Butcher blocks are the common kitchen tools in most American homes. You can benefit from using a butcher block instead of a regular chopping board. Butcher blocks are thick wood chopping boardsmade from strips of wood. These cutting boards are much more durable, easy to clean, and damage-resistant. Still, the boards have limits and tend to develop strain after years. That’s why keeping the boards clean and using a seal for the countertop is essential.
In this situation, the two most common types of sealant are available in the market. One is Waterlox, a Premium Tung Oil wood sealer. The second one is polyurethane, a synthetic plastic material. The critical difference between Waterlox and polyurethane is the texture and extra coating of the butcher block. Both have specific benefits while using chopping boards, but one provides better protection and a natural outlook.
Both Waterlox and polyurethane sealant types are applicable for various wood blocks. Waterlox’s tung oil and extra resin give the butcher block extra coating protection. On the other hand, Water-based polyurethane dries faster, restricts smell, and makes chop boards easy to clean. Additionally, there are many benefits and cons available between these sealant types. This article explains the key differences between Waterlox and polyurethane for butcher blocks.
What is Waterlox?
Waterlox is a tung oil-based sealer for wooden materials. This sealant type has excellent wood-penetrating properties and wood-protecting compounds. Additionally, Waterlox is an eco-friendly sealer with less odor and greater water resistance capabilities.
Waterlox sealer is also mixed with resin to make wooden blocks protected from solid-cutting blows.
One coating of tung oil quickly solves your desired finish and eliminates the prior sanding. The coating also does not trap dust or other particles after sealing the wood. However, scrubbing the blocks with soap before applying the sealer is essential. The process will remove any additional meat cuts or damage on the countertop.
Waterlox wood sealer offers a long-lasting coating that effectively resolves wood surface pores. So you can expect chip, crack, and wrinkle-free butcher blocks for a long time.
What is Polyurethane?
Polyurethane is a liquid sealing product that offers a plastic coating for butcher blocks. This wood sealing type may not provide a Waterlox-like natural oil-based finish. Instead, the polyurethane coating perfectly sits on the wooden blocks making them excellent tear and abrasion resistance.
This sealing type also dries faster than Waterlox and converts the countertop hard. The coating may provide greater strong resistance from liquid and other materials. Still, the sealing can tend to break or shatter easily. Your butcher block needs timely cleaning when using a polyurethane sealer.
Additionally, the sealing type has a few drawbacks. The most common are discoloration problems when exposed to UV rays. Mold and dirt build-up is also possible due to its zero penetration value.
Key Differences Between Waterlox and Polyurethane Butcher Block
Butcher block already comes with a sturdy design and wear-resistant capabilities. This kitchen board strongly absorbs cutting, chopping, and other punishments for a long time. Still, the kitchen item needs particular care and maintenance to keep its natural outlook. Sealant is essential to do this job effectively. Both Waterlox and polyurethane offer good protective nature to your chopping board. Still, the difference is durability and maintaining time.
1. Sealer Types
Both sealant types offer good protective qualities to the butcher block. Still, the work process between Waterlox and polyurethane is quite different.
Waterlox contains tung oil that firmly holds the natural appearance of the butcher block. The tung oil also penetrates deep into the wood fiber, making the countertop a protective surface. Indeed, this excellent sealant for chopping boards shows the full effect in minimal layers.
Additionally, the sealant added modified resin, which offers additional benefits to keep butcher block in shape and wear-tear-free.
On the other hand, polyurethane offers a rock-hard finish on the butcher block. It makes the countertop extremely hard but smoother in feel. Indeed, polyurethane, a liquid sealing formula that quickly dries on the wood, makes the countertop protective in plastic film. This is also an excellent sealing type, offers a crystal clear outlook, and is resistant to water and other harmful materials.
2. Visual Outlook
Keeping the butcher block in its natural form is preferably an important kitchen decor part. You don’t want to make your chopping board ashy in color. That’s why choosing the best sealant type is essential.
The number of Sheen in wood sealers is essential. As it determines how the countertop looks after applying the coating. Both Waterlox and polyurethane sealer contain the same amount of Sheen.
In fact, they both come in a glossy or matte finish. Still, the application and visual appeals are different between these wood sealers.
Waterlox coating deeply sits on the wood fiber, which adds richness to the color. On the other hand, polyurethane simply sits on the wood top.
