How Much Does It Cost to Stain a Deck?

by Team HomeServe
man applying stain to an outdoor wood deck

Staining your deck is, in many ways, a fairly straightforward and uncomplicated home maintenance task. However, how much it costs depends on a few factors that are usually not hard to calculate. Overall, the cost of staining a deck is mostly dependent on what brand of deck stain you use, the size of your deck and how much preparation work you need to do beforehand.

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Here’s how much it’ll cost to stain your deck — big or small.

What’s the Average Cost to Stain a Deck?

While the price of staining your deck can vary depending on the materials used and the deck's existing condition, you can expect to pay between $540 and $1,250 (CAD 710 and CAD 1,650) to get the entire job completed, according to Bob Vila. The price range may seem steep, but this is because other costs — such as the type of stain and deck stripping method (usually either sanding or pressure washing) — come into play.

How Much Does It Cost Per Square Foot?

These additional costs can make deck staining range from 50 cents (CAD 0.65) per square foot, to as much as $5.50 (CAD 7.25) per square foot, according to HomeGuide. Fortunately, from there, calculating the cost of staining a deck is simple: Just use the square footage.

If you have a 10-foot by 10-foot deck that’s newly installed and only needs to be stained, your cost might be just 50 cents to $1.50 (CAD 0.65 to CAD 2) per square foot, in which case, you’re looking at an investment of between $50 and $150 (CAD 65 and CAD 200).

On the other hand, if you have a 12-foot by 12-foot deck that’s covered in old, chipping paint and needs to be stripped with a power sander, your cost per square foot might be $2.50 to $5.5 (CAD 3.30 to CAD 7.25). In that case, the overall price jumps up to between $650 and $800 (CAD 85 and CAD 1,050).

Based on this pricing model, larger decks will cost more. You can save money by doing the work yourself and buying cheaper materials.

Material Expenses

If you know the overall square footage of your deck, including railings, undersides and any deck stairs, you’ll know exactly how many square feet of stain you’ll need for one or two applications. Deck stain is packaged in containers or cans with labels that explain each unit’s coverage in terms of square feet. This will allow you to calculate how much stain you need to buy.

Obviously, different brands of stain cost different prices. As a general rule, opt for an oil-based stain. It need not be ultra-expensive, but you should buy something with a reputation for longevity.

Aside from the stain itself, you’ll also need some basic tools if you want to stain your deck yourself. These aren’t extremely expensive, but in case you don’t already have some of them in your home, they include:

  • Paintbrushes — small and large sizes
  • Drop cloth
  • Paint pad and pole
  • Paint tray
  • Power sander and sanding pads (if you have to sand your deck first)
  • Pressure washer (for washing deck after sanding)

Pressure washers and power sanders might not be necessary with newly installed decks; in this case, a simple washing down with a hose a few hours before staining might be fine. But if you’re staining an old painted deck that's become extremely chipped over time, you’ll need to sand and pressure wash it first. This involves much more effort than simply staining, but both tasks are essential to a professionally finished job.

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Labor and Other Costs

As mentioned above, simply staining a deck can involve little more than the labor of applying stain to new wood after a bit of a wash. However, in cases of old decks that are already painted, removing the existing paint by stripping, sanding and pressure washing ensures the stain has a suitable surface to adhere to. These extra tasks can add to the cost of staining your deck and increase the effort involved.

Pressure washers and power sanders can be rented as needed. For more complicated deck staining work, contacting a professional home maintenance service or handyman might be a better idea.

Should You Stain Your Deck?

A freshly stained deck can help you enjoy your outdoor space this summer. It can also dramatically spruce up the overall look and resale value of a house you want to show off or sell. Most importantly, the cost to stain a deck is well worth the protection it provides for the wooden structure.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.