exterior painting

Whether you’re staining your fence, deck or the siding, the choice of your stain will significantly impact how the project turns out and how long it lasts. Just like paint, there’re important considerations you need to keep in mind. For instance, a stain that may work perfectly for your siding might end up lasting only a few months when used on an older wooden fence.

So if you’re not sure which stain to use for your surface, consider the following:

Opacity
This is essentially the level of transparency a stain has. Different stains have varying levels of transparency depending on the amount of color pigments used. On this front, stains are loosely classified into three types:
• Transparent stains –these types of stains get absorbed into the wood and do not alter the original color of the material. So they essentially allow the natural beauty of the wood to show through, including the knots and grains. These stains are typically used on newer wood that has fewer or no surface imperfections.

• Semi-transparent stains –these are kind of a compromise between solid stains and transparent stains, and they’re the most popular out there. Semi-transparent stains also get absorbed into the wood, slightly alter the color of the wood but still allow the grains and knots to show through to some extent. They’re a perfect choice if you just want to add a hint of color onto your material.

• Solid stains –these are more like paint; they don’t get absorbed into the wood and often form a solid film on the surface of the wood material. If you want the benefit of choosing from a large variety of colors and don’t mind hiding the natural ‘beauty’ of wood, then these might be the best option. They are also typically used on older surfaces which have imperfections that need to be covered.

Level of Surface Protection
Both transparent and solid stains will protect your wooden siding, deck or fence from harsh external weather conditions. However, solid stains tend to offer a much more superior surface protection compared to both transparent and semi-transparent stains since they form a protective coating on the surface. So think of the three options this way:
• Transparent stains –More natural wood beauty + Less surface protection
• Semi-transparent stains – Moderate natural wood beauty + Moderate surface protection
• Solid stains –Less natural wood beauty + More Surface Protection

Your pick?

Maintenance
Just like paint, stain eventually degrades upon extended exposure to exterior wear and tear elements. However, transparent and semi-transparent stains tend to age gracefully by fading or wearing off. Re-staining them typically requires just a thorough surface cleaning and the stain can be re-applied.
Solid stains on the other hand crack, peel or flake when their prime time is over, similar to paint. Re-applying them requires that you clean, strip and sand off any flaking or peeling stain before re-staining.

Wood Type Matters
More expensive hardwoods such as mahogany or ipe offer gorgeous grain and texture that shine through when using a more transparent or semi-transparent. Softer, less expensive woods, including pressure-treated southern yellow pine or cedar, benefit from semi-solid and solid stains’ innate weather barrier.

Oil-Based vs. Water-Based Stains
As you choose the opacity and the colors, you will also need to decide between water-based and oil-based stains. Water-based color stains generally provide a much richer color than oil-based stains. They also do not emit the fumes that oil ones do. Oil-based stains, on the other hand, provide a thicker seal, which allows for a high level of protection. Additionally, they are more durable and do not need to be maintained nearly as much as water-based stains.

The Bottom Line
The above five are the most important factors to consider when choosing the type of paint for your exterior home staining in the Woodlands area. If you’re a hiring a professional painting contractor like Streamline Painting & More, you will get professional advice on the best stain type, color, opacity formulation and brand to use for your specific situation.

So if you need professional help with exterior home staining, simply book a free estimate below or call us on 936-718-8354 if you have any question.