Solid stain vs. paint

My condo development has had problems with rotting wood siding on the buildings. I'm told this was due to the quality of the wood being poor. The Association has always been using solid colored stain instead of paint. The stuff, to me looks like just like paint, but my understanding is that, because it is classified as a stain, only one coat of the stuff needs to be applied, and without any primer. For this reason, I'm wondering if the use of a solid colored stain instead of paint might contributing to the wood rotting.
Would properly applying one coat of a quality solid-colored stain provide as much protection as if the building were properly painted (which I assume would entail a primer plus 2 coats of quality paint). Am I wrong to be suspecting that solid colored stain is being chosen as a means of saving money....I'm imagining them saying.... "solid colored stain is great because we can just apply ONE coat of stain and be done with it rather than having to pay for the labor of applying....oh my god.... a primer plus....oh my god.... two....yes two.....coats of paint."
Am I wrong to be thinking that the buildings would be better protected if properly painted rather than stained.
J.
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The basic assumption that the siding is faulty may be a bad rap.. What kind of siding is it? Could be the direction of exposure, roof/eaves leaks, leaking gutters, lack of proper overhang of the eaves, etc etc. I would have an expert look at just where the rotting is occurring, and why, before you decide what sort of coating to use, which is of secondary importance.. Re comparative cost, the Cabots solid color opaque stains I use on my decks and rails are every bit as expensive as exterior paints.. Stains in some applications may be more effective, as they soak into the wood more, and tend to resist flaking if properly applied. If you have moisture moving from behind the siding outwards, paint with prime might be a poor choice, as it would form a good water seal, then pooch out in flakes, as the water debonded the primer. .. Bottom Line - get an expert on drainage and wood rot, and get his opinion exactly why the siding is failing. A number of siding brands have been the target of legal action, due to poor quality binding, material, or adhesives.
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Is the wood dryrotting, or rotting from moisture? If it's a moisture problem, I'm with Roger Taylor on this -- the source of the moisture that causes the rotting needs to be established. There are plenty of ways wood can be getting/staying wet, and it doesn't matter how something is finished.
If it's from dryrot, then they're not maintaining the siding properly. You say they do one coat, but how often do they do it?

because it is classified as a stain, only one coat of the stuff needs to be applied, and without any primer.<<
Yes, it looks like paint but it soaks in instead of creating a film on the surface. And since it soaks in, no primer is used/needed.
But, just because it's stain doesn't mean only one coat. There have been plenty of times when I've had to do 2 coats [mainly due to poor maintenance habits of the owner]. It all depends on the siding -- condition of the wood will tell you whether one coat is sufficient.
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