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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’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.

Waterlox Features and Benefits



Tung oil-based

Penetrates surface

Easy to maintain

Enhances beauty of wood


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


Protects against common household spills

Heat and Cold

Easy to Maintain

Easier to maintain than surface finishes and/or oils


Read more comparisons of Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes to other finishes.

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

Established 1910