Waterlox TRUETONE® Application Guide

Our TRUETONE Color-Infused Tung Oil stains are low VOC, low odor, buff-in stains that work as a base and color coat for other Waterlox finishes. TRUETONE colors can be used under Buff-In Tung Oil Finish, ORIGINAL, H2OLOX, MARINE, and URETHANE finishes. Waterlox TRUETONE Color-Infused Tung Oil enhances the color, richness, and grain of wood with a high-solids, buff-in, buff-off product. See the Find Your Finishing System tool for help selecting a full finishing system. Select “Waterlox Stain” when prompted to be recommended one of the TRUETONE colors.

Getting Started

What you’ll need:


  • Chemical resistant gloves, eye, and hearing protection (if using buffing equipment)
  • NIOSH/MSHA approved respirator (organic vapors) during application
  • For best results and your own safety, always read and follow all label warnings, guidelines, instructions, and cautions carefully.


  • Vacuum, broom, and clean lint free rags
  • Paint thinner or mineral spirits
  • Box Fan(s)


For Small Projects:

  • Applicator (choose one of the following):
    • Buffing pad/cloth. Anything lint free that will not break down when rubbed over a semi-rough surface (wood). Examples include clean rags (stain rags), non-abrasive buffing pads, old t-shirt, etc.
    • Flexible trowel specifically for applying high solids wood coatings (corners should be rounded).
  • Clean lint free rags or towels for removing excess TRUETONE.

For Large Projects:

  • Applicator (choose one of the following):
    • Thick, non-abrasive buffing pad (i.e. White 3M 4100 woven pad) on a low speed (<200 rpm) rotary floor buffer. One for every 500 sq. ft. of flooring is recommended.
    • Flexible Trowel specifically for applying high solids wood coatings.
  • Low speed rotary floor buffer (<200 rpm) is recommended for application and removal. Can all be done by hand or with smaller tools (low speed is important to prevent slinging material on unintended surfaces).
  • Rags, cloth or pad (insert from center of buffing pad is ideal) for cutting in edges or confined spaces by hand.
  • Clean rags, large pads or towels for removing excess TRUETONE.
Surface Preparation


Color is a very personal decision so proper testing should be done to ensure best results. Final color can be altered by sanding to different grits or using different surface preparation methods (pre-stain conditioners, water popping, etc.). Your full system should be tested to check color before finishing your entire project. See the Stain and Waterlox guide for more information.

General Tips

  • Final sand should be between 80 and 220 grit, following the proper grit sequence to avoid and minimize sanding marks.
  • Vacuum and sweep off the surface as well as any surrounding surfaces to minimize dust.
  • Wipe the surface with a lint free cloth that has been lightly dampened with mineral spirits to remove any stubborn dust. Allow to dry for 10-15 minutes or until mineral spirits has evaporated.
  • Conduct any other preparation steps (pre-stain conditioners, water popping, etc.)

Product Handling

  • Stir contents before and occasionally during use.

Application Process

  • Starting at an edge, pour a small puddle onto the raw wood or directly onto the applicator and begin rubbing (or trowel) the product into the wood.
    • Do not brush or lightly wipe, but apply a little bit of pressure to rub the product into the wood.
  • Do not allow puddles of TRUETONE color sit on raw wood for more than 30 seconds. Begin buffing/troweling as soon as possible and try to work from a previously colored section when adding more color.
  • Buff or trowel in the TRUETONE Color until no obvious puddles or drips remain on the surface.
  • When edging, do not get more than 5-10 minutes in front of the buffer or trowel that is finishing the field.
  • When the product is becoming difficult to spread, pour more TRUETONE color onto a previously colored section and work the new puddle onto the raw wood.
  • If buffing is becoming more difficult, switch or flip the application pad (usually 400-500 sq. ft per pad).
  • Continue applying until the entire surface is covered and color appears even. This product has a very long open time, but can be immediately walked on if you need to revisit an area.
  • CRITICAL STEP: After allowing the color to soak in for 10-15 minutes, begin buffing off any excess product. Use fresh rags or towels to pick up any excess product from the surface. Do not allow the wet product to sit on the surface for more than 1 hour.
    • For flooring, buff yourself out of the area that was coated to buff out any foot prints or tool marks.
  • Product may bleed back from soft grain, cracks, gaps, knots, etc. in the wood. Keep clean rags available for the first few days to wipe up any shiny spots that may appear. The surface can be immediately walked on with clean COVERED feet. Use socks or shoe covers, no dirty shoes or bare feet.

Clean Up

  • Dispose of any oil soaked rags or pads properly to avoid any chance of combustion. Lay rags or pads flat (at least) overnight in a well ventilated area (i.e. outside) to dry before disposing of properly.
  • Clean tools, drips or splatter with mineral spirits.

The TRUETONE Color-Infused Tung Oil products do not provide full protection on their own. It is recommended to use an additional Waterlox finish to completely waterproof and seal your surface. Again, you can use the Find Your Finishing System tool to help select a finish.


TRUETONE Color Infused-Tung Oils will dry through exposure to oxygen. Immediately following application, use a box fan (or fans) to move air over the surface. A low setting is plenty of air movement.

Depending on the final finish being used, dry times before recoating will differ. If top coating with the Buff-In Tung Oil Finish, allow at least 24 hours before applying. For other Waterlox finishes (H2OLOX, ORIGINAL, MARINE and URETHANE), allow 48 hours of drying due to the higher amount of solvent in those finishes.


Sanding will remove color and may result in an uneven color. Because the product is buffed, the surface should be plenty smooth and ready for your first coat. Lightly wipe with paint thinner or mineral spirits to remove any dust before applying your first coat of finish.

This guide is intended to be a standard application procedure. See the TRUETONE product page for additional guides and tips.