The Best Way to Seal a Wood Table Top


Wood table tops add warmth to any environment, whether it's a formal dining room table, a well-used coffee table or a favorite night stand. No matter the style or age of the wood, it is important to make sure your wood table tops are properly sealed so they can be preserved for years to come.


Sealing a wood table first requires gathering the correct supplies. If you are planning on staining your wood table top first, you will need wood stain in the color of your choice, a paint brush or sponge, and a rag. Once the staining process is complete, you will need a paint brush or foam brush, approximately two inches wide, to apply an oil-based polyurethane, which will seal your wood table top and keep it safe during everyday use. Remember to also have fine-grit sandpaper on hand for sanding out imperfections between finishing coats.


A suitable workspace is essential to creating a beautiful finish and properly sealing your wood table. Because coats of stain and polyurethane require time to dry between coats, you need to find a clean room or work area where dust or particles from other projects won't affect the finish. If you are not using a workshop to do your table top sealing, remember to use a drop cloth under your workspace to protect your floors from spills or damage.

Work Time

Sealing a wood table top properly will not happen overnight. You must give yourself a few days to go through the staining and sealing process. Once the wood is stained and a coat of polyurethane is applied, it must be allowed to dry overnight. Check the instructions on your can of polyurethane to ensure that you allow for proper drying time. This coat must be sanded and the dust cleaned off with a rag before a second coat of polyurethane can be applied. Because you will need to apply at least three coats of polyurethane to properly seal your table top, you must allow a minimum of three to four days to complete the job.

Final Finish

The final coat of polyurethane should be carefully applied in the direction of the wood grain, and left to dry overnight. This final coat will not be sanded and will completely seal your wood table top. Although every piece of furniture is susceptible to dings and scratches, a sealed table top will keep your wood safe from spills and stains. If damage to the final coat occurs, you can always sand the table top smooth again with your fine-grit sandpaper and apply another coat of polyurethane.

Keywords: sealing wood table top, how to seal wood, table top finish

About this Author

Amy Dunay graduated from the University of Delaware with a major in business and technical writing. She has been a professional writer for 10 years and currently works as an editor and freelance writer. Dunay has had articles published on, and several other online informational sites.

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