The PaintSource Guide to Using Waterlox in Horse Barns and Livestock Structures

The PaintSource Guide to Using Waterlox in Horse Barns and Livestock Structures


  • Expertise: Based on the insights of Doug Wilson, founder of PaintSource and a renowned expert in wood finishes, this guide focuses on using Waterlox Tung Oil Finish in equine and other livestock structures. Given the unique environment of barns, Waterlox is preferred for its durability and aesthetic appeal.

Advantages of Waterlox

  • Durability: Superior resistance to moisture, crucial for preventing warping, cracking, and rot.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Enhances wood’s natural grain, offering an elegant, furniture-grade finish.
  • Functionality: Resistant to typical barn wear like horse kicks or equipment abrasions.
  • Safety: Safe for food contact once cured, making it ideal for areas where animals might contact the surfaces.

Wood Preparation

  • Initial Assessment: Examine the wood for discoloration and organic growth to determine the treatment steps.
  • Cleaning:
    • Deck Cleaning Solution: Effective for older wood surfaces.
    • Wood Brightener: Ideal for rejuvenating older, gray wood.
    • Sodium Percarbonate: Provides deep cleaning, beneficial for stained or grimy wood.
  • Staining (Optional):
    • Zar Oil Stain: To enhance wood’s natural tone or add color. Check Zar’s website for color tones.

Application of Waterlox Tung Oil Finish

  • Equipment: Use airless sprayers for even application.
  • Spray Tip Sizes:
    • Understanding Tip Code: First digit (doubled) indicates fan width; last two digits indicate orifice size.
    • Tip Choice:
      • 409 or 509 Tip: Good for general applications.
      • 511 Tip: Better for larger areas or quicker application.
  • Application Process:
    • Spraying: Apply evenly, following up with a brush for uniform coverage.
    • Drying Time: Allow two dry days post-washing before application.

Maintenance and Touch-ups

  • Routine Care: Periodic reapplication may be necessary in high surface abrasion environments. Unlike varnishes or polyurethanes, Waterlox touch-ups are simple and sanding is not required.

Additional Tips

  • Patch Testing: Always test on a small area before full application.
  • Ventilation: Maintain good ventilation during and after application until the finish cures.
  • Manufacturer’s Instructions: Adhere to Waterlox guidelines for optimal results.


  • Final Thoughts: Waterlox Tung Oil Finish is an excellent choice for livestock facilities where both aesthetics and durability are key. Its ability to withstand the harsh conditions of barn environments while enhancing the wood’s natural beauty makes it superior to traditional polyurethanes or varnishes. Understanding the nuances of application, including equipment and spray tip sizes, ensures a professional-grade finish.

This guide provides a detailed approach to using Waterlox Tung Oil Finish, emphasizing practicality and aesthetics suitable for horse barns and livestock structures. Following these steps will ensure not only an enhanced appearance but also long-term protection and durability of wood surfaces in these unique environments.

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