Hardwood Sealers – Their Job and the Different Types

When your hardwood floor is installed or refinished, part of the process is sealing the wood. In this post we will be talking about hardwood sealers; the actual product that initially seals the wood prior to the clear protective finish. (We’ll talk about finishes in another post.)

The sealer’s job is to prevent the finish from penetrating the wood. You must choose a sealer at the time of finishing your wood. The initial coat of sealer can be any number of things. It could be a stain color or a clear sealer that is water-based or oil-based. We’ll go through a list of sealers we use on a normal basis:


If you choose to stain your floor, then the stain color acts as the initial sealer coat. Stains are oil-based and create that first layer of protection for the floor. We prefer Bona Brand stains, but we also use Duraseal Brand quite often as well. Check out our post about stain and the different colors available as well as custom colors we can create for you.

Bona DriFast Sealer

DriFast Sealer is an oil-based hardwood sealer and has the same characteristics as a stain, but without the color. It is basically a clear stain. Because it is oil-based, it provides a deep, rich look to your wood. The top block in the picture is an example of the DriFast Sealer applied to Red Oak hardwood. As you can see, I deepens the natural color of the wood to give it a rich tone without actually staining it.

Hardwood Sealers Example

Bona Classic Sealer

As hardwood sealers go, the Classic Sealer is the best for reaching the raw look of the wood. An example of the Classic Sealer is the middle block in the picture. The Classic Sealer is water-based and allows you to see the wood as closely to it’s natural color as possible. Bona describes it as a neutral, slightly opaque, blonde, natural look. In many instances, it darkens the wood just slightly, but once dry there is very little differentiation between the raw wood and the the sealed wood. If you love the way the raw wood looks, ask us to use the Classic Sealer.

Bona NaturalSeal Hardwood Sealer

NaturalSeal is a very pretty product. You can see an example in the last block in the picture. NaturalSeal actually has a little White stain in the sealer, which helps your wood stay the natural-looking color over time. If you’ve seen older floors, you will notice they turn orange or yellow as they age. The NaturalSeal helps ward off the discoloration from aging. Due to the white stain in the sealer, it lightens up the wood just a little, but really helps to keep it looking natural over time. If you don’t like the aging color of wood, ask us about the NaturalSeal product.

Additional Hardwood Sealers

There are many different types of hardwood sealers we didn’t mention, but these are the ones we use on a regular basis. If you don’t want to stain your floor, but are going for a different look, talk to us about it and see if we can come up with the right sealer for you.

Dry Time

Dry time for most sealers is usually 2-3 hours. We will usually let you know when you can walk on your floor after the sealer has been applied.

If you have any questions about sealers or the steps required to refinish your floor, please contact us.

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