How To Repaint A Deck Without Stripping?

How To Repaint A Deck Without Stripping?


Several thoughts need to be considered repainting a deck, without stripping off old paint first. Refinishing a painted deck, this topic is at the forefront of every painter's mind. Giving you expert advice, painting a deck over old paint, without having to strip it first.

Hoping to give you good news you're looking for, not having to strip old paint. But any old paint currently lifting up, peeling, must be removed. If your existing deck paint is laying down properly, no stripping is required.

Deck paint properly bonding, adhering to deck surfaces, showing no signs of cracking, bubbling, blistering, or chipping up can be painted over with much less preparation.

Not needing to completely strip off all paint, a good scuff sand is still recommended. This sanding will allow new deck paint to grab, hold to existing paint underneath much better.

How To Refinish A Painted Deck


  • Inspect deck surfaces for paint failures
  • If deck paint is holding, no need to strip old paint
  • Remove all peeling paint down to bare wood
  • Scuff sanding is good, even for old deck paint
  • Rinse off using low pressure garden hose
  • Let dry couple days
  • Apply two coats, wet on dry method application
  • Cut-in with brush, roll out larger areas
  • Use official Deck & Fence paint stains

Repainting A Deck In Louisville, CO Without Stripping


We repaint a lot of decks each year, but this one stands out most relative repainting a deck without stripping off paint. We will refer to our clients name as 'Mark'. Mark called requesting a new deck painting quote, which we scheduled, met, and delivered.

During our in-person conversation, Mark asked if we needed to strip all paint before repainting, as he had read where that is recommended. Carefully inspecting, it was my professional opinion that only a few areas needed to be addressed in a complete removal.

How To Paint A Deck With Peeling Paint

Those areas were showing cracking, peeling, and lifting up, which we sanded down to bare wood. We both determined those troubled spots were high traffic areas, also where lawn sprinklers were hitting deck. Mark made sure to readjust his sprinklers before our work was complete.

Remembering paint is not smart, and any paint lifting up, cracking, bubbling or peeling must be removed before new deck paint is applied. If not, new paint will peel right up in no time, not properly bonding, no matter what paint product you use.

Removing Deck Paint With Square Buff Sander


Rest of Mark's deck, the majority of it was in good standing, holding down properly, which allowed us painting a deck over old paint. So, using our scrub deck sander, going all over entire deck, scuffing even the good deck paint.

Rinsing off with common garden hose, all sawdust afterwards, letting it thoroughly dry a couple days before we returned.

Upon our arrival to repaint Mark's deck, we immediately cut in with a brush where deck is next to siding, and steps near concrete. Using a 14" roller with a 3/4" nap on a 4' extension pole and wide roller pan, it only took an hour and half to apply first coat.

Coming back next day, applying second coat, not using near as much as first application. Also saving Mark labor hours without needing to strip paint on his entire deck before repainting, not needing to take everything down to bare wood. I should say, it's still holding very nice well over a year later.

What is important, some of those contractors who may want to short-cut this material cost is not buying official deck paint. If a can does not specifically say it's for Deck & Fence, stay away from it. Deck & Fence paint stains are best, having more holding properties and primers for horizontal surfaces such as decks, and will lift up very quickly.


Using BEHR® Deck & Fence paint stain in Barn Red color. Used approximately 7 gallons for two complete coats.

If Mark had an inferior deck paint, not specific for decks, we would be stripping before repainting his deck, but fortunately that was not the case, saving him several hundred dollars. See this in many examples, where a person used a regular exterior house paint on a deck, not holding even weeks later.

Wondering if you really need to remove old paint before repainting, a recent article goes into more detail regarding this very question.

Need To Remove Old Paint Before Painting Deck?

A common best practice is no. You only need to remove old deck paint that is failing, before repainting with a new coat of paint. Removing any paint that is showing signs of failure, such as cracking, peeling, bubbling, or blistering.

This must be done prior to repainting, in order that a fresh new coat of paint will have something great to bond to. This is true for all outside wooden structures such as decks, pergolas, awnings, & trellises.

Reason not removing all old paint, is that it's adhering, acts as a good primer, for a new fresh coat of paint.

A good place to start looking for quality Deck Paints & Stains, which we use on an ongoing basis with our clients is as follows;


Much Care Given, Stripping Off Old Paint

Depending upon which method you use, giving much care & safety is #1. First, wearing proper personal protection equipment (PPE) is your best defense. Not necessarily needing a hardhat, working on a flat deck surface, unless there is objects above. But skin protection, such as long sleeve shirts, gloves, and foremost eye protection.

PPE includes;

Safety goggles, eye protection
Noise protection
High visible clothing

I don't care if you're just sanding, or using a thick paint stripper. Protecting the eyes is critical. Let's face it, you've only got one pair of these. So protecting from dust, debris, or any minute splatters of paint stripper could put an eye out of commission, no telling how long!

As far as the pic above, believe they are meaning something totally different. Misspelling striping, this truck paints lines on roadways. But caution should be used either way.


Repainting a deck over old paint, removing or stripping all deck paint that is currently failing is essential. Using the best deck paint, it must say on it's label, Deck & Fence Paint or Stain, as these paints are designed for horizontal surfaces.

No need to remove all deck paint without stripping, but scuff sanding is recommended before repainting, allowing new paint to grab and hold even better.

So there you have it! Great news if your current deck paint is holding up, needing an additional coat. You only need to give it a good scuff sand first. Bad news is if your solid bodied deck paint is lifting up in many examples, it does need to be removed, stripped down. Allowing for a new deck paint coating to last much longer than before.

If this is too much work, contacting a local paint contractor who has a vast experience dealing with decks is a wise choice. If in Denver, CO. look no further than contacting Eco Paint, Inc. for all of your deck repainting needs.

Thanks taking time out reading our experiences. Hopefully you've gained some good information knowing how to repaint a deck without stripping. And if so, please like, share, comment below. Like to hear from you!

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John Steen
John Steen
4 years ago

Excellent article. All 3 contractors i have asked to come in wanted to sand my deck completely and paint over with quotes north of 3000. This gives me motivation to paint my own deck. Thanks !

4 years ago

Question: what grit sand paper do you recommend to scuff the ‘good’ or ‘still adhering’ paint?

3 years ago
Reply to  Patrick

Great question Patrick. Really depends how many layers of old paint stain. Most aggressive is 40 grit, would not use anything finer than 80 grit. Best starting out with lower number followed by higher one, for a feathered edge finish

George Fales
George Fales
3 years ago

Do not use Behr paint for recoating. Theirs lifted and peeled twice within 5 years on my deck.

3 years ago
Reply to  George Fales

What do you recommend? I know Behr has “Premium Advanced Deck Over” paint. That is what my power wash guy told me to get. There are other deck paints in the Behr line for certain treatments of the deck I think. Maybe the type you had was not deck paint in the Behr line.

2 years ago
Reply to  Linda

Google deck over there are horror stories on YouTube. I am not sure that is the best product. I have heard Deck restore could be good but again lots of horror stories on YouTube.

3 years ago

Excellent Article, clear and easy to follow. Just finished hand sanding, using foam sanding blocks, on the whole redwood deck, and cleared some peeling paint in spots. Next will be to clean with a hose. Original owner used Behr Deck Transparent Finish so I’m pretty much stuck with using the same thing.

3 years ago

Can we use putty for cracks/crevasse on an outside deck?