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What color should I stain my deck?

What color should I stain my deck?

Spring is the perfect time to stain your deck so you can enjoy it all summer long. But what color should you stain it? And should you use paint or stain? If you’re looking for deck painting ideas, here’s some helpful information and answers to the most frequently asked questions about staining a wood deck.

Is it better to paint or stain your deck?

The biggest confusion with deck finishes occurs when a solid stain has been applied to it. Most people assume it’s paint, when in fact it’s an opaque stain (which has the same appearance as paint).

Regardless of the final look you prefer, deck stain products offer the best adhesion and wear. If your deck is bare wood, here are a few questions you might ask yourself in determining if you should do a solid color stain, semi-transparent stain, or transparent stain.

1. What are the weather conditions where you live?

If you live in a hot, sunny city like Phoenix, your deck is exposed to more UV rays than one in cloudy, rainy Seattle. Solid stains provide more protection from the damaging rays of the sun, while more transparent stains are better in wet climates because they allow excess moisture to escape.

2. What type of wood is your deck made of?

If your deck is made of an expensive, beautiful wood, why not accentuate the natural grain and texture with a light transparent stain, rather than cover it up with solid stain? On the other hand, if your deck is old and faded, and some of the boards have been replaced, a solid stain will provide a more consistent look blending the old with the new.

3. What look do you want?

If you like the rustic look of natural wood, a light-colored transparent stain will add some color while allowing the wood grain to show through. Solid stain’s full coverage provides a more modern look, and with so many color options you can go vibrant and bold by creating fun patterns and designs.

What is the difference between solid stain and transparent stain?

Solid stain has more pigment to protect your deck from harmful UV rays and inclement weather. It’s thick enough to fill in minor gaps and cracks, and can cover damages and discoloration. Transparent (and semi-transparent) stain allows you to control the amount of natural wood grain that shows through based on the amount of pigment in the stain. There are many colors to choose from, and stain is water permeable, so unwanted moisture can escape, thus reducing the risk of wood rot.

What color should I stain my deck

The importance of prep time before staining your deck

Don’t take any shortcuts. It’s imperative to take the time and thoroughly prep your deck prior to staining. Depending on the condition and age of your deck, you may need to clean, strip, sand, repair or replace boards, and prime. With all this to consider, hiring a professional painter will not only save you time, but can also give the best results in the appearance and longevity of your deck.

What color should you stain your deck?

Wood stain comes in many colors, from natural hues to more unique options. Stains containing more pigment produce a more saturated color; the resulting aesthetic depends on the shade you select.

How to test a new deck color


Gray is perfect for a sea-inspired, coastal look.


Blue can look traditional or modern.


Go bold or rustic with red.


This neutral tone complements any color.


Harmonize with the surrounding green foliage.

How to test a new deck color?

Because the natural color of the wood can affect the color of the stain applied on top, it is ideal to do tests on scrap wood, or test new colors on a small, hidden section of your deck. This way you can also see how much of the wood grain remains visible. Remember, you don’t have to match your deck color to the color of your house, you can simply choose a shade that complements it.

What are the different types of deck stain?

Stain comes in varying degrees of opacity from clear (most natural) to solid (most coverage).


For wood with a gorgeous grain pattern you don’t want to cover up, clear stain provides the most natural look.


Add a hint of subtle color while letting the wood grain and texture show through with a tinted stain.


A good option for older decks with replacement boards, a semitransparent stain helps even out the tone. Even with the extra pigment, you’ll still be able to see some of the wood grain.


If your deck is stained or damaged, solid stain covers up imperfections and provides the best UV protection of all these options. No wood grain will show through, however.

What are the different types of deck stain

How to protect your wood deck from sun, rain, snow and ice

Whether you have a small or large deck, it needs to be protected; especially if it’s uncovered and vulnerable to the weather. While lighter transparent stains will preserve the natural appearance of the wood, solid colors will cover blemishes better. Either option can refresh and revive an old, faded deck.

The key to success lies not only in the prep work, but also in the selection and application of the deck stain. Prim Painting has the experience, the people, and the tools ready and available, and we can help you choose the best product and color for your wood deck. Contact us today to schedule a free quote.

Testing Colors for Home Painting in Columbus, Ohio

Testing Colors for Home Painting in Columbus, Ohio

Wondering the best way to test paint colors on your house? As professional house painters, we help our Columbus, Ohio customers select the right paint for walls, trim, ceilings, decks, cabinets, and more. Whether you want to paint an interior room or the outside of your house, here are some tips for testing different colors prior to deciding.

Before we discuss how to test paint colors, it makes sense to first understand color and the effect it has on us.

Words to know:

  • Hue: a color or shade
  • Value: the lightness or darkness of a color
  • Saturation: how dominant the hue is (primary colors are the most saturated)
  • Intensity: the brilliance of a color (how bright or dull it is)

Color psychology and choosing paint colors

According to color psychology, color can influence our moods and behaviors. Years ago, people began painting hospital walls green because it is believed to have a calming and peaceful effect. To this day, doctors and other hospital staff often wear green scrubs, and some surgery rooms are green.

