Wax Finishes on Wood: Advantages and Disadvantages

You need a finish to protect wood furniture. Protection is not the only purpose because such a thing also showcases the artistic side.

The most popular finish is wax which can be applied to many types of wood. However, it would help to consider the advantages and disadvantages of wax finishes on wood.

Wax doesn’t soak into the wood when it’s used as a finish; it just sits on top of it. Wax comes from different kinds of minerals, plants, and animals. Most waxes melt at shallow temperatures, which means they don’t do well in hot conditions. To use, rub on liquid or paste wax and wipe it off.

The benefits of wax finishes include the fact that they may be applied using regular furniture refinishing processes and are simple to maintain.

Water, solvent, and outdoor weather resistance are among the drawbacks of wax coatings.  Furthermore, wax finishes might be challenging to apply.

Because of their attractive look and simplicity of application, wax finish products are pretty popular.

Wax finishes have some advantages and downsides in general. Waxes are excellent for protecting and sealing wood surfaces while also producing a clean and appealing appearance.

What is wax wood, and when do you use wax wood?

The most common wax used for finishing wooden objects is carnauba wax. Almost any wax, such as beeswax and paraffin, are also available. Carnauba wax originated from the extract of the leaves of Copernica prunifera. It is also called carnauba palm, native to Brazil, before being refined and bleached.

Because wax offers minimal protection, it has little value in the recent woodworker’s arsenal of wood treatments.

Wax wears off quickly, is damaged by extreme heat such as spilling a cup of tea, offers little protection from water vapor, and needs to be reapplied every year or two.

Due to limitations, wax is practically never used as the main coating but rather complements other coatings. Wax can be applied over oil varnishes. You may also put wax over shellac. The advantage of wax on these surfaces is that it can be polished to give a fine sheen and easily repolished if necessary.

Is it better to use wax or oil on wood?

Wax and oil seal and preserve wood when properly applied and cured. They usually contain no volatile organic compounds and help reduce damage from stains, abrasion, spills, moisture, and humidity.

In addition, these wood treatments bring out the art of the wood grain and allow you to showcase your DIY projects in the best light. Some solutions can also help to effortlessly rejuvenate worn or aged surfaces, making them ideal for recycling flea markets and second-hand items.

Waxing wooden floor

Hard wax should be used if you intend to wax the floor. You apply this in two layers to the parquet. With the second coat, hard wax guarantees that the floor becomes water-repellent protects it from acids and dirt and fills in the microscopic variances in height.

People frequently choose a hard wax over a varnished floor because a varnished floor can be severely damaged too rapidly, and an oiled floor is too difficult to maintain. In addition, a hard wax floor is simple to clean. Furthermore, hard wax provides a satin or matt finish to your floor.

Color can also be added with hard wax. With oak or other light woods, this is doable. Hard wax is not recommended because it leaves white marks in dark woods. There will be greasy stains on your floor if you let too much hard wax dry.

Minor damage to the floor can be remedied locally by lightly sanding it with fine steel wool. Then, fix the damaged section with hard wax maintenance oil. We recommend adding a layer of hard wax oil to the floor every two years to keep it.

The floor looks satin-glossy or matte after you use hard wax on it. The level of shine is between an oiled floor and a lacquered floor. Hardwax protects the parquet against dirt and moisture. You can repair minor damage.

The downside is that it’s harder to keep up than an oiled floor. To avoid greasy streaks, you should polish the wax well, but don’t use too little.

Why choose wax over varnish?

Wax is easy to use and apply. It is not limited as it can be applied to virtually all wooden furniture.

Moreover, a waxed wooden surface is easy to clean with a vinegar solution or a towel. Your furniture looks old and out of fashion. You want to freshen up the look or add a personal touch. Since you apply the wax directly to the surface, it takes less time.

In contrast, applying lacquer is a time-consuming task. You apply a coat directly to the surface and wait for it to dry completely. The refinish provides strong protection. It would be best to have additional tools to remove the previous coating.

What are the advantages of using wax on wood?

Like other wood treatments, wax is used to form a protective coating on wood. People have been using this one, and still available today. They pick and apply wax on wood due to more advantages.

It hides defects in the wood. Small scratches, cracks, and splits can be hidden with wax. This is especially true if the coating is thoroughly sanded. Wax can also be used as a filler for small cracks if it matches the color of the wood.

It looks fantastic on the hardwood. Wax shines the most on the hardwood. It emphasizes the grain of the wood that is popular with woodworkers who want to preserve the original beauty of the material. Wax also makes aged wood look new and fresh.

It is easy to apply. Unlike dyes, wood wax is relatively simple and practical. It does not require much expertise, that is why it’s popular with inexperienced woodworkers. You do not have to worry about an uneven application or the drying process. It is environmentally friendly.

Many wood waxes, like carnauba, are environmentally friendly. Therefore, the wax is less dangerous than traditional wood treatments.

What are the disadvantages of using wax on wood?

While the wax is a good wood finish, it also has some disadvantages.

As you know, there is no perfect finish. Everything is always in a balance between pros and cons. You already know the good thing about using wax. The next step is to understand the bad side of applying wax as a wood finish on furniture.

It requires extra care. Wax, unlike stain, requires extra care and a new coat of paint once a year. This is unfortunate if you want lasting protection for your material. But since wax is easy to apply, this seems like a good compromise. It is not the most durable coating.

Modern polyurethane coatings are much more durable than wax coatings. Therefore, wax is not the best choice if you want the best protection.

It is susceptible to heat damage. Wax reacts quickly to heat and makes the coating susceptible to heat damage. This is the cause of ugly cup ring marks on wax-treated dining tables. In this case, you should apply wax to interior wood that is not directly exposed to sunlight or high temperatures.

Wax finishes are for indoor use only. If you brush out lightly, you will get a high shine; if you polish with a little more pressure, you will get a slightly less high shine.

You will get the highest shine if you buff your wash surface with old pantyhose.

Does wax make wood waterproof?

Wood wax gives the wood a water-repellent property. However, it does not make your wooden items completely waterproof.

It would be best if you still protected your piece from excessive moisture, such as rain and spills. A marine sealer is a better choice if you need a reliable waterproof result. This sealer is used on wooden parts of boats.

Can I use wax to darken the wood?

Wax is capable of darkening the surface of the wood. The application is lesser than other stains but reliable enough. Note that immediately after applying wax, your wood will appear black.

However, after drying, the color will return to the wood’s original color. It does become slightly darker, but the difference from its condition before waxing is insignificant.

You may consider mixing the product between wax and other stains. It can increase the dark level. They are still simple to apply directly.

Is it possible to repaint waxed wood?

It is possible, but not recommended, to paint over a wax coating.

Since wax coatings do not dry completely, they remain sticky to a certain degree. This same property prevents the paint from adhering well to the wood. Even when the paint appears to be dry, it flakes off quickly.

It is still better to remove the wax coating before painting the piece of wood. However, you can also use paint formulas such as chalk paint.

This product will adhere to virtually any surface, including coated and laminated wood. In addition, you no longer have to strip sand and prepare the wood.