Simple Ideas for Waterproofing Wood for Bathrooms

waterproofing wood in bathroom


How to waterproof wood for bathrooms? This is a frequently asked question when people come to build bathrooms since wood is easily met by moisture. How can you keep your magnificent oak floor in good shape with a bathroom remodeling and without attracting the wrath of water and avoiding the harm that water may wreak when it is present?

We hope that this post has provided you with some useful information for preserving your lovely wooden furniture without having to worry about dampness.

Best Woods for Bathrooms


Because of its low shrinkage in changing conditions and strong resistance to rot, fungi, and mildew, teak is considered one of the few hardwoods with the ideal attributes for the moist environment. Because of its natural slip-resistant properties, it is now the most widely used decking material.

Teak is a good choice for a bathroom makeover and is generally used as a vanity top that needs to be waterproofed. Teak does not require much varnishing, but it does look better when it is oiled, and it retains the same properties.


For the bathroom, cedar, pine, and Douglas fir are also acceptable alternatives. Cedar, for example, performs admirably in steamy environments such as toilets. It possesses distinct natural smells and, in comparison to other varieties, has a very low shrinking factor.

The resilience of softwood to warping, twisting, and checking is excellent. Cedar is ideal for modern homes since it not only has a historical appearance but also maintains moisture well. Aside from tiles and ceramics, adding wood to your bathroom offers it a unique feel.

For a more contemporary and eclectic aesthetic, try mixing and matching different types of lumber, from furniture to towel racks.

Bathroom Wood Waterproofing Methods

Method 1: Create a Warm, Hand-rubbed Oil Finish

Tung oil, extracted from the Chinese Tung tree, and linseed oil, derived from the seeds of the flax plant, are the foundations for practically all hand-rubbed (a.k.a. wiping) oil finishes. These oils have been used to beautify and protect dark-grained woods like walnut and mahogany for centuries, and they’re still in use today—with a few tweaks.

Drying periods are sped up and stickiness is eliminated by combining the oils with additional substances. You can buy pre-blended Tung oil and linseed oil products or make your own to get a unique look. One part oil (either Tung or boiled linseed), one part mineral spirits, and one part polyurethane make up a basic hand-rubbed oil combination.

Here’s How to Put Yours to Use:

  • Stir everything together completely.
  • Apply with a natural bristled paintbrush to sand and clean dark-grained wood. (If you’re waterproofing lighter-colored wood, such as pine or ash, use one of the next two methods instead; hand-rubbed oils have a propensity to yellow over time.)
  • Allow the oil to absorb into the surface before reapplying to any areas that appear to be dry.
  • Wipe away any remaining oil with clean dry towels, wiping vigorously to remove all excess.
  • Allow for thorough drying of the wood. Depending on the amount of oil in the mixture, this could take anywhere from a few hours to overnight.
  • Use fine-grit sandpaper to softly sand the surface.
  • Repeat the process with as many more coats as necessary to achieve the desired finish.

Feel free to play with the mixture as you get more experienced with oil-rubbed blends. Reduce the amount of mineral spirits for a thicker product. Reduce the amount of polyurethane if you want extra working time before the finish dries.

On the other hand, if you want a glossier finish and a faster drying period, use extra poly. You can make a ton of different bespoke blends!

Method 2: Sealant Protection

Polyurethane, varnish, and lacquer are tried-and-true sealants that provide excellent waterproofing. They’re brushed or sprayed onto sanded, clean wood, then allowed to dry completely before being lightly re-sanded and recoated. Apply your finish in a “room temperature” atmosphere for optimal results.

Also, never shake or vigorously agitate sealants before applying them; doing so can cause air bubbles to form on the surface, which will stay long after the sealant has dried. Although these sealants dry quickly (some in as little as 15 minutes), they often contain chemical solvents, necessitating ventilation during application.

Polyurethane Sealants:

Polyurethane sealants contain a variety of solvents in addition to acrylic and polyurethane resins, allowing you to choose your preferred finish effect—anywhere from a high-gloss shine to a gentle, soft sheen. Polyurethane doesn’t yellow like it used to, so it’s a fantastic choice for light-toned woods.

The most durable polyurethane is oil-based, but brush cleanup requires mineral spirits or turpentine. Cleaning with soap and water is a breeze with water-based polyurethane.


Varnish is a hard-shell finish that resists scratches and does not yellow. It is made up of resin, solvent, and drying oil. Choose a marine varnish that contains UV absorbers to protect wood that will be exposed to the elements.

Spar varnish is a good choice for interior use on end tables and coffee tables to withstand annoying cup rings. Brushes should be cleaned with turpentine or mineral spirits.


Lacquer is a mixture of dissolved tree resin or synthetic resin in alcohol. Lacquer brings out a rich, warm, and exceptionally scratch-resistant finish on deep-toned woods, despite the fact that it can develop a yellowish tint over time that is deemed unsightly on lighter woods. It comes in several sheen options and can be diluted with lacquer thinner.

Apply many light layers of lacquer for the best effects. Note: Because lacquer generates strong fumes, enough ventilation is required; work outside or open windows and use fans.


Regardless of the method you use, if you follow these procedures, you will have waterproofed wood that looks fantastic. The method you choose here is determined by the amount of money you have set aside for the project.

If you’re doing a large project that involves the entire house, the last option, stain-sealant, is more effective and saves time. Make sure to follow some basic safety precautions, such as wearing gloves. You’re dealing with synthetic mixtures, not just fluids.

Simply repeat the technique on a monthly basis to keep your bathroom looking great for years. Now is the time to make your decision and purchase your goods from your local hardware store. Wishing you the best of success with your waterproofing project!