Best Decking Paint – UK [Full Review]

When it comes to protecting decking, a lot of people will automatically reach for wood oils and stains.  These give solid protection while preserving the natural appearance of the wood.  If that works for you then great, but if you fancy something a little different, then maybe you should think about using decking paint.

Best Decking Paint

Choosing between oil, stain and decking paint

Proper wood oil is not slippery but it does look glossy and will usually darken the natural shade of the wood.  Oil generally does a good job of protecting against moisture and hence against everything which can come with moisture, like mould.

Stain can also change the colour of your decking but for the most part it will preserve the natural features much better than oil and certainly better than paint.  Some stains can do a good job of protecting against moisture, you just need to make sure that you get one which is intended for this purpose.

Decking paint is thicker than either oil or stain, so it will cover the wood completely and will provide an excellent barrier against moisture.  It’s also very robust when it comes to keeping its good looks in spite of being regularly walked over.  For the sake of completeness, proper decking paint is designed to be non-slip.  This is one of the big differences between decking paint and regular paint.

The main benefit of decking paint is that allows you to change the appearance of the wood completely.  The main drawback of decking paint is that if you do the job properly, the decking paint will be very hard to remove.  This means that if you change your mind and want to go back to the look of natural wood, then you’ll need to do some serious sanding.

Another point to note is that decking paint is a lot less forgiving than oil or stain.  In other words, you absolutely must prepare the surface properly, otherwise even the best decking paint will start to peel in short order.  Get it right, however, and you’ll probably just have to touch it up in spring and autumn.  If this seems like a lot compared to regular paint, remember that regular paint doesn’t (usually) get walked over.

ready to paint

The basics of painting decking

If your deck is actual wood, either softwood or hardwood, then you should be absolutely fine to go ahead and paint it.  If that’s all you need to know then you can check out the best decking paints available by heading straight down to our decking paint review.

If you’re using composite boards, then sadly you’re probably going to have to pass on painting.  You can check, but composite boards usually have a plastic coating which makes it really hard for paint to stick.  Your only real option would be to sand away the coating, but this would probably be quite a job and might weaken the boards.

decking paint

Preparing the decking for painting

You should always clean your decking thoroughly before you apply any sort of coating to it.  This includes oil and stain.  After this, you basically have three options.

Option one is just to go ahead and paint.  This is only a reasonable approach if you know you’re going to be replacing your decking in the very near future and just want to keep it looking fairly decent in the meantime.  Be aware, however, that there’s going to be a limit to what even the best decking paint can do in this situation.  In other words, you can choose the best decking paint there is and it will still wind up peeling very quickly.

Option two is to use a primer.  If your boards are proper wood (as opposed to composite board) and are in decent condition, then priming on its own will usually be perfectly fine and applying a primer is likely to be a whole lot less work than the remaining option of sanding.  The only downside to using a primer is that you have to buy the primer, which can be relatively expensive.

Option three is to use a sander.  Sanding takes more work and is only cheaper if you already have a sander, otherwise you will have to hire one.  Forget about just using sandpaper unless you see it as an alternative to going to the gym.  Sanding will, however, (eventually) get even the most challenging of surfaces into a condition where they can be painted.

5 best paint your deck with

Decking Paint Review

We looked at the various options on the UK market and have come up with what we think are the four best non-slip decking paints available based on a combination of performance and price.

Cuprinol 2.5L Anti Slip Decking Stain

Cuprinol 2.5L Anti Slip Decking Stain - Vermont Green

This is officially a stain, presumably because it is slightly transparent, so you can still see at least some of the natural grain of the wood.  At the same time, it’s much thicker and more opaque than regular stain, so we decided it could reasonably be counted as a decking paint.

This stain/paint is available in 10 shades.  Most of these are named after different types of wood (the exceptions are city stone and urban slate), but the colours don’t really look like natural wood, in our opinion.  They are, however, perfectly attractive.

As you’d expect from Cuprinol, there is excellent protection against moisture and coverage is very good.  The one point to note is that this stain/paint is water-based, which is great for the environment but may mean that you might have to add an extra coat if you want the richest colour.

Overall, this stain/paint would be a really good choice if you wanted something a little bolder than regular stain but weren’t sure if you wanted to commit fully to painting.  It’s not the right option for you if you want to go over existing decking paint.  You’d have to sand it off completely first and then apply this stain/paint.

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Cuprinol 2.5L Anti Slip Decking Stain - Vermont Green

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Last update was on: November 26, 2023 9:46 pm
£19.23 £24.09

Cuprinol Garden Shades

Cuprinol Garden Shades White Daisy

Cuprinol Garden Shades might alternatively be known as Cuprinol Garden Sheds, since that’s probably where most of it is used.  It is, however, a reasonable option as a decking paint.  Note we said reasonable rather than great.  Frankly the coverage isn’t the best (as compared with other decking paints) and the consistency is on the weaker side, in other words, expect to apply extra coats.  Also expect to have to touch it up regularly, especially if your decking gets a lot of footfall.

All that said, however, if you want the best-looking decking in town, then this could be the option for you.  It’s available in no fewer than 38 colours and they all look great, especially the bright ones which are meant to pop.  They certainly do.  Also, the fact that this paint is intended for general use means that you can colour-coordinate your garden fixtures.

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Cuprinol Garden Shades - White Daisy (2.5L)

Last update was on: November 26, 2023 9:46 pm
£21.39 £27.12

Firmtread Anti Slip Deck Coating / Decking Paint

Firmtread Anti Slip Deck Coating

Going from one end of the scale to the other, the Firmtread decking paint is definitely the common-sense, value-for-money option.  It’s only available in four shades, but if useability is your priority, then this decking paint has a lot going for it.

The name comes from the fact that it contains fine particles, which help to add grip.  They’re not uncomfortable for (little) people in bare feet.  It’s a bit like walking on fine sand.  Oddly though, these don’t seem to make this decking paint awkwardly thick, in fact it’s actually quite thin, which does mean you may need to add an extra coat but also makes it very easy to apply.  It’s also priced very affordably.

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Firmtread Anti Slip Deck Coating / Decking Paint (Light Oak)

Last update was on: November 26, 2023 9:46 pm

Ronseal DSCO5L Decking Stain

Ronseal DSCO5L

Ronseal have built their brand on delivering products which really protect surfaces and this decking paint is definitely one of them.  It’s one of those products which is either definitely for you or definitely not for you.

First, the bad news, this product is expensive and tends to need refreshed fairly often, especially if the decking gets heavy footfall and even more so if it gets heavy pawfall (claws go right through it).

Now here’s why some people love it.  It gives you the thickest coating out of any product we’ve found and will basically cover up anything, old paint you can’t get off, damaged wood, unsightly screws, you name it, this literally has it covered.  It gives great coverage and outstanding protection.  It’s also available in 8 shades and while that’s nowhere near what Cuprinol offers it’s probably enough to keep a lot of people perfectly happy.

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Ronseal DSCO5L Decking Stain Country Oak 5 Litre

Last update was on: November 26, 2023 9:46 pm

Conclusion – Best Non-Slip Decking Paint

If you’re into aesthetics, then you probably want one of the Cuprinol options.  They have the broadest range of colours and the protection is perfectly decent.  If you just want to get the job done then the Firmtreat option is probably the one for you.  It’s basic, but it offers both good grip and good protection against the elements.  If you want the ultimate in coverage and/or protection, then the Ronseal option is the way to go.  For all its shortcomings, we’ve found nothing which can do a better job of treating wood, especially damaged wood.

Preparing the decking for painting

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