The Great Debate: Painting or Staining

To Paint or to Stain; Now that is the question

Making the decision between painting or staining can be difficult. Each option has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. So it can be tough to decide which is the best choice for your project. In this article, we will take a look at both options and discuss the pros and cons of each. We’ll also help you make the final decision on whether to paint or stain your next project!


If you are considering staining an item or area, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, staining is typically only done on wooden items such as skirting boards, timber flooring, decking, or furnishings. However, you can also stain concrete to give it a new look and personality. Second, when staining you are limited to the colours that are available. If you’re looking for a more natural appearance, staining is the way to go if a pop of colour is off the table.

The interesting difference between painting and staining, is the item you’re choosing to stain is soaking in pigment. Whereas painting is coating the item, like adding a sticky layer on top. Understanding this difference, you might need to apply multiple coats in order to reach the depth of tone you’re looking for.

The other bonus to staining is that it can be a much quicker application process compared to painting. It also doesn’t show wear and tear as visibly. You would need to chip the actual item as opposed to the stain unlike you would with paint. The final pro for staining, is that it can highlight beautiful textures and grain lines in wooden items. It’s pretty incredible how it suddenly highlights these features, whereas you will find that paint will just cover it up.


When it comes to painting, there are also a few things you should keep in mind. First, painting requires more preparation than staining. You will need to sand and prime the area or item before you can start painting. The next is the freedom paint can give you as it can be applied to nearly any surface. As long as you have adequately prepared and primed that surface, you are good to paint.

Paint also gives you a wider range of colour choices than stain does, starting from a natural tone through to very bright and artificial looking pigment. It just depends on how it will compliment the space it is intended to be applied in. As paint is quite thick compared to stain, you will find less effort is required in multiple coats as you can achieve the finish within at least the first application.

When considering factors of protection, paint certainly offers more weather and wearing resistance, actually protect the item it is coating. Staining on the other hand can be worn away quite quickly, and will need to be reapplied often. Paint also can offer a variety of textural finishes or sheens, offering extra personality or elegance to your project. Some of these include; gloss, matte, eggshell, satin. You even have the ability to mimic stone finishes like marble or concrete. It just depends on how dedicated you are and time for your DIY!

The Final Verdict

Coming to the final decision between staining and painting, you may look at the cost justifying which way you go. Painting is typically more expensive than staining, but if you have a small project you can get away with sample pots compared to tins. This can be where price can be competitive between both products.
The SAGE Painting crew hope this comparison of paint and stain, has helped you in determining how your next DIY will look! If you have any questions about what could be best for bigger home improvement projects, please don’t hesitate to reach out here. We would love to help!