How to Seal Wood Without Changing Color: In-Depth Guide

Sealing wood is required when furniture loses a pleasant look after some time of usage. In most cases, people want to preserve its natural color. Some sealers can change the wood pattern, make it shinier, etc.

The sealing technique also defines the eventual result. If you want to discover how to seal wood without changing color, follow this guide.

How to Seal Your Wood Properly

The first step for a natural-looking wood finish is to choose a sealer. If you want to save a color, the water-based product will be suitable. Then you should create proper conditions for sealing. Sanding the wood is required before you seal it.

The last step is to apply the sealer and let the surface dry. Here is the guide on how to seal the wood step-by-step.

Varnished boards

Step 1: Choose the right location

The outer conditions define the result of the sealing procedure. The temperature should be about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a room with ventilation, it is suitable for sealing. Also, the humidity has to be about 50%.

These conditions are perfect to work with water-based sealers. Try to find the area where no one will rush around, especially if you work with lacquer.

Step 2: Choose the desired wood for the project

Prepare the furniture or wood you are going to seal. Clean it from any dust and rubbish and define which type the wood is. It will help you to choose the best sealer for the particular type. Although, today’s water-based sealers are suitable for most wood types.

Step 3: Sand it

Raw wood finish will look smoother if you sand the wood to remove any defects, scratches, spots, etc. The easiest way is to use sandpaper. It has different levels of coarseness; you should begin with the 100-120 grit sandpaper and then apply the 220 grit one.

Step 4: Check if the surface is dry

You can wipe the surface with a smooth cloth to make sure there is no water on it. Give the wood a little time to rest after sanding. It should be dry because the water has a completely different structure than a sealer, so it can create bubbles and ruin all your work.

Step 5: Seal the wood

If you think about what to seal the wood with, it’s significant to choose a water-based sealer. It doesn’t have any color, so there is no chance that your wood will be painted.

Oil-based sealers can change color and make the surface shinier. However, they will suit the walnut wood. They won’t change its natural color but make it even more distinct.

In all other cases, it’s better to choose a water-based sealer like a polyurethane product or acrylic lacquer. It’s also easier to store and apply water-based sealers.

The first one gets a tough formulation when it dries, and that’s why it’s more sustainable to water and abrasion. Lacquer requires a more diligent attitude.

Paint brush on painted boards

Apply a sealer

It’s better to choose a large soft brush to make the process easier. The most essential thing is to seal wood without rushing. You should apply some sealer with one move and let it dry.

After that, you can put another layer using the same technique. Another significant point is to apply only two or three layers. If you put too much effort and use too much sealer, the wood won’t look attractive.

Apply polyurethane

Polyurethane doesn’t require so much effort to be applied. You should make the same brush movements as with the sealer but have to ensure that this finish creates smooth layers. It distributes around the whole area by itself. To get the best result, you can sand the wood before you apply each layer.

Apply shellac

This finish coating is used mostly for sealing indoor wood that won’t get wet. You should apply shellac with a sponge. Make the same straight lines without rushing and don’t touch shellac when it dries.

Apply lacquer

Lacquer is a long-lasting finish. You can apply it with a brush, but it’s better to use a spray gun. Don’t forget about protective clothes. Remember that lacquer dries quickly, so you should work as fast as possible, making accurate movements.

Top Tips on How to Seal Wood Without Changing Color

Let’s sum up all the significant points to be fully prepared to seal raw wood without changing the color. The measures you apply for sealing influence the result you get.

  1. Choose water-based natural wood sealers and avoid oil-based ones.
  2. Make the surface completely dry before you seal it.
  3. Work in the right conditions when no one can disturb you.
  4. Put the sealer with one move and wait until it dries to apply another layer.

Also read:

FAQs About Sealing the Wood

If there are any details that are unclear for you, check out the most common questions on this topic. You might find some additional tips helpful.

Painted boards

How do you protect the wood and keep it look natural?

A lot of people face a situation when wood becomes darker or changes color after sealing it. It happens when you use oil-based sealers. The best way to seal the wood and keep it look natural is to use water-based sealers or water-white lacquers.

Does sealing wood change color?

It depends on the sealer you use. Sometimes, sealing can change the color, so you should follow the guide above to avoid this.

How do you seal wood without it turning yellow?

You should choose the right conditions in the room like temperature and humidity. Also, you have to apply a thin layer of sealer without rushing.

How do you seal the wood so it doesn’t stain?

The secret is in the right technique. You shouldn’t put the second layer right after you apply the first one. Wait until it dries. Also, the surface has to be completely dry before you start sealing.

Does polyurethane change the color of wood?

Polyurethane is a water-based sealer, so it doesn’t change the wood color. However, you should apply it correctly to get the desired result.

Make Sealing a Pleasant Work

When you get a result which you expected after sealing the wood, it’s a pleasant feeling. All you need to make your wood look good is a high-quality sealer and the right technique.

I hope this guide will help you to seal your wood quickly and efficiently. Do you have some additional questions or recommendations? Please, leave them in the section below.

My ultimate goal is to provide insights that will help you effectively determine whether this or that tool or product suits your needs/budget or not. I test out home improvement tools at work on a daily basis and enjoy sharing my knowledge with D.I.Y-ers who have similar questions to the ones I used to have. I realize how important choosing the right tools is, that’s why my approach to every review I publish is very responsible.

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