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To Paint or Stain …

<em>That</em> is the question! And, it’s a question people ask a lot, because the differences between painting and staining are often just subtle enough to be annoyingly confusing. After all, paint and stain are more or less the same thing, right? They’re both liquids that you smear on something to protect it and make it change colors. You shake it up, give it a stir, slap it on and –<em> Shazaam!</em> Now that dull sideboard looks like something right out of Bob Vila's dining room. [caption id="attachment_10526" align="aligncenter" width="243"]<a href="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/to-paint-or-stain/istock_000006095486small/" rel="attachment wp-att-10526"><img class=" wp-image-10526 " title="iStock_000006095486Small" src="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/iStock_000006095486Small-300x181.jpg" alt="Choosing Painting or Staining" width="243" height="147" /></a> "This Old UNLOCKED House! Ha ha ha ha!"[/caption] Not so fast, folks. Let’s take a look at the differences: <ol style="list-style-type: none;"> <li><strong>1.       </strong><strong>Color and Consistency</strong></li> </ol> You may notice that paint has a more vibrant color than stain and also comes in more color choices. Additionally, it can also create various <em>sheens</em> – a kind of luster that gives greater depth to the color. Stain, on the other hand, does not create sheens and comes in fewer colors. Paint is also thicker than stain, which means it will sit atop the target surface and create a more protective film, but only after the surface has been primed. Stain soaks into the substrate and can better accent the natural beauty of wood. <ol style="list-style-type: none;"> <li><strong>2.      </strong><strong>Painting with Purpose</strong></li> </ol> Having an idea of what you want the item to look like will help identify the proper medium. If you want a shiny green chair, for example, you know from the get-go that stain is out. If you want to preserve the wood-grain appearance and highlight the natural look, then a semitransparent stain may be your best bet. It’s also helpful to know if the target surface has been treated or finished (with varnish, oil, wax, etc.) prior to the new application. If so, the general rule is to not use a latex stain once an oil stain has already been used, and to always use a primer when applying paint. <ol style="list-style-type: none;"> <li><strong>3.      </strong><strong>Ready for Reapplication  </strong></li> </ol> Contrary to popular opinion, stains do need to be reapplied over time and paint can chip or fade, so both avenues will require maintenance; however, stain will probably require a significantly lesser amount of attention if cared for properly. <strong>          4.  </strong>     <strong>Finish with Flourish </strong> Depending on your paint or stain selection you may decide to finish your furniture with a varnish, shellac, lacquer, oil or other type of finishing product, particularly if you want to add sheen to a stain. Varnishes and resins are often considered the best because they provide the most protection and make furniture look great, but they can be hard to apply. Shellacs and oils are easier to apply, but they are not as durable. <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> invites you to share your painting and staining tips and tricks, or maybe a story about a frightful finish.
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