When to paint or stain

Exterior Project Guides

When to paint or stain

To paint or stain? That is the question.

Choosing whether to use paint or stain for your exterior is an important decision, and it can go a long way toward helping you achieve balance and harmony with your surroundings. Whether you use paint, stain, or a little of both, the decision can lead to beautiful results that you'll be proud of for years to come.

When to paint or stain

Stain with style

Stains are used on exterior wood surfaces to achieve a more natural look and feel, and to enhance or maintain the beauty of the wood.

Stains come in a variety of opacities, such as Semi-Transparent or Solid, and each offers a different look and wood finish.

Most stains penetrate the surface of wood to achieve deeper, richer hues and provides protection against the elements. For hardwoods, like mahogany or teak, look for a super-penetrating stain like Olympic ELITE™ Woodland Oil™.

Semi-transparent stains showcase the grain and texture of the wood and can beautifully impact the final look of your project, regardless of your choice of color.

Solid color stains are extremely durable and provide rich, opaque color. They fully coat the surface like paint and help accentuate wood’s natural texture.

The Power of Paint

  • Paint offers almost unlimited options for your exterior design because of its adhesion and color options. Whether it's painting your front door to match your shutters or freshening up your front porch with a new color, paints offer the most flexibility for these jobs.
  • An exterior paint & primer in one, like Olympic ONE™, can be applied on many different exterior surfaces like metal, stone, masonry and wood, and can be color matched in any color.
  • Paints offer a variety of gloss finishes, such as flat, satin and semi-gloss, which allow you to bring life to architectural features or shade imperfections that you hope to keep hidden. Flat sheens are most often used on home’s siding (also known as the 'body') while satin & semi-gloss are often used for trim and accents, like shutters.