Blog

When to Paint and When to Stain

When to Paint and When to Stain

You're looking to make over your home or HOA property, and you want to make some changes. As you think through your projects, you likely have a question: Should you stain or paint interior and exterior surfaces you want to transform?

Both options have significant benefits. Here's how the professional painters at Trico Painting recommend thinking through this decision.

The Difference in Painting or Staining

Benefits of Painting Surfaces

Our clients who prefer painting often take that route because paint lasts longer than staining. Painting surfaces offer more complete, permanent coverage of your surfaces. Painting leads to a more uniform look: it's opacity means you're not going to see quirks (or small imperfections and inconsistencies) in the underlying surface.

Painting interior and exterior walls gives you nearly unlimited color options, while stains are a bit more limited, as they tend to come in colors that are similar to natural wood finishes. On the other hand, exterior and interior painting makes surfaces stand out and offer sharper contrasts in a way that stains aren't designed to do.

While there's often flexibility around whether to paint or stain, we suggest painting for exterior walls, since it will last longer and be more impermeable to the elements. If you want extra protection, elastomeric paint will truly fortify home exterior surfaces against moisture, weather fluctuations, and more.

Benefits of Staining Surfaces

Choosing to stain is smart when you have a beautiful, richly colored wood surface, and you don’t want to cover that up. Staining brings out the beauty of those finishes while still forming a protective moisture barrier. You can add depth and dimension by blending colors and carefully wiping stains after applying. This is an especially effective technique when you want to stain cabinets to a more “antiqued” finish.

Deck staining is a classic choice since it creates a beautiful outdoor retreat that can stand up to the changing seasons. Along with the aesthetic appeal, many homeowners we work with prefer being able to see the condition of their decking through the stain, so they know of any problems like wood rot or moisture damage as soon as they arise.

And we’d be remiss not to mention concrete staining. Applying concrete stain makes garage flooring so much easier to clean, and prevents damage and unsightly blotches and marks. Not to mention, it adds versatility and will make any type of space inviting if you decide to repurpose your garage or outdoor space after completing your concrete staining project.

Pro Tip: We don’t recommend painting garage floors. It’s not nearly as visually appealing, and paint damage and deterioration are much more common on garage flooring than on other surfaces.

It Comes Down to Priorities

There’s really not one right answer when deciding whether to paint or stain interior and exterior surfaces throughout your home or HOA property. In all likelihood, your improvement projects will incorporate both painting and staining techniques before everything is said and done.

What you decide to do comes down to your priorities:

  • Do you want to enhance natural wood or cover up minor inconsistencies and imperfections?

  • Do you want to match an existing look and finish, or try something new?

  • Is it more important to make a statement, or choose something timeless?

  • What look and feel do you want a room to have?

If you’re not sure, talk through these things with your house painting team. They can advise regarding color combinations, which colors work best in certain lighting, and how to utilize stains to their best advantage.

Hire Professional Painting Contractors No Matter What

If you live in or manage property in Roseville, Rocklin, Folsom, El Dorado Hills, Granite Bay, Lincoln, Loomis, or Penryn, you don’t need to add the stress of managing and completing painting projects, wood staining, or concrete staining projects to your already busy schedule. Not to mention you want to avoid the costly process of premature repainting or re-staining that can happen as a result of DIY projects not going as planned.

Trico Painting teams are experts in both high-durability paint application and natural wood staining, and we can help customize an approach that beautifies every surface on your property and gives you results that will truly last. No matter which color, style, or finish you choose for interior or exterior painting work, we’ll complete the surface prep and repairs necessary for optimal stain or paint performance for years to come.


Don’t wait to start your transformation.Contact Trico Painting to talk about your project today, and start dreaming big!