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White Stain Vs White Paint On Wood l Pros, Cons, And Major Differences?

Are you working with wood that you'd like to be white? If the answer is yes, you might be wondering whether to stain or paint the wood white. To help you with the decision, we've gathered all the details you need to understand the differences between white stain and white paint. Read about these details below.

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The main difference between white stain and white paint applied to wood is how they enhance the wood's surface. Staining highlights the wood grain, while paint hides the grain. Depending on which effect you prefer, one product will be better than the other.

Also, you can apply stain quickly and easily, and it protects against moisture. Meanwhile, paint is easy to use, but it requires more time, as you'll need to apply multiple coats that need to dry.

Are you still undecided about choosing between white stain and white paint? Don't worry! We'll discuss their pros, cons, and significant differences to guide you in your decision. We covered everything you should know below, so scroll down and read more.

White wood pattern and texture for background. Close-up image. - White Stain Vs White Paint On Wood l Pros, Cons, And Major Differences

Using White Stain On Wood

Staining wood white will give you a more pronounced grain pattern. Wood stain comes in different colors. Using lighter shades, like white, will make the wood grain more visible. 

Click here to see this white wood stain on Amazon.

White wood pattern and texture for background. Close-up image.

Pros Of Using Stain 

Stain is easy to apply, as it doesn't require much recoating. Because it sinks into the wood grain, it doesn't allow moisture to get in the wood. This can keep the wood from rotting.

Furthermore, stain is cheaper than paint, so if you want to save money, this may be the right choice.

Cons Of Using Stain 

Wood stain does not peel or crack but can fade over time. You may need to reapply it once the color disappears. If you ignore visible faded spots and don't restain when necessary, reapplying the stain will be more labor intensive.

Additionally, the final color or shade of stain on wood can be hard to predict. You will need to test your stain on a small piece of wood to see if it will provide you with your desired effect.

Using White Paint On Wood

white painted wood texture background

If you want to hide certain flaws or problem areas in your wood, you should paint it. However, only choose this option if you're willing to forego your wood's natural look or grain pattern.

Check out this white paint on Amazon.

Pros Of Using White Paint 

If you choose to paint your wood, it will be easy to maintain, especially if you use high-quality paint.

Additionally, paint can last for up to 10 years before you need to recoat it. It is also easy to recoat the color on a wooden surface, as you won't need to strip it down.

Cons Of Using White Paint 

Note that paint can peel or crack, especially if the wood has experienced any of these issues in the past.

Furthermore, because paint only coats the surface of the wood, it traps moisture, which may result in your wood contracting or expanding over time. It can also be more expensive, especially if you want optimal results with high-quality paint.

How To Apply Stain To Wood

Hand using foam brush testing a clear matte coating protection paint on sample of birch wood before marking built-in furniture for new house with wooden floor background. DIY home improvement concept - White Stain Vs White Paint On Wood l Pros, Cons, And Major Differences

Have you already decided on using stain for your wood? Well, be sure to wear eye protection and rubber gloves while you work.

Staining wood can be easy if you follow these steps:

1. Prepare Your Materials

You have to ensure you've prepared everything you need, so you don't have to find them while you're working. Here are the materials you need:

  • 80, 120-grit, and 220-grit sandpaper
  • Drop cloth
  • Tack cloth
  • Rags/cloth
  • Stain applicator (paintbrush, foam brush, or clean rag)
  • Stick (for stirring)
  • Wood conditioner
  • White wood stain
  • Wood sealer

Using your drop cloth, cover all the areas around the wood you'll stain. Don't forget to do this to prevent unwanted stains and drips on several spots.

2. Sand Your Wood

Start by sanding your wood with 80-grit sandpaper. Make sure to only sand the wood in the direction of the grain to keep it from getting scratched.

Then use the 120-grit sandpaper and sand the wood like you did the first time. Afterward, wipe down the debris from the wood sanding utilizing a tack cloth.

See these sandpapers on Amazon.

3. Apply Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

Using your stir stick, stir the pre-stained wood conditioner. Then, with a foam brush, apply the product in the direction of your wood's grain to create a smooth finish.

Leave it for at least one to five minutes. Then wipe the excess off using your rag.

See this pre-stain wood conditioner on Amazon.

