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ML Finish Wood Siding 1 c

May 05, 2021

Should You Paint or Stain Wood Siding?

Tags: Siding

Once you've chosen a product for your exterior siding material, your decisions don't stop there. Your next step is to decide what type of finish to use for your wood siding. We've already discussed the importance of properly finishing wood siding, including how essential pre-finishing is to help protect the wood from external factors such as sun, wind, water, and insects. But how do you know what type of finish to choose? Like everything else in the building process, there are many factors to consider when choosing your finish, and we're here to help guide you on which is the best option for you.


When it comes to applying your chosen finish, the process is pretty similar for both paint and stain. However, painting wood requires a little more preparation and is, therefore, a more time-consuming process. This is because you have to apply a primer before painting so that the paint can properly adhere to the surface. Staining, on the other hand, is a more straightforward process because you don't have to worry about priming before diving right in.


Stain and paint both help protect your siding from the elements; however, the protection they offer does vary. Paint tends to last a little longer than most stains, coming in at around 8-12 years before you will likely have to repaint. Stain, on the other hand, typically has to be refinished every 5-10 years. Paint is often said to last longer than stain because of its thick film, which is more difficult for moisture and UV rays to penetrate. Stain also provides this protective barrier, but it tends not to last as long as paint, depending on whether you choose a more transparent or solid stain.


No matter what type of finish you choose, regular maintenance is recommended on wood siding to help keep up the appearance and ensure a lasting product. Even though stains don't typically last quite as long as paints, restaining is a much easier process than repainting. When it comes time to restain your wood siding, all you have to do is wash it and apply a fresh coat.

Paint will often crack and peel as it ages, which unfortunately leaves your home looking a little disheveled. To refinish painted siding, you will first have to sand it down, then repeat the application process.


Despite the pros and cons of both finishes, appearance is what it really comes down to for most people when choosing their finish. Semi-transparent and transparent stains soak into the wood, bringing out the grain's character and giving your home more of a natural appearance. These stains are perfect for homeowners looking to enhance the natural beauty of the wood rather than hide the apparent "flaws" of the wood. Solid stains, however, have a similar appearance to regular paint, creating a thicker film that sits on the surface of the wood rather than soaking in. Solid stains and paints generate more of an artificial and manufactured look because the thicker film tends to hide the wood's natural imperfections.

Our Options

At Marks Lumber, we offer prefinished siding and lumber using our Lifetime Weathering Treatment. This product is a non-toxic, one-and-done weathering treatment that works well for siding, fences, decking, and more!

For questions about finishing your siding and finding the right products for your project, contact Marks Lumber today.

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