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Home » Articles » Types of Wood Finishes - A Comparison of Benefits & Disadvantages

Types of Wood Finishes - A Comparison of Benefits & Disadvantages

We all know that wood finishes are good for protecting our wooden furniture and handicrafts. However, whenever buying wood finishes, most of the people get confused about the benefits of different types of wood finishes. They do not understand as to what purposes a specific type of wood finish would serve. So, here is a comparison of popular types of wood finishes that might prove beneficial in guiding you when you next consider about finishing your wooden articles at home!

Types of Wood Finishes There are different wood finishes but only two major categories of wood finishes. These are Penetrating Finishes and Surface Finishes. All the popular wood finishes can be placed under one of these two types.

Types of Wood Finishes
Types of Wood Finishes
Penetrating Wood Finishes- Penetrating wood finishes go deep down into the pores of wood. These types of wood finishes are oil based. Tung oil and linseed oil are the most common types of penetrating wood finishes.

Surface Wood Finishes- Surface wood finishes leave a hard film on the top of a wood surface and do not penetrate into it. The extra layer made by it forms a buffer between the wood and the outside elements with which it comes in contact. Some of the popular types of surface finishes are lacquer, shellac, polyurethane, varnish and wax etc.

Types of Wood Finishes - A Comparison Here is a guide about different types of wood finishes with the benefits they provide as well as the disadvantages attached to them.

Lacquer Finish

Benefits- The lacquer wood finish dries very fast than the other types of wood finishes. It can also be easily removed when not required and as such they are very useful for finishing wood furniture as you can remove them and apply other finish when the need arises. It is more beneficial when multiple layers are applied to the wood.

Disadvantages- It gives off harmful fumes and can also be hazardous in the presence of fire. As it dries quickly one has to be very fast when applying it. Generally spraying has to be adopted when using lacquer wood finish type.

Oil Based Finish Benefits- It is good for bringing luxurious satin finish on wood surfaces like those needed for decorative wood handicrafts or furniture in living room. It is easy to apply and can easily cover the scratches and nicks.

Disadvantages- The oil finish dries very slowly. Utmost care has to be exercised while applying this type of wood finish in order to protect eyes.

Polyurethane Finish

Benefits- It is an extremely durable type of wood finish and is also water resistant. It is available in a variety of looks and feel including natural appearance, satin, semi gloss and glossy sheens. It is an ideal wood finish for wooden kitchen cabinets, doors, furniture and even floors

Disadvantages- It cannot be used for outdoor wooden furniture or other outdoor woods as it turns yellowish or shows cracks when exposed to sunlight. However, when UV light absorbers are added, this disadvantage can be countered. Once applied, it is very difficult to repair the polyurethane finishing.

Shellac Finish

Benefits- It gives a hard finish which dries very fast. It can also be used as sealer as well as stain remover on drywall, cured plaster apart from wood. Shellac finishes can be found in many colors and are good for wood furniture and wooden floors.

Disadvantages- It is not moisture resistant and thus cannot be used for outdoor woods.

Varnish Finish

Benefits- Varnish can be found in various sheen and can be applied on bare wood as well as stained wood. It is very durable.

Disadvantages- The wood surface needs to be cleaned thoroughly for applying varnish and it can also damage the wet surfaces.

Water Based Wood Finishes

Benefits- They dry very fast and do not acquire yellowish color with aging. They can be used on all types of woods- bare, stained and even painted. They are ideal for wooden handicrafts and other decorative wood articles.

Disadvantages- They are not very durable. One has to be extra careful while applying this type of wood finish as they can show up marks of brush strokes.

Wax Finishes

Benefits- Wax finishes provide a very glossy surface and can be easily removed too.

Disadvantages- They are not very durable and one has to apply them frequently.



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» Types of Wood Finishes - A Comparison of Benefits and Disadvantages
19 Oct 2011- We all know that wood finishes are good for protecting our wooden furniture and handicrafts. However, whenever buying wood finishes, most of the people get confused about the benefits of different types of wood finishes...

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