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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Comparison of Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes to others.

By definition, a varnish, with a few exceptions, contains resins as essential constituents. Further, varnishes dry by the evaporation of its volatile constituents, by the oxidation or chemical reaction of other constituents or partly by both. We view our Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes as varnishes, and while many make untrue product claims, Waterlox has never made any claims that we manufacture anything but a varnish. Our varnish is however a truly unique blend of Tung oil and resin that showcases the natural beauty of wood, providing lasting, durable protection. It is also truly different than other types of varnishes because it penetrates and builds up to a film that protects.

 
Our elegant, one-of-a-kind finish has been made by the Hawkins family since 1910, and is still made by hand according to the original family formula. Back in 1910, the Waterlox chemists experimented with many different formulations and settled on one that was believed to be a “best of all worlds” formulation and subsequently revolutionized the finishing industry.
 
Traditional finishes of that time were achieved mainly by hand-burnishing raw or modified linseed oil-based products (from the flaxseed and more available in the USA) into wood surfaces. Electricity in homes was not available yet, which is why they were applied by hand. In most cases, they would be topped off with a coat of wax. Therefore, wood finishes of the time were very labor intensive and very expensive to apply and maintain. Most people in that day and age couldn’t afford such a high cost to finish and maintain a finished wood floor; therefore, they would end up leaving them unfinished. Rugs and/or carpet were a much cheaper alternative in those days; which is why unfinished beautiful wood floors are often uncovered during home renovations.
 
Waterlox’s formulation was designed to eliminate the need for all the work and expense of the time. It was designed to be applied with an applicator or brush and required no further effort other than dry and the appropriate number of subsequent coats of finish. In other words, no oil needed to be hand-burnished and no wax needed to be maintained.
 
Today, Waterlox continues to deliver spectacular results that give the user all the attributes of a natural oil finish with the durability of modern finishes. Further, 90% of the surface finish of all of our Tung oil formulations are composed of renewable, natural resources.
 

Features

Benefits

Tung oil-based

Penetrates surface

Easy to maintain

Enhances beauty of wood

Flexible

Moves with the wood

Does not chip or crack

Tolerates wide temperature ranges

Water resistant1

Excellent water resistance

Great for use in water-related areas

Condensation on glassware will not leave rings

Protective

Protects against common household spills

Heat and Cold

Easy to Maintain

Easier to maintain than surface finishes and/or oils

 
Other types of drying oil systems or varnishes cannot reach the performance standards of the Waterlox Original Tung oil system. Here’s how others compare:
 

Waterlox vs. raw oil or “Danish” oil.

Raw oils or “Danish” oils penetrate into the wood pores but do not really protect the wood. Finishes in this category are not difficult to apply, but they offer little or no protection to the wood substrate and can remain tacky like fly paper until dry. Because of this they require frequent and time-consuming reapplication, will water spot and are usually not recommended for working surfaces such as floors or counter tops or for use in water-sensitive areas. While Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes contain a superior drying oil, namely Tung Oil, they are fully cooked varnishes, which dry quicker and form permanent films tough enough to walk on and take daily abuse. Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes are also water and chemical resistant (alcohol and alkali).

 

Waterlox vs. linseed oil.

Linseed oil is a drying oil pressed from the flax seed. While linseed oil will penetrate into the pores of the wood, it will not really protect the wood substrate and will remain tacky like fly paper until dry. Linseed oil molecules are also larger than Tung oil and will therefore have limited penetrating ability. Because of this it requires frequent and time-consuming reapplication, will water spot and is usually not recommended 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 vs. oil-modified urethane.

Urethane finishes form a plastic looking film on top of the wood surface and are harder and more brittle. Finishes in this category are more difficult to apply and are often recommended for professional use only. To properly use a urethane product, extreme care must be used when applying the product and sanding is required for adhesion purposes. Since this finish is a surface film, when the film is breached, it offers no protection at all. Touch-ups and maintenance are labor-intensive, may require a professional, and require sanding the entire surface to bare wood since partial renovations are not possible.


Waterlox vs. traditional water based urethane
.

Like their oil-modified counterparts, traditional water based urethanes sit on top of the wood surface. Because they are mainly comprised of acrylic and urethane, they don’t bring out the natural patina of the wood. Wear and scratches will also be more noticeable because they will scratch white. They are often difficult to apply and are often recommend for professional use only. Since this finish is a surface film, when the film is breached, it offers no protection at all. Touch ups are also difficult.

 

Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes are penetrating oil finishes and as such enhance the wood with a natural oiled look and feel. Waterlox never requires sanding for adhesion and touch-ups can be done at any time without sanding. Waterlox forms a protective finish that won't chip, crack or wrinkle.

 

Waterlox vs. oil/wax-based systems.

European oil/wax-based systems are labor-intensive to apply and maintain. Finishes in this category are difficult to apply and are recommended for professional use only because they are applied by buffing in and wiping off any excess product and are applied in thin coats. While they penetrate into the wood pores, they offer little or no protection of the wood substrate. Because of this, they require labor-intensive and frequent maintenance. Waterlox finishes can be applied by do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike. Our finishes are penetrating oil finishes and as such will penetrate into the wood pores and build up to a film that is water resistant, stands up to foot traffic and common household spills. Maintenance and recoating are easier and not required as often.

 
1 Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes are water resistant when applied at the proper spread rate and number of coats.

Established 1910