What's The Difference Between Stain and Paint?

Sep 26 2022 0 Comments

When you decide to paint the outside of your home, other elements in your yard, like decking, fencing, or pathways, come with enough questions of their own. You may wonder whether to use strain or paint to do your maintenance work. Whether your desired look is glossy, matt, dark or natural, staining or painting is essential to any maintenance work. The problem people usually face, especially in Australia, is understanding the difference between stain and paint. Choosing the right product will ensure your maintenance work is finished the way you want.

However, it doesn't have to be complicated to make such a decision. Knowing the difference between stain and paint and the pros and cons will help you make an informed decision that will leave you delighted with your newly decorated home or garden. This article is here to help you to know the difference between stain and paint so you can make an informed decision. Keep reading to find out!

difference between stain and paint

The Difference Between Stain and Paint

 One thing common about stain and paint is that they both have the same ingredients coating a surface to add a layer of protection. However, several intrinsic differences bring the difference between stain and paint, the main one being that paint rests on the surface of the item being painted. In contrast, the stain is absorbed into the object being painted.

Another critical difference between stain and paint is that once you have painted a surface, you cannot stain it unless you strip down all the paint and the bare substrate and prep the surface properly. A painted surface is protected, and stain will not penetrate the substrate (for example, the famous Australian wooden floors) unless free from all previous paint and chemicals. Additionally, you can paint new wood, but you must cure the same wood for a certain period before staining can occur.


The Advantages of Using Paint to Decorate Your Homestead

-Compared to stain, paint is thicker, and generally, paint needs fewer coats. On the other hand, the stain may be deceptive, and you may have to use a lot more than planned if a surface is exceptionally absorbent.

-Paint comes in many more color options than stain.

-Paint is very uniform in its covering compared to stain.

-There are also more sheens and finishes available when it comes to painting.

-If you have used paint before, you can paint over previously painted surfaces (after preparation), but you cannot use stain over paint.


The Advantages of Using Stains to Decorate Your Homestead

-When you use stain, wood surfaces are enhanced- they are not covered up by stain. The stain will give your wood surface a more rugged feel which is perfect if you’re going for an all-neutral effect.inting, you will have to factor in an extra cost of between $15 to $40 per gallon of wood preservative and an additional $15 to $30 per gallon of primer. 

-Applying stain is simple, as well as re-coating surfaces that need a touch-up.

-Applying stain is quicker than painting because you don't always have to prime surfaces first. Additionally, it only usually needs one coat.

-Paint is prone to peel, crack, or flake, but the stain is more resistant to chipping.

-Just like the interior and exterior paint have various colours and sheens like flat, eggshell, matte, satin, semi-gloss, gloss, etc., the interior and exterior stain also comes in a variety of colours, sheens like matte, flat, satin, etc. and opacity like clear, semi-transparent, solid, etc. Additionally, you can apply many different finishes afterward to get the desired look. Your wood stains will add color to natural wood, and the finishes will seal the wood and protect it from moisture. Some examples of stain finishes include lacquer, varnish, polyurethane, wax, and shellac, among many others, and they come in both water-based and oil-based versions.

Which Should You Choose Between Paint or Stain?

The difference between stain and paint also comes into play considering the surfaces you want to maintain. For example, if you’re going to cover concrete or raw wood surfaces, like shingles and sidings, the stain will provide a complementary warm, rustic, and natural finish. You can choose whether to use a stain close to (or an exact match with) a natural surface or enhance it using a tinted stain.

If you want a bolder, more dramatic look, you may prefer to take the paint route. However, if you are choosing to paint the outside of your house and are thinking of opting for an 'unusual' color, check with local authorities to ensure you’re not infringing any local bylaws. The bottom line remains that deciding whether to use paint or stain to decorate depends on your taste and the suitability of the surfaces you want to cover. 

There are companies in Australia like Weathertex with a range of third-party specification sheets, best practices, and products you can use for paint or stain works. They have a 'Natural Styles' guide explaining the different methods you can adopt to achieve a wide range of unique looks. 


Finishing your newly installed wooden deck or maintaining an older one will protect it from moisture and weather-related damage. It also prolongs its lifespan. Although exterior paint and wood stain can do the job, these popular finishes differ in appearance, durability, applications, maintenance, and cost. 

Selecting the perfect finish for your Australian deck or home maintenance will be much simpler when you understand the differences between stain and paint. For instance, if you love bold colours and want to introduce personal flair to your outdoor area, try experimenting with stains. Additionally, the article has highlighted the advantages of using paint and stain. However, the bottom line is that using stain or paint depends on your taste and preference.

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