finishing wood floor


If you have a wooden floor and are keen to make it waterproof, there are two important questions to ask.  The first is whether you actually mean water “proof” or if you mean more resistant to water, and the second is how do you do it?  There is a significant difference between “waterproof” and water resistant.  Most wooden floors that have a finish will have some sort of water resistance built in.  The likes of a lacquered or varnished floor however, will typically be more water resistant than an oil finished floor.  All of that said, if you’re trying to make your wood flooring water “proof”, you’re going to have your work cut out for you.

While there are several products you can buy on the market that will protect your floor from water, whether or not they will fulfill your expectation of waterproofing depends on what you imagine the end result to be.  If you need to know that a few wet footsteps walking from the shower to the stack of towels won’t cause damage, that’s one thing, but if you’re thinking of waterproofing a wood floor in a room that you’re converting to a wet room, that’s something else altogether.

Making sure your floor will stand up to wet feet coming in from the outdoors or wet feet making their way across the bathroom is reasonably straightforward and involves little more than:

Preparing your floor. To prepare your floor for a waterproofing product application, you need to clear the room, clean the floor thoroughly and repair any damage.

Sanding your floor. It’s important that you invest time in the sanding process to get a good end result.  When you sand, you should start with the edges and a rough grit sand paper and move down to a finer grit.  Once you’ve finished the sanding process you need to clean and vacuum the floor once more.

Applying your chosen waterproofing product. All waterproofing products come with full manufacturer’s instructions and it’s essential to follow those instructions.  However, the broad rule of thumb is to apply at least three coats of waterproofing polyurethane or resin, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before moving on to the next.  In between coats, you need to check for any bubbling or wrinkling and sand those away before applying the next coat.  When you start the process, it’s a good idea to work with a natural fabric mop to get a good coverage and work up to a brush at the end, to get a nice even finish.


- This job is best done on a warm, dry day so that the floor has a good chance of drying quickly and evenly.
- When applying the finish, work towards the door so you don’t get stuck in the middle of the room and end up having to walk across your work.


No matter how thoroughly you apply a waterproofing product to your floor, and irrespective of what the product manufacturer claims, you should attempt to mop up spills and avoid flooding at all costs, because these could damage your floor.