The effects of color are subtle yet significant. In marketing and branding, tons of research go into choosing the right colors for logos because colors impact consumer choices, even if just subliminally.

Consider the mood of the room when choosing a color

A bedroom will most likely set a different mood than a child’s playroom or a kitchen. You might prefer soft, muted pastels or neutrals in the room where you sleep, and bright vibrant colors for a room where your kids play. Keeping it light and bright in the kitchen creates a crisp clean look that goes well with any meal.

Now that you have a general understanding about color, let’s dive into the various ways to test paint on the inside of your house.

How to test paint color on an interior room of your home

We’ve all seen the small paint swatches at the store. They look like little bookmarks, with four to six different colors on one piece of paper. Maybe you’ve already brought a few swatches home, cut out the colors you like, and hung them your wall? Well, have you made your decision yet? Probably not. These little color squares are just not big enough to get a good idea on how a certain color will look in a room.

Three ways to test paint color on the interior of your home:

1. Use a virtual painter app.

There many different virtual painting apps and websites online where you can upload a picture of your room, select different colors to apply to the image, and get a general idea of what your room would look like after it’s painted. If you want to try one out, this is the Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer.

2. Paint a sample section of paint directly on your wall.

Most home improvement stores offer small, sample-sized cans of paint. To get a better sense of the color, you could paint directly on the wall. Make sure your sections are at least 1 foot by 1 foot. If you have more than one choice, paint them side by side, leaving a little space between each one. And paint two coats; it will make a difference.

How many sample sections should I paint to decide on a room color?

If you paint one section on a wall that does not get direct sunlight and one section on a wall that does, you’ll be able to see the effect natural light has on the color. Keep in mind that the existing color on the wall will affect how the new color looks when painted over it. If you are going from a dark color to a light one, you will need to paint a primer on the wall first to get the right color.

3. Make large paint samples.

Since the paint swatches from the store are too small, just make bigger ones. Once you get the sample cans, paint each color on a one foot by one foot piece of foam board or heavy paper. You can buy a piece of poster board for less than one dollar and cut it into four sections to create four swatches. You may also be able to special order large swatches from the paint manufacturer or ask your painting contractor to make them for you.

What are the benefits of using large paint swatches?

A major benefit of using large swatches to pick a color is you won’t have to worry about covering up all the test spots on your walls. Since it takes two to three coats to see a true color, the test paint could get quite thick. If you’re not careful to feather out the edges of your paint swatches on the wall, they could leave behind hard lines that will be difficult to cover up with the new paint color. You may even need to sand these sections down.

How do you use handmade paint swatches?

Use painter’s tape to temporarily secure your swatches to different walls of the room to see how the color changes because of the lighting. Make sure to stick swatches next to the trim, and compare the new paint color to the furniture that will be in the room.

Does room lighting make a difference on wall color?

Consider the type of lighting that will be in the room, where the lights are located, and the color of the bulbs. Overhead light affects color differently from lights positioned at eye-level. Halogen, incandescent, fluorescent, and LED bulbs generate different color tones, so a cool bright light will change how people perceive paint color versus a warm soft light.

What are the different types of sheen for paint?

The higher the sheen, the higher the shine and durability. Each option has its pros and cons.

  • Flat: No shine; hides wall flaws the best; has the most pigment for the best coverage
  • Eggshell: Medium durability with minimal luster; good for hiding wall imperfections
  • Satin: Durable with a velvety look; may reveal brush stroke flaws
  • Semi-Gloss: Durable and cleans easily
  • High-Gloss: Most durable and easiest to clean

How to choose the right paint sheen

When choosing the right paint finish, consider the purpose of the room or specific area. For example, the walls in your kitchen within the “splatter range” from cooking will need to be cleaned often. Also, cabinets, drawers or other areas where kids may use dirty fingers to access. In general, kitchens benefit from high-gloss or semi-gloss paint sheens.

Family rooms and play rooms are high-traffic areas; bedrooms, on the other hand, are low-traffic areas. Dining rooms and living rooms fall somewhere in the middle, depending on your lifestyle and family.

How to test exterior paint colors on the outside of your house

While it’s okay to go crazy when choosing paint colors for the inside of your home, you should consider your neighbors when choosing paint colors for the outside. But how do you know which color will look best on your house? One way is to use technology.

House painting apps are a way to visualize your home in a different color

The same apps we discussed earlier for the inside of your house can also be used to see a color on the exterior. Simply upload an image of your home, select a color, and the app will apply the color to your image. These virtual painter apps are a great way to get a general idea of what you like, but there are so many choices out there, how do you know what color will look good once it’s painted?

Apply paint on opposite sides of your house to see the color in different lighting

Another way to see how a paint color will look on your house is to simply paint a small area. Be sure to paint sample sections on both the north and the south side of your house, since the lighting can vary drastically. This will help you determine if you need a lighter or darker hue. Also, apply paint near the trim to see if you like the contrast. Make sure to look at your sample areas during different times of the day to see how natural light affects the overall color.

What is the benefit of buying a high-quality house paint?

Buying a high-quality house paint may mean spending more money upfront, but think of all the benefits. Premium paint is more durable, more stain-resistant for easier cleaning, and holds up to the elements for less fading and flaking down the road. This means you won’t have to have your house painted again for a long time.

