Paint vs. Stain

Wood grain is like your finger print. It has texture and has the same pattern even if you remove a layer. So, even if we sand away the bumps in the wood, the wood grain will still be there. Ever burn your finger on a glue gun and rip some of your thumb off with it? Yep. Your finger print is still here.


The top of Jack's sign is stained.

Stain looks like vegetable oil, depending on the colour of the tint in the stain.

Stain penetrates the wood. It soaks down into the wood and brings out the different colours in the wood grain. Not only will you see the slight texture of the wood, but you will also see the different colours.

Why are there different colours? Wood rings. As a tree grows, it develops more wood rings. Kind of like stretch marks for trees. So when you ad stain, the different colours in each ring react differently with the stain and make a beautiful mix of the stain.

Although stain has come a long way, there aren't nearly as many options for tint as there are for paint. In our shop you can find our stain options at the bottom of the page here.

Things that can be stained in our shop include: our backers for circle signs, the letters for circle signs, and our word cut outs.


24" Basic Family Name Sign

Stained Weathered Grey


Paint goes on top of the wood. It covered the wood grain but the slight texture would still be there. You can see it very clearly in the Austin Taylor sign above. You can see the texture of the wood in the framed monogrammed shiplap sign below.

We use an interior/exterior paint and primer in one for all of our paints except for the metallic colours.

You can see all of our paint colours here. It has taken years of carefully curating our colour chart to select the best of the best colours. We have over 80 colours but if you have ever been into the paint section of a hardware store you know paint can be made in just about any colour.

Now most stores have the ability to colour match curtains, pillows, paint chips from other stores, chunks of drywall, pretty much anything. Which is the coolest thing!

FAQ: Why do painted backers cost more then stained backers?

Part one - stain is less expensive then paint.

Part two - stain requires less work then paint. Paint requires two coats which is more labor time that I have to factor into my cost. Stain requires one coat that can take under five minutes to apply. I can then move it to the dry rack and walk away until it's dry and I can glue the letters onto the backer.

I hope this clears up any questions you may have about paint and stain. If you have any other questions please reach out to us so we can add any information to this post.

Well I hope this post has helped you understand the difference between paint and stain! Drop us a line at if you need any more help!


Dipped Name Sign

Classic Family Name Sign

Custom Word Cut Out

Frames Monogrammed Shiplap Sign