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Extend The Life of The Furniture With The Best Wood Sealer

Wood sealer is a water- or oil-based liquid used to protect wood from all kinds of damage: water, UV radiation, mold, and the list goes on. You simply brush or spray it on, wait anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and voila! The wood will take on a slightly shinier appearance and be protected from just about anything life throws at it.

Wood sealer

Are you ready to start shopping around for wood sealer? We’ll help you figure out which products are worth your time and money, and give you a few pointers on what to look for. Let’s go.

What to Look for in a Wood Sealer

Not all wood sealers are created equal.

At the bare minimum, a good wood sealer should protect the wood from water and moisture without tarnishing its appearance. But you should also consider factors such as the sealer’s base ingredient, how safe or eco-friendly it is to use, and if it has any additional protective capabilities.

To give you a head start in your shopping adventure, here’s a quick breakdown of what to look for in a wood sealer.

Water-Based vs. Oil-Based

You can find wood sealers in water-based and oil-based formats. Both types of sealers have their advantages and disadvantages.

Water-Based

Pros:

  • Maintains a clear appearance on the wood
  • Dries faster to allow for multiple recoats per day
  • Has no noticeable smell

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Can lend the wood a dull appearance

Oil-Based

Pros:

  • Less expensive
  • Thicker composition for fewer recoats
  • Can lend more vibrant color to the wood

Cons:

  • Has a strong smell
  • Can cause yellowing of wood over time
  • Takes longer to dry

The type of sealer you opt for should depend on your budget, your preferences, and the project you’re working on.

Protection

The point of wood sealer is to protect the wood. But there are many types of wood sealers available on the market today, each one with its own protective capabilities and intended use. There are a few things you should look for in a wood sealer, though, especially if the wood you apply it to will be kept outdoors.

  • Most sealers offer waterproofing, arguably the most important of wood protections. Waterproofing keeps the wood from rotting when exposed to moisture by causing the water to bead rather than seep into the wood.
  • UV Protection. This is especially important if you live in an area known for high temperatures and plenty of sunshine. UV protection will keep the wood protected from the sun’s UV radiation, which could otherwise cause issues such as fading and splitting.
  • Dark Stain Prevention. Over time, substances such as fungi or mildew can cause ugly dark spots to appear on the wood. Products that feature dark stain prevention will keep the wood safe from these substances to ensure a great appearance in the long run.

Related: The Best Paint Sprayer For any Type of Home Projects

If you’re working on an outdoor project, we highly recommend you opt for wood sealers that feature UV protection and dark stain prevention. These may cost a little more, but they’ll keep the wood looking nice for a lot longer!

Eco-Friendliness

If the environment—or your health—is your number-one concern, then opt for a wood sealer that’s eco-friendly.

Water-based products tend to go easiest on the environment, while oil- or polyurethan-based sealers take more of a toll. Also, avoid sealers that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) when possible, as VOCs are known to be toxic to the environment.

Application

Depending on your woodworking project, one type of application method may be more convenient for you than another. Two popular application methods are:

  • This is the most commonly used application method. Wood sealers meant to be applied by brush usually come in a large can (similar to a paint can).
  • Aerosol can be a better method for certain projects. Wood sealers meant to be applied by aerosol will usually come in a special aerosol can. You may find that aerosol application is a tad easier than brush application, and the aerosol cans tend to be easier to transport.
  • Power spraying. This method is generally ideal for larger-scale projects that require a solid wood sealer coating.

Related: How to Stain Wood: A Basic Guide

Lifespan

Once you’ve spent the time and money applying wood sealer to your project, you’ll want it to last! Most wood sealers can last anywhere from 1 to 3 years before reapplication is needed.

Color & Aesthetics

Finally, you can purchase wood sealers that double as a stain. If this appeals to you, then explore your options and look for the stain or finish color that will best suit your project and preferences. Satin and semi-glossy stains are fairly popular as they offer a subtle, attractive finish.

On the same note, remember that oil-based sealers tend to make the wood appear a bit darker while water-based sealers have less of an impact on the appearance.

The Top Wood Sealers

Now that you know what you’re getting into and how to choose the best wood sealer, take a look at our top picks. The products on our list represent a sampling of the different types of sealers available on the market today, at a range of price points. Whatever your budget and needs, you’re sure to find a wood sealer that works for you!

TriCoPolymer VOC Free Non Toxic Lumber-Seal Clear Satin Wood Sealer

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This wood sealer from TriCoPolymer is one of the best on the market for its supreme quality and eco-friendly properties. It’s particularly ideal for use on large-scale outdoor projects, such as pagodas and trellises.

A simple application procedure is all it takes to ensure the wood is protected from a range of common outdoor issues. In addition to leach protection, you can look forward to:

  • UV resistance
  • Rust and oxidation prevention (for areas around nails and hardware)
  • Protection from fungus and mildew damage
  • Freeze resistance

And you’ll never have to worry about the safety of this product, seeing as it’s completely free of harmful VOCs and other toxins. This means you can safely use it around children and pets, and rest assured that it’s not harmful to the environment.

This water-based wood sealer is known for its quick absorption and drying capabilities, especially convenient if you need to apply several layers to your woodworking project. You’ll also enjoy the simple color enhancement of its clear, satin finish!

Who Should Buy It?

Anyone looking for a top-notch wood sealer to use for larger-scale outdoor projects.

Pros:

  • Non-toxic and VOC-free formula makes it safe and eco-friendly
  • Offers a range of protections for your wood
  • Absorbs into wood quickly due to thin composition

Cons:

  • Not ideal for use on indoor furniture
  • Doesn’t do as well in very humid climates

Thompsons WaterSeal TH.A21711-16 Advanced Natural Wood Protector

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This is another wood sealer product with lots of bells and whistles! It boasts superb, long-lasting waterproofing capabilities and protects the wood from water damage. This product is ideal for large-scale outdoor projects, offering UV resistance and mildew protection to keep the wood looking fantastic in hot climates and humid weather alike. A single application can last for up to two years.

