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Waterlox Wood Floor Finish Option

Waterlox continues as the PaintSource product of choice for elegant wood care on interior wood floors, doors, trim, walls, and cabinetry.  This Tung oil and resin blend represents an extremely beautiful and durable option when choosing a wood finish. 

When we try to describe Waterlox Tung Oil Finish 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 the wood a hand rubbed look that is both durable and elegant.

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Because Waterlox cures within the wood, there is not a surface buildup, so the Waterlox hardened surface is less likely to show scratches compared to any conventional 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.

Waterlox looks different. Because the wood is not obstructed by a plastic film on the surface, Waterlox accentuates the natural grain pattern and color of the wood. It is best to actually see it on wood to truly understand the difference.

Another great advantage to our clients who choose Waterlox is the ease of maintenance.  No sanding is required before recoat, you just clean the floor and apply a fresh coat every few years.  Waterlox provides the best looking protection for the least amount work on wood floors over any period of time.

Because Waterlox is made from tung oil, it is quite friendly for the environment.  Tung oil is a renewable resource easily processed from the seeds of the Tung tree nut.

Waterlox’s exclusive process takes tung oil, resin, mineral spirits, and other ingredients to produce a complete wood finish that gives you the look and feel of a naturally-oiled wood, with the additional benefit of forming a surface that is waterproof, stands up to foot traffic, and protects against household spills.  Waterlox can be easy to apply, repair, and re-coat .

Wood floors, countertops, walls, trim, doors, and other hardwood surfaces can be naturally beautified and protected with Waterlox, eliminating the difficult application, maintenance issues, and other disadvantages of polyurethane finishes.

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Ease of Application and Maintenance

All floor finish choices offer trade-offs. Many of the most durable finishes are difficult to apply , and require a much involved process for recoating, including sanding, and additional labor costs. Most commonly used polyurethane floor finishes lead to rapid deterioration and visible scratching, requiring frequent and inconvenient sanding and recoating. Water-based polyurethanes continually prove to be difficult to apply and to maintain. Prefinished floors are difficult to recoat as well.

Our Favorite Finish

Waterlox is a blend of Tung Oil and Resin. Tung oil has been used as a wood sealer throughout the world for centuries precisely because wood absorbs it so readily and because it does eventually “cure,” meaning that it hardens when exposed to oxygen. Essentially, tung oil works by seeping into the wood and hardening, which, on a floor, allows the wood grain itself to take the wear of foot traffic.

Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish gives us a finish that is 80% Tung Oil , mixed with resin, and cured by oxygen. Waterlox imparts a natural low film look to the wood. It enhances natural features of the wood, without covering the texture of the wood in a “plastic looking” finish. The Tung oil is a proven water-proofer, and the resin adds durability exceeding many common finishes. It is much easier to apply with good results than most common floor finishes.

Maintenance is also easy with Waterlox. You just sweep the floor, clean, and reapply a rejuvenating coat as desired every few years. No sanding is ever required, which means no machines, no dust, no inconvenience, and no expense in preparation. Most common finishes are difficult to spot repair, and usually require full sanding and refinishing. With Waterlox, small scratches can be spot repaired, with excellent results. Some clients even buff the finish after a year or two, with good results, and extended maintenance.

Waterlox for Textured and Reclaimed Lumber.

Many clients are choosing textured woods including reclaimed, hand-scraped, and distressed. You simply cannot choose a finish that requires sanding on this type of floor. Polyurethanes, Water-based Finishes, and Moisture Cure Urethanes all require sanding to recoat, and represent a poor choice for residential hardwood floors. To maintain the character of reclaimed lumber, hand scraped, or distressed wood, we strongly encourage our clients to consider Waterlox. To maintain Waterlox appearance, simply clean and recoat every few years to rejuvenate the finish if needed.

Waterlox on Tropical Hardwoods

The performance, elegant appearance, lasting beauty, and the ease of use will usually make Waterlox the product of choice for hardwood floors, cabinets, walls, logs, timbers, furniture and a variety of wood components.  While Waterlox enhances and beautifies all types of wood,  it is our only choice for  tropical hardwoods.   

Exotic hardwood flooring like Cumaru, Ipe, and Brazilian Cherry  has always been a challenge both interior and exterior. These woods are extremely dense and hard, and they are full of natural oils that many times will make adhesion of most finishes difficult.

