How To Seal Paint On Wood? (5 Essential Steps)

Outdoor painted wood furniture and ornamental objects, such as wood flower pots, doors, tables, and chairs, are continually subjected to harsh everyday weather conditions, including burning sun and heavy rain, throughout the year. It is because the finishes are frequently subjected to wear and strain.


Water can cause fungal development in the wood, resulting in wood rot. In addition, excessive exposure to sunlight can damage the wood. Therefore, protecting these woods from extreme weather conditions with wood sealants is critical if they last a long time.

Therefore, many people have to learn to seal paint on wood for better use.

This post will provide you with a detailed guideline on “how to seal paint on wood” so that you will no longer struggle with this issue.

Things To Know Before Sealing Paint On Wood

There are four types of sealers specifically for this task:

1. Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a synthetic, oil-based varnish that covers painted and bare wood surfaces with a durable protective layer. It is available in liquid form that you may apply with a brush or a spray can. However, it must be applied outside or in a well-ventilated space since it releases potentially hazardous volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, while the paint is wet.

Paint thinner or mineral spirits are required for cleanup. It cannot be removed by stripping. Therefore if you want to refinish a polyurethane-sealed piece, you must sand and scrape it off.

2. Polycrylic

Polycrylic is a water-based finish coat applied with a brush, has a mild odor, and is readily cleaned off with water. It is strong but not as long-lasting as polyurethane. However, because Polycrylic is low-VOC, many people prefer it, particularly for children’s furniture. When wet, Polycrylic appears white or milky, but when dried, it becomes white.


3. Paste wax

Paste wax is made out of wax that has been dissolved in a solvent. The wax might be a natural material like beeswax or carnauba. The product can be applied with a brush or rag, and any excess is wiped away. It must be polished once it has dried to display its brilliance. 

Wax finishes, which can be clear or colored to give an antique effect, are best used over chalk or milk paint. You may also use wax to give polyurethane a richer look and a softer feel. The wax finish is not very long-lasting, and it is suggested that it be reapplied at least once a year. 

Waxed furniture should be maintained away from direct sunshine, and excessive heat since the wax might soften and become sticky or melted.

4. Decoupage medium

Small painted wood projects, for example, decorative plaques, trinket boxes, or picture frames, might benefit from the application of decoupage medium. Apply two to three coats with a 1-inch brush to thoroughly cover the wood surface, letting the medium dry after each coat. It is not that necessary to sand between coats. After the last layer, allow the medium to dry for 24 hours.

5. Bonus: the combination of paint and sealer

In recent years, paint-and-sealer combo products have developed. Because the sealer is mixed into the paint, no other topcoats are required. To prepare and apply the product, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Because they are less prone to discoloration, these materials are ideal for painting furniture white or light colors. Some sealants, such as polyurethane, can yellow with time, causing a visible discoloration on white paint.

Along with the sealers, you will also need:

  • Sandpaper
  • A tack cloth
  • A paintbrush

5 Steps To Seal Paint On Wood

  1. Ensure that the last layer of paint is completely dry. Sand it lightly with 220- to 320-grit sandpaper, applying only enough pressure to smooth off any rough places. Wipe the surface to remove the dust from sanding with a tack cloth.
  2. Dip a clean paintbrush into the sealant container. If necessary, gently stir the sealant, but avoid strong stirring or shaking the can, as it may create bubbles into the fluid. Tap off any extra sealant around the can’s edge.


  1. Apply the sealant to the surface, stroking carefully and in one direction from edge to edge. When the sealant is dry, this will create a smooth finish. If any bubbles or drips appear, smooth them out with the edge of the brush while the coat is still wet. Allow the sealant to cure for one to two hours or as directed by the manufacturer.
  2. Lightly sand the dry coat with 220- to 320-grit sandpaper. Then, use a tack cloth to get rid of the sanding dust.
  3. Apply a second layer of sealant. Let it dry, sand, and then repeat for another one to three coats of sealant. After the last coat, you do not need to sand anymore. Allow the finished piece to dry overnight or according to product recommendations before putting it to use.


5 Benefits Of Painted Wood

1. Protect the wood

The wood used to make solid wood furniture is hard and difficult to work with. If the wood is exposed to the outside environment, it will be easily scratched by sharp things or will wear out and lose its texture over time. To avoid that happens, the furniture can be properly kept after painting.

2. Keep the moisture content of furniture to avoid wood deformation

The moisture level of wood has a significant impact on its stability. Sealing the wood surface with paint prevents external moisture from quickly penetrating the wood and prevents internal moisture from evaporating excessively, guaranteeing that the wood does not deform easily.


3. The hand feel of the furniture is thinner and smoother after painting, and it is easier to clean and maintain.

It is impossible to seal wood pipes, no matter how well polished they are, and these pipes frequently become areas where dirt is hidden and difficult to clean. However, the catheter was filled after painting, and it is pretty simple to clean with a quick wipe of a towel.

4. Keep the furniture looking new and shiny

If the logs are directly exposed to the air, they will not only corrode easily, but they will also change color due to oxidation, sometimes beyond recognition. After painting, the wood will never directly touch with air again, keeping its original wood color.

5. It looks more appealing

Even though some furniture items are made from the same wood, the colors will differ from one to another. However, under the careful attention of professional painters, furniture can find even color; it’s similar to applying cosmetics on furniture.


1. Can you clear coat over painted wood?

It is possible to do so. Almost any wooden object, such as furniture, cabinets, or room trim, may gain a much-needed face-lift from a fresh coat of paint. First, apply a clear polyurethane over the painted surface to help preserve both the paint and the underlying wood. Although applying a clear topcoat is not so hard, it requires care and time correctly.

2. Does painting waterproof wood?

Yes, it is. Cracked paint seals allow water to go through and cause decay. Water that seeps through the damaged seal where the wood is put together will be quickly absorbed at the ends of the wood items. 

The waterproof, unbroken paint layer will slow its loss by evaporation from the sides of the wood member over the rest of the wood. This keeps the wood wet and promotes deterioration, especially around the joints. The quality of the joint seal determines the efficiency of moisture-impervious paint in preserving wood from decay.

3. When should you seal wood?

Before sealing new wood, wait 30 days. If you’ve recently installed new wood, you’re probably eager to finish the job by sealing it. However, preservatives in the wood generally need a 30-day dwell time before absorbing the sealant. Pour some water on your wood after 30 days. 

If it beads up, you can’t seal the wood as it is too wet. If it absorbs the water, it is ready to seal. Apply sealant as soon as the wood is ready; leaving the wood exposed for too long increases the chance of both UV and moisture damage.

Final Thoughts

After reading our article on how to seal paint on wood, we hope you understand how to do the job properly. To sum up, sealing paint on wood is necessary when it comes to the protection for your DIY wood projects. 

There are a few particular steps to might want to follow for this task. Above all that, choosing the right type of sealer is very important since it will prolong the life of the paint. Then, by following our instructions carefully, you sure will figure out how to do it well.

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