Best Inexpensive Stains for Pergolas

When it comes to inexpensive stains for pergolas, #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain is the best affordable option.

For those on a tighter budget, Thompson’s Waterseal Waterproofing Stain is a great choice.

If you’re looking for an upgrade, Thompson’s Waterseal Advanced Natural Wood Protector is a good option.

Are you planning to stain your pergola?

It’s worth taking the time to select the right stain as it can save you a lot of maintenance work in the long run.

But what should you look for when choosing a pergola stain?

Can you find a good one that fits your budget? 

In this article, we will discuss the most affordable and effective stains for pergolas, including our top recommendation.

Additionally, we will answer some of the most common questions about staining a pergola, such as how to choose the appropriate stain color for your structure and whether painting can be a substitute for staining.

Related Reading: Choosing the Best Wood for Your Pergola: A Comprehensive Guide

Pergola with excellent stainer covering backyard patio area illustrating great inexpensive stains for pergolas.

#1 Deck Premium Wood Stain

We strongly believe that the #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain is the best value for money when it comes to inexpensive stains for pergolas.

It offers many of the features found in even the most advanced stains, but at a more affordable price point compared to other advanced options available in the market.

The #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain is not only great for decks but also an excellent option for other outdoor structures like pergolas.

Its water-based formula penetrates deeply into all softwood types to prevent damage from wet weather and harmful UV rays.

This helps to prolong the life of the wood and keep it protected for as long as possible.

With its dual function as a stain and sealer, #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain has a low odor and Volatile Organic Compound or VOC content, making it a safer alternative to oil-based stains.

One of the reasons we chose this product as our top pick is its ability to be applied to damp wood.

When building a pergola, it may take several months for the wood to dry enough for staining, especially in humid climates.

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for the wood to be completely dry before using the #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain.

Its semi-transparent formula is available in four finishes, Natural, Cedar, Light Walnut, and Dark Walnut–and each dry flat when applied to maintain the wood’s natural look.

The one-gallon can (3.8L) will cover 100-150 square feet (30-46m2), and will allow up to two full coats of use.

Easy to apply, this stain also makes cleanup easy afterward, with just soap and water needed.

Depositphotos 49181519 l 2015

Thompson’s Waterseal Waterproofing Stain

Staining your pergola does not have to be a costly project, as Thompson’s Waterseal Waterproofing Stain proves.

Although it may not provide the same level of UV protection as the #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain, it is still an excellent option for most pergola staining jobs.

Moreover, it stands out as a top-quality and cost-effective stain.

The one-gallon can (3.8L) of this stain is capable of covering an area between 100-400 square feet (30-122m2) and one coat of the stain is sufficient to fully stain the wood.

This stain is designed to act as a 2-in-1 stain and sealer option, and it soaks deep into the wood thanks to its water-based formula, just like the #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain.

Thompson’s Waterseal Waterproofing Stain is equipped with advanced polymers that not only prevent water damage and damage caused by UV rays but also make it resistant to fading and mildew.

It offers long-lasting protection for its price and dries within just two hours.

Thompson’s Waterseal Waterproofing Stain is available in various transparency levels to enhance the natural color of softwood.

Additionally, this stain can be applied to damp wood, like #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain, making it a useful choice for staining your pergola during less favorable weather conditions.

Thompson’s Waterseal Advanced Natural Wood Protector

Thompson’s WaterSeal Advanced Natural Wood Protector is a great choice for those who want an affordable and strong solution for their wood protection needs.

It is an improved version of the original WaterSeal Waterproofing Stain from the same brand, with the added advantage of completing the entire staining project in just one day.

This makes it an ideal choice for those who want to save time and effort.

This particular formula is so strong that it requires only one coat to be applied and it takes just an hour for it to dry, even on damp wood.

Due to this, Thompson’s Waterseal Advanced Natural Wood Protector can be used within a day, from cleaning the wood before staining to the wood drying, and finally curing.

A one-gallon can of this wood-finishing product is enough to cover an area of 200 square feet (19m2).

When applied, it enhances the natural colors of the wood.

Moreover, the formula contains special ingredients that prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the wood.

Additionally, it provides extra-strength protection against UV rays and is fade-resistant.

This stain can be used without mixing and cleaned easily with soap and water after drying.

How to Choose Colors for Inexpensive Stains for Pergolas

The most important factor in selecting a wood stain color is the desired level of natural wood grain visibility.

Wood stains are available in various levels of transparency, ranging from clear to solid and sometimes including multiple degrees of transparency in between.

For newer wood and wood with smoother grain, it is recommended to use a clear, transparent, or semi-transparent stain for the best results.

It is recommended to use semi-solid or solid stains for older wood or wood with rougher grain.

It is important to know the type of wood your pergola is made of and its condition to determine the appropriate level of transparency needed in the wood stain.

Should I Paint Instead of Staining?

Staining a pergola is primarily done to safeguard its wood against weathering.

Staining a pergola enhances its natural colors and characteristics, but the main purpose is to ensure its longevity.

Paint and stain offer different levels of protection to wood.

Stain absorbs into the wood and makes the piece stronger and more resistant to the elements.

This is why stain requires fewer coats than paint.

With just one or two coats of stain, the wood is fully protected to its core.

On the other hand, paint does not absorb into the wood to the same degree as stain, so it does not offer the same level of protection.

After applying a good coat of stain to a pergola and allowing it to dry completely, painting can be done over it.

While some individuals may prefer to keep the natural look of the wood stain on their pergolas, others may opt to enhance their appearance even further by matching or contrasting the pergola’s colors with those of the surrounding areas, such as the house or patio.

Staining a Pergola

Final Thoughts

Our favorite stain for a pergola that balances quality and price is the #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain, which offers advanced features without the premium cost.

The Thompson’s WaterSeal Waterproofing Stain is an affordable alternative for those on a budget.

While it may not provide the same level of UV protection as other wood stains, it still does a great job for most pergola staining projects.

It is a popular choice among pergola owners.

Consider upgrading to Thompson’s WaterSeal Advanced Natural Wood Protector, which strikes a perfect balance between affordability and strength.

This product can stain a pergola from start to finish in just one day, making it an ideal choice for those who need to stain their pergolas quickly.

Remember, you don’t want to do this more than is necessary, so choose the best stain wisely.

Enjoy living the outdoor life!!!

Continue Reading:

  1. Can Pergolas Protect You from Rain?
  2. Do Pergolas Add Value to Homes?
  3. 8 Best Waterproof Pergola Roof Ideas