When we try to describe Waterlox to clients, we do our best to convey the unique appearance of this finish. It does not form a “plastic” layer like water-based or oil-based polyurethanes. Waterlox gives hardwood floors a hand rubbed look that is both durable and elegant.
Because Waterlox cures within the wood, there is not a surface buildup, so the Waterlox surface is less prone to show scratches compared to any conventional oil or water-based polyurethane floor finish. If a client is tough on their floors with exposure to dogs, kids, dirt and grit, or just lots of traffic, a Waterlox floor will typically give a longer life before recoat is desired, compared to most polyurethanes. Waterlox looks good longer.
The following describes how Waterlox compares to other finishes.
Waterlox vs. traditional water based urethane
Like their oil-modified counterparts, traditional water based urethanes sit on top of the wood surface. Because they are mainly comprised of acrylic and urethane, they don’t bring out the natural patina of the wood. Wear and scratches will also be more noticeable because they will scratch white. They are often difficult to apply and are often recommend for professional use only. Since this finish is a surface film, when the film is breached, it offers no protection at all. Touch ups are also difficult.
Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes are penetrating oil finishes and as such enhance the wood with a natural oiled look and feel. Waterlox never requires sanding for adhesion and touch-ups can be done at any time without sanding. Waterlox forms a protective finish that won't chip, crack or wrinkle.
Waterlox vs. raw oil or “Danish” oil
Raw oils or “Danish” oils penetrate into the wood pores but do not really protect the wood. Finishes in this category are not difficult to apply, but they offer little or no protection to the wood substrate and can remain tacky like fly paper until dry. Because of this they require frequent and time-consuming reapplication, will water spot and are usually not recommended for working surfaces such as floors or counter tops or for use in water-sensitive areas. While Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes contain a superior drying oil, namely Tung Oil, they are fully cooked varnishes, which dry quicker and form permanent films tough enough to walk on and take daily abuse. Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes are also water and chemical resistant (alcohol and alkali).
Waterlox vs. linseed oil
Linseed oil is a drying oil pressed from the flax seed. While linseed oil will penetrate into the pores of the wood, it will not really protect the wood substrate and will remain tacky like fly paper until dry. Linseed oil molecules are also larger than Tung oil and will therefore have limited penetrating ability. Because of this it requires frequent and time-consuming reapplication, will water spot and is usually not recommended for working surfaces such as floors or counter tops or for use in water-sensitive areas. Linseed oil also contains linoleic and linolenic acids, which cause it to yellow over time. Waterlox provides deeper penetration to seal wood fibers beneath the surface because the molecules are smaller. Waterlox is water resistant and will not water spot like linseed oil, nor will it yellow like pure linseed or linseed oil modified coatings (e.g.: oil-modified urethanes).
Waterlox vs. oil/wax-based systems
European oil/wax-based systems are labor-intensive to apply and maintain. Finishes in this category are difficult to apply and are recommended for professional use only because they are applied by buffing in and wiping off any excess product and are applied in thin coats. While they penetrate into the wood pores, they offer little or no protection of the wood substrate. Because of this, they require labor-intensive and frequent maintenance. Waterlox finishes can be applied by do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike. Waterlox finishes are penetrating oil finishes and as such will penetrate into the wood pores and build up to a film that is water resistant, stands up to foot traffic and common household spills. Maintenance and recoating are easier and not required as often.
Waterlox Tung Oil Wood Finishing Systems
Waterlox Original Sealer / Finish is made from Tung Oil, so its natural characteristics make sealing and finishing wood a breeze. Tung Oil is processed from a renewable nut harvested from trees. Wood sealed and finished with Waterlox tung oil products provide a beautiful barrier that protects against moisture, acids, alcohol, and scratches. Waterlox is widely used for hardwood flooring, furniture, doors, trim, counter tops, antique lumber, and a variety of wood elements.
Tung oil finishes are the most durable of all wood finishes and strongly enhance the natural beauty of wood. Since these finishes retain a certain amount of elasticity almost indefinitely, they will not cloud, crack or become brittle . Scratches are easily repaired; no sanding is necessary; just re-apply finish to a clean surface. Unlike raw tung oil, Waterlox is blended with a resin that creates an extremely durable hard surface.
We recommend a 3 to 4 coat system be used for all finishing. Some flooring, furniture and antique restoration projects require up to 5 coats). Waterlox Original Sealer / Finish provides the best sealing coat(s) because its superior penetration. The final coat(s) can be any of the following:
Waterlox Original Sealer / Finish for a medium gloss finish recommended for floors, furniture and antique restoration, gun stocks, cabinetry, and most wood.
Waterlox Original High Gloss Finish for a high gloss finish recommended for floors
Waterlox Original Satin Finish for a low sheen on crafts, paneling, and flooring.
All of the above systems will produce a beautiful finish and lasting protection with easy maintenance and recoatability.
Waterlox Original tung oil finishes are penetrating oil finishes and as such enhance the wood with a natural oiled look and feel. Waterlox never requires sanding for adhesion and touch-ups can be done at any time without sanding. Waterlox forms a protective finish that won't chip, crack or wrinkle.