Differences between a Cheap Stain and a Quality Stain

December 1, 2022

Wood stain is terrific for protecting your deck, hardwood floors, walls, and other wooden structural elements. The wood lasts longer and looks better when treated with a good stain.

Wood stains can range in price from about $15 per gallon to nearly $100 per gallon for very high-end stains. Deck stain has a closer price range of about $20 per gallon to $60 per gallon. The price difference is often due to the type and quality of stain that you choose to use.

Why are some stains more expensive?

The ingredients that go into a high-quality stain can make it significantly more expensive than stains using lower-quality ingredients. Generally speaking, the more expensive the stain, the better the ingredients and overall quality.

Most stains are made with pigment and a bonding agent that holds the pigment and stain together. Another ingredient enables you to smoothly apply the stain in even coats. A final ingredient helps to hold all of those ingredients together while you apply the stain.

Whether you buy a cheap or a more expensive stain, you will always have to consider the quality of the ingredients. You should also consider the price of the stain in terms of how long it will last and how much labor it will require to maintain it for several years.

Usually, a more expensive stain that is made from quality ingredients will last several times longer than a cheaper version. They might have the same pigment or color, but that is where the similarities end.

Is a cheap stain just as good as an expensive stain?

A cheap stain can be a perfectly suitable solution for staining wood and protecting it. A cheap stain usually breaks down faster than better quality products, but you might find an especially good stain that is also cheap. When you can save money and protect your wood, a cheap stain can be a great investment.

Ultimately, the answer to “is a cheap stain just as good as an expensive stain” is: It depends. If you do not mind touching up the stain and enjoy sanding and staining your wood more often, a cheap stain works just as well. It just requires more maintenance, which means more labor.

A quality stain that costs more and lasts significantly longer can protect your wood against the elements for a longer period. If the quality stain lasts three or four times longer than a cheaper stain, the extra cost is easily justified.

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