Staining vs. Painting: Which is best?

man staining wood with brush and holding can - Staining vs. Painting: Which is best?

Paint enthusiasts everywhere will tell you that the finishing for the exterior of your woodworks is the one thing you can’t fail to implement. Other than making the surface look sparkly and clean, a good finish will protect it from moisture or damage from the other elements, allowing it to last longer.

But the problem comes in selecting the right finish for your particular situation. You see, there are two major ways to go about it – staining or painting. And while both pretty much get the job done, they still differ in terms of appearance, durability, maintenance, and cost. To help ease your frustration, we shall take you through all the subtle differences between the two finishes so you can decide which will best suit your next project.

All about paint

For projects around the house like outside walls, doors, and craft projects such as pictures and frames, paint is the more recommended option. Its major advantage is that it is thicker than your typical stain and will therefore need fewer coats. Also, unlike stain, paint won’t be absorbed into the surface you are painting. You end up using less amount of paint than you would stain.

Another thing that makes painting attractive is that it has a wider variety of colors to choose from. You get more finishes and sheens in paint, plus it can be painted over surfaces that had been previously painted. On the other hand, stain cannot be used over paint. Of course, paint also comes with its drawbacks. For starters, paint costs more per gallon, and to make it more durable; you’ll need to add primer to the surface beforehand. In contrast, stain does not require a primed surface and is, therefore, quicker to apply.

Stain to bring out the natural beauty of the surface

Now, if you are coating raw wood surfaces like sidings or shingles, stain can be the perfect alternative. It is especially good at achieving that natural, rustic finish. You see, rather than cover up the surface; stain enhances the natural look of the wood. Also, since the wood will absorb it, the stain will work to protect and preserve the beauty of the wood for a longer time.

The other good thing about stain is that it is less costly than paint. It doesn’t require much surface preparation and will usually do with just one coat applied directly onto the surface (primer is not needed). Additionally, stain is resistant to chipping and won’t easily crack or peel like paint. Though with stain, there are fewer color options. It comes out best when the furniture you are coating already has its own appeal. Don’t foget that stained wood requires a finish, like polyurethane or lacquer, after the stain dries.

Take away

Despite their differences, both stain and paint are capable of bringing out a beautiful finish. And depending on how you use them, you stand to get vibrant results. Still, as we’ve seen, the two have different properties which allow them to work best on different surfaces – paint for exterior walls and doors, and stain for furniture and woodworks.

If you need any further assistance painting or expert advice on paint selection, feel free to  contact us at Painter Bros for a more professional solution.