Oil-based paint vs. latex paint. What’s the difference?

Oil-based paint has a hard finish that is durable and water resistant. Keep in mind, if your home has previously been painted with an oil-based paint you need to stick with it; if you apply latex paint over oil-based paint, it will peel.

Due to its improvements over the years, some latex exterior paint can be as durable as oil-based paint. People usually choose latex paint because it is easy to work with and clean up. Acrylic latex is the highest-quality latex paint and can even be used on masonry and metal (after priming).

What if I don’t know what type of paint is on my house?

If you aren’t sure what type of paint is currently on your house, peel off a large chip and bend it. If it bends slightly before cracking it’s probably latex, because oil-based paint snaps easily. If you want a second opinion, take a paint chip to your local home improvement store and they can test it for you.

When you’re ready to paint the outside of your house or an inside room, use these easy tips to test different paint colors before deciding. Prim Painting has a team of professional house painters who serve the Columbus, Ohio, area. Contact us today with any paint color questions or to schedule a free quote.

Home Painting, How Often Should I Do It?

Home Painting, How Often Should I Do It?

As painting contractors in Columbus, Ohio, we often get asked, “How often should I paint my house?” Painting or staining your home not only improves its appearance, it helps extend the life of your home’s exterior. How frequently you need to repaint your house depends on several factors, some are obvious and others you may not have thought of.

Don’t underestimate the importance of your home’s curb appeal.

First impressions are everything. If the outside of your home looks great, it’s safe to assume the inside is cared for as well. Since your house is one of your biggest investments it’s important to retain or increase its value over the years. Even if you’re not ready to sell now (or ever), keep curb appeal high by properly maintaining your home’s exterior and protecting the outside of your home from sun, wind, rain, and other inclement weather.

How often should you paint your house’s exterior?

Three factors that determine how often you should paint your home are the climate where you live, the type of material on your home’s exterior, and the quality of the last paint job.


Dry, warm and sunny:

If you live in the southern or southwestern part of the U.S., and your home is exposed to the sun’s rays on a regular basis, the paint on your house may bubble and fade, especially during the hot summer months. The UV rays from the sun cause the chemical compounds in paint to deteriorate, resulting in a dull, faded look over time.

Cold, humid or rainy:

Locations that experience harsh winters, extreme humidity, windy ocean sprays, or frequent storms also have climates that age paint quickly. For example, coastal homes need to be repainted frequently, maybe as often as every year, while New England and Midwestern homes, with a combination of humid summers and cold winters, need to be repainted every 5 to 7 years.

Type of material:

Wood Siding:

Wood needs to be properly protected to enjoy its beauty for years to come. Depending on your choice of finish, wood siding should be painted every 3 to 7 years, stained every 3 to 5 years, or sealed every 2 years.

Aluminum siding:

If the aluminum siding of your home looks chalky or faded it may be time to paint. Much less expensive than replacing the siding, a good paint job can go a long way and can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years depending on your location.


Stucco is a low-maintenance, long-lasting material that only needs to be repainted every 5 to 10 years. Since stucco tends to crack as it settles, small repairs and touch ups can be made periodically to keep it looking good.

Cement fiberboard siding:

This newer type of material should need to be repainted every 10 to 15 years.


A high-quality paint job on brick should last 15 to 20 years.

Quality of last paint job:

A quality paint job will last longer than one that cuts corners, is rushed, or uses cheap paint. Three choices that can extend the life of your paint job are the type of paint, the color, and the number of coats applied.

Paint Quality:

The quality of the paint you use contributes to its longevity. Acrylic paint is typically the most durable, fade-resistant, and least likely to harden, crack, or blister.


Even though the sun can bleach lighter shades of paint, it’s not as noticeable as darker shades which tend to fade more quickly.

Number of Coats:

If you think one coat is enough, think again. Applying two or three coats, as opposed to a single coat, better protects your home from its environment and increases the life of the paint job.

What happens if you wait too long to paint your house?

If you see signs of damaged paint or exposed patches of wall, don’t put off painting your home just to save money. Ignoring these problems could end up costing more money in the end. Take care of your home by inspecting its exterior regularly for things such as dampness, chalkiness, termites, rot or mold.

Prep your home for a paint job that will last.

Before painting, first get your home’s exterior into top shape.

  • Repair and replace. Replace rotten wood, repair cracks, holes and pits, caulk seams, and remove loose, bubbling, peeling, or cracking paint.
  • Power wash. Because your house needs to be completely dry before painting, wait a few days after pressure washing or a heavy rain.
  • Wait for weather. Dry, mild weather (temperatures between 45-90 degrees) with minimal wind is best for painting.

HOA standards and house painting.

If you live in a historic district or a subdivision with a home owner association (HOA), there may be rules and standards regarding the general look and feel of your neighborhood. We recommend checking before painting to make sure you are following the proper regulations.

If you’re thinking about painting the outside of your home this year, Prim Painting is well-equipped to do the job right. As an exterior house painting company, we serve Columbus, Ohio, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for a free quote.


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