Best Wood Finish: Complete Guide for all needs

Woody Jackson | Last modified on August 19th, 2021
56 Products Considered
41 Hours of Research
7899 Reviews Analyzed

Wood finishing is the application of a protective finish to the wood to improve its aesthetics, durability, and resistance to damage. The purpose of the best wood finish is to make wood more durable, improve its surface appearance, and prolong its useful life.

A wide variety of wood finishes choose from traditional oil and varnish to the latest water-based finishes. And there is an endless array of colors and effects and sheens to paint on as well.

So, how do you decide what to use? First, you need to know what kind of wood you have. Is it soft or hard? What is the most appropriate finish for that kind of wood? And how do I actually apply a wood finish? Let’s take a look at the most common wood finishes and how to use them.

Best Wood Finish review

The List of The Best Wood Finishes

1. Best Overall: HOPE’S 100% Pure Tung Oil, Wood Finish for Furniture & Floors, All Natural Moisture Resistant Sealer

Wood doesn’t have to come in boring, prefinished colors. If you’ve got a piece of fine furniture or an old floor in need of a makeover, you can give it a beautifully hand-rubbed, richly-colored finish with only one product! Hope’s 100% Pure Tung Oil Wood Finish is a natural oil that adds a beautiful luster and protects your wood against moisture, alcohol, oil, and everyday wear.

HOPE'S 100% Pure Tung Oil, Wood Finish For Furniture & Floors

With HOPE’S 100% Pure Tung Oil Wood Finish, you’ll get a beautiful hand-rubbed finish every time. And the best part is that it’s so easy to apply, you can do it at home, without investing in expensive equipment or special skills to make a professional-looking finish. This is a truly fantastic product that can be used on almost any surface to give your wood a natural, durable, and easy-to-maintain finish.

What I Like:

  • Hope’s 100% Pure Tung Oil Wood Finish can be used to revitalize old wood floors, furniture, and other wood surfaces.
  • It can also be used as a sealer on bare wood to stop the damaging effects of humidity and weather. 
  • This product is designed to be used as a finish on wood floors and furniture.

2. Best Waterproof Wood Finish: TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish, Gloss and Satin Polyurethane Finish for Wood, Boats and Outdoor Furniture

TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish is the ideal varnish for all types of wood. TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish will protect your wood from the sun and weather and offer a beautiful, long-lasting finish. This is an excellent product for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for high quality, durable finish that is easy to apply.

This is a water-resistant varnish that has a high gloss finish and is built to last. It has a classic look that stands up well to the elements. TotalBoat uses a high-grade tung oil that is known for its durability.

TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish, Gloss And Satin Polyurethane Finish

The TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish is a premium varnish that offers just the right combination of protection. First, you’ll appreciate the TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish’s high-gloss marine-quality finish. This varnish provides just the right balance of protection and durability, so you’ll get plenty of use for your investment. TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish is a high-gloss polyurethane varnish for interior or exterior wood.

What I Like:

  • This finish is designed to protect exterior wood, such as wood used for boats. But it also suits interior surfaces.
  • TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish is a water-resistant finish made to be recoated in just one hour. 
  • The finish can be used on bare wood or previously coated wood. It can be used on all types of wood, including softwoods, hardwoods, and plywood.

3. Best Food Safe Wood Finish: Superclear Premium Amazing Clear Cast Epoxy Pourable Resin, Food Safe Epoxy for Wood Tables

Superclear Premium Amazing Clear Cast Epoxy Pourable Resin is easy to work with and can be applied to almost any surface. The clear finish allows the wood grain to show through while protecting it. It gives a high gloss finish that resists scratches and water. It can be applied to almost any surface and is easy to clean up. It is food-safe and will withstand high temperatures. It is easy to mix, pourable, self-leveling, and cures in about 10 minutes.

This epoxy resin is of the highest quality and is guaranteed to give the professional a fantastic finish! This is an excellent product that has been designed to be used with pigment powder, mica powder, alcohol ink, etc. It is made of outstanding products by a well-known manufacturer.

Superclear Premium Amazing Clear Cast Epoxy Pourable Resin

What I Like:

  • Superclear Premium Epoxy Resin is an excellent product for many different tasks and can help you fix many of the wood problems in your home.
  • This is a self-leveling epoxy that can be used on wood, metal, ceramics, glass, and many other surfaces.

4. Best Natural Wood Finish: Skidmore’s Premium Liquid Beeswax Wood Finish, Natural Non-Toxic Formula Will Polish

Skidmore’s Premium Liquid Beeswax Wood Finish is a high-quality wood finish used for interior work. The finish is easy to apply and produces a beautiful, soft sheen that’s not too shiny.

