Different Types of Polish Finishes for Wood

Wood polish and finish shield wooden surfaces from humidity, moisture, ultraviolet rays of the sun and general wear and tear. Moreover, they enhance the aesthetics of the wood surface by adding a rich, luxurious, and glossy sheen to it. Applying polish and finish can close the pores of the wood to prevent bacteria from harboring and sanitize the surface as well. Since wood polish finishes can affect the property of the wood, they may be used to enhance its functionality and strength. The application of such wood polish can be found in musical instruments to bring in tonal improvements, or in flooring to improve the aesthetics.

There are many wood finishes, and each may have its own specific uses. Therefore, you need to know and understand the difference between each wood polish and finish available so that you can use them effectively.

Major Categories

Wooden polish can be categorized into two major types, which include the ‘surface’ polish and the ‘penetrating’ polish. The surface polish stays on the wood surface and can’t penetrate it. However, it leaves a hard, strong, and thick layer on the surface thus preventing any direct contact of agents like moisture with the wood surface. This buffering layer may contain wax, varnish, lacquer, shellac, polyurethane, and many other materials.

On the other hand, the penetrating wooden finish is an oil-based substance that penetrates into the surface and composition of wood. Linseed oil and Tung oil are most often used in penetrating wood polishes as they penetrate the fibers of the wood and harden. Besides, they are easy and convenient to apply.

Popular Wood Polish Types

The following list mentions some more popular varieties of wooden finishes used in commercial and residential areas along with their characteristics and benefits.

1. Water-based wood polish

The water-based wood polish can be applied on painted, bare, and stained wood surfaces. Unlike oil-based polishes that turn light amber with age, the water-based polish puts on a coat that stays clear over time. So, it can be safely used on light-colored floors without darkening them with age. Many decorative wood items, handicrafts, and articles are coated with this finish for an elegant look that doesn’t go away over a period of time.

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

2. Lacquer wood polish

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

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

3. Varnish polish

Varnish polish is durable and can be applied to both stained and bare wood. It comes in different varieties of sheen as well. Before applying any varnish wood polish, the surface needs to be cleaned thoroughly. You also need to avoid applying on wet surfaces.

4. Shellac polish

The shellac polish is quick to dry and is a hard finish. Acting as a stain remover and sealer, it works best when used on dry walls and cured plaster.

Shellac finish comes in many colors, and hence, you can use it to redesign the furniture or wooden article to suit your home décor. As it cannot resist moisture, it is not recommended for outdoor use.

5. Polyurethane or PU polish

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

Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause the polyurethane wood polish to turn yellow, so it is not recommended to use them for outdoor furniture. However, UV light absorbers can be added to it to avoid the adverse effects of the sun.

6. Oil-based wood polish

They are great for adding a luxurious and satin look to the furniture of living rooms or other commercial areas. Oil-based wood polish easily covers up the nicks and scratches on the wood surface. Be cautious to protect the eyes while applying the polish.

7. Wax-based wood polish

Available in paste and liquid forms, they can protect the wood from moisture and improve its life. They are obtained from plants, minerals and animal sources.

The wood polish price, whether it is  Melamine polish, PU polish and Lamination / Polyresin polish varies not only in material cost but also in labor cost too. The whys and hows are covered in the rest of the article.

Generally, a good contractor will always have a look at the site or home before providing you with a quotation. The medium polish finish goes well for a few homes, while other homes may need lamination finish. Only a good professional can suggest which is the best option for you.

How you may get misguided ?

Let us explain this with an example. Say a contractor gave you a quotation of Rs 85 per square feet for melamine coating of your home furniture. After visiting the site, he feels that the melamine coat costing Rs 65 per square feet will be good enough for your home. At this point, here’s what is likely to happen.

The contractor may use the cheaper melamine option, but charge you according to the quoted price of Rs 85 per square feet. You are at a loss here then. Another possibility is they may feel that your home needs a higher-grade polish and not the one costing Rs 85. Consequently, homeowners feel uncertain and confused at times. However, hiring a good contractor will always ensure that you get the best quotations and coating which are perfect for your needs.

Ensure you get the best deal

Usually, the wood polish price is given on a per square feet basis but there are few contractors who measure in running feet. A good contractor here again will mention these details too.

Contractors will often quote a price per square feet and ask you to calculate the polishing cost according to the area of the house requirement or room. But homeowners may make mistakes while calculating the areas. So, no matter what or how the quotation is given, the actual cost increases. Other factors like imperfection in application or weather conditions may affect the cost as well.

The cost difference between wood polishes

The cost of any wood polish, be it melamine polish, PU polish or lamination/polyresin polish, is measured in a similar manner i.e. in per liter basis for polish and per square feet for its application or labor charges.

Melamine Polish – This polish is available in different grades and shine. The melamine polish rate per square feet, therefore, varies from Rs 80 to Rs 100.

PU (polyurethane polish) – PU polish too is available in different grades, style and finish. The cost varies from Rs165 to Rs 210. In PU polish, you have clear polish, white polish, Imported PU polish, Indian PU polish, standard gloss polish, high gloss polish and many more.

To tell the truth, the polish solution doesn’t really cost much. It’s the labor charge that may amaze you. The labor cost is almost 3 to 4 times more than the polish solution cost. Say if the polish solution comes for Rs 100 per liter, its application will usually cost you Rs 300.

Labor charges for polish application

PU Polish – Well, the application of polish or finish doesn’t only involve brushing or spraying the polish solution. The wooden surface is treated to make it ready for polish and many other processes are carried out as well apart from polishing. This includes setting up the workspace, making the wood ready for application, sanding, using tapes, thinner and other accessories and processes too. The cost of all these processes and accessories is included in the final labor cost given on per square feet basis. The labor cost that is quoted includes other costs too, such as the transportation cost of a laborer, his snack and tea cost, etc. It is practically difficult to calculate exact cost details.

Polyresin/Lamination finish – The cost ranges from Rs 250 to Rs 410. Polyresin finish or lamination finish is an expensive polish since almost 10-14 coatings are done to achieve the desired finish. The number of the coating may vary depending on the site, but it’s not too much. Sometimes, the number of coatings also depends on the veneer polish type, color, and style. For example, a light-colored veneer wood will appear light, no matter how many coatings of lamination polish are done. Therefore, many numbers of coats aren’t applied. Similarly, for dark-colored veneered wood, not many coatings are applied as the color will appear to be dark, no matter how many coats are applied.

Entrust a Professional

Usually, unless you understand and can differentiate between the different kinds of Polish types, it becomes impossible to source the best quality polish for your home. We at Contractorbhai make the decision easy for you by providing the service bundled with the rest of our Interior Design services at a clear transparent pricing.

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