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How to Make Wood Coasters Waterproof?

How to Make Wood Coasters Waterproof?

Making wood coasters waterproof is a process that can seem daunting at first, but it can be easy and straightforward with the right tips and tricks. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions about how to make your wood coasters completely waterproof. We’ll provide helpful tips on which sealants and finishes to use, applying them correctly, and ensuring your coasters are protected from water damage. Let’s get started!

The Many Benefits of Wood Coasters

Wooden coasters are a type of drink coaster that is made from wood. They are often used to protect furniture from being damaged by beverages that are placed on them. Wooden coasters can also add a touch of style to any table or countertop.

The Many Benefits of Wood Coasters

Not only are they attractive, but they also provide functionality and protection. There are many reasons why you might want to make your own wood coasters, but the most common reason is to keep your furniture dry and free of water rings. [1], [2]

The Importance of Perfect Finish for Wood Coasters

Wood coasters are vulnerable to water damage and can warp, stain, and rot if they get wet. This is especially true if the coaster is made of untreated wood. There are no surprises there, as they exist for you to place your drinks on them.

To protect your wood coasters from water damage, you need to seal them with a water-resistant sealant or finish. A good sealant or finish will help keep moisture out and prevent the coaster from all the consequences of water damage. Plus, it will give the coaster a nice glossy appearance!

The perfect finish is key to making wood coasters waterproof. You need to make sure that the sealant or finish you are using coats the coaster evenly and completely. Pay special attention to the edges and corners of the coaster, as these are often where water can seep in. Make sure to let the sealant or finish dry completely before using your coasters. [1], [2], [3], [4]

Do You Need to Stain Wood Coasters?

Staining is the process of adding color to wood. There are many different types of stains available, and each one gives the wood a different appearance.

Some people choose to stain their wood coasters in order to give them a more finished look. However, you do not need to stain your coasters in order to make them waterproof.

If you want to give your wood coasters a nice finish, you can stain them with a water-resistant wood stain. Be sure to use a sealant or finish over the stained coaster to protect it from water damage. [2]

Staining Process

So, first before we do anything else, lets go over the basic steps of staining wood:

Staining Process

Stain selection

This is important because you want to make sure that the stain you choose matches the look you are going for. There are many different types of stains available, so take your time and find the right one. [2]


First you need to sand the wood. Not only will this help the stain to adhere to the surface of the wood but also will give it a nice look. We suggest using a 220-grit sandpaper to remove all the imperfections on the wooden surface first. This also will open up the pores in the wood, which as we mentioned will make it easier for the stain to cover every part of the surface. [2]

Use a wood conditioner

If your wood is new, you will need to use a wood conditioner before staining it. This is because new wood has a higher level of moisture and the conditioner will help the stain to penetrate better. [2]


Stain should always be applied in thin layers. If you apply too much at once, it will not dry properly and could cause streaking. Use a brush or rag to apply the stain in even strokes. Let each layer dry completely before applying the next one. [2]


Once you are happy with the way the stain looks, seal it with a good finish that is designed for exterior use. We shall discuss all the options right now!

What Can You Use as a Sealer for Your Coasters?

There are many types of sealants and finishes you can use to protect your wood coasters from water damage. We will go through the most effective wood coaters below.


Polyurethane is a finish that comes in both oil- and water-based formulas. It is one of the most popular finishes because it is durable, easy to apply, and available in a variety of sheens. One downside to polyurethane is that it can be thick and difficult to use.


Oil-based polyurethane will give your coasters a harder finish and is more resistant to water damage as well as heat. However, it is also more difficult to use and can be harmful to breathe in.

Water-based variant has easier application and is less harmful to breathe in, but it is not as durable as the oil-based variety.

If you are looking for a sealant that provides both durability and easy application, we recommend using polyurethane. Make sure to choose the right type based on whether you want an oil- or water-based formula. [2], [3], [4]


Lacquer is a clear, hard-wearing finish that is applied to wood with a spray gun. It dries quickly and forms a tough, protective film over the wood. Lacquer will offer excellent protection against water and heat. But keep in mind that lacquer is very thin and will not provide much protection against scratches and other physical damage.

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to finish your coasters, lacquer is a good option. Just be aware that it is not water-resistant and hence isn’t as waterproof as other finishes. [2], [3], [4]


Varnish is a popular sealant for wood coasters. It comes in a variety of sheens, from matte to high gloss. Spar varnish is easy to apply and provides good protection against water damage. However, it can also be quite expensive, so it may not be the best option if you are on a budget.

But when it comes to water protection, the varnish is one of the best options available because of the high quantity of solids it has. If you are looking for a finish that will protect your coasters from water damage, the varnish is a good choice. Just be prepared to pay a bit more for it.

It won’t help to save your coasters against heat however, so be vary of that if you want to use varnish to coat a coffee table for example.

