Is It Safe to Use Water Seal Over Painted Wood?



Investing in furniture is expensive. Whether it’s a teakwood coffee table or wardrobe, you would want them to last for years before thinking of replacing them. But you need to maintain the pieces of furniture properly if you want them to last so long. Wood expands and contracts because of extreme weather conditions.

This can create chips, cracks, and fine gaps in the joints, thus reducing the overall life of the furniture, that’s true for even the best paint for outdoor wood furniture.

If you don’t want to see such cracks, make sure you use a sealant over painted wood.

Use of water sealant

You may come across many sealants in the market that are appropriate only for bare wood. What you need is a sealant for painted wood that keeps your furniture free from chips and cracks.

But are water sealants the answer to make painted wood long-lasting? Let’s take a look at some of the sealants that are best for painted wood to understand their differences with a water sealant:

Polyurethane – This is an oil-based, synthetic varnish that offers a durable coating on painted wooden surfaces. But it emits toxic volatile organic compounds, making them suitable only for outdoor furniture or in well-ventilated areas. You can remove it using mineral spirits or paint thinner.

Paste wax – It contains wax mixed in a solvent. Manufacturers use carnauba or beeswax to make paste wax that works as a furniture sealant. You need to apply it with a rag or brush and wipe the excess sealant off from the surface. But that doesn’t finish your job. You will also have to buff the furniture once the sealant dries to make it look shiny. You can also use milk paint or chalk paint to bring out the color of the paint that’s already there on the wood.

Decoupage medium – This is suitable only for small painted wood projects like trinket boxes, picture frames, and decorative plaques. You need to apply at least two to three coats of this sealant to ensure that the painted wood remains crack-free.

While all these sealants serve the purpose of keeping your painted wood safe for years, they also have the shortcomings that keep them slightly behind water sealants.

Water sealant, also known as polycrylic, has a water-based finish that hardly gives off any odor like the other sealants. Most importantly, it is inexpensive and works on almost any type of wood. You can remove it easily with water. That also means this sealant isn’t suitable for painted wood used as a fence or for outdoor furniture. It doesn’t emit toxic volatile organic compounds, making it the safest sealant for your home.

Applying a couple of coats of polyacrylic is more than enough to make your furniture durable. It also comes in spray cans. This allows you to seal intricate corners or areas that you can’t reach easily.

Every sealant for painted wood has its own pros and cons, but if you compare the safety and price of all the sealants, polyacrylic or the water sealant is way ahead of others, making it the ideal product to make your furniture durable.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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