Skidmore’s Premium Liquid Beeswax Wood Finish is an excellent product for anyone who wants to fully protect their wood while leaving a little bit of the natural charm of untreated wood in their finished work. It’s also perfect for anyone who wants a superior finish that’s not so shiny that it hurts your eyes if you look at it

This is a trusted and trendy beeswax wood finish for most types of wood. It is a blend of natural oils and beeswax. It can be used on your wood floors, furniture, and woodwork.

It is a combination of beeswax and natural oil, which makes it a furniture finish that is soft to touch and has a warm glow.

The wood finish is an easy to apply alternative to using a spray finish in your woodwork around the house. The finish is effortless to apply, and you do not need to go through the hassle of cleaning the work area and protecting it before using the product. The liquid beeswax wood finish will protect your wooden work from rust, insects, and water. 

What I Like:

  • This wood finish is really easy to use, and the results are fantastic.
  • The shine is beautiful, and the finish is a mahogany brown color. It is easy to use; just apply, let it dry and then finish it off with a soft cloth.

5. Best Outdoor Wood Finish: TotalBoat Marine Wood Finish – Ideal for Boats, Home and Outdoor Teak Furniture

TotalBoat Marine Wood Finish is a wood stain that claims to be durable and protects outdoor teak wood and other hardwood types from the elements. The product also claims to have a unique linseed oil and resin formula that offers maximum protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

This is a premium wood finish for building wood items, such as boat decks, playgrounds, wooden decks, and picnic tables. It is a protective finish that is water-resistant and durable. The blend of linseed oil and resin provides superior weather resistance and UV protection. It can be used on all exterior wood surfaces. The formula is designed to penetrate deep into the wood grain and extend the life of the wood.

What I Like:

  • TotalBoat Marine Wood Finish was explicitly developed to be a protective and durable finish for outdoor wood surfaces.
  • This coating protects wood from harmful ultraviolet rays and makes it last for years to come. 

Buyer’s Guide

There is no shortage of wood finish options out there, and choosing the right one for you can seem overwhelming. But with a little planning, you can find a finish that will last, resist stains and look good for years to come.

The first step is to decide what you are looking for in a finish. You might want something invisible or something that will change the look of the wood with every coat.

What is Wood Finish

The wood finish is a thin coating of transparent material applied to wood to protect the wood surface and add luster, color, and texture. The coating can be natural or synthetic.

Wood Finish Types

Wood finishing is the last process done to a piece of wood after it has been milled, machined, and assembled into a finished product. Typically this involves the application of a stain or paint that is absorbed by the wood.

This finish also makes the wood more resistant to moisture and protects the wood against things such as scratches, dents, and other types of physical damage. Many types of wood finish exist, including polyurethane and varnish. There are also numerous brands of wood finish, and I want to talk about them.

Minwax Wood Finish

Minwax is a brand of polyurethane wood finishing products. The Minwax brand offers various stain, varnish, and finish products, including gel stains, wiping stains, and wood conditioners. It also provides wood stripper products and pre-stain conditioners. Minwax’s product lines are divided into woodcare, finishing, and specialty product lines.

Minwax Wood Finish

Minwax Wood Finish contains essential oils, proteins, and other natural ingredients that penetrate deep into the wood. It also includes a mildewcide, fungicide, insecticide, and mildew stat to protect the wood from fungi, mildew, insects, and mold. Minwax is also easy to apply and has a protective topcoat.

Burnt Wood Finish

Burnt brand Wood Finish is a water-based finish that will give your wood furniture a distressed look. This finish can be used on wood cabinets, tables, floors, doors, paneling, and trim work. It dries to the touch in just a couple of hours and can be used on both new and previously finished wood. The finish is heat, scratch, and water-resistant and can be used indoors or outdoors.

Beeswax Wood Finish

Beeswax wood finish is an organic, eco-friendly wood finish applied to wood surfaces to provide protection and enhance their natural beauty. It is one of the safest wood finishes you can use, aside from entirely natural finishes with no chemicals whatsoever. This is because it is made with natural beeswax and organic oils, and it is not only pet-friendly, but it is safe to use in the kitchen and on wooden countertops.

Beeswax Wood Finish

Shellac Wood Finish

Shellac wood finish is used to finish furniture and other wooden products. This finish has a very smooth feel, and it can be very durable. When you want to apply the finish, you simply have to strip any old finish from the wood, sand it lightly and then wipe it clean.

Shellac Wood Finish

Shellac wood finish is a great product and is perfect for anyone who wants to make old furniture look great and new.

Wood Finish Types

A wood finish is a natural or synthetic coating applied to wood to modify its color or protect it from decay, abrasion, water, moisture, and UV radiation. A finish can be inorganic (e.g., varnish, paint, shellac, lacquer) or organic (e.g., tung oil, linseed oil, or a drying oil) can be a solution that penetrates the wood or a film that remains on the surface. 