3. Protective Nature
Both Waterlox and polyurethane provide excellent protective capabilities to the butcher block. Still, you should know which one lasts longer in this condition.
Polyurethane is a plastic film liquid that quickly dries on the surface, making the countertop hard and protective. Indeed, this coating nature is also responsible for a quick break, crack or shatter.
Whenever the Polyurethane layer develops a crack on the butcher block, it continuously damages the surface. That timely patching is required for Polyurethane coating on chopping boards.
On the other hand, Waterlox is more likely to sit deeply into wood fiber. Making the surface tough and durable in the long run. However, after heavy use, the surface may develop wear or tear, but it doesn’t break or crack like Polyurethane coating. You can prevent such damage by sanding and recoating the Waterlox.
Using one quart of Waterlox, you can cover 125 square feet of a wooden surface. The same thing applies to polyurethane plastic coating. However, the difference is easily visible between the sealers.
Waterlox takes a minimum of 24 hours to dry. On the other hand, polyurethane can sit on wood surfaces between two hours to twelve hours. So Waterlox takes more time to recoat than plastic film.
Applying these wood sealers is easy for the butcher block and other wood materials. Still, you have to be conscious while using the liquid coating.
Polyurethane dries quickly on the wood surface and makes the countertop tough. However, depending on temperature and humidity, the drying time varies between two hours or more. Never use more than two coatings in a day.
Before applying a second layer, you should also ensure the coating is correctly attached to the wood. Additionally, you should sand down the surface before layering.
On Waterlox, sanding may not be required in the first coating. This liquid sealer doesn’t need multi-layering to work in its highest form. Still, the required coat can make your butcher block incredibly strong and protected.
Both Waterlox and polyurethane are safe to use on your butcher block. Polyurethane coating is non-toxic and safe for consumption. On the other hand, Waterlox sealer is made with natural resin and resources.
They are very eco-friendly and work to sit deeply into the wood pores. So they won’t come off while applying and using the chopping board.
Waterlox and polyurethane both have excellent protective capabilities for your butcher blocks. But Waterlox may provide long-term benefits over other plastic sealers. Still, Waterlox is relatively cheap compared with polyurethane wood sealant.\
However, the price difference is not huge between these wood sealers. Indeed, a half-quart Waterlox may cost $45-$47. On the other hand, the same quantity of polyurethane will cost $50 or a few more.
Which is the Better Option and Why?
So we have discussed common key differences between Waterlox and polyurethane sealant for butcher blocks. Now it’s time to decide which is better for your kitchen board.
Clearly, as we see, Waterlox provides long-term benefits and better protection from damage or cracks. Polyurethane also makes the wood surface tough and resistant to liquids. Still, it does not stay durable as Waterlox does.
In fact, Waterlox tung oil is an old formulated sealant type from 1910. Additionally, the wood sealer contains modified resin that offers extra protection to the surface. The liquid highly penetrated the wood fibers and pores.
It makes the countertop highly protective and provides a natural appearance. Still delivering more features and benefits, the wood sealer is cheaper than Polyurethane sealant.
So, if you plan to coat butcher block, floors, windows, doors, cabinetry, woodwork, and other interior and exterior items, go for Waterlox sealant.
FAQs on Waterlox Vs Polyurethane Butcher Block
What Kind of Finish is Best for a Butcher Block?
Oil-based stains or mineral oils are traditionally used to coat butcher blocks. It gives the wood surface a realistic outlook and protection from dust and other damage. Waterlox with mineral oil or resin mixed sealant is best for your butcher blocks.
How Long Does Waterlox Last?
Waterlox coating has an expected lifespan of seven to ten years. Thanks to its penetrating nature, the sealant is protective even when worn.
Is Waterlox Food Grade?
Waterlox wood sealer has a respected place in the industry. The penetrating nature and extra resin make your wood surface appealing and durable.
Does Waterlox Leave Residue?
Waterlox and other oil-based sealers tend to leave a slight oily residue which can be removed by timely cleaning and scrubbing.
What is the Best Oil Finish for Butcher Blocks?
Mineral Oil is the primary ingredient in many commercial wooden materials. You can easily find such a coating in Waterlox sealant.
Remember, the oil-based salient type is mainly used in chopping boards and other interior materials. Waterlox is a tung oil-based wood sealer mixed with natural resin. So coating with this sealer can make your wood surface visually appealing and durable for the long term.
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