Paint and Stain

Richard J. Roll

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  • General Subject Information: Simply defined, stains are liquids that penetrate into the surface (usually wood) allowing the grain to be visible, while paints cover the surface of the material thus making the material not visible. Stains can be clear (without pigment) or semi-transparent (with some pigment). For the most part, stains do not last as long as paint. Correct preparation of surfaces to receive paints and stains, and the selection of an appropriate product for the use intended are essential in achieving a satisfactory finish. Adequate homeowner maintenance and refinishing at suitable intervals are equally important. The durability of painted and stained surfaces is also directly related to the exposure to which it is subjected. Surfaces that receive direct sun or the full force of storms can be expected to require more frequent refinishing. The first coat of paint, the one applied during construction, is the coat that will last the shortest time, as the material beneath the paint absorbs a much greater percentage of the first coat of paint than successive coats.

  • Comments: Some types and colors of paints are more susceptible to fading and chalking when exposed to direct sunlight. For example, dark colors are more prone to fading than lighter colors. Manufacturers can provide useful guidance for selection of paints that will perform effectively under particular climactic conditions.

  • Recommended Use and Maintenance:
  • It is important to observe the condition of painted surfaces on a periodic basis. There is no standard schedule for exterior paint or stain reapplication. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to be vigilant and observe all wear and tear of paint and stain. An annual inspection is recommended. Paints first begin to show signs of wear in limited areas. Maintain paint surfaces in a clean and well-ventilated condition. Touch up any areas at the first sign of premature aging or deterioration. This can significantly extend the life of the overall paint job.
  • Periodically inspect exterior surfaces to determine if mildew or fungus growth is occurring. Any growth of these organisms should be addressed by proper cleaning and application of products that will kill the organisms and retard their return. This should be done promptly upon observation of mildews or fungi, because once established, these organisms are progressively more difficult to control and eradicate. If you observe significant condensation on exterior surfaces (usually at windows and cool exterior walls), an effort should be made to find the right balance of natural and mechanical ventilation to minimize the problem.
  • At interior locations, always use the mechanical ventilation in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens while these rooms are in use, and regularly air out rooms that have windows.
  • Keep all varnished and lacquered surfaces reasonably free of excessive moisture, heat, dust and from other damaging conditions. Relatively frequent maintenance and recoating with a high quality marine spar varnish should be part of routine maintenance.
  • Maintain stained surfaces clean and free of debris. Adequate ventilation of exposed surfaces should be provided. You should recoat stained surfaces at an interval no longer than that which is recommended by the paint or stain manufacturer or when surface deterioration is first observed.

    American Homeowners Association (AHA)®

    Richard J. Roll, American Homeowners Association (AHA)® Founder and President, created the AHA in 1994 after speaking to thousands of homeowners and discovering that they were facing similar problems – high costs, no clout, little knowledge. The AHA helps homeowners and first-time homebuyers obtain the most value for their homes, build equity, avoid common pitfalls, and save $1000s on home improvements and home maintenance. Now the world’s leading homeowner’s savings, benefits and advocacy membership group, since its inception, AHA has served over 1 million homeowners and first-time home buyers and helps them to capture the most value in their homes, and make wiser decisions regarding home buying, selling, financing, maintenance and home improvements.

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