Different Types Of Wood Oils (Pros & Cons Explained!)

Wood oils are often used to protect and decorate furniture after construction. Their glossy finishes give wooden surfaces a beautiful and reflective sheen that also protects the wood from water damage and scratch marks. However, with so many types of wood oils out there, it can be tricky to decide which to go for.

We know how difficult it can be to decide, so we have compiled a list of different types of wood oils in this article. We reveal how these wood oils are made, when to use them, and their pros and cons. If you want to learn about wood oils or you want to know which to choose for your furniture, keep reading.  

What Are Wood Oils?

Wood oils are finishes that are applied to bare wood to revive it and give it a protective layer against factors that can damage its surface.

Most wood oils are penetrating finishes that seep into the wood grain to nourish and protect it from within. There are different types of it, each having a distinct formula and unique features 

Here are the different types:

  1. Danish Wood Oil
  2. Teak Oil
  3. Linseed Oil
  4. Tung Oil
  5. Mineral Oil

1. Danish Oil

Danish Oil

Danish oil is a very popular wood finish known for its unique properties, wood protection, and satin-like finish. When applied, it penetrates the wood thanks to the presence of thinning agents in its formula.

After application, it dries to form a hard layer on the wood that protects it from water damage and scratches that can damage the wood. The solidification process of Danish oil is known as “Oxidization.”

Formula

Danish oil is a hybrid wood oil that is made from other types of wood oil, varnish, and a thinning agent. There is no specific composition for it since manufacturers have a different formula for what they advertise as Danish oil.

However, its main ingredients include wood oil; usually Tung oil or boiled Linseed oil, Varnish; usually polyurethane varnish, and a thinning agent; usually turpentine or mineral spirits.

Since Danish oil is a mixture of other wood oils and varnishes, it gives you the good qualities of all of these finishes and is a perfect protective layer on your furniture. You can even make your own Danish oil if you have the required ingredients.

Usage

You should use it if you want to finish bare wood. This is because Danish oil needs to penetrate the wood pores when applied. So, if you apply it on stained or painted wood, it will not come out well. You can also use it on exterior wood or outdoor furniture.

Here are the pros and cons of Danish oil:

Pros:

  1. Water-resistant
  2. Exterior-grade wood oil, meaning that it can be used outdoors and on exterior furniture.
  3. Easy to apply due to the presence of thinning compounds in its formula.
  4. Enhances the natural color of the wood.
  5. It dries quickly.

Cons:

  1. You need several coats for good coverage on wood.
  2. It can only be applied to bare wood.

2. Teak Oil

Teak Oil

Teak oil is a penetrating wood finish commonly used on indoor, outdoor, and garden furniture. It is common for its honey-tone finish making it a perfect fit for enhancing wood color, especially hardwood. When applied, it seeps into the wood pores and dries to form a tough scratch-resistant layer on the wood.

Formula

The formula of Teak oil differs from manufacturer to manufacturer because it isn’t naturally occurring. It often contains Tung oil or processed Linseed oil and other ingredients like mineral spirits and UV blockers that give it distinct properties.

Usage

You can use Teak oil on outdoor furniture because it contains UV blockers (UV pigments or UV absorbers) that block UV rays and stop fading. It is common on hardwood, garden, and yard furniture and you can use it to finish wooden floors as well because it can bear foot traffic.

You can also use it to restore the natural look of wood especially if the wood has faded. The honey tone of the Teak oil finish helps it to revive wooden surfaces that have been discolored over time.

Pros:

  1. It has UV blockers in its formula that protects outdoor wood from UV deterioration and discoloration.
  2. It dries quickly, usually in less than 6 hours
  3. Teak oil is easy to apply and you only need 2-3 coats of wood.
  4. Weather-resistant. It prevents wood from drying, cracking, splitting, and fading.
  5. It is flexible and elastic.

Cons:

  1. Isn’t waterproof.
  2. It wears off in about 10 weeks so you’ll need to touch up and reapply the finish every 2-3 months.

3. Linseed Oil

Linseed Oil

Linseed oil is a yellowish hand-rubbed wood oil finish commonly used on indoor wooden surfaces thanks to its beautiful sheen. The wood oil is massaged into the wood pores with a clean cloth and you need about 3 coats applied at 12-hour intervals for a perfect finish.

Linseed oil is chosen by many because it’s easy to apply and can be used as a wood conditioner before the varnish is applied.

