Paint or Stain, How Do I Choose? - Matt the Painter

Paint or Stain, How Do I Choose?

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Paint or Stain, How Do I Choose?

If you have some wood to finish, whether outdoor or interior, you will likely be torn as to whether to use a hard-wearing paint or a stain. The technology behind paints and stains have come a really long way in the last few decades and both types of finishing products are now available in a much wider range of colors and tend to be more durable.

In reality, stains and paints do two different things. If you want an opaque and highly pigmented finish, then paint will always be the answer. If, however, you prefer the look of the natural wood grain, then staining it is always going to be more attractive.

Staining Your Outdoor Decking

Outdoor decking is often a popular feature in backyards and entertainment areas. It provides a solid, aesthetically pleasing area for hosting parties and getting together. Of course, due to the fact that outdoor decking is exposed to the weather all year around, it is important that any finish used on it is strong and durable.

Using a stain on outdoor decking can really bring out the natural grain of the wood. One can purchase either solid stains or semi-transparent stains. The biggest difference is in the amount of color pigment in the product and choosing one or the other is a matter of personal preference.

Oil- or Water-Based?

In days gone by, water-based paints were not nearly as durable as they are now and many people avoided using them in favor of enamels and other oil-based products. The good news is that modern water-based stains are now much easier to use and longer-lasting. Here are the distinct advantages of each:

  • Water: Apart from being much easier to clean up and less smelly, water-based stains sit on top of the wood as they are applied. This means that the stain lasts longer than an oil-based product. The other benefit of water-based products such as this is that they dry more quickly, meaning that an entire deck can be stained in a single day.
  • Oil: If you really want the classic look of stained wood with all of the natural beauty of grain, an oil-based stain is the best way to go. The oil will penetrate the wood as it is being applied and will give the wood a very natural look that many people associate with a more traditional aesthetic.

Painting Your Decking

Even though stains come in a much wider variety of colors these days, if you really want maximum flexibility in this area, don’t discount the use of paints. Acrylic paints, in particular, have come a long way and the exterior varieties are now much more durable than they used to be.

Painting outdoor decking with an exterior acrylic will provide a solid color and will give one maximum flexibility when it comes to choice. Though many people associate outdoor decking with a stained wood look, using a bold acrylic color can really add some spice and freshness to an outdoor area. It is important to keep in mind, though, that once painted, going back to a stain later on will mean stripping the paint away with harsh chemicals.

Whether you choose stain or paint for your wood finish inside or outside the home really depends on your personal preferences. Both feature a variety of advantages and disadvantages and both offer some very solid options.

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