Paint and stain are composed of similar pigments and ingredients that perform similar functions, but that’s where the similarities end. While both are color additives, they serve different purposes. There are an array of pro’s and con’s that accompany both techniques which should be evaluated prior to purchasing, such as wear, color variety, and price.
Painting creates a top coat while stain penetrates the surface. This allows for stain to protect the surface of wood, but requires periodic re-coating due to gradual wear. Paint on the other hand simply covers previous chips and damages, but extensive peeling requires scraping for re-coating. Stain does not last longer than paint, but it does not require a primer and often only needs one coat. Although, stain only offers a flat look and is less glossy, while paint can have a variety of sheens and finishes.
Painting also offers a broader scale of color variety. While stain offers various shades of beautiful neutrals, paint can be as vibrant or colorful as your heart desires. However, if a home contains more raw woods, stain is a good choice to preserve the natural beauty of the wood. Most stains are meant for woods, but there are a few made specifically for concrete.
When purchased, paint is typically a thicker substance that requires more pigmentation. With this in mind, paint can often cost much more than stain. However, if you desire a more vibrant or colorful hue, paint is likely your best option.
Both options are great to finish and refurbish, but both have particular strengths and weaknesses which should be considered circumstantially. If your project requires more preservation of naturalism stain may be your best choice, while paint offers more opportunity for creativity. No matter the venture, both have beautiful and long-lasting results when properly executed.