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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’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