As a home building material, wood offers natural color, texture and grain. Stain allows its beauty to shine through in varying degrees. It also proves easy to apply and resists peeling. Let’s take a look at some of the colors available in 2014 from leading paint companies.
For wood siding, Behr offers three types of stain in a total of 129 colors. Solid stains range from the rich Barn Red and Mountain Spruce to more subtle hues such as Light Lead and Navajo White. These opaque colors show the texture but mask the grain. Semi-transparent versions, which enhance the beauty of the wood while allowing some of the texture and grain to show, also are available. Behr offers nine transparent colors that allow even more texture and grain through, with Golden Honey and Chocolate standouts in the current stain line.
This paint company offers 72 stain colors total in solid and semi-transparent. In the brown family, hues such as Ember and Cabin Brown prove popular, as does the lighter Monterey Tan. The dusty pink of Rock Rose and the light gray of Driftwood paint a sophisticated picture on wood siding. The semi-transparent colors in the company’s stain line use the grain of the wood as an element in the final hue. Redwood and Yankee Barn will look lighter thanks to the varying shades, with the browns of Chestnut and Charwood showing darker grain throughout.
For the widest range of stain opacities, look to Benjamin Moore. It offers five: natural/translucent, transparent, semi-transparent, semi-solid and solid. The company’s solid stains are custom-tinted from its paint colors, providing a seemingly endless amount of choices. Even its 2014 color of the year, Breath of Fresh Air could be considered for an exterior stain, with the ethereal blue serving as an unexpected neutral in the neighborhood.
Among the75 semi-solid and semi-transparent offerings are standouts such as Smoke Oyster and Vintage Wine, for those who like grays and purples, and Rosepine and Salamander please fans of green. Benjamin Moore’s natural/translucent and transparent stains come in six colors: natural, redwood, teak, cedar, mahogany and silver gray.
Choosing Stain Colors and Types
Many homeowners keep the architectural style and setting of their house in mind when choosing stain colors. For example, a semi-transparent green stain over cedar clapboards would create a rustic effect on a Craftsman in a wooded setting. And a solid gray stain on a coastal Colonial recreates the flat appearance of paint during that era but won’t turn chalky or peel thanks to the benefits of modern stains.
If staining over previously painted or stained wood, ask your professional painter to remove, prep and stain a small section of the exterior wood so you can see how it will look on your home. Choose a spot that gets the many different lights of the day.
When it comes to choosing between oil-based and water-based stains, also consult your professional painter. The type of wood you have and the weather in your area must be factored into this choice. A water-based acrylic, for example, will work best in an area that sees a lot of sunlight. A professional can also advise you on the best type to choose based on how often you want to maintain it.
Using Stain Selectively
Stain can also co-exist with exterior paint. Perhaps a front door has a distinctive grain that should be shown off with a less opaque stain instead of hidden by paint. The same goes for decks, porches and wooden fences. If staining multiple features of a home, stick with the same colors to achieve a uniform look, allowing paint colors on trim and other elements to create contrast.