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I'm getting ready to build a barn, likely with LP Smartside siding. LP says that you can put "solid" stain on it (not transparent). My question is, is there ever a reason you would do that? It seems that the point of any stain is that it's going to soak into the surface some. Solid stain contains more solids which sit on surface, similar to paint, but any components of it designed to soak in to the surface aren't going to work on the primed surface of LP SS.

So is there any reason at all not to just use paint? What would the differences actually be between solid stain and paint on LP Smartside?

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differences... between solid stain and paint?

Although there is a huge variety of products and no hard rules for naming them, solid-color stain (in general) is usually used on rough surfaced wood because it is typically thinner and will not hide the texture like paint will. It is also generally easier to apply to rough surfaces because it is thinner.

As to your question about the difference, not much. Solid-color stain is not a penetrating stain as you presume in your question. Like paint, it forms a cured film on the surface, benefits from having a primer applied, and can bubble and peel on improperly prepared surfaces just like paint will.

...is there any reason at all not to just use paint?

Yes, and no. I find that it is easier to apply (and to recoat later) solid-color stain on large exterior textured-wood surfaces. On the other hand solid-color stains are flat (no or very little sheen) and need to be recoated every so often (like every 2-3 years) to stay looking fresh, whereas a paint with a sheen would give more durability and may not need repainting for years and years.

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  • Thanks for the clarification about solid-stains being non-penetrating. I assumed they were sort of 50/50. The point about them being thinner makes a lot of sense. That would definitely be a reason to use them on something like textured LP smart-side. – The Shoe Shiner Jun 19 at 19:52
  • If I am thinking correctly, that siding is composite material and probably comes with different surface textures depending on specific product. It kind of depends on the look you want; if it were a light texture I might consider a semi-gloss paint for the durability, but for the rough stuff I would go with a stain. – Jimmy Fix-it Jun 19 at 20:39

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