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What Happens When You Stain Over Paint?

One of the biggest benefits of applying solid stain to the exterior of your home is that typically it does not “fail” in the manner traditional paints “fail”.

When people think of exterior paint failing, what comes to mind is often visions of peeling/flaking paint that is significantly unsightly and which would ignite absolute dread when thinking about the idea of having to correct it.

After all, to properly prep & finish any exterior surface takes an extraordinary amount of effort, even in some situations where the surface may already appear to be fairly sound.

In approaching exterior prepping and finishing, there are always cleaning efforts necessary prior to painting as well as usually some form of thorough inspection to ensure the surfaces that are to be coated are free from rotted wood, previous coating failure, etc.

If the previous coatings do happen to be failing, efforts to stabilize the surfaces so that they are ready to receive their next coating vary from not too much effort needed to an unbelievable amount of elbow grease required.

Making sure the surface is sound involves different types of approaches of scraping, sanding, and the like and are seldom viewed as fun endeavors.

Realizing this, when folks hear about the benefits of solid stains, it is easy to fall in love with the idea that maintaining one’s exterior coating surface in the future is much easier with a solid stain than a paint and they might automatically desire to coat their home with a solid stain the next time their home is “painted”.

Whilst this may make sense on the surface (no pun intended), the feasibility in the reality of this theory may not be quite that simple.

Although the way that solid stains do eventually “fail” [gradual fading, light degradation of the coating structure (though no massive “peeling” per se)] may be highly appealing for those hoping to maintain the long-term beauty of their home’s exterior with minimum effort, the circumstances in which this seemingly utopic exterior coating system performs in this manner are influenced by a variety of factors.

Assuming the surface that it is being applied to is receptive to receiving exterior coatings (no presence of mill glaze or similar type of repelling factor), solid stain is an awesome solution, if either used as the initial coating system or being recoated over another solid stain surface.

At times I have been asked in the past that given all of its benefits, can a solid stain be applied over a surface that has been previously finished with exterior paint?

The traditionalist answer to this question would be a quick “no” as solid stains theoretically are meant to “penetrate” the surface they are being applied over and if there is a paint coating already on the surface, then clearly any stain being applied will not be able to “penetrate” in the normal sense of the word.

While this is true, solid stains today are formulated much differently than solid stains of years ago.

Back in the day, solid stains were often predominantly oil-based and truly meant to penetrate the surface they were being applied to.

Suggesting applying a solid stain over any type of exterior painted surface would have been virtual heresy.

These days, as a by-product of solid stains being so heavily waterborne or latex/acrylic-based, science sways things in a different direction as although the intent of solid stains is still for them to be applied as their own separate system and not applied over a “painted” surface, if the “painted” surface is sound and properly prepared, you may successfully be able to apply a solid stain over the paint.

Now don’t get me wrong.

If the painted surface that lies beneath the solid stained coating ever decides to “peel”, it will do so and take the solid stain coating with it.

But if the painted surface remains intact, the solid stain will stay on the painted surface for years to come without any detrimental effect.

This all being said, applying a solid stain over a paint, due to modern technology, is something that can absolutely be done, with lasting characteristics, but this will occur less because of the properties of the solid stain performing as they are they are historically meant to perform, but more so because of how terrifically the paint coatings underneath the solid stain being applied remain in place.

Lopco Contracting

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