Q. I have been told that the oils in a penetrating oil-base stain will improve old, dry clapboards. Is this true, or would it be better to seal the weather checks with a high-quality oil-based or latex paint?

A.If the final finish is to be a solid color, I would recommend an oil-based primer for weathered wood. A high-quality oil-based primer will replenish the oils in the wood as well as an oil stain. But the primer will fill the weather checks, which the stain won’t do. Two top coats of paint, either latex or oil, should be applied over the primer.