Asked on Oct 08, 2015

Waterproofing a wooden vanity top

John Wood
by John Wood
I have a cherry wood vanity top in the bathroom aroud the sink and it gets temporary white stains when water spills on it. They do go away after few hours but while they are there, they look quite unpleasant. Is there a permanent or long lasting fix I can do to avoid this?
Update: Since a lot of you have recommended Paste Wax or Polyurethane or Spar varnish, I did some reading on the first 2 and both (at least of the MINWAX brand) have damaging effects due to long term exposure. Is there any particular brand that is safe especially when there is an infant in the house?
  20 answers
  • Kimberly Saxton Scruggs Kimberly Saxton Scruggs on Oct 08, 2015
    You could use a water sealer or polyurethane (use plenty of ventilation when applying!) talk to someone in Lowe's or Home Depot. Another idea to keep the top looking like a fine piece of furniture instead of a plastic top: a good paste wax (Johnson's) or turtle wax. It woul take a little 'elbow grease' in the beginning, but the outcome should look nice. If applied properly, you would only have to reapply, maybe 2-3 (?) times a year depending on how mush that sink is used. With the wax, the water would bead up until you wipe up the droplets. Read the instructions on the can. Talk to furniture refinishers.
  • Esmeralda Paredes Esmeralda Paredes on Oct 08, 2015
    you can do this in the painting store looking for gliss paint [it is used to paint boats] it is transparent and water's proof
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 08, 2015
    Try spraying acrylic, polyurethane,or shellac on the vanity. Use plenty of ventilation as all of these products have a very strong odor.
  • Viki Brennan Viki Brennan on Oct 08, 2015
    Try rubbing a raw walnut on the top. I use walnuts to erase the white rings left from glasses placed on wood and it helps me.
  • KKAbsherwrites KKAbsherwrites on Oct 08, 2015
    Don't use polyurethane - it will yellow and crack. Spar Varnish is for wood boats and will waterproof the surface. You can find it near the stains at the big box stores.
  • Teresa Moncrief Teresa Moncrief on Oct 08, 2015
    Agree Do not use polyurethane it yellows very fast. Use the Varnish or a Polycrylic. (polycrylic comes in a satin)
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 08, 2015
    Every website I checked said polyurethane is fine.The wood is cherry so how would it yellow?
  • Sally Sally on Oct 08, 2015
    I made a bathroom vanity our of old barn wood and sealed it with a food safe cutting board finish I got from lowes,,,, worked awesome!!! cant remember the exact name so just ask at lowes in pai nt department
  • Z Z on Oct 08, 2015
    Oil based polyurethane does yellow over time which would change the color, to some degree, on any colored wood. It happens slowly, depending on how much natural and other light its exposed to, that it's not something I'd worry about. Back to the original topic. These water spots will appear temporarily on your vanity top because water permiates the top of many finishes. It's a simple fact. About the only thing you can do to help eliminate them is to dry up any splatters immediately. Though I don't have your beautiful wood vanity top, I keep a microfiber cloth under the sink to dry the sink and surrounding areas after each use to avoid water spots in our bathrooms.
  • Sherri Taylor Sherri Taylor on Oct 08, 2015
    Polyurethane will DARKEN over time, because it's oil based. So is spar urethane. It's just meant for boats, things like that. Poly acrylic won't yellow because it's water based, but it's not as durable. I have things that I refinished 20 years ago and the polyurethane is still like new, except for a little darkening. If you're going to put a new finish on, make sure you sand the old of and then go over it with a tack cloth. It also looks nicer with 2-3 coats.
  • Branka Clemens Branka Clemens on Oct 08, 2015
    Water based Varathane in the blue can. It's a polyurethane made by rustoleum It's fabulous. Your choice of finish from matte to high gloss.
    • LCGPetrey LCGPetrey on Oct 10, 2015
      Varathane is water based & it does make/have water stains. They dry out. I've had Varathan on kitchen counters for 20 years; wouldn't do it again.
  • Kathy Kathy on Oct 08, 2015
    I covered mine with glass. I had the glass shop cut a hole in it for the sink. Now it cleans easily with windex!
  • Marge Marge on Oct 08, 2015
    Try marine varnish, it's made for boats and is water proof. Always tests any varnish on a hidden area (like the inside of a cabinet or drawer) to make sure you are happy with the result.
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Oct 08, 2015
    Here is something I just ran across in my local artstore. I haven't completely checked it out, but it looks good to me, as I am replacing a large outdoor /headboard sign that I "protected" with Helmsman Valspar (which turned into was a total yellowing nightmare). Oilbase + me = Ick Keep in mind they have different caps, depending on how wide you want your spray to be. Also, the mode of application is a bit different; you use it like a graffiti artist would. But, it comes in clear, is non yellowing and 100% weatherproof. What more could you want? Definitely let your vanity dry out, maybe go over it with a dry iron ant a tea-towel before you spray...
  • Jonnie Hammon Jonnie Hammon on Oct 09, 2015
    Polyurethane, the clear, non yellowing kind, or you can use deck sealer.
  • Jeani Miller Miner Jeani Miller Miner on Oct 09, 2015
    I use wax. it goes on easily, buffs out to a nice luster (not fake gloss, like poly), and water beads up. Every once in a while I re wax the high impact areas (like 6 months or so). I just like the wood look better without a plastic finish.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Oct 10, 2015
    Beautiful sink!
  • Roxy D Roxy D on Oct 10, 2015
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Oct 13, 2015
    Varathane/ Marine varnish.
    • Nancy J Nancy J on Oct 16, 2015
      @Johnchip I agree, was just going to suggest marine varnish too
  • Yes Marine wax is waterproof!