Refreshing or Recoating a Waterlox Finished Surface

As with any working surface, a Waterlox surface will get worn down over time. One of the advantages of Waterlox products is that they still maintain a high level of protection even when worn. However, when your surface needs to be refreshed, it can easily be done with a few simple steps.

Clean the surface

Regardless of which Waterlox product was used originally, it helps to start with a fresh clean surface. We recommend washing your surface with TSP (trisodium phosphate) or TSP substitute and water. Follow the instructions on the TSP container for recommended mixing ratios. Follow this step with a clean water rinse to make sure all TSP residue is removed. This cleaning process will remove grease, grit, some stains, residues, etc. and leave your surface ready for recoating. Allow the surface to dry at least overnight. Prior to using TSP and water, test in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that this cleaning process does not damage or discolor the finish. If wax or any wax containing products are present, additional steps may be required. See Wax and Waterlox for more information.

Sanding or Buffing

Some Waterlox products will require sanding, buffing, or screening the existing finish to provide a better surface for adhesion. Sanding is not required for other product families, but some sanding may be beneficial for removing scratches and other damage.

Required

  • H2OLOX
  • Urethane

Not Required

  • Marine
  • Original
  • TrueTone
  • Pure Tung Oil

For sanding or buffing recommendations specific to your product line, see below.

Refinishing Waterlox Penetrating Finishes

These include our Pure Tung Oil and TrueTone Product lines. Surface should be well cleaned before reapplying finish. See above for more information.

Pure Tung Oil

Raw Tung Oil is purely a penetrating finish, so it will blend in easily to the surrounding areas. Wipe on coats to the sanded or dry areas and wipe off excess. Apply coats as needed 24 hours apart until the wood no longer appears starved. The freshly refinished area will most likely be slightly higher in gloss at first, but it will blend in as the tung oil cures.

TrueTone

If you had to sand down the surface and ended up removing some color, start by reapplying some of the TrueTone stain by rubbing it in with a rag or lint free cloth. Wipe off any excess after 10 minutes and allow it to dry for 24 hours with a fan blowing on the area.

For just replenishing the clear (if it looks starved), simply wipe on some Buff-In Tung Oil Finish and wipe off any excess after 10-15 minutes. Repeat every 24 hours until the wood looks re-saturated and refreshed.

Refinishing Film-Forming Finishes

These include the Original, Marine, H2OLOX and Urethane product lines. Surface should be well cleaned before refinishing. See above for more information.

Stain

If a conventional stain was used, reapply the stain to any discolored areas. Follow the directions for application on your particular product. Allow the stain to dry properly before continuing.

Oil based stains may be mixed with our Universal Tung Oil Sealer (UTOS) to recolor the surface as well. Mix the stain and UTOS well. It is not recommended to exceed 1 part stain to 2 parts UTOS. Testing should be done for compatibility, final color and drying. Allow at least 24 hours drying if mixing together. See below for reapplication instructions.

If one of our TrueTone stains was used follow the same reapplication instructions below for the UTOS. Allow 48 hours of drying before applying finish over the TrueTone stains.

Universal Tung Oil Sealer

While not a finish in itself, if you have worn your existing finish down to bare wood or have sanded down to bare wood you should start your repair by buffing in the Universal Tung Oil Sealer (UTOS) to any exposed wood areas. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes and buff off the excess with a clean rag, pad or towel. This product soaks into the wood fibers so it will only soak into areas where raw wood is exposed. Allow this to dry overnight.

Original

Clean the surface well and reapply stain or UTOS if needed. Sanding is not required for adhesion, but a light buffing is a good idea to remove minor surface scratches. A maroon pad, 0000 steel wool or 320 grit or finer paper (or equivalent) should be enough to remove finer scratches.

Once the surface is clean, apply a fresh coat with a lambswool applicator or natural bristle brush. If your surface was well worn apply a second coat after 24 hours. Sanding is not required between coats. The best way to ensure a good even sheen over the whole surface is to apply a fresh coat over the entire surface or stop your recoat where there is a good visual break (like a transition into another room).

Spot repairs with Original Semi-Gloss and High Gloss Finishes
Because the Original Semi-Gloss and High Gloss finishes do not use any pigments or flatteners, they can most easily be spot repaired. You can attempt to fill in scratches, scuffs or gouges by applying product directly to the area with a fine paint brush or perhaps a cotton swab (watch out for lint or fuzz). Or a light buffing should smooth out the coating and a thin coat over the sanded area will restore the gloss, feather out the wet edge as best as possible. The spot repair will most likely be higher in gloss compared to the surrounding finish, but it will blend in over a short time. The Original Satin and Original Matte finishes will be more difficult to spot repair due to the use of flattening agents. You would most likely see where the repair is started and stopped due to slight differences in the way the surfaces scatter light.

Urethane

Clean the surface well and reapply stain or UTOS if needed. Urethanes have poor adhesion after they are well cured so sanding is required to promote adhesion. Abrade the surface with 0000 steel wool, a maroon pad or 320 grit sandpaper to scuff the surface and remove minor scratches.

Once the surface is clean, apply a fresh coat with a lambswool or synthetic applicator or natural bristle brush. If your surface was well worn apply a second coat after 24 hours. See the Urethane guide for application of multiple coats. The best way to ensure a good even sheen over the whole surface is to apply a fresh coat over the entire surface or stop your recoat where there is a good visual break (like a transition into another room).

H2OLOX

Clean the surface well and reapply stain or UTOS if needed. A light buffing is required to ensure good adhesion when recoating with H2OLox. Use 0000 steel wool, a maroon pad, 320 grit paper or equivalent to scuff the surface and remove any minor scratches. Clean the surface to remove any dust/debris and reapply the finish with a t-bar, pad or brush suitable for water based finishes. See the H2OLox guide for more information. If the surface is well worn, apply a second coat of finish with a light buffing between coats to ensure a smooth finish.

Marine

Clean the surface well and reapply stain or UTOS if needed. Sanding is not required, but removal of damaged, cracked, peeling or scratched film is recommended. Final sand should be with 0000 steel wool, 320 grit sandpaper or a maroon pad before recoating. A second coat of finish may be needed in areas where bare wood was exposed. Allow 24 hours between coats.

Mold and Mildew and Marine Finishes

See our Mold and Mildew Guide for more information, but any spotting, mold, or mildew should be removed before recoating. A diluted bleach and water solution (no more than 10% bleach to water), should be used to clean and kill any stains on the surface. Once clean, IMMEDIATELY rinse with clean water to remove any bleach residue, as bleach will damage the Waterlox film. Lightly sand the area to ensure a good clean surface before recoating.

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