Posted on 8th June 2023

Expert Tips for Choosing the Right Wood Finish for Maximum Durability

Let’s say you just bought some new wooden furniture. But after some time you notice that the wood is drying out or has started to rot. These problems can occur due to excessive humidity or overexposure to UV radiation. And to resolve them you will need to employ the correct wood finish.

The right wood finish is crucial for enhancing your wooden furniture’s beauty and longevity. However, with so many options to choose from, knowing which one to select can be tricky. Don’t worry! Here are our expert tips for choosing the right wood finish to ensure maximum durability.

Types of Wood Finishes

There are many different types of wood finishes to choose from, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most common types:

1. Oil-based Finishes

Oil-based finishes are easy to apply and provide a warm, natural look to the wood. They penetrate deep into the wood, enhancing its natural grain and color. But they might emit strong fumes upon application and take longer to dry.

2. Water-based Finishes

Water-based finishes produce a clear, non-yellowing finish that prevents the wood from darkening. On the other hand, it can be challenging to apply them evenly, and they may also raise the wood grain.

3. Lacquer Finishes

Lacquer finishes are known for their quick drying ability. The high-gloss finish they produce brings out the natural beauty of the wood. However, they are challenging to repair if they crack and require more skill.

4. Varnish Finishes

Varnish finishes are well-known for their long-lasting durability and resistance to heat and water. They create a clear, hard finish that emphasizes the natural color and grain of the wood. They are, however, more challenging to apply and might yellow with time.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Durable Finish

There are various factors to consider when choosing a durable table top finish:

Type of Wood

Different finishes are required for various types of wood. For instance, hardwoods like oak and cherry may require a more complex finish like varnish or lacquer, whereas softwoods like pine and cedar may only need a softer finish like oil or wax.

Exposure to Sunlight

If your tabletop is constantly exposed to daylight, you will need a wood finish that resists UV rays. Otherwise, the finish may become discolored over time.

Look and Feel

Your chosen finish will determine your tabletop’s look and feel. While some finishes offer a high-gloss look, others look naturally matte. Moreover, some finishes feel smooth, while others are textured or rough.

How to Choose the Right Wood Finish for Maximum Durability

Choosing the right wood finish is vital to furniture longevity. A good finish protects the wood against moisture, heat, and scratches and accentuates its natural beauty. However, a poorly chosen finish can cause discoloration, peeling, and cracking. Here are some expert tips for choosing the right wood finish for maximum durability.

Consider the Purpose:

First, consider the purpose of the wood finish you’re applying. Is it a crowded area, like the floor or a dining table? Is it purely cosmetic and requires little maintenance? The purpose determines the durability. For high-traffic areas, select a robust and protective finish.

Test the Finish:

Always test the finish on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire piece. This allows you to see how the finish interacts with the wood and determine whether it offers the desired look and durability. Remember that making changes or switching to a different finish during the testing phase is more easy.

Assess the Wood’s Natural Colour:

Consider the natural grain pattern and colour of the wood you’re working with. Over time, some finishes, like varnish, may turn yellow and change how the wood appears. Others, like oil finishes, emphasize and intensify the wood’s natural colour. Select a finish that highlights the characteristics of the wood and adheres to your desired aesthetic.


Choosing the right wood finish is essential for the longevity of your furniture. Consider the type of wood, exposure to sunlight and moisture, and desired look and feel when choosing a finish. With the right tools and techniques, you can achieve a long-lasting, beautiful finish that will protect and enhance your tabletop for years.