Stains Versus Paints / Hot Water Problem With a New Hot Water Tank

In Hot Water Tanks, Plumbing, Stains and Paints, Uncategorized on June 26, 2012 at 1:56 pm

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Stains Versus Paints

Stain is a thin paint with a low volume of pigments that provide deep colors, hiding power, and film-forming qualities.

There are two types of stains:

Semi-transparent- are considered true stains and solid color opaque, which more closely resemble paint because of their pigment content.

Stain penetrates surface wood fiber and dyes it, whereas pain seals the surface with a hard film. Stain costs less than paint, but a gallon of it may cover less area because it soaks in. Stain weathers and loses color faster than paint, but won’t chip, peel or blister so subsequent coats require little or no preparation.

The semi-transparent stain colors and protect bare wood without hiding its natural grain or texture, but accentuate defects such as knots, rust stains, uneven weathering and watermarks, so they work best on clear, fine-grained wood.

Semi-transparent stains penetrate better than solid blends, and oil-base semi-transparent stain penetrates better than latex-base. Rough or weathered wood absorbs the most stain. Two coats of semi-transparent stain on it will last six to ten years, compared with only two to four years on the new, smooth wood. Solid color stains, however, will last up to ten years on smooth wood.

As a rule, stain should be used only over bare wood, or to cover another stain or preservative of equal or better penetrating value. That means preservatives and semi-transparent stains go under paint or solid stains where they can act as a primer but not cover them, because they soak in.


If you are planning on painting your house, keep in mind that if you’re looking for color, stick with paints since the choice is obviously greater.

Paint also provides a better finish and more protection from the elements than stains. If you have new wood siding or trim, and you can’t decide whether to paint or stain, try some of those semi-transparent stains, you may like the results. Remember, you can and should try out the color on a piece of scrap siding or extra boards prior to doing the entire house. That way if you don’t like the color or look you won’t be living with a “white elephant”, so to speak.

Keep this in mind as well that both stain and paint, if properly applied, are durable but if you have a lot of blemishes in the siding, it’s better to use paint.

Choosing between latex or oil base paints is one of those preference things nowadays since many latex paints are as durable as oil base. Oil base paints dry slower and are definitely a lot more difficult to clean up.

Latex paints dry quicker, are water soluble, easy to clean up after and believe it or not, hold color better.

One misconception is that you cannot paint latex over oil base paint. With proper preparation, you can do almost anything. As a matter of fact, a quality latex topcoat over an oil base primer is probably the best finish to use.


I recently had a water heater installed and since then I’ve never had a consistently hot shower. A few times I have had the hot water shut off completely. The plumber who installed it claims that nothing is wrong. Do you have any suggestions?


It’s possible the hot and cold lines were reversed when it was installed, which you can check out yourself. On top of the tank where the water goes into the tank it will be stamped “cold”. Feel the pipe to see if it is warm or hot (it should be cold), they need to be switched or the dip tube moved to the hot side. Speaking of the dip tube, is it intact or damaged?

New tanks generally only heat the water 120 to 125 degrees. The lower settings save energy and reduce accidental scalding and burns.

You may need to replace your old showerhead. Older showerheads have a flow rate of 3.5 to 4.5 gallons per minute. At that rate, you’ll easily run out of hot water with a lower setting in approximately 10 minutes. Replacing the showerhead with a flow restrictor puts out 1.5 to 2.9 GPM and allows for a longer, hotter shower.


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