A Guide to Waterproofing Laminate Furniture

how to waterproof laminate furniture

Waterproofing your laminate furniture is vital in ensuring its durability and longevity. This process protects your furniture from damage caused by moisture, which can lead to peeling, discoloration, and even structural instability over time.

This guide will walk you through the step-by-step waterproofing process, from preparation to sealing, ensuring that your furniture stands the test of time.

Along the way, we will highlight the materials and tools needed for each stage, ensuring you have everything you need to protect your laminate furniture and keep it looking as good as new.

What is Laminate Furniture?

Let me tell you something about laminate furniture that you may not know.

Laminate furniture is made of synthetic materials combined with natural and recycled ones to create a product that looks like wood but is significantly less pricey.

Remember my kitchen cabinets that look like expensive oak? Well, you guessed it! They’re laminate!

The Pros and Cons of Laminate Furniture

Laminate furniture, like everything else, has its highs and lows.

On the one hand, it’s affordable and can convincingly mimic a variety of wood grains – you wouldn’t believe how many compliments I’ve received on my “mahogany” coffee table that’s laminate.

On the other hand, it can’t match the sheer durability of natural wood and might start to show wear and tear faster.

The Importance of Waterproofing Laminate Furniture

You might wonder, “Why do I need to waterproof my laminate furniture?” Well, let me tell you a story.

A few years ago, I bought a beautiful laminate dining table. It was the perfect size and color… everything was perfect until I forgot a sweaty pitcher of lemonade on it overnight.

The following day, the damage was done. The moisture had seeped in, causing the surface to bulge and discolor.

If I had waterproofed that table, it might still be with us today. So, believe me, when I say that waterproofing laminate furniture is not just important, it’s essential!

1. Materials and Tools

Before we get into the waterproofing process, let’s discuss the materials and tools you’ll need. I’ve tried and tested what works best over the years, so here’s my tried and true list.

Materials Needed for the Waterproofing Process

  1. Laminate Cleaner: This is essential to ensure the laminate surface is free from dust, stains, and grease before you begin waterproofing.
  2. Sandpaper: A fine-grit sandpaper is needed to gently scuff the surface so that the sealant adheres well.
  3. Sealant: Select a clear, waterproof sealant designed for laminate surfaces. We’ll use this to create that essential water-repelling layer.
  4. Cloths or Rags: You’ll need these to clean the surface and wipe off any excess sealant.

Material’s Purpose

  1. Laminate Cleaner: Just like when I tried to paint my wall without cleaning it first, applying a sealant over a dirty surface won’t yield the best results. The laminate cleaner ensures the surface is spotless and ready for sanding.
  2. Sandpaper: It’s like exfoliating your skin before applying makeup. The sandpaper helps create a slightly rough surface, allowing the sealant to adhere better.
  3. Sealant: This is our star player. The sealant is a protective layer, protecting water and moisture from your precious laminate furniture.
  4. Cloths or Rags: These are the unsung heroes. They help wipe away dust after sanding and remove any excess sealant after application.

Necessary Tools for the Job

  1. A Brush or a Roller: Depending on the size of your furniture, you might need either a brush or a roller to apply the sealant.
  2. A Pair of Gloves: To keep your hands clean and protected.
  3. Dust Mask: Sanding can create quite a dust storm, so a dust mask is advisable.

So there you have it! You’ll need These materials and tools to waterproof your laminate furniture. Remember my lemonade disaster story?

You can avoid such a fate for your laminate pieces with these tools and materials. Let’s prepare to roll up our sleeves and get waterproofing!

2. Preparing the Furniture

Before diving into the action, ensuring our furniture is ready for the process is essential. So let’s get started!

Cleaning the furniture thoroughly

First, we need to ensure that the furniture surface is as clean as possible.

You know how it is to stick a band-aid on a dirty wound? The same principle applies here.

Once, I tried to waterproof my old study desk without cleaning it first, which was a disaster.

The sealant didn’t adhere well to the surface and looked patchy and uneven. So, I’ve learned that you need to start with a clean slate.

