Should I Paint My Deck White?

Painting a deck is arguably one of the most exciting projects you can undertake at home. You can hire a professional or even do it yourself with the right tools and patience.

But which colors are right for your deck? Is the classic white paint going to do the job for you?

You can paint a deck white if you want to brighten up the same. Pure white (Light Reflection Value 83) is recommended for shaded spots while Shoji white (LRV 74) is an off-white color recommended for a neutral-looking deck that’s still white.

Opinions on white decks are as divided as opinions on painting floors white. However, you should still consider white if you’re a fan of the color as you can make it work for the deck.

Should my deck be white? Color theory to apply to my deck

Before painting any exterior part of the home pure white, including the deck, you should consider all the following aspects which aren’t just color theory but which are actual opinions of those who’ve already painted their decks.

The white color brightens up the deck and the home

White lives and brightens the deck. If you have wooden decking it will bring all the wood pieces to life (this includes any defects the wood might have).

White composite or plastic decking is going to look brighter and similarly to tile, just like any painted surface, you walk on.

The brightening effect can be beneficial if your deck doesn’t get too much natural sunlight or it might be too much if the sun is shining on your deck all day so you need to wear sunglasses just to enjoy a cup of coffee out on the deck.

There are thousands of types of white

Here’s where most people get their opinions when it comes to white decks. They imagine the purest white, which is rarely the case. There are many types of white colors to choose from.

You can compare white colors by analyzing their Light Reflection Value LRV. The higher this value the more light the color reflects.

Pure white paints for decks have a light reflection value of 83 while off-white paints have a lower LRV of 74.

  • Behr Has Ultra White Exterior paint with a higher LRV 94
  • Benjamin Moore White Dove white is LRV 85
  • Sherwin Williams Seapearl is LRV 78

Ultra-pure white paints such as those made by Behr are only recommended for decks that don’t get any direct sunlight.

Bright white deck paints such as White Dove by Benjamin Moore are recommended for decks that get at least some amount of shade per day.

Off-white such as Seapearl by Sherwin Williams is recommended for all of those who like white but are afraid of a pure white deck.

While white stain exists, it’s not as nuance-rich as white paint that comes in thousands of nuances.

White decks are ideal for old decking

Old decks might be given a fresh look with white paint. If your deck is already painted you will find it easier to paint it again than to remove the old paint completely for staining.

Almost all old decks require a bit more paint as the surface might not be perfect. However, white paint can brighten up an old deck and thus make it look newer.

White decks get dirty quicker (think dogs and children)

Dirt is the most important variable when it comes to white decks. All white surfaces you walk on tend to get dirty rather quickly. Children walking with their shoes on will leave dirt marks on white decks.

Dogs running on the lawn and then on the deck certainly get it dirty as well. You will need to clean the deck sooner when painted white, which can be an issue for decks with busy traffic or in homes with very large families.

What type of white paint should I paint my deck with?

High traffic and weather-resistant exterior paint are ideal for white decks. Benjamin Moore Regal resists mildew, changing weather conditions, and low temperatures. Sherwin Williams Emerald is another example of white paint that doesn’t yellow and has a tough finish.

Just about any high-traffic paint made for outdoor use is going to work on the deck.

For the best results, it’s best to spend at least as much time preparing the surface as the time spent painting.

How much does it cost to paint the deck white?

A cheap gallon of white paint costs at least $25. A standard quality white exterior paint costs $30-50. A high-quality white exterior paint can cost more than $70 per gallon. In theory, you can cover at least 350 square meters with 1 gallon of paint.

The cost can double if you apply a second coat or if you purchase non-priming paint where you also need to buy primer separately.

Recap – why should you choose white color for painting your deck

  • It brightens up a deck, especially in a shaded spot
  • White is timeless
  • A white deck can be many things, but never not elegant
  • Not all white colors are the same, some white paints are bright while others are more neutral
  • Expect to pay at least $30 for white exterior deck paint
  • White deck paint might need to be re-applied every 2 years if it yellows

Is it hard to keep a white deck clean?

A white deck requires extra cleaning compared to non-white decks. White paint tends to get dusty and dirty quickly so it needs to be mopped or washed with a gardening hose at least once per month or as often as needed for homes with children or pets.

What’s the best color to paint the deck?

Gray is considered a neutral deck color that doesn’t get dirty easily. White is recommended to brighten up a deck and make it appear larger while beige, tan, or brown colors are recommended for cozy decks.

Should a deck be lighter or darker?

A deck can be lighter when it has a small surface as light colors brighten it up. A darker deck goes well with other wooden elements or darker elements such as furniture or the color of the house. Dark decks are only recommended for decks that get sufficient direct sunlight.

Is painting decking a good idea or should I stain it?

Painting a deck is considered more practical. Staining only adds minimum protection to the surface of the deck while painting adds a protective coat that keeps water out completely.

What should I paint my decking with?

You can paint a deck using a painting brush. A medium sized-painting brush covers most surfaces while an extra smaller painting brush reaches corners and tricky areas. Masking tape and sandpaper are recommended for prepping the surface.

What color should I paint my deck?

Contrasting colors are recommended for decks. A darker color goes well with a lighter home. Contrast can also be achieved by painting the walkable surface of the deck stairs in one color and the vertical surface of the stairs in a contrasting color.

Can I paint composite decking?

Most types of composite decks can be painted. The final result should match the result of painted wood decks both in texture and in color nuance.