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Painting vs. Staining Wood Siding

Home wood siding being restored by the Teak Master team

Wood siding is one material that readily shows its quality of care. Regular maintenance is crucial to maintain your home’s beauty and durability. If you have wood siding on your home, you’ve probably encountered the dilemma of whether to paint or stain the surface. Your choice will affect not only the appearance of the siding but its longevity and protection.

Every home in Southern California is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Rather, you need to consider your aesthetic preferences, the style of your home, your upfront budget, and the level of maintenance you can keep up with. We at Teak Master have compiled this guide so that you can explore both options thoroughly and make the right choice when it comes to finishing the exterior of your home.

Advantages of Painting Wood Siding

Paint is a versatile choice for wood siding, as you can find it in a seemingly endless range of colors. If you want to easily customize your home, paint is the way to go. You can choose a versatile neutral, a timeless tone, or a bold pop of color when you use paint. The options are only limited by your imagination. You can also get paint in different finishes and sheens, so you can pick a matte finish, add a gloss, or opt for something in between.

If your home is already painted, then paint is by far the easiest way to go. You can’t apply stain over paint without completely stripping off the original layer. You can, however, apply a new coat of paint in a different color. While you don’t have to strip the paint, you do typically need to clean, sand, prime, and otherwise prepare the surface for paint. With proper care and attention in the application process, you’ll get a sleeker, more consistent surface finish with paint than with stain.

Advantages of Staining Wood Siding

A stain adds a rich tint to your siding, enhancing its natural appearance. Staining siding provides a natural, rustic look that allows the wood’s original grain and distinctive charm to shine through. Staining your home is usually easier and more affordable than applying paint, particularly when it’s new. You don’t usually need to prime the siding before you apply a stain, which allows you to get to work immediately. A single coat is adequate for most applications.

If your home has a fresh wood finish, staining it will also serve as a sealant. For this reason, staining is usually considered the best option for a new home. You can easily apply paint later if you want to update the look of the home. Staining it initially will help preserve and protect the wood.

While paint can peel and chip, stain usually maintains a sleek, smooth appearance. If you do need to touch it up, spot treatments are fine. You won’t notice the effects of a touch-up job with stain like you would with paint.

Comparing Durability and Maintenance

Paint offers better protection for the wood’s surface. If you’re looking for durability, a good application of high-quality exterior siding paint is hard to beat. Properly formulated, the paint can protect your siding from moisture, mildew, and severe weather. It can also create a smooth, easy-to-clean surface on the exterior of your home.

To get the longest life span from your paint job, you should put adequate time and effort into maintaining the surface. This means you’ll need to hose off your home at least twice a year to remove dirt, stains, and leaves. You should also pressure wash your home with an exterior cleaning product once every five years. With proper maintenance, you can expect high-quality exterior paint to last about 10 years.

An exterior wood stain will help seal your siding, but it doesn’t offer the same level of durability as paint. Certain additives can enhance the stain’s performance. Products with oils or resins will help protect the wood from moisture. Pigmented stains offer extra protection from the sun’s UV rays.

The more pigment your stain has, the longer it will last. A clear toner that highlights the wood’s natural hue will need reapplication every year. A stain with more toner may last for as many as seven years. You’ll still need to keep up with routinely cleaning your home over this time for the best results.

Cost Comparison

When it comes to the upfront cost of refinishing your home siding, stain is the winner. You can find exterior wood stains for $20 to $60 per gallon. As mentioned previously, there’s little prep involved if you’re staining fresh wood or applying a new stain over a previous one.

When it comes to exterior paint, you’ll usually pay between $55 and $75 per gallon. You’ll also need to invest in paint primer, and you may want to add a sealer depending on the quality of the paint.

The long-term cost associated with paint or stain looks different. Say you cover a 2,100-square-foot home with 12 gallons of paint at $65 a gallon. That’s $780 in paint for the whole job. If you covered the same home with $40 stain, you’d pay just $480 for the job. However, the stain may only last three to five years, while the paint will last for 10. That leaves you with the same $780 paint expense after a decade and a total of $960 for two stain applications.

Choosing the Right Method for Your Home Siding

There are notable pros and cons to both painting and staining your home, so you can’t make the wrong choice. Consider your options, examine the look of your home, and pick the product that’s right for you. Whether you want a rich natural tone that brings out the beauty of the wood grain or you’re interested in an eye-catching paint color that makes your home pop, you’ll enhance your siding’s durability and curb appeal with a fresh application. For expert advice and assistance, contact the professionals at Teak Master. We can give you personalized recommendations for your Southern California home.

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