How To Seal Wood│Essential Tips And Tricks

Sealing your furniture is the best way to protect them against elements. You are probably already thinking about how to seal wood?

But the thing is, not all the sealing method are the same. Some changes the actual color of the wood, and some do without changing it.

As different people have different preferences, I will discuss three methods of sealing wood, and each of these methods has their way to beautify your furniture.

Why Do You Need to Seal Your Furniture?

Wood is prone to wear and tear due to various aspects such as water, moisture, and weather elements, regardless of the quality of the wood. To prolong the longevity and to be able to use for generations, you have no option but sealing your furniture.

Some sealing materials make the wood waterproof, UV rays protected, which is excellent for outdoor furniture that is exposed to water daily.

Preparing The Wood

You need to sand the wood first to use any of these methods given blew. Staining the wood is a personal preference, if you want to provide the wood with color and glossy look, you require to stain it after sanding process. However, if you stain the furniture, it will lose its actual woody color.

Avoid staining if you want to highlight and show off the wood grain.

 Smooth The Wood Using Sandpaper

The method will require –

  • 100 or 120, 400 grit sandpaper
  • Electric or hand sander

You can use an electric sander or hand sander to make the surface smooth. If the wood is rough, start by using 100 or 120 grit sandpaper. Coarser sandpaper will remove roughness from the surface, and then you have to sand it with finer sandpaper further.

When you are done sanding the wood, now further sand it with 400 grit sandpaper to make the surface even smoother.

However, if your furniture doesn’t have any toughness on it, still you need to sand it with 400 grit sandpaper before applying the sealant.

While sanding, make sure you sand following the lines of the grain back and forth so that there are no swirly marks on the surface.

When you are done, now you have to take a tack cloth and wipe the surface for few times to remove wood particles. Don’t use any water, or it will make the wood rough again.

Applying Stain

The method will require –

  • Stain solution
  • Brush or rag

Before using the sealant, you need to apply stain to make it soak into the wood surface. You can buy dyes from local hardware stores. Apply the stain by a roller or brush, and wipe off excess using a dry rag; then let it soak.

Staining makes the surface water-resistant and ready to apply colorant at the same time.

Sealing Wood Using Polyurethane

The method will require –

  • Polyurethane
  • Brush or rag
  • 400 grit sandpaper

Using polyurethane is great at waterproofing wood. The wood gets a beautiful finish that lasts for a long time. It changes the outlook of the wood by creating a matte or glossy finish.

There are water-based, oil-based, and synthetic mixes polyurethane. Each of them has its characteristics.

Oil-based poly takes a much longer time to dry and cure compared to water-based one. This product is better for outdoor wooden furniture and provides a glossy appearance.

Water-based poly, on the other hand, doesn’t last long in outdoor furniture and can be washed away easily. But it’s much easier to apply and dries quickly.

Take a brush or rag to apply the polyurethane. If you use a cloth, let the fabric soak with polyurethane and then gently apply around the surface from its one end to another.

Apply extra polyurethane on the end grain as it absorbs the most.

Even if you don’t apply polyurethane on some spots, its self-leveling characteristics will spread on its own. So, don’t worry if you coated unevenly. But there shouldn’t be too many uncoated spots.

Then lightly rub the surface with 400-grit fine sandpaper to ensure utmost smoothness. Don’t push the sandpaper hard; gently and carefully rub it. When you are done, take a rag and wipe the surface to remove dust particles.

You can apply several coats of polyurethane. But, let the surface dry completely before applying the next layer.

Sealing Without Changing Color Of The Wood

The method will require –

  • Water-based acrylic lacquer or polyurethane
  • Container
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Paintbrush

Some sealing solutions protect the wood from water, UV rays, and dirt and grime build-up without changing the actual color of the wood. Yes, you can seal your wood without running its beautiful wood grain outlook.

To start the sealing process, make sure your stain layer is dehydrated if you previously did stain on the wood.

If you use water-based polyurethane, know that it’s even delicate to work with. Stirring it too vigorously before applying, will form bubbles and ruin your project.

Now, let’s get right into it. Dip the brush into polyurethane and squeeze the excess amount by pressing the brush to the edge of the container. Then apply firm and long strokes on the wood. Don’t attempt twice over the same area before it becomes dry.

Acrylic lacquer, on the other hand, is less delicate compared to polyurethane. It dries quickly and forms much fewer bubbles. If you use this solution, make sure you don’t apply it twice in the same area before it dries.

If you want to coat the sealer further, let the previous coat completely dry, and then go for another coat. But too many layers can ruin the desired outcome you want to achieve.

When you are done with coating, you need to sand the surface with 220-grit sandpaper. Don’t go hard with while sanding; perform light and gentle sanding on the wood. Make sure to sand between each coat when it dries.

If you use acrylic lacquer, you don’t require to sand in this case. This is one of the significant differences between these coating solutions.

Tips For Sealing Wood

  • If you want to keep the natural wood grain color as it is, make sure you use a white-water solution for sealing.
  • Using a weak layer of oil-based sealant solution will accentuate the walnut wood color.

Final Words

After going through the guide, we hope that you know how to seal wood, and will be able to DIY and tell other people about the processes.

As far as the protection is concerned, know that oil-based polyurethane will not make your wood waterproof; it just adds a glossy appearance on it. If protecting the wood is concerned, using water-based sealant serves the purpose the most.

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Last Updated on September 13, 2020 by Robert Patrick

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Robert Patrick
Robert Patrick is the Chief Editor of Tools Adventure.He spent around 25 years in the construction and woodworking industry as a professional worker.Based on his experiences with the different type of tools; he is sharing his opinion about various tools so that a beginner can get started right away.Happy reading!