4. Apply Your White Wood Stain

With another foam brush, apply ample wood stain. If you want an even more pronounced grain, dab the stain deeper into the wood and rub it against the grain.

Leave it for one to three minutes before wiping off the excess with a lint-free rag. Don't let the stain sit longer than mentioned, as it will make your wood look darker. After an hour or more, you can coat or apply a top coating.

5. Apply Wood Sealer

When the stain dries, seal the wood. Using a paintbrush, put the first coat of your wood sealer, let it dry, then sand the wood with 220-grit sandpaper. Doing this will help prevent scratches or signs of wear and tear over time.

Click here to check out this wood sealer on Amazon.

How To Apply Paint To Wood

A man paints a door brush with a white brush. Paint update. Cosmetic repair of an apartment in quarantine. Self-isolation.

Painting wood is easy, but you should follow specific steps to ensure the best results.

Before starting, wear protective equipment, such as rubber gloves and eye protection. To achieve a smooth paint finish, follow these steps:

1. Prepare Everything You Need

You will need specific materials and tools for painting wood, including:

  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
  • 180 and 220-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Tape
  • Primer
  • White paint
  • Wood sealer
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Canvas drop cloth
  • Cloths or rag
  • Paintbrush/paint roller/ spray paint
  • Paint tray and liner

Put plastic sheeting over your floor and the surrounding surface of the wood you'll paint. Then place a canvas drop cloth over the sheeting. Additionally, tape the areas of the wood you don't want to apply paint in.

See this plastic sheeting on Amazon.

2. Clean The Wood

Mix the TSP with warm water, then dip a cloth or rag in it. Firmly squeeze the material to remove excess water and wipe it on your wood to remove any dirt, oil, or grime.

Rinse the surface with a clean cloth dipped in warm water. Then leave the wood until it dries completely.

Check out this trisodium phosphate on Amazon.

3. Sand The Wood

With the 180-grit sandpaper, sand the wood. Smooth the surface by rubbing in the direction of the wood grain. Then clean off the dust from the sanding with a tack cloth.

4. Apply The Wood Primer

Apply your primer with a paintbrush or roller. If the primer looks streaky on the surface after drying, add a second coat to the wood. Afterward, sand the primer with 220-grit sandpaper and wipe off the dust from it with a cloth.

Click here to check out this primer on Amazon.

5. Paint The Wood

With a paintbrush, a roller, or a spray paint, paint the wood. If you're using a paintbrush, dab the brush into the paint, then brush over the wood in strokes parallel to the wood grain.

If you're using rollers, insert the paint tray liner on the paint tray and put paint in it. Then gently dab the roller in it as you paint the wood. Lastly, sand the wood after the paint dries with 220-grit sandpaper. Apply a second coat when needed.

See this paint roller assembly on Amazon.

6. Seal Your Paint

To preserve the paint on your wood, you can opt to use a sealer. To prepare your wood for sealing, lightly sand it before applying three coats of sealer with a paintbrush.

How Long Does It Take For Stain Or Paint To Dry On Wood?

Wood deck renovation treatment, the person applying protective wood stain with a brush, overhead view of ipe hardwood decking restoration process

Usually, wood stains dry completely after 24-48 hours, but if you want to apply more coats, you can do so after two to four hours. However, note that a wood stain's drying time also depends on the type used.

On the other hand, paint generally takes four to 24 hours to dry. Note that after the paint dries, it still needs to cure to reach its maximum hardness, which can take between seven to 30 days, depending on the paint you're using.

In Closing

White paint and white stain both have their share of good and bad qualities, from absorbing moisture to longevity and final color or shade predictability.

Assessing the pros, cons, and significant differences between the two will show you that staining your wood white may be the better choice.

Not only does stain highlight the natural grain pattern of your wood, but it's also easy and quick to apply, preventing moisture from seeping in. It is also cheaper.

Painting is easy to do, too, but it may take a longer time for you to finish. Paint hides the grain of your wood and can trap moisture inside the wood, making it susceptible to damage. 

Of course, the decision is in your hands, as painting your wood white may be what you prefer, especially if you want to hide visible grains or flaws.

Read these posts about staining and painting for more information:

Staining Vs. Painting for Outdoor Wooden Surfaces

How To Remove Paint And Stain From Wood