Wood Finish Options

Finish Options

  • Oil
  • Polyurethane
  • Varnish
  • Shellac
  • Stain
  • Lacquer

Oil Finishes

Oil wood finishes improve the appearance of unfinished wood. Natural oils that are present in the wood dry out over time. Oil finishes replace the natural oils and nourish the wood grain. They also protect the wood well for internal and external use. This method can easily be managed.

Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C is a wood protector that colors and protects in only 1 single layer. It protects wood from water, heat and daily wear & tear. For that reason, we see it as the best oil for wood furniture, hardwood flooring, oak tables … really for anything made out of wood. Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C is food contact compliant.

Click here to view more Rubio Monocoat oil finish info

Polyurethane Finishes

The two major types of polyurethane are oil-based and water-based, each of which has different advantages.

  • Water-based polyurethane is clear, low-odor and has a quick drying time. It is recommended for surfaces that see little exposure to heat or the elements, such as desks, bookcases and end tables. It may require more coats than oil-based.
  • Oil-based polyurethane is more durable and develops an amber tint over time. It tends to have a stronger aroma and a slower drying time. It withstands heat better than water-based polyurethane and makes an effective sealer for kitchen tables and similar pieces.


The name of this finish often is used generically for a finish or top coat. It’s very durable because it contains a higher ratio of solids. Spar varnish is perfect for outdoor projects and for raw wood used for exterior doors and trim on rustic homes. In addition to protecting the wood, it also provides natural ultraviolet light protection. Spar varnish is often used on items that will be near or on the water.


Shellac is a natural wax finish which is secreted from a female Lac Bug that thrives on a tree. A mixture of the collected wax from the tree and an alcohol solvent gives better consistency. Shellac is available in a variety of colors. It’s easy to apply and dries quickly. It gives a glossy finish to the wood. It can be affected by heat (white rings will appear under a hot bowl or mug) or chemicals, so a kitchen table might not be the best place to use it. Fine furniture items can be greatly enhanced with shellac.


Wood stains change or improve the wood color. They are present in different colors. The wood stains perform better if they are darker than the color of the wood. It increases the visibility of the grains. However, they don’t protect the wood. Application of wood stain is followed by a coating of wood finish for better protection.


Lacquers are thin solvent-based finishes as compared to the other finishes. They are usually applied by spraying. Lacquers dry fast because they contain an evaporating solvent. It reaches deeper into the wood and nourishes the grains in order to bring out the natural beauty of the wood. Lacquers bring a glossy look to the wood.