Waterlox gives superior direct adhesion to exotic hardwood, and is even used as a seal coat under many other types of finishes that are otherwise incompatible with oily dense wood.  There is no film building with Waterlox, even with repeat applications. Waterlox is very translucent and natural looking on exotic hardwood flooring inside and out.

Waterlox is our product of choice for exotic hardwood. It does bring out the natural beauty of the wood, darkening and enhancing. Waterlox addresses and overcomes almost every disadvantage and performance shortcomings of traditional polyurethanes, new acrylics, and other products (drying issues, film-building, lap-marks, poor adhesion, peeling, short-life, poor appearance).
Oily hardwood requires a compatible sealer for positive adhesion. Thick polyurethanes lay on the top, where they are prone to lose adhesion. A Tung oil and resin blend like Waterlox can offer the ease of maintenance, and lack of peeling of an oil finish, but with the hardness of varnish. Waterlox soaks in and cures with oxygen, hardening the surface, with no film buildup. It does not give a "plastic" look to wood, but gives a hand polished, natural looking finish.

On Waterlox, scratches are much less visible than on a polyurethane, which is prone to show "whitish" scratching. Polyurethane scratches on dark hardwoods are even more pronounced. The other big advantage of Waterlox is that no sanding is never required for recoating. Just clean, and refresh every few years. This is just an elegant finish for exotic hardwood flooring.

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Other Finishes

Occasionally, individuals may mistakenly allow another factor to outweigh the benefits of Waterlox:

Many homeowners seek a low odor finish and fast dry finish. Waterlox is solvent based, and requires 24 hours between coats.

Allow time for proper floor finishing in your project schedule. Most solvent issues are related to the application period only.

Some clients seek an inexpensive finish. Waterlox is expensive due to the premium ingredients and processing method.

Floor finish materials cost is a minuscule percentage of the total cost of a hardwood floor finishing project. Long term maintenance is easy and most cost effective with Waterlox.

Some clients allow their contractor to choose their finish for them. Seeking low bids forces contractors to cut cost by using an inexpensive finish.

Choose and specify the finish of your choice, and separate material cost from the bid process. Many contractors are simply forced by the market to use cheaper products. Allow contractors to use premium products that perform.

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Waterlox for Log Homes

Our product of choice on most interior wood is Waterlox. Waterlox is a superior water-proofer and finish for most log home applications including Walls, Timbers, Logs, Wood Floors, Cabinets, furniture, Exotic Hardwood, and Reclaimed Lumber. Also for rejuvenating sheen, and waterproofing existing finishes. Waterlox gives a Durable, Naturally Beautiful, Hand Rubbed Look. A superior alternative to most commonly used finishes.

Waterlox will certainly protect wood surfaces and make cleaning much easier. The Sealer/ Finish is the simplest system, with 3 coats to most wood (4 coats on floors), giving a semi-gloss sheen. If you want a lower sheen, you could apply 2 coats of Sealer/ Finish, with a topcoat of Satin Finish. We urge most clients to test a sample when selecting final sheen.


Waterlox is widely used for hardwood floors, including pine and antique lumber. Waterlox on wood floors is much more natural looking and the most easily maintained as preferred by most log and timber home owners. All wood floors eventually need recoating and maintenance. One great feature of Waterlox for floors is the fact that the floor does not have to be sanded before applying a renewal coat. Polyurethanes, and water-borne finishes require sanding for rejuvenation. Waterlox eliminates the dust, mess, and cost of future machine sanding. Repeated sanding also destroys the character of many beautiful floors. Waterlox is easy to freshen and rejuvenate. Just clean the floor, and easily apply additional coats depending on wear and tear.

Waterlox Video Floor Finishing Guide


All interior wood finishes perform in a variety of ways. Lacquer based products have traditionally provided a great finish for interior wood cabinets. Unfortunately, it is difficult to spray apply lacquer in a residential jobsite. Waterlox is a great alternative to lacquer and varnish products for wood cabinets in that it can easily be buffed and recoated on site.

Waterlox Advantages:

Hand rubbed look

Unparalleled wood protection on a variety of interior surfaces in the cabin.

Ease of touch up and refinish.

Safer and more serviceable than lacquer for cabinets and walls.

Natural Wood tone Enhancement and Beauty

Use on :

Wood Flooring
Historic Reclaimed Lumber
Wood Trim
Wood Windows
Bathrooms and Kitchens
Furniture and Railings

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