Is Tung Oil Waterproof (Advantages of Using Tung Oil)

In woodworking, tung oil is highly regarded to finish wooden furniture. Sourced directly from tung trees, the oil is all-natural and eco-friendly. It protects your furniture from various environmental elements.

Yes, tung oil is waterproof. Tung oil finish works like a water-repellent coating on your countertop, table, and furniture. It blocks moisture, water droplets, and dust from getting into the wood.

After drying up, the finish becomes harder and behaves like a plastic coating.

In the article, we will discuss tung oil’s waterproofing ability and other advantages. So, read along.

Is Tung Oil Waterproof?

is tung oil waterproof

Tung oil is regarded as one of the most popular oils for finishing wooden furniture. Its being 100% natural and bright in color, gives it extra mileage. Tung oil is extracted from the seeds of the tung trees by crushing.

Tung oil finishes protect your wooden furniture from various environmental elements.

Water is one of those. Yes, tung oil is 100% waterproof. It repels moisture and water droplets from getting absorbed into the wood.

A few coats of fresh tung oil on your woodwork create a water-resistant coating on them. The coating blocks any entry of water molecules and keeps the wood safe from accidental spillage or raindrops.

For tung oil to sit on the wooden surface properly, curing may be needed. After that, you can apply tung oil to the surface. Don’t miss any spot while giving your wooden furniture a shiny coating of tung oil.

Though tung oil is still no match for the varnishes used on furniture nowadays.

But it can keep your woodwork away from water and other environmental elements. Here are some branded tung oils from our preferred producers:

Product Name Unique Feature 1 Unique Feature 2
Real Milk Paint Pure Tung Oil 100% pure and all-natural tung oil Food-grade and planet friendly.
Real Milk Paint Half and Half Pre-mixed half pure tung oil and half citrus solvent Penetrate deeper into the wood and makes it waterproof.

Advantages of Using Tung Oil

Apart from just being waterproof, there are many more advantages of using tung oil as a wood finishing. Its amazing characteristics make it one of the most sought-after finishing agents for woodworkers.

All Natural

Sourced directly from the seeds of tung trees, tung oil is a 100% natural wood finishing material. It is free from the touch of any chemicals, let alone harmful ones.

So, it can be deemed as an ideal wood protectant if you wish to avoid varnish.

As it is all-natural, tung oil is very eco-friendly and non-toxic. When coated perfectly, it protects your wooden furniture from harmful environmental elements as well.

It has great elasticity too. So, it is unaffected by any changes in temperature.

Great Color

With its glossy finish, the use of tung oil on wood preserves the natural color. Its transparent finish looks very appealing to the human eye.

But to achieve that, you need to be quite patient with the oil as it takes time to dry up. Once dried up, you can expect it to give your furniture a nice and rich deep golden color.

As it doubles as a protective film, it is a great option for people who want to avoid varnish at any cost. Though it protects like a plastic finish, it has a natural shine to it.

Easy to Apply

It is very easy to apply tung oil to woodworks. You can apply it to your furniture using just a paintbrush or a piece of cloth.

You need to sand the surface beforehand though. A coat of primer after sanding would work wonders while applying tung oil.

Here are a few primers that we highly recommend you to use before applying tung oil:

Product Name Unique Feature 1 Unique Feature 2
Johnstone’s – Interior Wood & Metal Quick Dry Gloss Primer Undercoat Quick dry primer, dry to touch in 1-2 hours Properly primes bare wood as well as previously painted wooden surfaces.
Dulux Primer & Undercoat Paint For Wood Low-odor and easy-to-apply primer Can be used on both interior and exterior.

You don’t need to be an expert in woodworking to apply tung oil to wooden surfaces.

Just make sure that you are giving it a bit of time and applying a minimum of 6 coats. It should take somewhere around 6-8 hours to dry after each coat has been applied.

Food Safe

As the oil is extracted from the seeds of tung trees, it is completely food safe. So, there are no side effects in using kitchen utensils with a tung oil finish.

But as mentioned earlier, you need to be patient with the oil. You must give it around 30 days to be fully cured.

Tung oil doesn’t get mixed up with food components. So, there is no risk of food contamination. Moreover, it helps to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi on the applied wooden surface.

Less Likely to Discolor

Some varnish components and other oil finishes may end up yellowing over time.

But with tung oil, the chance of discoloration is minimum. So, you will have no worries about your wooden surface getting yellow over time.

Finishing oil like linseed is highly prone to discoloration over time. So, they need regular maintenance. As tung oil doesn’t change its color over time, you may prefer it over any varnishes and other oil finishes.

Dust and Alcohol Resistance

Apart from being waterproof, tung oil protects your wooden furniture from dust, acids, and alcohol. 

So, it is a great choice of oil to finish wooden tables, countertops, desks, and other furniture that may get in contact with mentioned elements.

If you ever spill anything on a surface with a tung oil finish, you don’t need to worry about the wood being destroyed.

Tung oil finish doesn’t let any components penetrate through its coating. Thus, you will feel very safe with it.

How Many Coats of Tung Oil Make the Surface Waterproof?

The number of tung oil coats that you would need to waterproof your wooden surface depends on certain factors.

Out of those, the type of wood, preferred glossiness, and sheen level are some of the key factors.

Usually, we recommend you apply 6-8 coats of tung oil. Remember to be patient with it. With 6-8 coats, you will get the optimum result out of the oil finish.

The slow curing speed of tung oil may get a bit annoying at times, but you would love it when it dries up.


Where can I use tung oil?

You can use tung oil on wooden countertops, furniture, utensils, cutting boards, and so on. It is food safe. So, you don’t need to worry much.

Can I use tung oil on cedar wood?

Yes, you can. While working with cedarwood, remember to apply the oil in line with the wood grain for best results.

Can I paint over the tung oil finish?

Yes. But painting over a tung oil finish will require a bit of sanding. After sanding it, you can put a coat or two of primer and paint over it easily.

Wrap Up!

So, that brings us to the end of our today’s arrangement. We hope you got the answer to your question – “Is tung oil waterproof?” by now.

Tung oil can prove to be a very good finishing element for your wooden surfaces. If you have any feedback, drop a comment below.

Best of luck in your future endeavors.

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