How to Waterproof Wood for Bathroom

How to Waterproof Wood for Bathroom

bathroom woodWhen the wood you use in designing the floor of your bathroom or the vanity of your sink and dresser is constantly greeted with moisture, deterioration is imminent.

Since this is the sad reality on the ground, how then do you protect the wood from moisture? How do you retain this beautiful wooden floor finish without incurring the wrath of the waters and so the big question lingers – How to waterproof wood for a bathroom to avoid the damage being caused by moisture ever-present in your bathroom?

Well, the good news is; this article will answer that boiling question. All you need to do now is to continue reading.

How to Waterproof Wood for Bathroom

There are three fail-proof methods you can use to waterproof your wood in a bathroom world where water rules.

But you need to know this first: there’s a thin line between waterproof and water-resistant woods.

So when next you are assured that a certain piece of wood is water-resistant, it means it can resist water to a certain limit but at the end, it will finally bend to the resilient forces of water. On the other hand, a waterproofed wood means that the wood is forever protected from the forces of water.

That’s the angle I’ll be showing you in this article. You waterproof your wood forever with three methods below. Three fantastic options and once the choice for you to make. We’ve had much ado already on introductions, so let’s begin with the first method.

First Method: Waterproofing Wood with Oil

There are three oil options you can use to waterproof your wood. There is the linseed oil, walnut oil and the tung oil. Whichever oil you decide to use, the following procedures will help you waterproof your wooden bathroom decor and keep the waters at their bay.

  1. Mix the oil with either turpentine or apple cider vinegar to obtain a more powerful waterproofing oil. Ensure you stir thoroughly. This isn’t a must as you can still use the oil singly.
  2. Prepare the wood surface by using sandpaper to smoothen rough surfaces and edges. Rough surfaces will become visibly evident and appear distasteful when you are through with the oiling, that’s why this step is important.
  3. Dip a soft-bristle brush into the oil (whether it’s the mixture or single oil) and apply thoroughly around the wood leaving no surfaces and edges untouched.
  4. Allow the surface and edges of the wood a little time to absorb the oil this will enable you to identify untouched areas and then you can do the needful by reapplying on those areas.
  5. Let the wood to absorb the oil again and then clean off oil residues with a clean dry rag.
  6. Allow the wood time to dry. Oil mixtures dry faster than single oils. Drying time could take a couple of hours or even half a day if you using a single oil.
  7. After you’ve allowed the wood to dry, you can then reapply the oil again on the dried wood surface if you’ve got more to ensure it’s heavily finished and waterproofed.

Other Things to Note about using Oils

  • Although some oils come mixed with other chemicals, you can do the mixture yourself and freely experiment as you continue with the process after a long while.
  • If you are purchasing an already blended oil, then know it has three parts namely: the linseed or tung oil, mineral spirit, and polyurethane. The mineral spirit and polyurethane are added to the chief oil (Tung or Linseed) alongside the turpentine and stirred thoroughly before application.
  • You can obtain the linseed oil naturally and boil before application. You can always find ready-mades in DIY markets any day.
  • If you desire a thicker combination, keep the mineral spirit addition minimal.
  • Addition of polyurethane can increase or reduce the drying time. Add more if you want quicker drying time. Add less if you want extra time to work more before it begins to dry off.
  • After application and drying, give the wood some time to settle and absorb what it had just received. Hours won’t be enough. A couple days would do. Don’t ever use immediately after the finishing.
Oily rags are combustible so while you rag away oil residues for re-application, remember to wash the rags with soap and water.

Second Method:  Using Sealants for Wood Waterproofing

moisture-and-woodThis method entails using sealants to waterproof woods. The steps for application are almost the same as that of oils.

The only deviations here are that, you don’t necessarily have to mix the sealers with any other natural or synthetic chemicals. But you have to wipe the wood dry, sandpaper it and that does it for the preparations before application. You can apply the sealer afterwards by either spraying or using a brush. Allow to dry after the spraying or application with a brush is over. Then apply two more times to ensure your wood is well guarded against water.

Other Things to Note about Using Sealants

  • To obtain perfect results, apply sealants at room temperature, temperature above this can affect the potency of the sealant.
  • Do not stir or shake sealants. They are not like other liquids that require vigorous shaking to enable the content to circulate all-round the container.
  • They dry faster than oils, but you still have to allow the air to freely passage anywhere the application is being done.
  • After application and drying, give the wood ample time to absorb the protection it has received before you start using it. Any time from 3 days would be enough.

Third Method: Waterproofing Wood with Stain and Sealer

wood-stainThis happens to be the most efficient and classy method of waterproofing wood for bathroom. Why? Because you can choose to use stains alone or you can do powerful stain-sealant combo. These stains when applied are translucent. Lighter stains come with more oil. They are best used for interior woods like your bathroom which is the center of everything detailed here.

The application process isn’t anything different from the other two. Wipe the wood dry, sand to smoothen the surface and limit imperfections on the job and then apply with a brush. Allow to dry, remove residues with a clean dry rag and reapply up to two or three times afterwards for a thorough finish. This applies to both stains and stain-sealant combinations.

Why Stain-Sealant Combination is the Ultimate

Stain-sealant waterproofing combinations are the best when it comes to effective waterproofing and addition of styles to the job.

They come in a variety of colors. That you want to finish your wood for waterproofing doesn’t mean it should lose its aesthetic appeal.

These colors are products of color pigments with the inclusion of binders like oils, water or alkyls-based binders.

Stain-sealants hardly build up on the surface, they are absorbed into the wood as soon as they are applied, so it’s needless to wipe off residues because they would have evaporated before you do so. Akyl-based stains, however, leave residues on the wood surface.

Other Things to Note about Stains and Stain-Sealant Combinations  

  • If however, you intend using them for exterior woods, you need to find exterior grade stain for that purpose and you would have to keep up with waterproofing at least after every two-year interval.
  • Stain-sealant combos with color pigments and binders that are oil-based are best recommended for interior woods just like the one you would be using in your bathroom. But their alkyl-based counterparts in spite of the build-up they leave on the wood surface offer a more aesthetic appeal to interior woods.


Although they appear rustic and yes they truly are rustic and you can call them antiquated, no doubts, but they make the finest of furniture and cabinetry. These natural building materials called woods need protection from moisture. Wood and moisture can never harmonize, not now, maybe in the nearest future.

Your choice of the method here is dependent on the budget you’ve set aside for the project. If it’s a big project that involves the entire house you can go for the last method; stain-sealant, which offers more efficiency and saves time. Remember to take some thumb rule precautions like using gloves. You are dealing with chemicals and not just liquids.

Wash your hands after you are done with the entire process, including the tools you used. Don’t forget to keep out of reach of children.

Water shouldn’t be a reason why you can’t have that rustic goodness on the floor of your bathroom, the vanity of your sin or dresser or anywhere around your bathroom you intend using the woods. This is why you need to arm yourself with this information on how to waterproof wood for bathroom.

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