I’m not sure why anyone would paint a beautiful piece of wood instead of staining it. One would think that most people like to see the texture of wood. Stain leaves wood natural looking. It enhances and preserves the natural beauty and texture of wood, while paint covers and hides the wood.
Paint is often more costly per gallon and more difficult to apply than stain. It usually requires a coat of primer and then two coats of paint. Paint also requires extensive scraping when it peels. Now that doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture.
Staining tends to be less work and less costly. It is easily applied, and surface prep tends to be minimal. Many stains don’t require primers, and stain only needs one coat. Stain is also resistant to cracking and peeling, so it is easier to maintain.
There are primarily two types of stain. One is semi-transparent, which allows you to see both the grain and the texture of the wood. The other is a solid color or opaque stain, where the grain is hidden, but the texture remains. Paint has a smooth appearance which completely hides the surface of the wood, and no one likes a cover-up!