Pros and Cons of Different Wood Finishes and Sealants

Wood sealants

Have you ever wondered why some wooden things look shiny or smooth while others look more natural? Well, that’s because of wood finishes and sealants! This blog post will explore the pros and cons of different finishes and sealants for wood.

What Are Wood Finishes and Sealants?

First, let’s talk about what wood finishes and sealants are. When people make cool things out of wood, they often put something on it to make it look nice and protect it. That something is called a finish or sealant. It’s like putting a coat on your wooden creation to keep it safe and stylish.

Different Types of Wood Finishes and Sealants

Now, let’s check out a few different types of wood finishes and sealants and what’s good and not-so-good about them:


Pros: Varnish is like a superhero for wood. It makes it super shiny and protects it from water and scratches. Great for furniture or things that need extra toughness

Cons: It takes a bit longer to dry, and sometimes it can turn yellow over time. 


Pros: This one is also a protector! Polyurethane makes wood strong and shiny. It’s good for floors or things that get a lot of use.

Cons: Sometimes it can be tricky to put on, and it might not look as natural as other finishes.


Pros: Shellac is like a natural beauty treatment for wood. It’s made from bugs, and it gives wood a warm and amber glow. It’s great for antiques or things you want to look classic.

Cons: It’s not the toughest finish, and it doesn’t love water too much.


Pros: Lacquer is the quick-dry champ! It gives wood a super smooth and glossy look. Great for things like cabinets or musical instruments.

Cons: It might not be the best for outdoor things, and it can be tricky to repair if damaged.

Oil Finishes (like Linseed Oil)

Pros: These are like a spa day for wood. They soak into the wood and bring out its natural beauty. Good for wooden tools or things that you want to feel smooth.

Cons: They might not protect as much as other finishes, and you might need to reapply them more often.


Pros: Wax is like the cozy blanket of wood finishes. It gives a soft, natural look and is great for wooden furniture or crafts.

Cons: It needs more attention – you might have to reapply it more often, especially if your wooden creation is in a busy place.

Choosing the Right Finish for Your Wood

Now that we know a bit about different wood finishes and sealants, how do you choose the right one for your wooden project? Here are some things to think about:

Where Will It Be? If your creation will be outside, it needs extra protection from the weather, so a tough finish like varnish or polyurethane might be a good choice.

How Will You Use It? If your wooden thing will get a lot of use, like a table or floor, you might want a strong finish like polyurethane or lacquer.

Natural or Shiny? Do you want your wood to look natural and warm, or do you like the shiny, glossy look? Oil finishes or wax can give you a more natural look, while varnish or lacquer will make it shiny.

How Much Time Can You Spend? Some finishes need more time and effort to put on and maintain. If you want something easy, go for oil finishes or wax. If you’re up for a challenge, try varnish or polyurethane.

Choosing the right wood finish or sealant is like picking the perfect outfit for your wooden creation. It depends on where it will be, how you want it to look, and how much care you will give it. Each type has its own pros and cons, so it’s all about finding the one that fits your project the best.

Now, you’re equipped with the knowledge of wood finishes and sealants. Happy woodworking!

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