Choosing a Stain for Staining Exterior Wood Siding

Choosing a Stain for Staining Exterior Wood Siding

Exterior wood siding adds a timeless, natural beauty to a home. However, staining the wood siding is important to keep it looking its best, protect it from the elements, and ensure longevity. Staining exterior wood siding enhances its aesthetics and protects against weather, UV rays, moisture, and more.

Custom Painting, Inc., a seasoned expert in home and commercial painting with over four decades of experience, firmly understands the drawbacks of leaving wood exposed to the elements without adequate protection. Allowing the wood to remain unprotected means subjecting it to the harsh forces of nature, inevitably deteriorating its quality and integrity over time. 

In this guide, we will explore the distinct types of wood siding, delve into the benefits of staining, discuss the importance of choosing the right stain, and weigh the pros and cons of this vital maintenance step.

Types of Wood Siding

Types of Wood Siding

Each type of wood siding has its distinct qualities. Here’s a glimpse into some popular types of wood siding:

Cedar Siding: Cedar siding provides natural resistance to decay and insects and is durable, making it ideal for exterior applications. In addition, cedar’s attractive grain patterns and variety of hues make it a popular and visually appealing siding option.

Ash: Ash is recognized for its strength and resilience, making it a dependable choice for wood siding. It’s easy to work with and can be easily stained or finished in separate ways to achieve the desired aesthetic. Ash also comes in multiple colors, like brown, yellow, and red.

Redwood: Redwood siding is renowned for its natural beauty and rich, reddish-brown hues. Besides its aesthetic appeal, redwood is naturally resistant to decay and insects, making it a durable, low-maintenance siding option. Its earthy, reddish-brown color makes it a beautiful choice for your home’s exterior, but redwood can be more expensive than other options.

Birch: Birch siding offers an elegant appearance with its fine, even grain. It’s known for its strength and resistance to wear, providing a durable choice for siding. Birch holds well against stains and finishes well, allowing for versatile design possibilities.

Pine: Pine is a cost-effective option for wood siding, making it a popular choice among homeowners. It’s easily accessible and can be stained or painted to suit assorted styles and preferences. However, it requires proper sealing and maintenance to enhance its longevity. Yellow pine is commonly used for framing, whereas white pine is often used in finish projects. 

Chestnut: Although chestnut wood is less common today due to its scarcity, it is a sought-after wood siding option. It offers a unique and vintage charm, displaying a rich, deep brown hue. Chestnut’s durability and distinct appearance make it an excellent choice where available.

Results of Leaving Wood Unprotected

Results of Leaving Wood Unprotected

Unprotected wood is exposed to moisture, UV rays, and other elements, resulting in the following:

  • Wood Rot: Unchecked moisture exposure can cause the wood to rot, compromising its structural integrity and aesthetics.
  • Fading and Discoloration: Continuous exposure to UV rays can lead to color fading and discoloration, making the siding look unattractive and worn.
  • Mold and Mildew Growth: Damp wood provides a thriving environment for mold and mildew growth, damaging the wood and posing health risks.
  • Reduced Lifespan: Unprotected wood siding has a significantly shorter lifespan. Hence requiring more frequent replacements and repairs.

Benefits of Staining Wood Siding

Staining exterior wood siding is vital in enhancing its longevity and beauty. Here are several key benefits:


1. Protection against Moisture Damage

Wood is highly susceptible to moisture, leading to rot, decay, and other structural issues. Staining creates a protective barrier, preventing water from penetrating the wood and causing damage.

2. Preservation against UV Damage

The sun’s UV rays cause wood to fade, become discolored, or even weaken. Stains typically contain UV-blocking properties that shield the wood from the sun’s harmful effects, preserving its natural color and integrity.

3. Enhanced Aesthetics

Staining allows you to choose from an assortment of colors and finishes, enhancing the appearance of your wood siding. It highlights the wood’s natural grain and texture, adding character to your home’s exterior.

4. Extended Lifespan

Regular staining can significantly extend the lifespan of your wood siding. By protecting various elements, stains help preserve the wood, ensuring it remains strong and intact for many years.


Things to Consider When Choosing Exterior Wood Stains

1. Transparency and Color

Wood stains come in different opacities, including clear, semi-transparent, semi-solid, and solid. Choose a transparency level that complements your desired color and highlights the wood’s natural beauty.

2. Type of Wood

Different wood species absorb stains differently. Consider the type of wood you have and choose a stain that works well with it to achieve the desired finish.


3. Climate and Weather Exposure

Consider your geographical location and the local climate. If you live in harsher climates, opt for a stain with enhanced UV protection and water resistance to ensure longevity and durability.

4. Application Method

Stains can be applied using brushes, sprayers, or rollers. Choose the most suitable application method depending on the project size. It’s better to hire professionals to take care of this as they know what application method to use according to the type of wood siding and stain. We at Custom Painting, Inc. would love to help you in this regard.

Types of Exterior Wood Stains

1. Transparent Stains


Transparent exterior wood stains are clear coatings that provide a protective layer while allowing the wood’s natural grain and texture to shine through. They enhance the wood’s natural color and provide basic protection against UV rays and moisture. 

Ideal for: New or well-maintained wood where you want to display the wood’s original appearance.

2. Semi-Transparent Stains

Semi-transparent stains impart color to the wood while retaining the grain and texture’s visibility. They strike a balance between providing a tint and allowing the wood’s natural features to show through. 

Ideal for: Slightly altering the wood’s hue while still maintaining a natural look.

3. Semi-Solid Stains

Semi-solid exterior wood stains offer a bit more color than semi-transparent ones while still allowing some of the wood’s texture to be visible. They are effective in concealing imperfections and weathered wood, making them suitable for older siding. 

Ideal for: Keeping a perfect balance between color enhancement and coverage.

4. Solid Stains

Solid exterior wood stains provide the most significant color transformation, offering a consistent, opaque finish that conceals the wood’s natural grain and texture. 

Ideal for: Weathered or damaged wood as they offer maximum protection and are popular for rejuvenating older wood surfaces.



The stain you choose for your wood siding provides not just enhanced protection but also a beautiful aesthetic look to it. Transparent stains highlight the wood’s natural elegance. Semi-transparent adds color while retaining texture, semi-solid strikes a balance, while solid stains transform completely. 

The easiest to stain:

  • Ash
  • Cedar
  • Chestnut
  • Oak

The hardest to stain:

  • Birch
  • Cherry
  • Maple
  • Pine
  • Poplar

Your chosen stain becomes the guardian of your wood siding, increasing both beauty and lifespan. Therefore, choose wisely and go for a vibrant and enduring wood siding. Contact us if you need staining services for your home. We will also be happy to give you a free estimate for any painting work you would like to have done.