Why Are Epoxy Resins So Expensive?

pink epoxy resin art

Epoxy resin can be used in a variety of different projects ranging from designer tables to canvas art. It can be used for structural enhancement and visual preservation too. The diversity of fields that rely on epoxies might lead one to think that the material might become cheaper with time, yet it remains expensive.

Epoxy resins are expensive because they’re made with high-priced raw materials, require trained labor and precision, need costly marketing, and are often made in countries where all of the above cost more. In addition, these resins are sold in large quantities, which drives their price further up.

In this article, you’ll learn more about each of these reasons and also discover why trying to find cheaper epoxies can end up costing you a lot more in the end. To get a better understanding of epoxies before you embark on your project, read this short article.

High Price Raw Materials

Most retail products are marked up by 200% to 300%, but because the raw materials required to make these products are much cheaper than products like epoxy resins, you can buy them at a lower price than epoxy resin even though you’re overpaying by a lot more compared to the cost of production. 

For instance, a Beats by Dre headphone costs $14 to make yet is sold for $450, according to some experts. Compare that to the $225 worth of raw materials required to produce $450 worth of high-quality resin, and you’ll realize that all things considered, epoxy resins aren’t that expensive.

This also brings us to an even more important aspect: cost-cutting. When a product’s high price is attributed mainly to its raw materials, you shouldn’t try to look for a steep price difference. Think about Gold: it is expensive because the material itself is expensive. If “gold” jewelry then costs ten times less than most Gold jewelry on the market, you should be cautious of the product’s genuineness. Epoxy resins that are much cheaper than the market rates are often made with low-quality raw materials.

Required Precision

If an epoxy resin is cheap yet contains decent raw materials, then it might require less precision to make. Such epoxies exist on the market, but most epoxies with the right hardening time and a decent finish require precision in manufacturing. 

Precision comes with skilled labor, and highly skilled factory workers require a larger paycheck. Add to that the batches that might need to be thrown away because of imperfect proportions, and you get a situation where manufacturers cannot charge any lower than what they do.

This is also the key reason why you don’t want a “bargain.” And there’s more: you want to avoid cheaper epoxy not only because it might contain low-quality raw materials and imprecise proportions of said raw materials but also because it will impact the end result of your project. 

To understand how you’ll lose more buying a cheaper epoxy, you need to divide your weekly pay by the number of hours you work to get your time’s market value. Let’s suppose your time is worth $20/hr, and you buy an epoxy that’ $40 cheaper than the market standard.

If this epoxy ruins a project that you worked 3 hours on, you’ve already lost $60. Add to that the epoxy you have to throw away, and the cost can go up to hundreds of dollars for larger batches. To avoid this, you can first purchase a smaller batch and do some test pours. The same is advisable for hardeners and pigment as well. Testing in small batches ensures that you are confident in every material required before introducing the contents to your project.

High Demand / High Marketing Costs

The risk one takes as an artist working with resin is that of demand difference. Epoxy resin is in demand and expensive, and you bet that the work you do with resin will make the end project even more expensive. 

This can drive you to make even better work, so it is valued so high, the cost of epoxy doesn’t matter. Some artists and craftsmen might be tempted to go the other direction and find an epoxy so cheap that people won’t have to pay too much for the craftsperson to make a profit.

Epoxy resins can be expensive because the high demand for the material makes them harder to market. In theory, high demand should lead to high competition, and that should spark a price war that lowers the price. That doesn’t happen with epoxies because most dabbling manufacturers make poor-quality products and go out of business. 

But since so many new manufacturers come to the market every year, the big players like Dr. Crafty and Superclear have to spend a lot of money marketing and branding their products to stand out. This also gets added to the cost of doing business, which results in a higher total price.

First World Manufacturing

From clothes to smartphones, a lot of what we consume in Western countries comes from labor outsourced to countries where the cost of living and working wages are both pretty low. This makes business sense and is sustainable enough to have become a widely accepted practice. 

However, epoxy manufacturing in remote countries is not as easy to manage as making T-shirts. If a T-shirt is appropriately made, the quality controllers in the west can tell. However, if a factory in China makes faulty epoxy resin, it might take a few months before the business realizes, with an onslaught of negative reviews, that a certain batch doesn’t cure well, isn’t clear, or is prone to cracking.

The benefit of getting your epoxy resin manufactured in China is outweighed, for American businesses, by the risk of the lack of oversight. As a result, they prefer getting their products made in countries where they can oversee the process better. This comes with a higher cost of labor, electricity, and premises rental, driving up the overall cost.

Scale of Transaction

Finally, there’s the very simple mathematical reason behind why epoxy resins are expensive: because they’re often bought in a high quantity. Tens of dollars getting multiplied a few times can easily become hundreds and even thousands of dollars. If you buy a year’s worth of clothes in one go, they too will seem quite expensive!

Final Thoughts

Epoxy resins are high-utility products that come at a premium for the reasons listed above. Going for cheaper raw materials will only bring down the value of your product. So what’s the solution? Make your project so valuable that you can demand an even higher price.

Damien Madeira

Damien has been doing woodworking for the last 5 years. He began as a hobbyist with hand tools and slowly worked his way up to own larger machines and mill rough wood into beautiful creations. While still considering himself a hobbyist, he has a passion for woodworking and enjoys working with epoxy as well.

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