There are several types of wood finish, and the type you choose depends on the type of wood you are working with and how you intend to finish it.

Food Safe Wood Finish

A few factors need to be considered when selecting a wood finish to use in food preparation. First, the FDA requires that all food contact surfaces be smooth, cleanable, and non-absorbent. This eliminates any finish that has an obvious grain, such as polyurethane varnish and lacquer. 

Food Safe Wood Finish

In addition, the finish must be non-toxic and non-flammable. This means no oil-based varnishes or lacquers, as well as no water-based finishes that contain oil. Finally, since the wood will contact food, the finish must be safe to ingest. This eliminates all finishes derived from chemicals.

Polyurethane Wood Finish

Polyurethane wood finish is one of the most popular and widely available finishes today. It is used on millions of pieces of furniture every year. The most common polyurethane wood finish types are water-based polyurethane, oil-based polyurethane, and low VOC water-based polyurethane.

Polyurethane Wood Finish

Burned Wood Finish

The burned wood finish is a type of wood finish that will give an antique look to the wood and will make your wood look as if it burned; the texture of the wood will look like a burnt wood log that is charred, the grain will be visible in the finish and will give the wood that “aged” look that everyone likes, the wood will be darkened and will have a blackish color.

Burned Wood Finish

Natural Wood Finish

The natural wood finish is one of the most sought-after finishes of the 21 st century. This wood finish type can be applied to any woodworking project. 

Natural Wood Finish

 A natural wood finish is a finish that is made from natural products. These products can come from plants, trees, animals, and insects. A natural wood finish is a finish that can be easily obtained and is made from substances that you would find in nature.

Epoxy Wood Finish

Epoxy Wood Finish

Wood finishes come in all kinds of different styles. There are paints, stains, and even a spray-on finish. But the most popular way to finish wood is by using epoxy. When you’re talking about wood epoxies, there are tons of different kinds. Some are thick, some are thin, and some are in between. But the way they cure to look is mostly the same.

Matte Wood Finish

Matte Wood Finish

Matte wood is one of the most popular wood finishes for furniture and other wooden items. Matte finishes are very easy to maintain and clean. They are less slippery than natural wood finishes and less likely to show fingerprints and smudges. However, it takes a lot of time and effort to finish wood with a matte finish. Before applying the finish, all the sanding and smoothing needs to be done by hand.

Glossy Wood Finish

Glossy Wood Finish

The glossy wood finish is trendy and has many advantages. The most noticeable one is the glossy look of your wood. It will be very shiny and nice looking. It will make your wood stand out from the rest. 

This finish will also protect your wood. Since it is glossy, your wood will not absorb any moisture. Moisture is the main cause of many common wood problems that we see in homes. Anyone who has ever lived in the Midwest or the South knows about this problem. This glossy wood finish will also make your wood water-resistant.

Oil Wood Finish

Oil Wood Finish

Oil wood finish is one of the oldest wood finishes globally, among others like lacquer varnish. It is used to protect and beautify wood surfaces. Painting with oil is the simplest and easiest wood finishing technique. The oil can be applied alone or in combination with other products like linseed oil, turpentine, etc.

The oil wood finish can be used as a protective coating to be applied over wood. The finish can also be obtained by using solvent or oil as a base.

Outdoor Wood Finish

Outdoor Wood Finish

There are some great advantages to outdoor wood finishing. First, there is no risk of mold or mildew, common problems when wood furniture or other items are left in a damp basement or garage. Outdoor items also don’t need to be brought in for the winter, so they last longer. The last advantage is that you can protect your outdoor wood from insects.

How to Finish Wood

The finish is the protective coating that you apply to wood to maintain its beauty and make it last longer. They can also make woodwork in ways that aren’t possible without them. They are so important that woodworkers always work to find better ways to finish their work to get the results they want. The reason is that while finishing is a simple process, there are a lot of ways to do it, and not all of them are good. Here’s how to finish wood.

Finishing wood is a two-step process. There are many different types of finishes that you can apply. The first step is the sanding of the wood. When sanding, make sure to use high-quality wood, coarse, and fine-grit sandpaper. The overall process of sanding is to remove the wood’s texture and smooth out the rough spots. The next step is to apply a wood sealant to protect the wood against water, spills, and the general environment.

How to Repair Damaged Wood Finish

Wood surface can be damaged by sudden changes in temperature, humidity or may sustain gradual damage from sunlight, moisture, and exposure to different chemicals. Damages include checking, cracking, splitting, warping, and expansion or contraction caused by weathering or other environmental conditions. The type of damage depends on the type of wood, the severity of the injury, and how long it occurs. Wood also can become discolored due to exposure to light or environmental factors. Several methods can be used to repair damaged wood finish.