If you want to use varnish as a sealant, you might want to use two coats for better protection. Just allow each coat to dry fully before applying the next one. [2], [3], [4]

Tung oil

Tung oil is an excellent sealant for wood coasters and probably also the most common one. It is non-toxic, dries quickly, and forms a durable finish that can repel water. It’s mostly used to give coasters a nice glossy appearance. However, when it comes to protection, the other finishes do a better job.

It’s very thin and if you use your coaster often, you may want to apply multiple layers of it and redo the finish entirely from time to time.

Be sure to use a pure tung oil rather than a varnish or sealant that contains toxic chemicals. [2], [3], [4]

How to Apply the Finish?

Application method depends on the type of the finish you go with and whether the coasters are already installed or not.

How to Apply the Finish?

In general however, bristle brushes are a perfect tool for applying oil-based finishes, while nylon brushes are ideal for other products. Rollers can work for either, so if you have a particularly large surface, it’s better to go with them! [5]

Applying Polyurethane

If you want to seal your wood with polyurethane, we recommend using a brush. One coat of sealant is sufficient; allow it to dry fully before applying the next.

If you are using an oil-based variant, always use a respirator to protect yourself from the fumes.

If you’re looking for a finish that’s more durable and easier to maintain, polyurethane is an excellent choice. When it comes to choosing the right type of polyurethane, keep in mind whether you want an oil- or water-based formula. [2], [3], [4]

Applying lacquer

Lacquer can be applied with a spray gun. Apply thin coats and allow each coat to dry before proceeding to apply the next.

Double check if you are using lacquer that is specifically designed for wood, as other types of lacquer will not work well on coasters. [2], [3], [4]

Applying varnish

The process for applying varnish is fairly straightforward. After sanding and cleaning the surface of the wood, apply a coat of varnish with a natural brush. Let it dry, then apply another coat if you want to. You can apply as many coats as you want, but remember that more layers mean a thicker finish that will take longer to dry.

Once the finish is completely dry, you can start using your coasters. They should be waterproof and durable enough to withstand regular use.

If you notice any scratches or other damage to the finish, you can always touch it up by applying another layer of finish. [2], [3], [4]

General Tips About Application

No matter what type of finish you choose, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and apply it in thin coats.

Make sure the surface is clean and free from dust or dirt before applying the sealant.

If you will see bubbles appear on the surface when you apply the finish, these will usually disappear later when the finish sets in.

You may also gently sand the first layer of finish after it dries to achieve a smoother surface. Don’t overdo it though to not damage the coating.

Keep in mind that different finishes will take different amounts of time to dry completely. Be patient and allow each coat to dry fully before applying the next. [5]

How to Maintain Wood Coasters Afterwards

If you want to see your wood coasters looking their best, it’s important to take care of them properly.

Clean them regularly

Dust and dirt can damage the finish on your coasters, so be sure to clean them regularly with a soft cloth. Don’t use any harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they could damage the wood.

Avoid placing hot objects on top of the coasters

If you’re using your coasters to place hot objects on, be sure to use a coaster that is protected with heat resistant coating. Putting a hot object directly on top of the wood can damage the finish and cause the wood to warp.

Look for damage on your coasters and repair it as necessary

If you notice any damage to the finish on your coasters, you can touch it up by applying another layer of finish. Be sure to let the new coat dry completely before using them. [6], [7]


Should wooden coasters be sealed?

The short answer is yes, wooden coasters should be sealed in order to protect them from liquids and make them waterproof. Sealing your coasters can also help to enhance their appearance by giving them a glossy finish. There are a number of different sealants that you can use, but polyurethane is generally the best option as it forms a tough, protective coating that is resistant to water and other liquids.

What do you coat coasters with?

There are a few different methods you can use to waterproof your coasters. One popular option is to use a polyurethane sealant or varnish. You can also use a coating of beeswax, which will give your coasters a natural look and protection from water damage.

Do wood coasters absorb water?

Yes, wood coasters will absorb water over time and because of that they are vulnerable to water damage.

Useful Video: How to make Waterproof Coasters | Waterproof Coasters


And now you know how to make wood coasters waterproof. But why would you want to do that? Besides the fact that it will protect your furniture from water damage, a waterproof finish can also add extra protection against spills and stains. And if you stain your coasters before applying the finish, they’ll look even nicer.

By using polyurethane, lacquer, tung oil, or shellac, you can help seal the coaster and keep water from damaging the wood. Be sure to regularly check up on your coasters by reapplying a protective coating every few months – this will prolong their life even further. Don’t forget about the cleaning too. We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to protect your wooden coasters from the water!


  1. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-case-for-co-1-132034
  2. https://workingtheflame.com/how-to-seal-wood-coasters/
  3. https://woodhungry.com/what-finish-to-use-for-wooden-coasters/
  4. https://www.loveourreallife.com/how-to-make-coasters-waterproof-a-step-by-step-guide/
  5. https://www.hgtv.com/how-to/home-improvement/what-s-the-difference-between-polyurethane–varnish–shellac-and
  6. https://diybyhand.com/how-to-clean-wood-coasters/
  7. https://www.woodenearth.com/blogs/wooden-blog/diy-wood-coasters-how-to-keep-them-from-cracking