Unless you’re a professional painter or contractor, you may not know if paint or stain is the best choice for your job. At Janovic, we’re saving you time and effort by removing the guesswork and teaching you the difference between paint and stain and when to use which one.

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Paint and Stain: What’s The Difference?

Paint and stain contain the same essential ingredients—pigment, solvent, and binder—but in different amounts. Stain includes the least amount of binder because stain soaks into the surface to which you apply it. Paint contains a significant amount of binder, so it can thoroughly coat a surface and remain on top instead of sinking in. Stain contains more solvent than paint because it’s the component of the formula that transports the pigment into the pores of the material.

Reasons to Choose Paint

Paint is wildly popular for covering a variety of surfaces for several reasons.

  1. A broad selection of colors to choose from
  2. Desired coverage in fewer coats
  3. Generally less expensive than stain
  4. Provides uniform coverage
  5. Can apply over stain

Reasons to Choose Stain

We don’t discriminate between paint and stain, so here are the reasons why stain may be the better option for you.

  1. Stain dries much faster than paint
  2. It’s longer lasting and more resistant to chipping and peeling than paint
  3. Stain enhances the appearance of natural wood
  4. It’s much easier to refinish stained wood than painted wood

Comparing Surfaces

  • Wood: Wood is ideal for both paint and stain. Deciding which to use comes down to preference and a few other factors.
    • First, consider the age of the wood you’re working with. Newer wood without any imperfections will look amazing with a coat of semi-transparent stain. If you’re refinishing a vintage find, ensure the same type of wood is used throughout the piece.
    • You may not have a consistent color finish if your work uses more than one variety of wood.
    • Older wood or wood that has been previously painted is not a good choice for staining.
  • Vinyl: Since vinyl is nonporous, you cannot stain it. Clean the vinyl well with warm water and mild soap to remove any dirt or mildew and allow it to dry thoroughly before you paint. You can eliminate the priming step when you paint vinyl because paint adheres incredibly well to it.
  • Drywall: Drywall is porous, which may lead you to believe that staining is a good choice. However, the stain will soak through the drywall, leaving you with patchy coverage and spots. Painting will sit on the surface of the drywall and cover minor imperfections.

Shop Premium Paint & Stain in NYC

Our Benjamin Moore experts are here to help you choose the perfect paint or stain for your next DIY project. Janovic is New York City’s premier dealer of Benjamin Moore paint and Hunter Douglas window treatments and has everything you need to keep your NYC apartment looking fabulous. Stop by one of our showrooms or schedule a complimentary in-home consultation today.

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