Types of Wood Furniture Sealer


If you are a woodworker, then you understand the importance of protecting your masterpieces with sealant. What many laypeople may be unaware of is just how many different wood sealants are available. If you use the same type of sealant for every project, regardless of how or where the wooden piece will be used, you may not be choosing the best protection. Compare different wood sealants to decide which will work best for your particular project.


  • Varnish comes in two forms: liquid, which can be applied with a paintbrush or paint roller, and aerosol, which is sprayed on. Varnish dries quickly and is available in a variety of solutions, which dry to different levels of hardness. The specialized resins in varnish are resistant to the elements, making many varnishes ideal for outdoor use.


  • Lacquer is a well-known wood finish and is mostly available as an aerosol spray. Lacquer also comes in several formulations that dry to different levels of hardness.


  • Shellac is a common wood finish that comes only in a quick-drying, brush-on form. Shellac is quite safe, consisting only of natural resin and denatured alcohol.


  • Polyurethane is also available in both paint-on and spray-on varieties. It is one of the most inexpensive finishes and can be tinted to suit your tastes. Polyurethane works better when applied over new wood rather than already-aged projects. Many people dislike polyurethane due to its strong odor.

Acrylic Urethane

  • As opposed to the stench of polyurethane, acrylic urethane barely has any smell at all. It is available in brush-on or spray-on versions and the formula cleans up easily. Acrylic urethane should be used on wood items that will remain indoors.

Catalyzed Clear Topcoats

  • Commonly used to protect wooden cabinets, catalyzed clear topcoats create one of the hardest finishes available. However, these topcoats are very difficult to use, making them a poor choice for anyone but professional woodworkers. Catalyzed clear topcoats are available in two-part spray-on forms.

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