When I think of opaque I think of heavy frosted or tinted windows that conceal what’s behind the window. In Arizona with the bright scorching summers heavy tinted windows are allowed in fact it’s rare to find vehicles without tinted windows. For locals, it’s a clue that the people without tinting are not from around here.
Images also come to mind of blinds in windows that completely block out the sun and thereby the heat. Window shutters are quite common with homebuilders in the southwest to keep the heat out of the home. In addition, heavier than normal sunscreens on homes windows and doors are also commonplace.
But for me personally opaque draws to mind the paint that is put on wood cabinets which are very popular today. From an early background in woodworking, I feel it’s a crime to hide the beautiful woodgrain with white, black or even gray paint. Painting over wood is nothing new, it’s been done for centuries. The difference is there’s a “paint grade wood” that’s recommended for this application (which for panels and molding is MDF fiberboard) but the price has driven many manufacturers to use other beautiful grain woods for the cabinets.
Pine is a softwood but it can be beautiful when stained, used a lot in the past but today the most common material is poplar, a hardwood that doesn’t dent as easy which can reveal the woodgrain. Another wood species that’s painted is alder. Poplar doesn’t stain up as well as alder, in fact, I consider alder the chameleon wood because it can stain up to look like cherry or maple.
In Arizona, the alder sales are higher than some other parts of the country because of its western regional availability. My feelings are wood has nothing to hide. Paint is a coverup. Whitewashing or not to whitewash it’s your call, that’s my two cents.