Hello friends and followers. Here I am again with my insight on wax. I keep seeing a huge movement towards using wax as a top coat. My guess is because some paint manufactures say you don’t need to top coat their paint. So waxing has become the alternative to achieve a sheen, or desired look.
Wax was first used primarily as a finish but lets face it we have come a long way in the world of wood finishes. There are so many better options out there other than wax for a sealant. Today it’s commonly used over the top of a finish, or on a low traffick item such as this carved or gesso mirror. This mirror had been waxed originally I knew this from the build up of wax I had picked out of the crevices. After restoring the paint and top coating I did apply a new wax over the top to get the original desired look.
Today the movement of painting furniture is spectacular and the artistic pieces I see are just amazing! All of you up-cyclers and DIYers are playing a huge part in keeping all of that furniture from going into a landfill. However the idea is to have these flips and up-cycles last another few generations right? Well if you wax a high used dresser its going to take a whole lot more work to get it back to its original state. Because once wax is on something stripping will be required to remove it. We do not recommend painting over the top of a wax. Just think of a bees wax bar you can get at a local farmers market, if you put paint on it, whats going to happen? It will definitely not stick to that for long. There is then also the concern for dry-mils. This is a term used for wood finishers to determine how many layers of finish are on the top of the wood. Too many layers and you will expect to have a finish failure. They use a gauge after spraying to see what their wet mils are and then do a little math to determine what the dry mils are at. Depending on the solids of the paint / finish the dry mils can vary. It is recommended not to exceed 4-5. So if you paint over an existing finish with “x” amount of dry mils, add so many more mils to that and then in a few years paint it again. You will be sure to be exceeding your mils and can be expecting the finish / paint to be failing and it will not last for generations to come.
(Wet mils gauge from Mohawk)
Wax can also be somewhat sticky, and finger prints can stand out. Dirt can easily adhere to it making it harder to clean. Also, wax is suggested to be reapplied about every year so it is not a low-maintenance option. Wax is used typically more for looks rather than as a durable protectant over your painted or stained woodwork.
Waterbase finishes are definitely what we recommend for a durable top coat. They have low VOCS and can be easily applied using a brush. Most waterborne finishes come in many different sheens. General finishes has a flat out flat that is an excellent seal coat as well can create a similar low sheen look as a wax. Check out General Finishes and see where you can find a vendor near you. We also spray with ML Campbell Aguaiente PLUS clear. Some of my favorite perks of the ML Campbell is its sprays out similar to a lacquer dries fairly quick and has a completely flawless sheen when completed.
We understand the appeal of the look a product finished with wax has, but personally aren’t fans of the high-maintence, low durability qualities we have mentioned. If you choose to continue to use wax as a finish, please keep these things in mind in order to properly finish and maintain your hard work. Both General Finishes and ML Campbell are great options for achieving the same look without sacrificing quality.
We hope this has been educational for you! Happy Junking!
If you want to learn more about finishes check out our other blog.
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