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4 Tips for Successful Wood Finishing

4 Tips for Successful Wood Finishing

Wood is a beautiful, durable and versatile material, whether it is being used for millwork, cabinets, furniture, decking, or home construction. To help ensure lasting beauty and protection on your next wood project, follow these best practices.

Select a Suitable Wood Finish
Water-borne coatings are designed to penetrate deeply into the wood, rather than sitting on top, protecting wood from UV exposure and weather elements from the inside out. Water-borne finishes deliver outstanding color, durability and performance without the toxicity found in conventional stains. They are also easy to apply and maintain.

Prepare the Wood Surface
No matter the type of wood you’re working with, proper sanding is a critical first step to remove any mill glaze, open the pores, and allow the finish to penetrate. Use the proper equipment to evenly sand smooth wood the wood surface with 60-80 grit paper, and then use compressed air or a vacuum to remove the dust.

Follow Application Best Practices
Stir the water-borne product well (and continue to do so throughout the application process), ensuring there are no solids left on your stir stick. Test the color on a small, inconspicuous section of the wood to confirm you’re getting the look you want and the penetration the finish needs. Depending on the surface area you are coating, using a sprayer could be the fastest, easiest way to apply the product. For vertical surfaces, use a slightly upward angle and work section by section to apply the finish to the point of refusal from the bottom to the top. Use a high-quality brush to wipe away excess product, drips or runs. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on drying time before applying additional coats. Watch this video to learn more:

Be Proactive About Maintenance
The durability of a wood finish depends on many factors, including surface preparation, proper application, exposure to UV and moisture, the color of the finish (the darker the pigment, the more protection it offers), and the quality of the wood, just to name a few. As the maintenance time approaches, examine the surface of the wood every six months to check on the status of the coating.

To learn more about water-borne finishes and to\ get inspiration for your next project, go to