Homeowners often ask us, “Is it okay to paint over existing stain?” or “Can stain be applied to existing paint?”

The answer to this question is both no and yes. Each scenario requires extensive preparation of the home’s exterior or it can cause a complete disaster.

Paint vs. Stain

A benefit of using the staining process is the stains ability to penetrate and protect while enhancing the beauty of surfaces with stain colors that complement them. Although, paint can provide surfaces a coat of protection but the beauty comes from the actual color that covers the surfaces.

Painting Over Stain

Most stains for wood need a protective finish to use in the process, like lacquer, enamel, or varnish. To be able to properly paint over stain, the stain’s glossy finish will need to be removed so the paint can have a surface to accurately adhere to.

The best results can be achieved by hiring a professional painter. The entire area will be sanded down and cleaned to prevent debris and dust from getting trapped in the fresh coach of paint. It also can diminish the paint’s adhesion abilities which can lead to a horrible mess in the fresh paint. The painter will next use a primer to apply to the surface. This prevents the stain color from seeping through and will aid in the paint’s adhesion. Normally, darker stain colors will require a primer tinted in the same shade being used to accurately cover up the appearance. Your chosen painter may also sand the primer coat before applying a coat of paint. Oil-based paint is used for the best results over the stain. A second coat will finish the job once the first coat has thoroughly dried.

Staining Over Paint

If you prefer to switch from paint to stain, there will also be a massive amount of preparation work to complete. Stain typically doesn’t require a primer during preparation but many do-it-yourselfers are not aware of this. This is why we always recommend using a professional painter because they have the necessary skills and knowledge to complete the job successfully the first time.

Choosing Between Paint and Stain

It’s best to stick with one of the other. It offers the best results and lowers maintenance issues. When you are contemplating between using stain and paint, consider the following:

Benefits of Stain

  • Stain allows the natural beauty of a surface to be visible, in terms of both color and texture.
  • Stain isn’t as costly by the gallon, unlike paint, which can greatly affect the total budget of the painting project.
  • Stain normally does not require using primer.

Benefits of Paint

  • Paint comes in various colors, while stain colors can have a limited selection.
  • Paint is available in multiple sheens, stain offers a flat sheen solely.
  • Paint provides more consistency in coverage than stain will.

A professional painting contractor can guide you through all of the extra pros and cons of using each product. This will help you make a decision on which would work best for your situation. As an example, if you have shingles and textured siding, the painter will most likely suggest staining the surface. That will allow the natural color of the surface to serve as a vital architectural element of the home’s exterior.  To hide the flaws of the home’s exterior surface, the painter will likely recommend to utilize paint to create a consistent feel and look. Where your geographical location is will also play a factor in decision making regarding the best option for the home’s exterior. The weather has an effect on how long a certain product last and how well it can withstand the elements within your area’s climate.

Once a final decision has been made on a product, your painter will also help with choosing paint or stain colors, only if necessary. This includes using paint samples so you can see exactly how it will look throughout the day. The skills and expertise of a professional painting contractor will prove to be quite invaluable on projects such as this.