Designed with your convenience in mind, this wood sealer can be applied to both damp and dry wood. This means you can use it on any wood-based project you have going, worry-free! You can also feel good about using this product, considering its low VOC content. This makes it both eco-friendly and safe to use around children and pets.

Choose from one of five gorgeous stain finishes to make your project the very best it can be. From a pleasant Harvest Gold to a bold Sequoia Red or traditional Acorn Brown, the possibilities are endless.

Who Should Buy It?

Anyone who needs a safe, effective wood sealer with plenty of options available.

Pros:

  • Excellent, long-lasting waterproofing
  • Only requires one coat for 2-year protection
  • Can be applied to both damp and dry wood

Cons:

  • Some users noticed slight wood yellowing after applying product
  • Product can make wooden surfaces slippery

Minwax 63010444 Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Finish

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This oil-based wood sealer from Minwax is exactly what you need to finish your larger-scale indoor woodworking project.

It provides basic wood protection to keep it looking sleek and elegant for a long time to come. You can apply this sealer to both finished and unfinished wood, so you can rest assured that you can use this product on any current or upcoming woodworking tasks you have on your plate! You’ll also appreciate the convenience of its fast-drying formula and the peace of mind its durability offers.

This sealer dries clear and offers the wood an attractive satin finish that you’ll enjoy each and every day.

Who Should Buy It?

Anyone looking for a durable and long-lasting wood protection solution for their large indoor project.

Pros:

  • Features a long-lasting formula for peace of mind
  • Great for use on finished and unfinished wood
  • Durable and fast-drying formula

Cons:

  • May turn wood yellow
  • Has strong odor

Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Aerosol

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What’s that? You don’t really need that much sealer?

Then you’re in luck!

Minwax also produces this convenient, ‘fun size’ aerosol version of its wood sealer. It’s ideal for smaller-scale indoor projects, such as sealing wood cabinets or doors. Despite its small size and lighter spray-on application, this sealer packs a wood-protecting punch!

It features the same durable and fast-drying formula with the added convenience an aerosol can has to offer. Transporting this sealer from one place to another will be a breeze, and aerosol is arguably an easier method of application than painting or power-spraying. You can apply this wood sealer to both finished and unfinished wood to keep it looking fresh for quite some time.

This version may not be as thick as the paint-on version, but it certainly gets the job done.

Who Should Buy It?

Anyone looking for an affordable, effective aerosol wood sealer for their smaller indoor projects.

Pros:

  • Aerosol application is perfect for smaller-scale wood projects
  • Small aerosol can design makes for convenient transportation
  • Durable and fast-drying formula
  • Great for use on both finished and unfinished wood

Cons:

  • Not ideal for larger-scale wood projects
  • May turn wood yellow
  • Not as thick as brush-on sealers

Minwax 33255000 Helmsman Spar Urethane Aerosol, 11.5 ounce

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Few wood sealer products can compare with the quality, convenience, and affordability of this Helmsman Spar aerosol.

Unlike the previous two Minwax products, this one is great for use indoors and outdoors. In addition to the basic wood protection offered by the others, this one also provides resistance against UV radiation damage such as chipping and cracking. Better still, the formula is designed to expand and contract as the wood does depending on the temperature. This ensures that the wood will never be left vulnerable to sun or water damage!

The convenience of its aerosol design will make your job so much easier, and you’ll love its satin finish on all of your upcoming indoor and outdoor woodworking projects!

Who Should Buy It?

Anyone who needs an affordable and convenient option for a wider variety of projects.

Pros:

  • Aerosol application is perfect for smaller-scale wood projects
  • Small aerosol can design makes for convenient transportation
  • Just as practical for outdoor use as indoor use
  • Expands and contracts depending on temperature
  • Chip- and crack-resistant design for peace of mind

Cons:

  • Has strong odor
  • Not ideal for larger-scale wood projects
  • May turn wood yellow

Pure Tung Oil Finish Wood Stain & Natural Sealer

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Are you an all-natural, no-additives kind of guy or gal? Are you tired of needing to sacrifice quality for eco-friendliness—or vice-versa? Then you’ll love this pure tung oil natural wood sealer from FDC Chem.

Not only does it provide great protection against damage from liquid, but it also adds a stunning wood stain finish that you’ll just adore. It protects without harmful additivities or solvents…it offers natural charm and style without going overboard. What more could you ask for?

Unlike many other oil-based wood sealers, this one consists solely of pure tung oil—this means that it won’t have quite the same level of odor as the competition. A definite win.

If fear for your health or the environment has kept you from starting that project at the forefront of your mind, wait no longer. This  may be just the thing you need.

Who Should Buy It?

Anyone looking for a high-quality, all-natural, and affordable wood sealing solution.

Pros:

  • 100% tung oil composition ensures safety and eco-friendliness
  • Dries quickly while providing great protection against liquid
  • Offers a more natural-looking finish than other sealers
  • Less odor than most other oil-based sealers

Cons:

  • Some users found issues with the bottle design (too messy, lid not closing well)
  • Adds a rich finish to wood, which isn’t for everyone

Conclusion

As you can see, no two wood sealers are identical and there are plenty of factors to consider before making your purchase. We hope we gave you a good idea of what to look for while shopping, and that you have a better idea of what’s really available on the market today.

The best wood sealer for you will depend on your budget, preferences, needs, and the kind of project you’re doing. We did our best to include a variety of wood sealer types and brands here, but if none of these quite did it for you, we encourage you to continue your search for the ideal product.