The warmer weather says it’s time to pull out the grill, uncover the outdoor furniture and start living your best life outdoors — but your deck says otherwise. Maybe you’ve noticed some fading and discoloration, or areas where the wood is deteriorating. Either way, it’s clear that you can’t put it off for another summer: Your deck needs a fresh staining, stat.

Most experts recommend staining your deck every two to three years. Not only will a new coat of stain revitalize the wood and bring your deck back to its original glory, it will also protect it from the elements, ward off pests, and prevent mold, mildew, and rot.

Paige NeJame is the owner of CertaPro Painters, a Boston-based business which regularly stains and paints decks. She notes that in Boston’s coastal towns, the weather can take a toll on wood decks and porches. “A deck floor is a horizontal surface that needs staining maintenance more often than a (vertical) home,” explains NeJame. “The water puddles and pools on wood after a rainfall, and this causes the stain to wear away quickly. The deck floor also is usually in the direct sun, and therefore fades quickly.”

So, what will it cost to hire someone to stain your deck? We did some online digging, consulted a professional contractor, and crunched the numbers to help you know what to expect.

A quarter used to stain a deck.
Source: (Joshua Hoehne / Unsplash)

What will it cost to have your deck stained?

The cost to stain your deck depends on how large it is, how much prep work is needed, what type of stain you choose, and other factors (more on those later). However, it is possible to get a rough idea of what to expect based on what other homeowners have paid and how the experts calculate their quotes.

HomeAdvisor

  • Average low-to-high cost range: $540 to $1,050
  • Average cost: $700
  • Cost per square foot: $2 to $4

HomeGuide

  • Average cost range: $448 to $1,010
  • Average cost: $700
  • Cost per square foot: $1.50 to $4

Thumbtack

  • Average cost range: $550-$800
  • Average cost: $674
  • Low- to high-end cost range: $250-$1,875

Homewyse

  • Average cost range: $262-$614
  • Cost per square foot: $2.10-$4.91

Fixr

  • Average cost: $750
  • Average cost range: $550-$850
  • Low to high cost range: $300-$1,000

NeJame’s company calculates deck staining costs by measuring the square footage of deck flooring and then the linear feet of the railings. About 15% of the cost goes to materials, and the remaining 85% covers labor.

“For a 12 by 12-foot deck, you can plan on paying anywhere from $800 to $1,350 in the Boston area,” she estimates.

What factors impact a deck staining quote?

It’s rare that any two deck staining quotes will be the same, as there are so many variables that can drive the price up or down. Take a look at how the following impact staining price:

Deck size

The larger the deck, the more time and materials contractors need to complete the job — both of which drive up project costs. Fixr offers these general pricing guidelines based on the size of the deck:

Square footage Cost to stain
10’ x 10’ $300
12’ x 12’ $450
12’ x 14’ $500
14’ x 14’ $588
12’ x 18’ $650
14’ x 18’ $750
16’ x 16’ $775
12’ x 24’ $875
14’ x 24’ $1,000
16’ x 24’ $1,150
20’ x 20’ $1,200
24’ x 24’ $1,750

Condition of the deck

A well-maintained deck in relatively good shape is cheaper to stain than one that’s been neglected and shows signs of deterioration. If the contractor has to perform any repairs on the deck before staining — such as replacing rotted boards, filling in cracks, or filling gaps between boards — expect a higher price tag.

Pretreating

NeJame says it’s rare that a deck doesn’t require pretreating before staining. In most cases, contractors need to clean or pressure-wash the deck to remove any dirt and debris. This pretreating ensures that the fresh coat of stain will adhere properly, resulting in even coloration.

After cleaning, the contractor may also need to sand the deck to remove the top layer of the old paint or finish. A smoother surface absorbs the stain better, particularly if you’re switching to a different color. Be sure to ask the deck staining company if these services are included in the quote.

HomeAdvisor breaks down the average price per square foot based on how much pretreatment is necessary:

Pretreatment Price per square foot Total cost range for a standard 350-square-foot deck
Power sanding, staining, and sealing $2-$4 $700-$1,400
Light sanding, staining, and sealing $1-$1.50 $350-$525
Power washing, staining, and sealing $.50-$1.50 $175-$525

Elevation of the deck

NeJame points out that the higher the elevation of the deck, the higher the labor costs will be. And if the deck has wood latticework around the bottom of the deck, that also increases the price.

Type of stain

According to HomeAdvisor, stain prices can range from $20 to $120 per gallon. For a deep-penetrating stain, the average cost is at least $30 to $40 per gallon. While it might cost more upfront to use a higher-quality stain, these stains are generally more durable and last longer, which could save money in the long run by extending the period of time between stains.

Clearing the deck

If the contractor has to move heavy furniture, grills, and other objects off the deck, they might charge more for the extra labor. Removing these items yourself is a good way to make the job a little easier and perhaps save a few bucks.

Extra structural features

The cost ranges we’ve presented here are based on a standard, single-level deck. If your deck includes multiple levels, a pergola, built-in benches, ornamental railings, or other decorative features, expect a higher deck staining quote.

A professional contractor that is staining a deck.
Source: (Dagmara_K / Shutterstock)

Finding a trusted professional to stain your deck

If your deck needs a staining and you don’t have the time, skill, or patience for the task, reach out to a contractor or handyman for a quote. Below are some of the best ways to find a trusted professional:

Header Image Source: (Kathie Nichols / Shutterstock)