The elements can be harsh adversaries to the paint or stain on your cottage or home. While paint or stain quality matters a great deal, eventually even the best paint peels and the finest stain fades when faced with the trials and tribulations of scorching summer sun and frigid Canadian winters.
“You can expect to paint or stain the exterior every five or six years and stain decks every two to three years,” says Liz Jonasson, owner of Absolute Home Services.
While you may not have a lot of choice on how often you redo the colour, you do have some choices around using paint or stain. “They both have benefits—they both do a great job of protecting your wood—which is the main reason you would put a coat on your deck or siding. You want to make sure it is sealed. The difference between stain and paint is that stain absorbs into the wood and leaves a flat looking surface, where you can see the grain of the wood. Many people like the look of stain on their home because you can see the grain.”
Paint does a better job of protecting wood in the long term, as it sits on top of it and acts as a buffer to the elements, but the aesthetic of stain is often very appealing. While stains only come in flat sheen, paints have a wider range of sheens like flat, satin or semi-gloss.
“People often choose a higher sheen paint for things like doorways that have a lot of traffic, because it has far more durability against getting kicked or banged. It’s also much more washable and therefore popular for windows, doors and trim.”
When choosing a stain, it’s important to consider whether you want transparent, which is often selected for decks and railings, or semi transparent which shows some grain, or solid which looks a lot like paint. “The more pigment you have in a stain, the longer it will last, so while transparent looks beautiful on a brand-new deck or fence, it fades faster than semi-transparent or solid. The decision is really based on the look you’re going for.”