Use the laminate cleaner to remove all the dust, grime, and stubborn stains. Remember, the cleaner the surface, the better the sealant will adhere.

Sanding the surface (if necessary)

Next, we move on to sanding. This might not be necessary for all furniture, but it’s recommended if your laminate surface is glossy or very smooth.

It’s like how my grandma used to scrub the floor with sand before mopping it; it just gives that extra grip.

Use fine-grit sandpaper to roughen the surface gently. This will ensure a better bond between the sealant and your furniture.

Removing any existing finishes or coatings

We can’t apply a sealant over an existing finish like you wouldn’t paint over wallpaper.

So, if your furniture has any old coatings or finishes, it’s time to wave them goodbye.

I once tried to apply sealant over an old varnish on my bookshelf.

Let me tell you, it didn’t end well. The sealant started to peel off within a week.

So, take your time and remove any existing finish using a good quality paint stripper or sandpaper, depending on what’s appropriate.

Remember to clean the surface again after this step to remove any residues.

3. Choosing the Right Waterproofing Product

Different Types of Waterproofing Products

There’s a range of waterproofing products available in the market, each with merits and demerits.

For example, sealants are an excellent choice for providing a clear, protective finish, but they may not be as durable as other options.

Polyurethane stands out for its incredible durability and resistance to water, wear, and tear – I’ve used it on my outdoor furniture, and it’s held up remarkably well over the years.

Conversely, Varnish offers a beautiful, glossy finish but might not be the best choice for high-traffic areas since it can scratch easily.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Product

When selecting a waterproofing product, there are several factors to consider. For one, you need to think about the end finish you desire.

Do you want a glossy or matte finish? I once used a glossy sealant on a table meant for my study, and let me tell you, the glare from overhead lights was quite a nuisance.

The durability of the product is another crucial factor. Opt for something like polyurethane if the furniture piece is often exposed to the elements or heavy usage.

Lastly, consider the ease of application. Some products might require multiple coats or a lengthy drying time, which can be quite a hassle if you’re short on time (or patience, like me).

Recommended Waterproofing Products for Laminate Furniture

For laminate furniture, I’ve had great success with a few products. Water-based polyurethane is one of my go-to’s – it’s non-toxic, dries quickly, and provides a robust, clear finish that lasts for years.

I used it on my laminate kitchen cabinets, and they still look fantastic after three years of daily use.

Another recommendation would be a clear epoxy sealant, which offers excellent durability and a high-gloss finish.

I once used it on a laminate tabletop, and it gave the piece a lovely, shiny finish that was also resistant to scratches and spills.

Just remember to choose a product that suits your specific needs and the character of your furniture. Each piece is unique, after all.

4. Applying the Waterproofing Product

Step-by-step Instructions for Applying the Chosen Product

Applying your chosen product is a process that takes attention and care. I remember when I slapped on the sealant without any preparation.

The result? It was a streaky, uneven finish that did no justice to my effort. To avoid such mishaps, here are the steps I follow now:

  1. Clean your furniture: Remove dust or grime on the surface with a damp cloth. A clean surface ensures proper adhesion of the waterproofing product.
  2. Prep your furniture: Depending on the product, you might need to sand the surface lightly. When I used a clear epoxy sealant, I lightly sanded the tabletop to help the product stick better.
  3. Apply the product: Follow the instructions on the product label. Usually, I use a good-quality brush and apply it in the direction of the grain. Take your time on this step — rushing can lead to a messy finish.

Tips for Achieving an Even and Smooth Finish

Achieving an even and smooth finish takes a bit of practice. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way that have proved valuable:

  1. Use long strokes: Short, choppy strokes can lead to an uneven finish. Long, smooth strokes give a more uniform appearance.
  2. Control your brush: Press down lightly on your brush. Pressing too hard can pull away the product, leading to a patchy finish.
  3. Check your progress: Stand back occasionally and inspect your work. It’s easier to fix errors while the product is still wet.

How Many Coats are Necessary and Drying Times Between Coats

The number of coats needed and the drying time between coats depends on the product.

For instance, when I used water-based polyurethane, I found that three coats gave me a robust finish.

As per the product instructions, I allowed two hours of drying time between coats.

