Finding the Best Stain for Your Home Improvement Project

You may be somewhat familiar with the different types of interior and exterior paint that are available, but how about stain? There seems to be more talk about paint sheen and formulas than there are tips for finding just the right product to protect your deck, porch, or siding.

Let’s change that.

First, What Exactly Does Stain Do for Your Home’s Surfaces?

picking the right exterior stain in Buffalo

If you asked a dozen people on the street to name the benefits of using stain, you likely would hear more answers about style than anything else. And, they wouldn’t be all wrong. Stain is an effective tool for drawing character out of wood, showcasing its natural attributes and beauty. And, stain also gives you a little more control over the uniformity and color of your surfaces.

But beyond style alone, stain also offers an invaluable layer of protection. Similar to the way paint acts as a shield for the surface it is applied to, properly chosen stain is a barricade against UV rays, moisture, and premature decay.

What Exactly Does “Stain Opacity” Mean, and Why Is It Important?

Opacity is a strange word that doesn’t come up frequently in daily conversation.

But, in the world of stain (yes, that’s a real place), it pops up all the time. “Opacity” refers to the stain’s level of transparency. The more opaque the stain, the more pigment is used. Because of this, stain with higher opacity obscures the look of the wood more than does a stain with lower opacity.

Why is this important? Now that we’re armed with the correct definition, we’ll explore this question below.

Finding the Best Stain Opacity for Your Exterior Staining Project

While there can be a little variation depending on the specific brand and product you use, these are the fairly standard options for stain opacity that you have to choose from:

  • Transparent (or “clear”)
  • Semi-Transparent
  • Semi-Solid
  • Solid

Before you simply pick one you like, however, you really should start by taking a hard look at your surfaces. The ideal level of opacity is dictated by your answers to these questions:

  • How much wear and tear will this surface endure?
  • What are your environmental factors? Harsh sun, lots of shade, moisture content, etc.
  • What is the condition of the surface? Are there any blemishes you would like to hide that would call for a stain with higher opacity?
  • What are your stylistic goals?

As you consider these questions, remember that the level of protection and opacity climbs as you progress from transparent to solid stains. You can pick the perfect product based on the needs of the surface and your goals as the homeowner.

Are You Looking for a Home Painting Professional in Greater Buffalo?

The Paint of WNY team is here and ready to help! It would be our pleasure to serve you, and to answer any questions you might have. Contact us today!


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