Solid Stain vs. Exterior Paint

Exterior Painting | January 14, 2021

When preparing to have your home’s exterior painted or stained, it is important to know what your options are and what kind of paint or stain product is the best solution for your particular needs. As professional painters, one of the types of products that we, at Dunbar Painting, occasionally get asked by customers to consider is solid stain for home exteriors. There are certain situations in which solid stain is an excellent choice, but others in which it should not be used. Before purchasing the paint or stain you want to use for your home, make sure to talk to an experienced painter, like those at Dunbar Painting, about whether to use solid stain or exterior paint.

What is Solid Stain?

Like regular stain, solid stain is designed to change the colour of a surface while still allowing the texture of the wood to show through. Solid stain is in the middle ground between paint and regular or semi-transparent stain in that it seeps into wood more than paint, but not as much as regular stain. Solid stain creates a solid-coloured coating on wood without completely obscuring the underlying grain. If enough coats of solid stain are applied to a surface, it can end up looking like paint.

How does stain protect wood?

Should I Use Solid Stain or Exterior Paint?

When deciding whether to use paint or solid stain for your home, make sure that you consider the surface being coated. The best times to use solid stain are when the wood being coated is fresh. Solid stain penetrates into wood better than paint does and acts as its own primer, and it does not function as well when it coats a previously painted surface. New cedar siding, shake shingles, and fencing provide great opportunities to use solid stain because it can seal the wood without the use of a primer, saving time and money on the number of coats required to finish the job. Although it is not typically the best choice to apply a solid stain over paint, it is easy to paint over a solid stain, meaning that solid stain is often a good choice for the first couple of years of a new home’s or new fence’s life.

Find out how often cedar needs to be painted.

Although solid stain has its benefits, paint offers better protection, durability, and a wider range of colour selection. Solid stain fades faster than paint, meaning that you will need to repaint it sooner. When applied over a surface that has already been painted or sealed, solid stain can often end up looking like paint, but with a shorter lifespan and less protective qualities, it can lack the benefits of a high-quality exterior paint. For this reason, paint is usually the best option, but solid stain can be useful when somebody wants to retain the texture of wood and the surface being stained is bare.

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If you would like to find out more information about solid stain vs exterior paint and the best options for your home, or to find out more about our services, please contact the experienced team at Dunbar Painting.

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