The commonly used methods are polishing or filling. Polishing is faster but does not necessarily make the surface more durable. Filling the damage is more durable but is a permanent way to repair the wooden surface.

How to Finish Cedar Wood for Outdoors

Cedar wood makes an excellent material for outdoor projects, and it adds a fresh, outdoorsy feel to any home. However, if you are working with cedar, you may wonder how to finish it correctly. Finishing cedar wood requires a special touch because it is somewhat soft and will dent if it is handled too roughly.

There are many different ways to finish cedar wood, but I prefer to use oil-based products because they are easy to use and last a long time. While you can also use a water-based finish, they will not penetrate the wood as well as oil-based finishes, and they will require more coats than oil-based finishes. One of the most popular and common products used for finishing cedarwood is an oil-based stain. I like to use Minwax, but there are other products out there that can be used.

How to Finish a Wood Table

Wood tables are a fundamental part of every living room. It’s a place to eat, sit and read, and use it as a work table. It has to withstand all kinds of abuse and still looks good for years to come. An excellent way to get that look is to finish the table with a couple of good hardwood finish coats.

When it comes to finishing a wood table, the options are many. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly finish, you can always check out a water-based polyurethane, which offers the right balance between durability and ease of maintenance. For a more natural look, try an oil-based polyurethane, which goes on thin and clear but has an amber hue that changes as it ages. And if you’re looking for something that can be easily “refinished” whenever you feel like a change, try a water-repellent finish like a spar varnish, which creates a hard, glossy finish that resists stains and scratches.

How to Get a Glass-like Finish on Wood

A glass-like finish on the wood is a popular finish that looks simple to achieve but is quite challenging to perform consistently. The woodworking industry uses many professional products and processes to get a perfect finish.

When you think of wood, you probably don’t think of glass. But, if you want to give your wood pieces an elegant, glass-like finish, you can easily do it yourself — without spending a fortune on professional wood finishing services. All you need are the following materials: A coarse-grade sanding block, a tack cloth, a spray bottle filled with clean water, a spray bottle filled with a mixture of 1 part denatured alcohol to 1 part water, and several rags.

Now, here’s what you do: use the sanding block to lightly sand the wood to remove any dirt or lose bits. Next, use the tack cloth to wipe away any dust from the woodes surface. Clean the wood with an alcohol mixture and let it dry. After all, you need to cover the wood with a special glass-like finish according to your wood type.

How to Get a Matte Finish on Wood

When most people think of a matte-finished surface, they think of a rough texture to the touch. This is true, but I’m referring to how the wood’s surface looks, not its texture, when I say matte finish. With the right techniques and products, you can achieve a matte finish on wood that will be smooth to the touch but still look like wood.

Maintaining a matte finish on wood can be a challenge at times. This applies to both interior and exterior wood projects. You can achieve a matte finish in two ways. The first is to seal the wood and then use a matte finish completely. The second is to apply the matte finish before you seal the wood.

FAQ

How To Finish Wood?

The finish is the protective coating that you apply to wood to maintain its beauty and make it last longer. They can also make woodwork in ways that aren’t possible without them. They are so important that woodworkers always work to find better ways to finish their work to get the results they want. The reason is that while finishing is a simple process, there are a lot of ways to do it, and not all of them are good. Here’s how to finish wood.
Finishing wood is a two-step process; there are many different types of finishes that you can apply. The first step is the sanding of the wood. When sanding, make sure to use high-quality wood, coarse, and fine-grit sandpaper. The overall process of sanding is to remove the wood’s texture and smooth out the rough spots. The next step of finishing it to apply a wood sealant to protect the wood against water, spills, and the general environment.

How To Remove Finish From Wood?

To remove the finish from wood, you will need to separate the wood from the finish cleanly. One option is to use a heat gun to soften the finish. The use of a heat gun is described in detail on the heat gun’s product page.
Using a heat gun to remove the finish is not the only option. A chemical stripper may work better for you. The use of a chemical stripper is described in detail on the chemical stripper’s product page.

How To Get A Smooth Paint Finish On Wood?

You will need a paint roller with an extension handle, a paint tray to put the paint in, a paint tray to rinse the roller in, and a sponge to wipe the paint off the roller. Start by applying the paint to the wood. A paint roller is the best tool for applying paint to the wood. And the best way to use the paint is to put the roller in the paint tray and roll it across the wood. This will spread the paint evenly. 

The Bottom Line

Finding the best wood finish is a job that can take hours of research and hundreds of dollars of wasted product. While this is not the end of your journey, this buyer’s guide can be an excellent start to learning how to find the best wood finish.

I want to make sure you get the best results from your wood finish, so I suggest my top five wood finish products. I also provided common information about what to consider while choosing the best wood finish for your home and outdoors.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top