The best paint to use when painting a deck is durable exterior paint. Flat and satin paint are the best finishes to use for deck boards, while semi-gloss works well as a contrast for trim.
To achieve the look of real wood, stain can be applied directly to the wood and painted on in the direction of the grain. Semitransparent stains show off the beauty of the grain while providing protection for the wood. Stain typically has to be reapplied every two years. Many paints offer a lifetime warranty to ensure the finish remains free of cracks, mildew and even fading.