Money Matters: Why a High-Quality Wood Finish Saves Money and Time

A simple comparison of the cost of a gallon of wood stain is a mistake because all stains differ in their lifespan, coverage rate and quality of appearance and protection

Whether you’re currently building your dream log home or simply checking off tasks on your annual home-maintenance “to do” list, we’re always looking for ways to skimp on expenses around the house.

But when it comes to putting your best foot forward with a beautifully stained home that’s also protected from the exterior elements, you might want to think twice before being lured in by the lower price tag of a middle-of-the-road finishing product.

Think about it

Not only does a log stain and finish define the aesthetic appeal of your log home, enhancing the striking beauty of the wood’s grain and natural color, but it serves as a shield for your home’s most precious building blocks – the logs.

Because of this, it makes sense to spend the extra money upfront on a high-quality wood finish for your home.

And, as it turns out, if you can swing the higher cost for the first application, you will save yourself oodles of cash over the lifetime of your log home.

How it works

The total cost for finishing your log home includes labor, tools and the materials involved in preparation of the wood surface, application of the finish and maintenance of that finish. When you consider the cost, it’s important to include the total, long-term cost of the stain that you choose.

To prove this point, the professionals in the industry performed a careful analysis that shows that in the long run, it’s actually less expensive to apply the very best quality stain, despite its higher initial cost.

How? Field tests show that while low quality wood finishes last two years or less, top quality 100-percent acrylic polymer finishes such as the Lifeline™ Ultra family from Perma-Chink Systems last five years or more.

To illustrate this idea, let's look at an example.

Do the math and get the greatest value for your time!

Price Value IllustrationFor an average-size log home, let's take a standard labor cost for finishing of about $4,500 (labor rates vary across markets). In addition, about 20 gallons of stain would be needed to apply two coats to the home. For an ordinary stain from a typical big box home improvement store, let’s say the cost per gallon is $45, totaling $900 for the entire job. Add in $4,500 for labor, and the total cost of the job is $5,400.

Field tests show that the job will last two years, the cost per year of service would be $2,700.

Now let’s take a look at the cost for a top-quality, 100-percent acrylic stain. At a cost of somewhere around $122.99 per gallon, the cost for 20 gallons would be $1,948. Again, the labor would be $4,500, so the total would be $6,448 – a significant increase compared to the lower-priced product.

But, since the stain job will last at least five years, the cost per year of service would only come out to $1,290 – less than half the yearly cost of the “budget” stain job! Imagine the savings over an even longer period of time- say ten years.

graph stain cost savings

It’s no surprise that high-quality products from Perma-Chink Systems’ extensive collection of exterior finishes and stains will result in spending less time and money protecting and maintaining your log home over the years.


Labor is money no matter who’s doing the work, so why not pick the right finish the first time around, saving yourself from having to maintain your logs time and time again? Not to mention, a high-quality log home stains and finishes will ensure a gorgeous finished house that you’ll be proud to call “Home.”

You will be amazed at how it highlights the wood grain to keep your home looking beautiful over the long term and how easy it is to maintain.


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Last modified on Thursday, 08 June 2023 19:34