Exterior Wood Railings: Paint or Stain?

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Wood railings are a beautiful addition to your home. Depending on the look you prefer, you will have to determine whether you wish to stain your woodwork or paint it. Looking at your home design and exterior decor will help you to decide whether to paint or stain wood railings.


Wood stains come in a range of colors to match old-world charm, a ranch-style brick home, or a natural look. Choose the proper stain for exterior use. There are stains that come complete with sealant in them for a satin or glossy finish, and there are stains that will need to have an additional sealant applied later. The amount of work depends on your choice of stains.


Painting wood is sometimes the better choice. It helps to preserve your wood longer and gives a clean and colorful appearance to wood railings. Many different exterior designs would benefit from painting wood railings, rather than stained. Homes that are modern or Victorian in design can display well-painted wood railings properly. There is work involved in painting, as well. Wood will absorb the paint, so it's necessary to prime the wood before painting to create an even coat. Paint will also cover much of the natural wood grain that stain accentuates.