Always remember more coats lead to a more durable finish, and enough drying time ensures each layer adheres appropriately.

5. Finishing Touches

Sanding Between Coats (If Required)

Sometimes, a slight imperfection or roughness sneaks in between coats. This is where sanding between coats comes into play.

I remember first noticing rough patches after the second coat on my old coffee table.

I was a bit panicked, but then I learned about the magic of sanding. All you need is fine-grit sandpaper, usually around 220 grit.

Gently, with very light pressure, sand the surface. Make sure to wipe away any residue before you apply the next coat.

Sanding not only helps to remove minor imperfections but also aids in the adhesion of the subsequent layer.

Polishing or Buffing for a Glossy Finish (If Desired)

If a glossy sheen is what you’re after, then polishing or buffing is your best friend.

I remember working on a vintage chair and adding a little shine to enhance its charm.

After the final coat dried, I used a buffing pad and furniture polish.

The trick is to move in the same direction as the wood grain and to do it gently.

The result was a beautifully glossy finish that brought out the wood’s natural beauty.

Cleaning Up Any Spills or Excess Product

I can’t count the number of times I’ve ended up with a little spill or splatter here and there.

It does happen, no matter how careful you are. The key is to act quickly.

For spills on the floor, I usually use a damp cloth or sponge to clean up, followed by a dry towel to avoid slipperiness.

A clean, dry brush is your best bet when it comes to the excess product on the furniture piece. Gently brush off the excess product in the direction of the grain.

And remember, it’s always easier to clean up while the product is still wet. Once it dries, it becomes a lot trickier.

Maintenance and Care

Tips for Prolonging the Lifespan of Waterproofed Laminate Furniture

Much like when I restored a beautiful but worn-out bookshelf, preserving your waterproofed laminate furniture requires attention and care.

Regular dusting with a soft cloth can prevent the accumulation of dirt and grime.

Avoid using abrasive cleaners that can harm the finish – I remember using a strong detergent that left unsightly marks on my beloved coffee table.

Also, keep your furniture out of direct sunlight as much as possible, as UV rays can fade and deteriorate the finish over time.

How to Clean and Maintain the Waterproofed Surface

Cleaning and maintaining the waterproofed surface is crucial for longevity.

I always use a damp (not soaking wet!) cloth for cleaning, followed by dry wiping to prevent moisture seepage.

A mild soap solution for stubborn stains can work wonders – this little tip saved my kitchen table after a particularly messy pizza night with the kids.

Always remember to wipe in the direction of the wood grain and avoid using harsh chemicals or silicone-based polishes that can damage the surface.

Signs That It’s Time for Reapplication

Recognizing the signs that it’s time for reapplication is key to maintaining the integrity of your waterproofed furniture.

Look for areas where the finish has worn thin or has become dull or cloudy. Just like when I noticed spots on my dining table where the glossy seal had faded after numerous festive dinners.

Also, if water no longer beads up but soaks into the wood, it’s time for a new application.

Remember, it’s always better to reapply too early than too late to keep your furniture looking its best and, most importantly, protected.


In summary, the importance of waterproofing laminate furniture cannot be stressed enough.

This process not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your furniture but also extends its lifespan, safeguarding your investment from the detrimental effects of water damage.

Your furniture faces myriad threats, from accidental spills during family dinners to the invisible humidity in the air, and it’s up to you to provide the necessary protection.

We hope this guide has armed you with the knowledge and motivation to take the necessary steps in waterproofing and maintaining your laminate furniture.

Remember, a little effort now can prevent much hassle down the line.

In conclusion, waterproofing your furniture preserves its physical integrity and its cherished role in your home.

From the coffee table where you share laughs with friends to the dining table that hosts family celebrations, your furniture holds memories.

Preserve these memories and make many more by taking the initiative to waterproof your laminate furniture.


Hi! I’m Kobby, one of the co-owners of favoredstoneguides.com and the newest house owner in town. I’m a huge fan of most things natural. Over here on this site, I'm happy to share all the exciting hacks, tricks, and tips I have learned and continue to learn each day about taking care of natural stones.

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