Cost to Stain a Deck [by Type of Stain & Deck Size]

Gary Evans
by Gary Evans

After some time, the old deck attached to your home may start to look worn down. Time and harsh outdoor elements tend to have that effect on wooden materials and your deck is no exception. Thankfully, there are ways to restore the appearance of your deck and staining is one such option.

Staining the deck changes its appearance and that turns it into an even more beautiful part of your home. You’re also boosting the longevity of your wooden deck by applying that wood stain. So, how much will you have to pay if you want to stain your deck?

The average cost per gallon of stains used for wooden decks is $53. Labor costs for staining the deck reach an average of $2.30 per square foot. You can also pay professionals to prepare your deck for staining and that will cost a total of $1,350. The deck must be sealed after staining and that will cost an additional $950.

Applying a stain to your wooden deck is a decision that carries both short and long-term benefits. It can be pricey, but those benefits are highly appealing. Find out how much staining your wooden deck will cost by continuing with the rest of this article.

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Cost to Stain a Deck by Type of Stain

Type of StainCost Per Gallon
Clear Stains$35
Hybrid Stains$50
Oil-Based Stains$70
Semi-Solid Stains$65
Semi-Transparent Stains$60
Solid Stains$45
Transparent Stains$40
Water-Based Stains$55

Take your time when choosing a type of stain to use on your wooden deck. Remember that your choice of stain will affect the appearance of the deck how much you’ll have to spend. This is a decision you have to make carefully.

Also, deck stains can differ in terms of the maintenance they require and how long they last. Keep that in mind as you learn more about the available deck stain options below.

Clear Stains

First up, we have clear deck stains. Clear deck stains will likely be the cheapest option available to you. The clear deck stains cost $35 per gallon.

Don’t shy away from using a clear deck stain just because it’s the cheapest option. Depending on what kind of deck you have, it may even be your best option.

Clear stains will enhance the appearance of your wooden deck by accentuating the grain. They allow the appearance of the wood to continually shine through. Using a clear stain is a good idea if you already like the appearance of your deck.

Hybrid Stains

Homeowners can also choose to use hybrid deck stains. A single gallon of hybrid deck stain costs an average of $50.

As you’re probably guessed from its name, hybrid deck stains are made using a combination of other commonly used staining elements. To be more specific, there are both water-based and oil-based elements featured in hybrid stains.

That unique composition allows hybrid stains to offer the benefits of both oil-based and water-based stains. If you like specific qualities of oil-based or water-based stains more, then go with them. Those interested in seeing how those qualities work together should consider using hybrid stains.

Oil-Based Stains

Speaking of oil-based stains, they are among the most expensive options currently available. Expect to pay $70 for a single gallon of oil-based deck stain.

So, is it worth paying that much to use oil-based deck stains? You can argue for that given how long oil-based stains last.

Oil-based stains penetrate deep into the wood and that allows them to last for a long time. They are significantly less prone to peeling and cracking compared to other deck stains.

Homeowners who don’t want to keep applying deck stains should use oil-based stains. An oil-based stain is pricey initially, but you can end up saving more money long-term.

Semi-Solid Stains

You can also purchase semi-solid stains for your wooden deck. A gallon of semi-solid deck stain costs $65.

A semi-solid stain is going to change the color of your wooden deck. Still, the stain won’t cover up the deck completely. The wood grain will still be visible even after the semi-solid stain has dried over the deck.

Semi-Transparent Stains

Next up, you can also purchase a semi-transparent stain for your wooden deck. On average, a gallon of semi-transparent deck stain is available for $60.

Semi-transparent stains are good alternatives to clear stains. A semi-transparent stain will still allow the appearance of the wood to shine through, but it will also make it darker. If creating that kind of look sounds interesting to you, then you know which deck stain to get.

Solid Stains

We now want to draw your attention to solid deck stains. You can buy a gallon of solid deck stain for $45.

Make sure you understand what you’re getting into before applying a solid deck stain. Solid stains will completely change the appearance of your deck and they will even conceal the wood grain.

Solid stains are great to use if there are spots on your wooden deck that you want to conceal. You can also bank on solid stains lasting for a very long time.

Transparent Stains

Another affordable option for you to consider is the transparent deck stain. A gallon of transparent deck stain costs $40.

Transparent stains don’t do much to change the appearance of your wooden deck. That’s a good thing if you like the appearance of your deck already. Using a transparent stain allows you to protect your deck better without altering its appearance.

Water-Based Stains

Last up, we have the water-based deck stains. A gallon of water-based deck stain is available for $55.

Water-based stains are great to use because they are eco-friendly options. That becomes more evident when you compare them to oil-based stains.

However, water-based stains are not especially durable. You will have to re-apply them quite frequently.

Cost to Stain a Deck by Size

Size of Deck In Square FeetCost

The size of the deck attached to your home will figure prominently into the cost of the staining project. You will need more gallons of wood stain to cover the larger decks. The workers will also have to cover more ground if your home has a sizable wooden deck.

