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I know questions based on opinion are not too welcomed here and I'm trying to avoid making this look like one.

My situation is this:

I'm building a piece of outdoor patio furniture. For part of that furniture, I want a solid cream color, while the rest of the piece will just use a regular dark wood stain. I also want to keep the solid cream color from chipping and needing to be reapplied every couple of years. I want the piece to be low-maintenance since it is a gift. Because of that last part, I wanted to avoid paint, so I looked into solid-color wood stain.

Through my reading I feel that I am probably best off using the wood stain since it seems like it will last longer than the paint and I'm okay with keeping the texture of the wood instead of a smooth paint surface.

My concern is this: as it ages, will the cream color become less and less opaque? If it does I am especially concerned about using this solid wood stain because it doesn't seem to be something you can just reapply and I don't want the wood grain to show through.

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Outdoor finishes have a hard job. They have to withstand weather (rain, snow, etc.), hot and cold temperatures, and the relentless beating of UV radiation from the sun. People often have unrealistic expectations for outdoor finishes.

I'm okay with keeping the texture of the wood instead of a smooth paint surface.

I am especially concerned about using this solid wood stain because it doesn't seem to be something you can just reapply and I don't want the wood grain to show through.

You seem to be contradicting yourself here. I assume you mean that you don't want the bare surface of the wood to show through the stain?

My concern is this: as it ages, will the cream color become less and less opaque?

Outdoor finishes fade over time. It's a fact, and there's not much you can do about it. Also, they'll probably chip, peel, and flake.

I want the piece to be low-maintenance since it is a gift.

For the first couple of years, the piece will likely be ok with very little maintenance. However, after that, you'll start to see the things I described above happening to the finish. There's really nothing you can do about it, save maybe coating the piece in expensive marine epoxy or spar varnish finish.

If your recipient is ok with the expected weathering of the piece, then you have no problem. Otherwise, you could also offer to refinish it when the time comes, or educate them on how to do it themselves.

This is the unfortunate reality of outdoor furniture. Unless you make it out of some kind of color-fast wood/plastic composite (yuck), you're going to need to do at least some periodic maintenance.

  • Thanks for your answer. If I need to just accept that some amount of periodic maintenance will be required, then do I have to worry that,based on what I read, solid color stain can't be reapplied? – exit_1 Apr 28 '16 at 15:18
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    I don't see why you can't reapply the stain. It will require a bit of surface preparation to remove any of the old, flaking finish and surface mold/mildew/growths. People re-stain decks with solid color stain all the time. – grfrazee Apr 28 '16 at 15:23
  • We have a porch swing that's sat on our covered front porch for many years. We applied a 'solid', pinkish stain when we bought it, ("Sure honey" avoids a lot of marital stress!:). It's faded even though it almost never experiences direct sunlight. I believe we refinished it once, but that's been about it. The wood (of the type provided in the kit) is still pretty solid, it's the metal frame that's not in good shape any more. – FreeMan Apr 29 '16 at 15:30

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