For shingled houses, stains of various colors and ingredients are often used. These are not so durable as paint, but have the merit of preserving the texture of the shingles, which is completely lost by the application of paint. Creosote stains, pine tar stains and oil stains may be obtained. Of these the creosote stain acts as a preservative for the wood, especially if the shingles are dipped before laying. In the lasting qualities of these stains there is little choice, creosote and tar both disappear in time through the action of sun and rain, while the tendency of oil stain is to blacken or mildew.

In some situations a preference may be had for an unpainted exterior, the desired effect being obtained by the action of the elements. In this case shingles should be used for the covering, as clapboards or siding are liable to split if not protected with paint. In any case the exterior finish and mouldings should be painted or they will warp and twist out of place.