Keep staining costs in mind while you’re building the deck initially. That way, you won’t have to spend a lot of money just on staining.

Labor Cost to Stain a Deck

Estimate TypeCost Per Square Foot
Low-End Estimate$1.50
Mid-Range Estimate$2.30
High-End Estimate$3.20

Homeowners can pay professionals to handle the task of staining a wooden deck. Typically, the professionals in this line of work charge by square footage. The average rate professionals charge to take on that job is $2.30 per square foot.

Staining may seem like a relatively straightforward task, but even minor mistakes can affect the outcome. Use too much stain and the deck may turn out darker than you intended. The wood grain may even end up covered even though you didn’t want to do that.

You should also remember that wooden decks often have to be prepared before they can be stained. The entire process can take up a good amount of time. Unless you want to devote your weekend to this project, paying the professionals to handle it is the right move.

Cost to Prepare a Deck for Staining

Preparatory StepCost
Power Washing the Deck$250
Sanding the Deck$350
Stripping the Deck$750

Staining your wooden deck right away is not a smart move. If you apply the stain without performing any of the preparatory steps, the stain will not penetrate the wood. It may just wash off the next time moisture makes contact with your wooden deck.

You must take the proper preliminary steps to ensure that the stain will adhere to the wood properly. We’ve detailed those preliminary steps along with how much they will cost below.

Power Washing

Power washing your wooden deck is a crucial preliminary step for staining. You will have to pay $250 if you want your wooden deck power washed by a professional.

Do note that you can also power wash the deck yourself. You can rent a power washer for an average of $60 per day.

Power washing is a necessary step because it clears any bits of dirt and debris away from the wooden deck. If you don’t power wash before staining, those bits of dirt and debris will prevent the stain from adhering properly.


Sanding is another preparatory step that is often required before staining a deck. You’ll have to pay $350 if you need your wooden deck sanded by a professional.

It’s important to note that professional sanding is not required all of the time. If your wooden deck is still new and has not been treated in any way, professional sanding may not be needed. A light sanding may suffice.

Sanding is always important if you have an older deck. The sanding process will remove any paint or finish used on the deck previously. It will even get rid of any splinters on the surface of the wood.


The sanding process may not suffice if you applied different coatings on your wooden deck previously. You may have to strip the wooden deck as well and that will cost $750.

Stripping is needed if you previously used a stain or sealant on your wooden deck. The stripping solution’s job is to dissolve the old stain or sealant that is currently in the wood. With the old chemicals dissolved, there is now room available for the new stain.

Cost to Seal a Deck

Estimate TypeCost
Low-End Estimate$550
Mid-Range Estimate$900
High-End Estimate$1,300

Staining your wooden deck is not the only thing you can do if you want it to remain in good condition. You should also consider sealing your wooden deck if you want to maximize its longevity. The average cost of sealing a wooden deck is $900.

Sealing is necessary because your wooden deck is exposed to the elements all the time. Neglect sealing your wooden deck and it will wear down quickly. The gorgeous appearance of the wood and the coatings you used will fade away earlier than you expected.

Both sealing and staining are important steps that boost the longevity of your wooden deck. If possible, seal and stain your wooden deck so it remains a beautiful fixture on your property for many years to come.

Cost to Stain Deck Railings

Estimate Type Cost Per Linear Foot
Low-End Estimate$8
Mid-Range Estimate$11
High-End Estimate$15

The wooden planks that make up your deck are not the only items that can benefit from staining. You can also stain your deck railings to keep them in good shape longer. The average rate professionals charge for staining deck railing is $11 per linear foot.

Staining the deck railing makes sense not just for the sake of lengthening their lifespan. It’s also a good move from an aesthetic standpoint.

By staining the deck railing, you can match it with the planks. Your whole deck area will look more cohesive thanks to the stained railings. With that acting as the centerpiece of your outdoor area, you can create a beautiful outdoor landscape.

Do You Need Exterior Home Paint or Stain Services?

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Related Questions

Is It Cheaper to Paint or Stain a Deck?

Staining is more affordable than painting your deck. If you want to paint the deck, you also have to purchase primer and wood preservative along with the paint.You may have to spend $100 just to get a gallon each of paint, primer, and wood preservative. Add labor and prepping costs to the equation and you can see why painting the deck costs way more.

Is It Worth Staining an Old Deck?

Yes, staining an old deck is worth it as long as the deck in question is not damaged beyond repair. Even wooden decks that have numerous blemishes can be restored through staining. A solid stain can conceal those blemishes and restore the deck’s appearance.

How Many Coats of Stain Should You Put on a Deck?

Two coats of stain should suffice for most types of wood. If your deck is made from a dense type of wood, a single coating of stain should be enough.

Gary Evans
Gary Evans

Gary Evans is passionate about home improvement. He loves finding out how to make improvements in the easiest, most practical, and most affordable ways. Upgrading his home kitchen is one of his ongoing hobbies. Gary is also a long-time content creator and enjoys spending his free time tending to his hydroponic vegetable garden.

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