Wood is a material that is known for its durability and strength. And as a piece of perfect furniture, we always choose something that is easily portable and strong enough to withstand transport, without damage. But like everything else, wood is subject to natural attrition due to everyday use and the action of moisture and heat. Therefore, to maintain its smooth and glossy texture, it requires periodic maintenance in the form of wood polish. Though paint and varnish are important for maximizing the durability of wooden items, it is vital to finish their decoration with a perfect wood polish. Polishing is a very major method to bring out wood’s natural qualities, restore its shine, and even highlight its grains. Types of polish for wood can be categorized into two major types: the ‘surface’ polish and the ‘penetrating’ polish.

Surface Polish: This polish does not penetrate the interior of the wood. Yet, it leaves a strong, firm, and thick layer on the surface of the wood. Therefore, the hazardous or adverse agents together with moisture will not come in direct contact with the wooden surface. This buffering layer, in addition, may contain lacquer, wax, varnish, polyurethane, and shellac among others.

Penetrating Polish: It is an oil-based substance that penetrates inside the surface and composition of the wood. The penetrating wood polishes together with linseed oil or tung oil amongst others. These oils may also penetrate the floor of the wood and harden. The application of those penetrating finishes is advantageous and not complicated.

Wood Polish Types:

The following points mention some popular varieties of wooden polish finishes that are usually used in commercial and residential spaces along with their characteristics and benefits.

1. Water-based Wood Polish | Types of Polish for wood

The water-based wood polish can be applied on painted, bare, and stained wooden planes. The water-based polish puts on a coat that lasts coherent over time. So, it can be safely used on light-colored floors or furniture without darkening them. Many decorative wood items, handicrafts, and articles are coated with this finish for an elegant look that doesn’t go away with time. 

Generally, water-based polishes, relying on the brand and additives in it, can dry out in an hour and be ready for a new coat in as quick as two hours. It is recommended to take the help of an expert for applying the polish to avoid leaving any marks on the brush.

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Water-based Wood Polish_©

2. Lacquer wood polish 

The lacquered wood polishes are considered among the best varieties of wood polish. They dry up faster, provide better surface protection, add richness, and also make the wood more durable. As it is quite easy to remove, a new polish and finish can be applied to the wood whenever needed. 

The lacquer polish dries up quickly, and therefore, the best option to apply it is by spraying. The finish is sensitive to heat, and some may cause the emission of fumes as well.

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Lacquer Wood Polish_©

3. Varnish polish

The warmest wooden finish varnish can be applied to each stained and bared wood. The long-lasting polish comes in many distinctive sheen sorts as well. To make use of any varnish wood polish, proper cleaning of the surface is very essential before application. The varnish may also break the wood if it is applied to a wet surface. Hence there should be a warning.

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Varnish Wood Polish_©

4. Shellac polish | Types of Polish for wood

The shellac polish can dry without difficulty and, in much less time, and is a hard finish. It additionally acts as a stain remover and sealer and therefore it can be good to use on drywall and cured plaster. Because the end comes in many special colors, one can additionally remodel the fixtures or wooden articles and make them extra appropriate for decor. 

One disadvantage of the shellac polish is that it cannot resist moisture. So, the utility of this polish on the outside furniture and different wooden items is not preferable.

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Shellac Wood Polish_©

5. Polyurethane or PU polish 

Due to its water-resistant properties, the polyurethane wood finish can be ideally used for almost all kinds of furniture, such as kitchen cabinets, doors, windows, and cupboards, and also for flooring. It has a durable finish, and it enhances the longevity of the wooden items. It is available in different varieties for adding gloss and shine and improving the natural aesthetics and appearance of the wood.

The ultraviolet rays from the sun can originate the polyurethane wood polish to turn yellow, so it is not recommended to use them for exteriors. But, UV light absorbers can be added to protect it from the sun’s harmful effects.

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Polyurethane Wood Polish_©

6. Oil-based wood polish 

The furnishings of the residing room and other homes or commercial areas, or timber handicrafts, sometimes require a luxurious and satin look and finish. An oil-based or penetrating polish should also be provided to achieve this luster, shine, and elegance. The polish can also cover the scratches and may be applied easily.

It is necessary to shield the eyes while applying the oil-based timber polish. The polish can also dry up slowly, which may be inconvenient in some cases.

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Oil-based wood Polish_©

7. Wax-based wood polish | Types of Polish for wood

These kinds of polishes are available in paste and liquid forms. They can protect the wood from moisture and improve its durability. They are acquired from plants, minerals, and animal sources.

Wax-based Wood Polish_©

There is a wide range of wood polishing services available with authentic materials to meet any specific needs. All you need is a well-trained wood polisher who is equipped to handle all your wood polish needs, from small-scale projects to large-scale operations.



Shiwangi is a student of Architecture and a writing enthusiast. She is very keen to explore and experience the world of Architecture and discover different aspects of it to humanity as she believes in the influence of design on people and spaces.