If television shows are to be believed, then restoring a splintered, forlorn old deck is as simple as giving it a fresh coat of restoration paint.
The deck undergoes a dramatic transformation. The splinters and cracks all but disappear.
The homeowners are smiling. The pets can’t stop galloping around either. It’s bliss.
But in reality, there’s more to deck paints than just buying a pig in the poke. Some brands of paints are extremely difficult to apply.
Some give the deck such a thick coating that it becomes impossible to carry out routine maintenance and repair. Some just start peeling under the extreme sun.
Others are plain uncomfortable to stand on.
If you are like most homeowners in America, then the deck is a seamless extension of your home and a place where you spend a lot of time.
It pays to think about the factors that best define a good restoration for you.
Is it about aesthetics? Is it about comfort? Is it about longevity? Ease of use maybe?
Today, we will talk about the best deck paint to use for restoring your old deck.
But before we talk about brand names and paint types, let us walk you through the restoration process and the basics.
What is a deck paint restoration?
A deck paint restoration is an easy way to give your old, weary deck a new lease of life. It is intended as an easy, DIY, cost-effective solution to an otherwise expensive remodel that can cost homeowners thousands if not more.
But restoration paint isn’t like conventional paint. It is an acrylic or acrylic latex solution that forms a thick coating over wooden decks automatically filling all the cracks and bubbles.
It is available in over 60 different shades and can be applied over a three-day period in optimum weather and temperature conditions.
Unlike oil-based paints, the latex resin in restoration paint automatically expands and contracts with changing temperatures, thereby addressing the commonest problem that comes with ordinary paint, peeling!
So, provided that you prep the wood right, even if it has trapped moisture in it, the paint won’t peel when the wood expands or contracts. Instead, it expands and contracts with the wood.
When done right, the best deck paint for restoration can extend the lifespan of your old deck by years.
Things to Consider
However, if this is the first time that you are going deck paint shopping, here are a few key variables that you must consider before you swipe that card.
The thickness of the coating
Deck restoration paints are available in different thicknesses. There’s normal deck restoration paint, and versions that indicate the thickness of the paint as compared to normal restoration paints, like 4x, 10x and 20x.
As made evident by the name, these versions are 4, 10 and 20 times thicker than normal restoration paints, giving your deck a thicker coat.
The advantage is that the coverage will hide most of the scruffs, bubbles, and cracks that make your deck look like it’s millennia old.
The caveat is that the thicker the paint, the more difficult the application. You will need more than a fair share of brushes. You will have to be diligent with the prep work. If you cut corners, you will be left with lackluster results.
Vertical or horizontal surfaces
The ultimate quandary that homeowners face is whether to use restoration paint on horizontal or vertical surfaces (fences).
The fact is that despite what you might have heard or read about restoration paint starting to peel in high traffic areas or getting absorbed better on vertical surfaces, the fact is that it all boils down to two things.
1. The brand of the restoration paint
2. The prep work and application
Buy a good brand, follow the instructions to the T and you should have no problems using restoration paint on your deck and your fence. It will work equally well in both places.
Coverage per gallon
Another frequently heard grumble from homeowners is how the advertising misleads them into believing that they need less restoration paint than what is typically needed.
Well, Rustoleum clearly mentions that the 4x paint gives around 80 square feet of coverage per gallon. The coverage is lesser for thicker variants like the 10x and 20x.
KILZ OVER ARMOR®, another popular brand of deck restoration paint mentions that it provides an even 70 square feet of coverage per gallon for two coats on the deck.
That’s a ballpark number to go by. If you have a 400 square feet deck, then you will need at least 5 gallons of restoration paint to completely cover it.
Most popular brands have an ensemble range of wooden and concrete shades for you to choose from.
Rustoleum offers their restoration paint in 60 shades in both normal and textured finishes.
Anvil has fewer colors but is touted to have better color retention. It is completely possible to achieve the look you seek with restoration paint.
Easy to apply
Restoration paint is extremely easy to apply. It offers even coverage, dries and cures quickly and you can easily apply the second coat on the third day.
Sorry to sound like a broken record but the key is preparing the surface to be painted and the weather conditions in which you paint.
For example, the temperature has to be between 50 and 90 degrees on all three days when you paint the surface.
You have to completely scrub the surface to remove any existing stain, sealant or paint for the restoration paint to adhere properly to the surface.
If even one of these two factors are affected, then your outcome may not be as good as what you expect it to be.
Also, the thickness of the paint affects the ease of use. The thicker it is, the more difficult it can be.
But again, it’s not a biggie. Just think of applying a thick coat of industrial-grade adhesive. Only this one washes off the brushes with water.
Best Deck Paint Reviews
All said and done, here are our picks of the best deck paints in 2018.
1. Anvil Deck-A-New Resurfacer Paint
Anvil is a Florida based manufacturer of wall paints and surface sealants with a near flawless reputation.
Their Deck-A-New Resurfacer is one the top rated deck restoration paints in the market currently.
It has a textured surface (slip-free) and is available in two variants, one each for wood and concrete.
