I am removing paint form a wood fence door (paint was not primed it seems). The paint was peeling and I wanted to get this door done. Very painful (process of removing paint).

I thought stain is better, but here are my questions: using Behr as my example for learning

  1. is there a difference in the maintenance if using wood-tone or semi-transparent stain?

  2. If the product says it lasts for 5 years, what will I have to do in 5 years? just clean the surface with water and re-apply? or is the work of preparing the door will be just as painful as scraping the paint now?

  3. this article from TOH http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20361229_20771120,00.html has few types of stain, which one is Behr "wood tone" equivalent to? wood tone is less then semi-transparent, but is it "clear" or something above it?

  4. TOH claims that semi and transparent will not peel. great, so if it doesn't peel, it means that maintanance is as easy as just re-apply?

I don't mind re-apply something every 5 years, that is easy, I just don't want to scrap every each of the wood like I do now ever again. I understand that possibly, I got it wrong, and that if I was willing to just paint the door again, I would not have to scrap all the paint (right?) since all I need to do is just scrap the bad paint that is easy to scrap, and than prime and paint over...

opinions on the paint vs stain part ?

2 Answers 2


To answer part 2 of your question.

You should probably reapply the stain a little earlier than the full 5 years - it could be starting to show signs of wear before then and you don't want to let the weather in.

If you are reapplying a stain then cleaning and lightly sanding the door should be preparation enough. If you want to apply a lighter stain then you will have to remove more of the old finish first.

Even if the stain does peel (which is unlikely) then sanding should be all you need to do. Be careful though to make sure that you sand the door evenly. If you take more off in one area than the rest it will show through.


I'll agree that stain is better if you want to see your wood. Plainly, paint is going to fail eventually. I have stained many wood pieces and have never (yes, the Never) seen stain "peel."

Reapplication is not as simple as reapplication of a sealer. I have a deck that I periodically seal and I just pressure wash, and then reapply. Assuming the wood looks fine (no trees dropping berries, for example) this is not a problem.

The same could apply with stain, however you have to judge the wear on the wood and you will more than likely want to scuff at a minimum.

The tones of the various stain colors is always going to vary with the grain and absorbency of the wood. Test with multiple applications on a test strip if at all possible.

You will not want to just scrape what you can scrape and prime/paint over it. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right. Scrape the whole thing clean and start from scratch to achieve the most respectable results.

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