Formula

Linseed oil is produced from the ripe seeds of the Flax plant. This is why it’s also called Flaxseed oil. The seeds are harvested and left for days to get dry. When dry, the seeds are pressed using machines, and the oil is collected.

In its raw state, it isn’t to be used on wood because it is very thick and can take several weeks to dry. Instead, the raw linseed oil is either boiled or polymerized so it has a lighter flow and dries quickly.

Boiled linseed oil (BLO) is raw linseed oil that has been treated with drier additives and metallic driers so it dries faster. 

The best form of linseed oil is the polymerized form (PLO). In this case, the raw linseed oil is exposed to a high level of heat which increases its viscosity causing it to dry faster.

Usage

You can use linseed oil for indoor and outdoor surfaces. To use it outdoors, you must mix it with an exterior-grade varnish like polyurethane so it can withstand the harsh exterior environment and the elements.

You should never use linseed oil on wood floors because it’s not tough enough to withstand foot traffic.

Pros:

  1. It enhances the wood’s color and texture to reveal its natural beauty.
  2. It is easy to apply and you usually need 3 coats for a perfect finish.
  3. Linseed oil is adaptive and can be combined with other finishes to be used on wood. It’s also a key ingredient in other wood oils like Danish oil and Teak oil.
  4. It hides scratches and imperfections in wood properly.

Cons:

  1. It is not waterproof and is susceptible to water damage including white and black water rings if exposed to moisture for extended periods.
  2. It is known to turn yellowish over time.
  3. On its own is not ideal for exterior wood or outdoor furniture.

4. Tung Oil

Tung oil

Tung oil is a wood finish that has been used for several centuries, dating back to ancient China. The finish is popular for its scratch-resistant and protective film on wood.

When applied, it penetrates the wood grain and seals the wood from the inside to protect it. When it gets dry, it produces a transparent film that enhances the wood’s color. 

Formula

Tung oil is produced from the nuts of the Tung tree, native to China. The nuts are crushed and the oil is collected and processed into the wood oil finish that you use on your furniture and wooden surfaces. The formula of Tung oil is 100% natural.

Usage

You should use Tung oil when working on indoor and outdoor furniture. You can also use this finish on wooden surfaces that will be exposed to high moisture content like bathroom furniture because it is water-resistant.

Tung oil can be used on the parts of your home that will experience high traffic like your floors, decks, tabletops, and countertops.

Pros:

  1. It is a tough oil finish that protects wood from scratches and dents.
  2. Water-resistant.
  3. It can be used indoors and outdoors.
  4. Tung oil doesn’t discolor wood or yellow over time. It gives a transparent finish.

Cons:

  1. It is expensive and sometimes scarce.
  2. It can be difficult to apply because it requires a lot of sanding and at least five coats for a perfect finish.

5. Mineral Oil

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil for wood is commonly used on kitchen utensils and dining furniture. The finish is super easy to apply. It is a highly-purified by-product of crude oil (or petroleum).

The wood oil contains alkanes and cycloalkanes. It is also called White oil, Paraffin oil, and Liquid paraffin because the term “Mineral oil” is used to refer to several oil by-products of crude oil. You should check the label to ensure that the one you purchase is designed for finishing wood.

Mineral oil for wood often includes natural additives to make the finish more protective of the wood surface.

Usage

Mineral oil is ideal for your kitchen surfaces and bedroom. You can also use it on low-traffic wooden areas in your home like on wall frames and drawers. You shouldn’t use it on outdoor furniture or exterior wood because it doesn’t have impressive wood protection.

Pros:

  1. It is easy to apply and it dries quickly.
  2. When dry it fills the wood grain and enhances the natural color of the wood.
  3. It is a pure finish and also serves as a wood conditioner.
  4. Mineral oil doesn’t discolor wood.

Cons:

  1. It isn’t durable and doesn’t protect the wood from scratches and dents like other wood oil finishes.
  2. Mineral oil is restricted in its use. It can’t be used on outdoor furniture or floors.
  3. It wears off of the wood surface after a few weeks and would need to be reapplied to preserve its finish.
  4. It’s not waterproof.

Final Words

In summary, wood oils are amazing finishes for your furniture. Generally, they are easy to apply, repair, and maintain so you can use them on virtually any type of wooden surface.

However, you need to check the qualities of the wood oil that you intend to use to know if it’s an ideal choice for the surface you want to use it on. You should also follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply the wood oil so you get a perfect finish.

Tony Adams
Tony Adams

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about,

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