose boards or addressing minor wood rot might be covered in initial estimates, significant repairs like board replacements can exceed these costs.

5: Deck Shape 

Square and rectangular decks are typically more affordable to clean and stain. However, complex designs or multi-level decks can raise the staining cost. 

6: Stain Quality

Using a premium deck stain and sealer combo offers superior protection but comes at a higher price. Over twenty years, however, using high-quality products could reduce your overall deck maintenance costs. 

7: Season

The most ideal staining conditions are in warm, dry climates, which could raise professional service rates due to high demand. But opting for off-peak, weather-permitting seasons can save you some money from your staining project.

The Cost Breakdown Of Deck Staining Done By A Professional

Now that you have learned the factors affecting the cost of staining your deck let us look at the cost breakdown to understand where it takes the most and least money. 

1: The Size Of Your Deck

The most significant factor contributing to the cost of deck staining is its size. With prices ranging from $3 to $4 per square foot, a 100-square-foot deck can set you back between $300 and $500. Similarly, a deck spanning 500 square feet may cost between $1,500 and $2,500 to stain.

2: Deck Preparation

Your deck’s condition demonstrates the required pre-stain treatment. A new deck might need light sanding, while an older one could require power washing and thorough sanding before staining. 

Staining a fresh deck is approximately $1 to $2 per square foot. However, refinishing and restaining an older deck can range from $4 to $7 per square foot. Expect potential structural adjustments or replacements if your deck is aging or deteriorating.

3: Deck Cleaning And Restaining

Cleaning and restaining a deck typically costs between $1.50 and $4.00 per square foot. If your deck is in good shape and only requires restaining without a thorough cleaning, expect to pay $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot. However, the final cost can vary based on the stain type and whether you are staining the entire deck or just the flat areas.

How often should I Stain my deck?

4: Power Washing The Deck

If you choose the DIY route to refinish your deck, you will first need to powerwash it to eliminate old paint, stains, and any grime. If you do not have a power washer, you can easily rent one: a light-duty unit might set you back $50 to $65 a day, while a more robust machine could cost between $190 and $400.

Both electric and gas models are available for power washers, and using either is quite simple. Your decision will depend on the deck’s size you are cleaning and your familiarity with gas-operated tools.

5: Deck Stripper

If your deck has been heavily weathered or has mold, consider using a chemical stripper before sanding. These solutions are effective in breaking down old finishes and are particularly useful for decks with several layers of paint or stain. A gallon of chemical stripper typically ranges from $20 to $80, covering about 150 to 200 square feet.

6: Staining The Railings Or Handrails

Detailed deck areas require thorough attention to avoid noticeable brush marks or drips in the final look of your wooden deck. Due to this, professionals, such as carpenters or handymen, typically charge between $4 and $12 per linear foot to stain intricate components like handrails, spindles, and railings.

7: Sealing And Waterproofing The Deck

To seal and waterproof a deck, expect to spend between $1.00 and $3.50 per square foot for the boards alone. For the rails and spindles, the cost ranges from $5 to $8 per linear foot. 

For a typical 12′ x 24′ deck, including its rails and spindles, sealing costs lie between $550 and $1,300. Remember, the flats and planks require resealing every couple of years.

8: Labor 

Labor plays a significant role in the deck staining expense. While the exact labor cost varies by location, it typically falls between $1 and $4 per square foot. 

Naturally, bigger decks demand more labor hours. For a standard-sized deck, budget for about 1.5 to 2 days of work, translating to 12 to 16 hours. This timeframe includes 4 to 6 hours of staining and additional time for cleaning and prep.

9: Deck Painting

Painting a deck typically ranges from $3 to $5 per square foot, including the railing and spindles. However, for the planks alone, it costs between $1 and $4 per square foot.

For a standard-sized 12’ x 24’ deck, you must look at an expense between $300 and $1,300. A gallon of deck paint, priced between $30 and $50, can cover around 300 to 400 square feet.

10: Tool Cost, If It Is A DIY Project

Taking the job of staining your deck by yourself can be a rewarding venture. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the expenses involved when doing it without a professional.

After securing your chosen stain, you must compile the necessary tools and materials to prepare and apply the stain. Below is a table that outlines the typical costs of equipment, materials, and safety items essential for the staining process:

DIY Equipment Required

Average Cost







Work Gloves


Safety Goggles


Deck Stain Stripper (per gallon)


Paint Roller


Paint Roller Covers


60-Grit Sandpaper Discs


Orbital Sander


Pressure Washer (Rental per day)


Pressure Washer (Purchased)


The Type And Quality Of Deck Stain

Deck stains can be water- or oil-based, with various types available in the market. Clear or transparent stains maintain the wood’s natural appearance and are ideal for well-maintained decks. Solid stains resemble paint, masking imperfections in aging wood, while semi-transparent stains offer a blend of color and shine, subtly showcasing the wood grain.

For a deck of 100 square feet, typically, one gallon of stain/sealant mix is enough for two coats. However, the price and quality of stains can vary widely. Stain prices range from $20 to $120 per gallon. Hence, spending at least $40 on a gallon, barring clear stains, is advisable as low-cost alternatives may not endure the wear and tear of high-traffic outdoor areas.

Here’s a table for a better understanding:

Stain Type

Price Range Per Gallon




Environmental-friendly, mold and mildew resistant



Penetrates deeper with a more natural finish



Best for old wood, hides imperfections and wood grain



Show the wood grain slightly



Highlights the wood grain, easy to clean



Subdued natural finish



Entirely natural wooden appearance

Is It Better To DIY Or Hire A Professional For Deck Staining?

Staining a deck is an engaging DIY activity for those who enjoy hands-on projects. To kickstart, you only need a brush and an appropriate wood stain tailored to your deck’s material and the prevailing weather conditions.

However, staining a medium-sized deck demands a few days of commitment, accounting for painting and drying durations between coats. Dedicate a weekend, keep some refreshing beverages on hand, and immerse yourself in outdoor relaxation.

If your finances and budget permit, considering the expertise of a professional contractor or handyman can save you both time and potential backaches from the painting process. Think about trusting an expert while you are away so you return to a freshly stained deck awaiting you.

Annual Deck Maintenance

Regular maintenance can help you avoid the frequent expenses of refinishing and re-staining your deck. Elements like weather, organic matter, and everyday use can wear down your deck, but consistent care can prolong its life. Therefore, it is advisable to deep clean your deck at least annually. Starting in early spring, as temperatures rise, is the best time to do so.

For those located in chillier regions, it is best to wait until post-snowfall. This not only protects your deck from potential water damage but also allows you to identify and address any needed repairs ahead of the peak summer usage.

Cost to Stain a Deck

Wrapping Up

Maintaining a deck involves understanding costs, materials, and labor, all critical for preserving its beauty and durability. The charges fluctuate based on your deck size, pre-treatment needs, stain quality, and regional labor expenses. 

Whether you are DIY-inclined or considering a professional, choosing the right stain type is paramount, as well as being aware of the complications involved in staining railings, handrails, and other deck components. However, prioritizing consistent upkeep, such as yearly cleaning, will ensure that your deck remains a lasting and cherished extension of your home.

Leave a Comment