Solid acrylic stain covers both my front porch and rear deck, and both were badly in need of paint jobs. Staining my porch and deck is the biggest DIY project I've attempted so far. I'm far from an expert, but I thought some of my experiences as a rank amateur may help others who have considered taking on such an endeavor to save money by not hiring someone else to do the work.
In this article, I use the words stain and paint interchangeably. I bought deck and porch stain, but it's a solid acrylic product and sure looked like paint to me. I even used leftover stain from my porch to paint the front door.
Start by researching online, but also ask an experienced and knowledgeable friend. It seemed like what I found online assumed I already knew what I was doing and what I needed to buy. I had no idea what I was doing, but got some good advice from a friend to help me along.
Next, make sure you really want to do this yourself. Staining your porch and deck is hard, exhausting work that'll take many hours to complete. Between the power washing and painting, count on taking up at least a weekend and a couple of week nights for a medium-sized deck. If you're doing a deck plus a front porch like I was, count on two weekends and several week nights.
I've exercised regularly for many years, but the power washing and painting wore me out. Plus, I had sore muscles from crouching and reaching in ways my body wasn't accustomed to.