Why PaintSource chooses Waterlox for wood floors

Waterlox Tung Oil Finishes 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.

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.

BEAUTY – Waterlox provides a rich, hand-rubbed patina that enhances a wood’s grain and brings out its inherent beauty. Waterlox finishes penetrate deep into the pores of the wood forming a bond from within. This penetrating feature gives the wood an “open pore” appearance that is desired by those seeking a natural-looking wood surface. Waterlox is the first choice for many wood floor specialists, furniture makers, antique restorers and craftsmen because of the genuine old-world presence and distinctive character it provides.

DURABILITY – Waterlox tung oil finish is the optimal way to preserve wood while revealing its gorgeous color and alluring luster. The ancient Chinese used tung oil to waterproof ships. Today, Waterlox literally locks out water with a formula that relies on the protective nature of resins and the penetrating sealing advantages of tung oil. Waterlox permeates wood surfaces and actually becomes part of the wood itself to resist moisture, dirt, household chemicals, alcoholic beverages, heat and cold and to provide an unprecedented finish.

EASE OF USE – Waterlox finishes are surprisingly easy to apply. They have a longer “open time,” meaning they stay workable for a greater period of time than most waterborne or oil based urethanes. And because Waterlox is self-leveling, lap marks, turns and cut-ins disappear. Waterlox is also simple to maintain. If noticeable scratches appear on your Waterlox-finished surface, all you need to do is clean the damaged area well with soap and water and then reapply a new coat where needed. You do not need to sand down to bare wood or refinish the entire floor like you do with other finishes.

When choosing a wood floor finish, it is important to consider several factors.


  • What look do you want?
  • Do you you want a natural, non-“plastic” look?
  • Do you desire a a hand rubbed look?
  • Do you like low sheen? High sheen?
  • What type of wood are you finishing?
  • Are you finishing, or is a contractor doing the work?


  • What is the exposure?
  • Do you have Dogs? Kids?

Ease of Application and Maintenance

All floor finish choices offer trade-offs, and there is not a perfect finish. Many of the most durable finishes are difficult to apply , and require a much involved process for maintenance, including sanding, and inconvenience. Most of the commonly used polyurethane floor finishes used lead to rapid deterioration and visible scratching, requiring frequent and inconvenient sanding and recoating. 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 re-coat, 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 re-coat 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 Mahogany, 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 tropical hardwood like Ipe or Teak. Waterlox can be used as a seal coat under many other types of finishes that are otherwise incompatible with oily dense hard woods. There is little film building with Waterlox, even with repeat applications. Waterlox has always been our product of choice for tropical hardwood. It uniquely brings 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 re-coating. Just clean, and refresh every few years. This is just an elegant finish for tropical hardwood flooring.

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 mineral spirit-based, and requires 24 hours between coats.

Allow time for proper floor finishing in your project schedule. The mineral spirits in Waterlox evaporates within a couple of hours after application.

Some clients seek a $20 per gallon 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.

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.

PaintSource offers Waterlox to our customers as the best system for beautifying, protecting, and maintaining hardwood floors.

Waterlox for Log Homes

Our product of choice on most interior wood of a log home is Waterlox. Waterlox is a superior water-proofer and finish for most Log Home applications including Walls, Timbers, Logs, Wood Floors, Cabinets, furniture, Tropical 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 re-coating 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

We like to see at least one coat applied to backside, edges, and end-grain saw cuts before and during installation for the ultimate in wood stabilizing. More info here


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 job site. 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

2 Responses

  • I have stripped the 100 yearplus varnish from old red cypress woodwork(moldings,doors,fretwork,transom frames). Everything has been sanded. I was thinking about redoing all with boiled linseed oil followed with two coats of amber shellac. Now after reading about Waterlox, I am now undecided. I am in a quandry!!!Your advice, please. Thank you.

    • Boiled linseed oil has been used for years and is ok for some projects. I usually do not recommended it 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 is Tung Oil based, and is combined with resin and hardeners to provide a durable and waterproof finish.

Leave a Reply