Pros and Cons of Paint and Stain for Interior Doors

At Nick’s Building Supply, we are often asked to talk to our customers about the pros and cons of paint and stain when it comes to interior doors. We also get a lot of questions about the same topic for exterior doors. Actually, the answer is very similar in both cases.

Making the decision to use stain or paint on doors that are not exposed directly to weather elements is largely a personal choice today. With new technology in stains and paints that are long-lasting and highly protective for the wood, both are great options.


Since we love the look of natural wood, particularly the character of the grain and the unique characteristics of woods such as knotty alder, stain is typically our natural recommendation.

With today’s stains, which are UV resistant, this is a great option for all interior doors, even those that will be exposed to direct sunlight through a window or skylight in the home.

Stain can be light or dark, or it can simply enhance and illuminate the natural color of the wood. Stain allows the wood to resist moisture, so minor spills and messes will be easy to clean. This is also true for paint, although paint can fade with repeated washing, particularly if it is a low quality of paint.

When wood doors are stained, they can be matched with any existing wood in the room, or the color can be selected to contrast and compliment. Multiple types of wood are very popular in today‚Äôs design, which means that hardwood floors, mantels, cabinets, and other doors don’t have to be the same shade or color to look great in the same area of the home.


The big advantage to painting over staining is the wide variety of colors available. This grants you the ability to give interior doors a solid white color or any one of hundreds of colors available in any hardware store.

On the other hand, the biggest disadvantage to this option is that if you choose a trendy or limiting color, you will end up stripping the old paint and repainting when you redecorate or change your color scheme. Over time, and with repeated stripping and painting, doors can be damaged so they cannot be stained in the future, but will require paint all the time.

Choosing stain or paint on your interior doors is entirely up to you, but there are some very definite benefits in selecting stain over paint. Most likely, you will only come to fully appreciate this over time.