how to waterproof wood

How to Waterproof Wood — Everything You Need to Know

Despite your every effort, it may feel impossible to keep your wood furniture clean and free of water spots and stains, especially with kids around. It literally feels impossible to protect your furniture, floors, doors, ornaments, and so on.

One day you’ll catch your kids putting their wet hands over everything in sight, the next day you’ll go to your room to find water spilled all over the floor.

Kids give you a hard time growing up, but they’re not always to blame. You might have had a careless guest comeover who didn’t think it was necessary to put their glasses on a cup coaster and now there’s a round, white stain on your new coffee table.

The causes for ugly spots on new furniture keep on increasing — every person adds to your worry and even you may make mistakes sometimes.

With all these dangers, it’s important to come up with the right solution to protect your household products.

How to Waterproof Wood

For every item and every mishap, the remedies vary. But our goal for this guide is to help you protect your wood so at least a majority of your furniture, ornaments, and even floors can be safe from potential danger.

So, here’s how to waterproof wood.

Why is Waterproofing Wood So Important?

The best way to put the water-wood crisis in words is by stating that it’s not just extra protection, rather, it is a highly necessary protection that your wood might not survive without.

It may survive for a while, but if you want your furniture to last decades, perhaps to pass on to your children, you’re going to want to protect it.

Keep in mind that when you’re sealing wood, you’re not just making it water resistant for the water related mishaps at home, but also from moisture and humidity that it is constantly exposed to, especially if the piece of wood is placed outside of the home.

Therefore, waterproofing isn’t just for the sake of defending against white or black ring stains and unattractive discolorations, it also makes the wood last longer.

Your wood needs to be able to block water out to stop penetration, which is highly important because it can cause your wood to crack and warp and may gradually cause decay and rot.

All these factors together call for a permanent solution to make your wood safe, which is waterproofing and sealing.

What Happens When Water Penetrates Through Wood?

The majority of the stains that leave your wood looking ugly and unpresentable are water stains, whether directly or indirectly.

All of us try our best to avoid any other sort of mishaps by keeping the markers away from the kids, keeping ink boxes sealed, disposing of melted candle wax right away, and so on, but water is one source that always manages to sneak in one way or another to ruin your wood.

This is because water seeps into your wood in a number of different ways, some of which we don’t even bother preventing because we really don’t see the dangers coming.

Water doesn’t just cause stains through direct spills or indirect heat, it also seeps into your wood in the form of moisture and humidity, which then causes it to rot faster. If this isn’t quickly prevented, exposure can even cause the wood to crack and decay.

So, to make sure you don’t have to discard your wooden items, you should consider the procedure of wood sealing as a necessity, rather than an added protective layer.

Easy Methods to Waterproof Wood

Conclusively, we can say that waterproofing wood is a part of building and maintaining it. There is no other way you can truly put it.

With the number of dangers that water and moisture offer to the wooden items, you have probably understood by now that sealing your wood is not optional and you have to do it.

We’re here to assist you through your process of wood sealing at home. Our aim is to make the method as easy as possible for you so that you don’t struggle with extra hours researching on the web.

Below we’ve listed a number of home-based ways that can help you make your wood water resistant. While these can be done at home, some of the products used aren’t always everyday items and may need to be purchased.

Nevertheless, these remedies will ultimately save you time and money.

What makes the process of wood waterproofing appealing is the fact that these protective measures will not only give your wood extra layers of defence against moisture damage but may also enhance the furniture’s beauty.

Many of these home-based solutions make your wood’s exterior look prettier by adding a subtle gloss or accent.

Linseed Oil

Linseed oil is also commonly known as flaxseed oil. Together with a solvent, it acts as a natural sealant against food and gives it a nice finish as well.

To prepare the sealant at home, you can’t use raw linseed oil, instead you’ll have to boil it first. Then mix two parts boiled linseed oil with two parts turpentine oil and one part apple cider vinegar. Your sealant is ready to be applied.

An alternative approach to preparing this sealant is by mixing one part boiled linseed, one part mineral spirits, and one part polyurethane. This does the job too.

These homemade sealants are as good as a market manufactured one, as long as you apply them the right way.

The correct method to apply sealants onto the surface of wood involves a number of steps. The initial (and optional) one being sanding the surface (but only if it’s not already smooth).