You can choose from five attractive shades and it is available in 1,2,4 and 5-gallon cans.
Each gallon gives you approximately 70 square feet of coverage if you apply two coats, which is highly recommended.
If you have a deck in reasonably good condition, then you might just be able to make do with a single coat.
That’s not recommended by the manufacturer, mind you.
The Resurfacer has a reasonably thick texture and seeps easily into any cracks or dents on the surface. If you feel that the paint is very difficult to apply, you can mix it with 50% water which eases the application.
You will have to prime the surface prior to application for best results.
If you have a wooden deck that has weathered considerably, then Anvil recommends that you use the ‘Anvil Aqua Seal Water proofer Bonding Primer #235’
For concrete, the recommended Primer is Anvil High Adhesion Grip-Tite WB Bonding Primer #1750.
However, you can use just about any bonding primer brand that you have used before.
- Top rated deck resurfacing paint
- An easy way to repair your wooden and concrete deck
- Fills cracks that are up to ¼ inch.
- 100% Acrylic
- Perfect for all weather conditions
- Does not peel in high traffic decks
- About 160 square feet of coverage per gallon if you apply a single coat
- The non-slip textured surface that is easy to clean
- You will have to clean and prime the surface before application. That’s hardly a deal breaker though.
- Anvil Deck-A-New Resurfacer is not acrylic resin. It might not be the best option for a place with extreme weather conditions.
2 . KILZ Over Armor Resurfacer Paint
Kilz is Masterchem’s premium brand of wall paints, surface restoration paints, and rust-preventive coatings.
The Over Armor Resurfacer is their bestselling acrylic resin based paint that is available in both textured and smooth finishes for wood and concrete.
The Resurfacer is thick. By thick, we mean that it’s ‘Elmer’s Glue-grade’ thick.
While this does little to affect coverage, it does make application a little difficult, especially if you have never tried it before.
As tempted as you might be to use a roller, we recommend that you use a bristle brush instead. It makes it easier to apply and you can actually dab some extra paint on surfaces that you need to be 100% non-slip.
The texture is a little like sandpaper. But it’s not the least bit uncomfortable on bare skin. So, even if you have kids jumping around on the deck, there won’t be scrapes or bruises.
The coating is amazing. We have spoken to customers who have used the Over Armor Resurfacer on their 50-year old worn concrete steps. They were amazed by the results.
The thick consistency ensures that no cracks or pockmarks (up to ¼ of an inch) are left uncovered. It completely covers everything and makes the surface look brand new.
One gallon provides about 75 square feet of coverage. And you can select from three shades (Two for wood and one for concrete)
- Acrylic resin
- Perfect for all weather conditions
- Does not need the surface to be primed
- One gallon provides almost 75 square feet of coverage
- Fills holes and pockmarks up to ¼ inch
- Great customer reviews
- Dries and cures quickly
- Thick consistency means that you will have to use a brush instead of a roller to apply this.
- You will have to strip the surface of any dirt, oil, and grease
3. Rust-Oleum RockSolid 20X Deck Resurfacer
Rust-Oleum is a brand that needs no introduction.
The RockSolid 20X deck resurfacer is their strongest deck resurfacing paint for decks and patios that are heavily weathered.
It can be applied on wood, concrete as well as most composites.
You can select from a whopping 60 shades and it is available in 1 and 4-gallon bottles.
As implied by the name, the RockSolid Resurfacer is 20x thicker than normal surface restoration paints.
That means that its double the thickness of the Kilz Over Armor and it provides only 40 square feet of coverage if you apply two coats.
Also, Rust-Oleum recommends that you use the appropriate roller cover, (which has to be purchased separately) to apply the resurfacer. While that might sound gimmicky or a stealthy way to cross-sell, the thickness of the solution makes it almost impossible to apply with normal rollers.
At best you can try and apply this using a thick bristle brush.
Having said that, most splinters, dents, and cracks on the surface disappear completely with just one coat.
The top coat gives it the even finish and the weather resistance that you seek.
While this is a water-based acrylic solution, we haven’t had any complaints so far about the surface getting worn or peeling in extreme weather.
It holds on perfectly even with years of use in high traffic areas.
- 20x thicker than normal deck restoration paints
- Completely changes the appearance of severely worn and weathered decks
- Even one coat provides excellent weather resistance and waterproofing
- Low on maintenance
- Is available in 60 different shades
- 1 and 4-gallon cans
- If you have a heavily weathered deck or patio, then there’s no better choice
- The thick consistency makes this one of the most difficult deck restoration paints to apply
- The manufacturer recommends that you use an appropriate roller with the Rust-Oleum RockSolid 20X Deck Resurfacer which has to be purchased separately
Like we said earlier, not all deck restoration projects have a happy ending.
To ensure that you don’t start to rue your decision a few months after you apply the best deck restoration paint, take time to prime the surface.
- Clean it.
- Remove any residual paint, stain, oil or grease.
- Read the instructions carefully
- Follow the instructions to the T.
That’s it. You should now have a swanky looking deck with improved curb appeal and massive boasting rights in the neighborhood.