Waterlox Vs Polyurethane Sealants For Butcher Block

Waterlox and Polyurethane sealants are undoubtedly the best products in the market. However, you need a comprehensive review to know which one is suitable for your butcher block.

Luckily, this page contains everything you should know about both products, including features, pros, and cons.

We compare both products using different factors and yardsticks before suggesting the better one for your project.


Meanwhile, let’s begin with a quick comparison table showing the differences between Waterlox and Polyurethane sealants.

Waterlox Vs Polyurethane: Comparison Table

Aspects Waterlox Polyurethane
Sealant Type Resin-Modified Tung Oil A Liquid Coating
Special Feature Protective Yet Elastic Film Non-Toxic When Dry
Benefits More Benefits Than Polyurethane Fewer Benefits Than Waterlox
Usage Various Wooden Surface Various Wooden Surface
Performance High Performing Similar Performance
Price Cheaper Than Polyurethane Slightly Expensive

The table above features only a fragment of what to expect from this page so let’s unveil the full details.

Waterlox Sealants For Butcher Block

Waterlox is a resin-modified Tung Oil sealant with high moisture and water resistance. Waterlox sealant is known for its intensive penetrating prowess and attractive finish, adding more gloss and beauty to your kitchen.

It also guarantees durable sealing, meaning your butcher block will enjoy maximum protection against water content or other harmful materials over a long period.

Polyurethane Sealants For Butcher Block

The Polyurethane sealant is a liquid sealing product that ensures strong resistance against water and other materials that could affect your butcher block or other wooden surfaces.

It features a crystal-clear liquid coating that will turn to a plastic film when dry and produce a hard finish on the butcher block surfaces.

Thanks to its hard-rock features, the plastic layer ensures Polyurethane sealant has all it takes to protect the wooden surface against water and other material that can destroy your butcher block.

Waterlox Vs Polyurethane: Features And Differences

  • Maintenance

Waterlox is easy to maintain as it doesn’t form a hard plastic layer that could make the surface a bit difficult to clean. Similarly, its fine finish means you won’t experience much difficulty while cleaning the butcher block.

In a nutshell, the Waterlox sealant is better than the Polyurethane when it comes to maintenance.

  • Application and usability

Interestingly, no one surpass the other in this regard as both features seamless application and impressive user-friendliness.

Waterlox is arguably the oldest sealant, having been in the market since 1910. It has been a go-to formula for many people shopping for quality sealant.

Most of its resin content is obtained from renewable and natural sources. It features massive penetrating prowess, meaning it can easily go deep into the wood fiber to create dogged waterproof resistance.

Lastly, it is easy to use, while its elastic film ensures high protection for the butch blocker and other wooden surfaces.

Similarly, the Polyurethane sealant ensures simple application. Follow the simple user guide on the product, and you will get a good outcome.

Using the Polyurethane sealant for your butcher block will give you a hard protective finish that will stand the test of time. Its non-toxicity means your food is safe and edible after contacting the dried and fully-cured Polyurethane film.

Diversity is one of Polyurethane’s most impressive attributes. It works perfectly with oil paint and stain.

Though it is inferior to the Waterlox in terms of maintenance, it is still relatively easy to maintain and restore.

  • Benefits

You will enjoy lots of benefits if you choose Waterlox or Polyurethane sealant. Let’s begin with Waterlox. Maintaining a Waterlox is one of the easiest things to do in your kitchen.

It promotes the wood’s inherent beauty by enhancing the grain. It doesn’t contaminate your food due because it is completely non-toxic.

Waterlox sealant guarantees excellent adhesion to oily, dense, exotic wood. Hence, it is compatible with butcher blocks made with woods like teak, rosewood, and Ipe.

Polyurethane, on the other hand, will maintain its initial color over a long time. It won’t fade or turn yellow too soon. It works well with lighter woods like maple, and some neutral satin colors, including black, gray, and white.

  • Other Usage

Both sealants are also suitable for other materials aside from butcher blocks. Waterlox is a good option for many woodworking tasks and some interior wood surfaces like floors, windows, doors, tables, furniture, picture frames, etc.

Likewise, you can use Polyurethane for diverse interior and exterior wood surfaces, including doors, floors, windows, and tables. In a nutshell, Polyurethane and Waterlox work perfectly on the same surfaces.

  • Performance

A quart of Waterlox sealant will seal close to 125 square feet of the surface if you apply it accurately. However, Waterlox sealant requires at least a day to dry. You can recoat it after the required 24 hours drying period.

Similarly, a quart of Polyurethane will cover 125 square feet. However, it will dry within 6 to 12 hours. Ensure you don’t recoat a Polyurethane sealant until it dries completely.

  • Available Sheen

The number of available sheens is one of the crucial factors you should consider while shopping for a sealant for your butcher block. Sheens determine how the surface will appear after applying the sealant.

Interestingly, Waterlox and Polyurethane have an equal number of sheens, including Gloss, Semi-Gloss, and Satin sheen. You can choose any available sheen for your project as there are no obvious differences between them.

  • Price

Price is another essential factor you can’t overlook while looking for a sealant of your choice.

Though there are little differences in their prices, Waterlox sealant is slightly cheaper than Polyurethane.

According to Ralphsway, a quart of Waterlox sealant is around $47.99, while one quart of Polyurethane is about $50.

Waterlox Vs Polyurethane Sealants: Frequently Asked Questions

Which sealant is best for you?

Considering all we’ve said about both products, it is safe to say that Waterlox is the best sealant for you.

It is more affordable and durable. It provides a finer surface you can use without any issues.

Unlike Waterlox, Polyurethane will produce a plastic film on your butcher block, which could affect the chopping exercise.

Is Waterlox better than Polyurethane?

Waterlox is better than Polyurethane. Its strong, elastic, and protective finish protect the butcher block from premature chip and peel. Meanwhile, Waterlox also helps to improve the color of wood surfaces.

How long does Waterlox last on butcher block?

Waterlox is known for its lengthy lifespan, which ranges from 7 to 10 years. You should expect Waterlox to last for at least seven years with proper care and maintenance.

Should you use polyurethane on butcher blocks?

Polyurethane sealants are good alternatives to Waterlox. Though more expensive, they are safe for food. You will get value for your money.

Going for polyurethane sealers isn’t bad if you can shoulder the financial implications. However, the question is: why go for an expensive product when there is a cheaper and better one?

Can you put polyurethane over Waterlox?

No, both sealers aren’t compatible. You either apply polyurethane on your butcher block or you choose Waterlox. However, you can use Waterlox over urethanes due to their high compatibility nature.

How do you permanently seal a butcher block?

Below is a quick step-by-step guide on how to permanently seal your butcher block:

  • Sand the surface until it’s clean and smooth.
  • Ensure there isn’t any dirt on the surface
  • Apply a natural stain on the surface
  • Apply a thick coat of the sealant, either polyurethane or Waterlox, on the natural stain.
  • Wait until the first coat dries off completely. As mentioned earlier, waterlox takes at least 24 hours, while polyurethane requires six hours at minimum.
  • Then apply the second coat of your preferred sealant. Ensure it dries properly before using it.

Final Thoughts

Both products are the most common sealants in the market due to their high demand. However, Waterlox is preferable to Polyurethane sealant following the reasons we mentioned earlier.

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