Once you’ve grinded the surface of the wood slightly, pour a fair amount of your mixture on and apply it with a brush to spread it evenly.

Once this one layer has dried, you might feel the need to add an additional layer or two. Before doing so, let the previous layer dry completely and then grind it slowly.

And that’s it, you’re done!

But be slow in your process because linseed oil has the tendency to dry very gradually.

Tung Oil

Tung oil comes from the chinese tung tree and has the reputation of being a great water sealant against water and food.

There are a lot of sealants present on the market that consist of a portion of raw tung oil with some added solvent.

If you want to prepare the mixture of wood sealant at home, you can also follow the same process described above for linseed oil, by replacing the latter one with tung oil.

Don’t forget that tung oil can be used raw and doesn’t need to be boiled. But it may only be suitable for smaller projects as it’s much more expensive than any other oils used for waterproofing wood.

Walnut Oil

Despite being great at making wood water resistant, walnut oil isn’t and can’t be used commercially on a large scale. This is because many people tend to have nut allergies and thus the product is dangerous to them.

If you’re not one of those people, then good for you! You can replace linseed oil and tung oil with walnut oil and use it as a sealant.

You will need to make the same mixture as stated above for the other oils. Once your sealant is prepared, you can go and use it on your wood.

You can apply as many coats as you desire, but never add another coat if you’re not sure that the previous layer is dry. No matter how long it takes, you need to be patient to get the best results.

Olive Oil

Olive oil offers a rather easy time when it comes to preparing a sealant. All you have to do is mix three parts olive oil and two parts lemon juice!

You can apply it the same way as the previous oils, but due to its thin consistency you can also just pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it over the surface you want to waterproof.

However, we recommend that you still make a few good brush strokes so that it is spread evenly.

How to Waterproof Wood

Some Popular Sealers

Here in this section, we’ve mentioned some of the most popular sealers that professionals recommend. If you use these sealers and apply them the same way as oil sealants, they will give you the best adherence and water resistance.

  • Polyurethane Sealants — A mixture of acrylics and polyurethane resins, along with some other solvents to give you the desired finish.
  • Varnish Sealants — Usually purchased for marine applications, and includes resins, solvents, and drying oils.
  • Lacquer Sealants — Normally applied on furniture for a medium glossy finish and is made up of dissolved tree resin or synthetic resin in alcohol.

Best Wood Sealants in the Market Today

You might want to extend your search and look for professional, qualified wood sealers available instead of looking for solutions that are present at your home.

Wood sealants are readily available in home improvement stores. They’re usually specific for all the items they can be used on (like deck sealants, fence sealants, and furniture sealants) so it’s important to read the instructions before you end up buying one for yourself.

If you want water sealants for wood furniture that is outside of your home, or is generally exposed to the outside atmosphere, then your sealant needs to block UV rays along with humidity.

Sealers that qualify to do so are sometimes referred to as marine wood sealants.

To get it perfectly on the surface of your wood, the trick is to sand the surface first, and then use a paint brush to apply it evenly. When applying sealers, strictly follow all the stated application rules.

You can add a layer or two, depending on your need and the quality and thickness of the wood sealant. But between every coat, grind the surface to enhance adherence.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does the Wood Waterproofing Last?

Typically, it lasts two years.

Of course, it varies depending on the quality and thickness of the sealant, as well as the number of layers. It’s safe to say that after two years, it’s recommended that you waterproof your wood again.

Is Staining the Same as Sealing or Waterproofing?


Staining is a process only done to achieve an attractive look for the wood. Stained wood is not necessarily waterproof.

Sealing is a separate process that makes the surface of wood water resistant.

If you want, you can both stain and seal your wooden products, so you don’t have to make a choice between the two. In fact, there are even products that do both.


It’s completely true to say that sealing wood is as important as keeping your kids away from things that could potentially harm wood.

We don’t seem to notice the number of things that can damage our wood, so the least we can do is take precautionary measures to protect it so that any future mishaps can be wholly avoided.

All the methods above have been tested and qualified as working remedies. Now, you don’t have to worry about any stains being left to mark your new wooden furniture because with the water resistance qualities of sealed wood, you can just wipe the mess away.

With that being said, we hope this article was as useful for you as we intended it to be!