Do Oil Stains Last Longer Than Latex Stains Outdoors?
It depends on the surface. Oil stains generally penetrate wood better than latex stains and perform best on rough surfaces like rough-sawn wood and cedar shingles, which will soak up a lot of stain. Semi-transparent oil stains excel here because you can apply several coats and achieve good wood protection without hiding the natural texture and grain. You can expect the stain to last from four to seven years. They're easier to renew, too. You can simply power wash to clean and recoat.
However, latex stains (especially solid ones) excel on smooth wood surfaces. They won't erode as quickly as oil stains. You can expect a solid latex stain on smooth, vertical wood to last four to six years. Keep in mind that no stain will last more than two to three years on horizontal surfaces that are exposed to the sun and rain.
Wood Stain Application Tip
Save your empty pump-type sprayers that have an adjustable-spray tip and use them to apply wiping stain. Spray a small section at a time, then wipe it. You'll be surprised how little stain you use to complete the job this way compared with brushing. This technique is especially helpful for applying stain to intricate parts like spindles.