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3 things to think about when using stain on your exterior

Posted by Wall Treats on December 6, 2016

Summer is here, a time when many of us start planning exterior painting projects.  Staining or re-staining timber surfaces around your home is a great summer project. 

As Master Painters we have experience with a range of products and would love to share our top tips for using stains. Here is what you need to think about before you start.


1. Which stain product should I use?

There are two key categories of stains: surface forming stain and penetrating stain.

Surface forming stains, once applied, form a film or coating that rests on the surface of the substrate.  Penetrating stains, on the other hand, soak into the timber. 

Surface forming stains tend to peel or flake with time.  This means when it comes time to re-stain this will need to be removed. The Sikkens range of stains are usually surface forming stains.

Penetrating stains are usually not as susceptible to the cracking, flaking and peeling that a surface forming stain is, rather, they tend to fade over time.  When it comes time to re-stain they need a scrub before applying further coats. 

An example of a penetrating stain is the CD50 range.

The Resene Woodsman stain is the perfect combination of both. It is also available in Resene’s proprietary CoolColour technology, meaning you can can choose dark colour stains, knowing that they will absorb heat at a lower level than similar colours from other brands.  The reduced stress on the coating and substrate will also help to increase the expected lifetime (read more about Resene CoolColour in our blog post here).

Wall Treats Top Tip: In our experience the performance of penetrating stains outweighs that of surface forming stains. 


2. Which colour stain should I chose?

If you are staining a new surface, your colour options are limited only by the palette available in the type and brand of stain you choose.

However, if you are re-staining, subsequent coats of stain must be either the same as the existing colour or darker.  It is almost impossible to lighten the stain colour, unless the existing colour is completely stripped off.   

Wall Treats Top Tip: If you are changing the stain colour the end result may differ from the colour shown on the chart, so it is always best to undertake a sample or test patch.  The same stain colour may also differ when applied to different types of timbers.


3. What sort of maintenance can I expect with stained surfaces?

When deciding whether staining is the right choice for your project it is important to consider the ongoing maintenance required once the project is finished.

The composition of stain products is different to that of paint products - and this means stained surfaces have a shorter lifespan than painted ones.  Generally, once stained, surfaces will need to be re-stained every two to three years. 

Stains also rarely fade in a uniform manner, which can pose an aesthetic challenge.  This means the northern and western elevations may require annual re-staining due to heightened exposure to the weather elements.

This frequent maintenance programme is less of an issue when access to the surfaces is easy.  However, if your home is a multi-story building, then scaffolding is essential.  Current health and safety regulations pose strict restrictions around working at height, and scaffolding adds thousands to a project.  Budget constraints may mean that setting up scaffolding every two to three years is not an option.  

Want to talk to a Master Painter about what is best for your exterior project? Call Wall Treats today.


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