Waterproof Deck Paint What, Why, and How

Keeping a deck in top shape is a job that calls for occasional refresher work. In particular, the surface will need a new coating between every two to 10 years depending on the product you use. The dominant deck coatings on the market for this task are waterproof deck paints and stains, with paints giving the longest-lasting performance against the elements. If you’re curious about using waterproof deck paint, here are some things you should know before you get started.


The biggest pro of using paint as a coating versus using stain is that almost all products made with paint are going to deliver years more use. This is great if you’re dealing with a location that includes:

  • High-traffic areas where people walk
  • A roof deck
  • Exposure to strong winds or high humidity levels

Oil-based products, in particular, tend to be highly resistant to the ingress of moisture into the wood once the paint has been applied. The extra coat of primer that comes with using paint also means there’s an extra layer of protection against the elements.


A major argument against using paint is that it doesn’t allow the look of the underlying wood to show. If you’ve invested in putting in top-quality tropical hardwoods as your material of choice, you’ll likely want to avoid painting the deck. On the other hand, paint may actually help to hide the flaws of lower-quality wood.

If you’re interested in adding color to a deck, paint is the easiest way to get the job done. A white house, for example, can be accented using colored paint. Black-against-white contrasts are also becoming trendy, and using paint as a coating will give your deck both good looks and durability.

Fixing Pits and Gouges

Where paint can really shine is when a deck is starting to get to the point that aggressively sanding it is the only way to restore its appearance. Pits and gouges will form on the surface regardless of your best efforts to keep the wood smooth. The combination of paint and primer as a system ensures that these deep bits of damage are filled in during the application process. If you’re not inclined to get into sanding down, treating and re-staining a deck, paint is often the simplest way to give the surface a new lease on life.

Ease of Maintenance

A quality paint job on a deck should hold up well to basic maintenance. If you live in a region that’s very dusty, for example, you’ll likely want to be able to sweep and wash the dust off on a regular basis. The same applies in extremely humid regions, where the accumulation of mildew on decks can happen. Paint holds up well against friction and blasting with pressurized water, and that means you can clean it very aggressively.

Notably, a deck will have to be treated prior to its first paint job. A spray will be applied that’s designed to get rid of mold. It’s wise to have a professional do the job because you’ll want to be sure that any rotten boards or rusty nails are removed. Otherwise, the treatment system can seal in the damage. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t accidentally seal water into the wood. As long as you maintain a regular repainting schedule afterward, you should then be able to handle the task as a DIY job on a long holiday weekend.

Latex vs. Oil

The two main kinds of waterproof deck paint products available are ones based on oil and others based on latex. Oil generally repels more water and is more weather-resistant, but latex is considered a better option in regions where the sun and heat beat down on surfaces much of the day.

If you live in a southern area, the deck is situated on a south-facing part of your house or you have a deck on the roof, it may be wise to go with a latex product. A professional can give you a better sense of what system they regularly use where you live. They also can help you understand which products will best address common issues like repelling insects and holding up to foot traffic.

The SANI-TRED Solution

SANI-TRED is perfect waterproofing option for decks that can provide a permanent, waterproof, slip resistant surface. Learn more about SANI-TRED wood deck sealer and repair on our site!

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