Painting vs Staining Wood Siding

If you have wood siding on your home in need of a refresh, you’re likely wondering if you should stain or paint the wood siding. That’s a fair question and one that has pros and cons on either side.

Today we will break down the differences between painting vs staining wood siding so you can decide which one is right for your home.

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While both of these products are applied in a similar way, they create radically different results.

A stain is a product that seeps into the pores of the wood and alters the color. There is a limited range of color choices, and changing the color of a stain depends on whether you want to go lighter or darker. 

Making a stain darker is as simple as applying the new stain over the old one. If you want to make the stain lighter, the cheapest route is to replace all the wood and apply the lighter stain over the fresh material. The labor cost for removing a stain is simply too high to be worthwhile. 

Paint creates a durable layer over the surface and unlocks a wide variety of color options. High-quality paint will also protect the wood against extreme weather. However, there is usually quite a bit of prep to paint wood the first time.



  • Keeps that natural wood look
  • Solid stains are easier to touch up when spots fail (does not apply to transparent or semi-transparent stains)
  • Does not require priming


  • Exterior stains fade much faster than paint products
  • Very difficult to change the stain once applied
  • Limited color range
  • Depending on your climate, the results will only last for a 3-4 years



  • Paint forms a protective layer between the wood and the elements. High-quality paints will also have mold and mildew resistance.
  • Paint allows for nearly unlimited color choices
  • Paint is generally easier to clean and maintain
  • High-quality paint will last a 10+ years


  • Will require priming if the wood has never been painted and to create adhesion between certain stains used in the past
  • Paint is more prone to chipping and flaking

If you plan on painting your home exterior, it’s always best to hire a professional painter like Heritage Painting. Our services are backed by a best-in-class warranty, and our TAG Warranty program can keep your home fresh and up-to-date for years to come.

If you’re ready to get your home exterior painted, fill out the form below for a free estimate from Heritage Painting. Our professional consultants will provide a detailed quote, and we provide color consulting and virtual rendering services for all of our clients.

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