Beeswax finish is a popular choice for furniture, but it does have some disadvantages.

It can be pricey and difficult to apply without a lot of practice. For those who are interested in learning more about the advantages and disadvantages of beeswax, this blog post will provide you with all the information needed to make an informed decision on whether or not beeswax is right for you!

Disadvantages Of Beeswax Finish

Beeswax is vulnerable to heat damage, needs more maintenance, it’s not as durable as polyurethane, has the potential of staining surfaces, yellows over time.

What is Beeswax Finish?

Beeswax wood polish is a safe and natural finish that brings out the true beauty of wooden furniture pieces. It’s often seen as an alternative to varnishes and lacquers, which are synthetic finishes that are pretty toxic to humans and pets if ingested or inhaled for a long time. In fact, it’s one of the best furniture wax options.

Beeswax polish has been around since humans discovered beehives. This natural element of beeswax makes this finish non-toxic, which gives it a distinct advantage over other manmade wood finish products such as varnish or lacquer.

Primary wood finish or wood polish is a combination of beeswax and oil. An oil like coconut oil, tung oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, walnut oil,  or hemp seed oil is mixed with beeswax to create this natural wood polish. 

The mixture is baked in the sun or oven until it becomes solid and malleable, which turns it buttery and can easily be spread onto wood furniture surfaces. 

Beeswax Wood Finish Pros and Cons

Beewax is a useful finish for wooden furniture because it dries quickly and can protect surfaces from water, dirt, or food stains. It also gives off a beautiful shine professional home decorators dream of. However, beeswax has some disadvantages as well.

Disadvantages Of Beeswax Finish 

Difficult to remove

Even though applying beeswax is simple, wax is difficult to remove from the furniture. This isn’t always a bad thing, as you don’t need to remove the finish on their wooden furniture. But there’re ways to make it easier when it comes to wood maintenance and refinishing.

Not suitable for all types of flooring

There’re some materials that wax finishes aren’t suitable for. Don’t use wax on unsealed surfaces (like raw wood) or wood flooring covered in linoleum, vinyl, or other types of plastic. 

Not as durable as polyurethane

Polyurethane is more durable and takes longer to fade than wax because it contains pigment. This makes wax a poor choice for use on furniture that will be heavily used, such as tables or kitchen cabinets. 

This said, polyurethane will generally require less maintenance as wood flooring needs refinishing more often.

Stains the wood surface

Because wax penetrates deep in the wood, it can cause staining. The darker the pigment in the beeswax, the stronger the potential for staining is. Wax can also cause white spots if not applied evenly. 

Staining isn’t a huge problem, as the wax finish is often applied to enhance the natural wood grain. But if you want a more professional look, other wood finishes like lacquers, varnishes, shellacs, and oil finishes may be a better option.

High maintenance

The beeswax requires frequent re-application to retain its natural beauty and protect the wax. While this is a minor inconvenience if you don’t mind the process of re-waxing your wooden surface, it’s a potential problem if you want a more long-lasting or durable wood polish.

You can choose to use beeswax on surfaces that won’t be heavily utilized, such as bedroom tables or dressers. This way, you can maintain a natural finish without doing too much work to remove or re-wax the wood surface. 

Vulnerable to heat damage

Heat damages wax finishes. If the ambient temperature of the room reaches above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the wax may begin to melt and drip.

This is especially problematic if you plan on having a fire in their spaces. Wax could melt off any wooden surface surrounding the fireplace, which is not only unsightly but also presents a safety hazard if it drips onto combustible materials.

The application is simple, but it needs physical strength

You need to apply beeswax by hand. While this process seems simple, it needs a lot of physical effort.

You have to get on your hands and knees and manually apply wax to the floor with an old rag.

Yellows over time

One of the biggest disadvantages of using wax is, it can yellow over time. While this isn’t likely to be noticeable unless you go back far enough, many people are still displeased with the change. 

This won’t happen if the surface has been finished with pure tung oil finishes or another type of surface finish.

Advantages Of Beeswax Finish 

Easy to apply

Natural wax finishes are easy to apply and don’t require time or effort to get the desired results. And this is good, as it means you can quickly apply wax to your wooden surfaces when needed rather than having to go through a lengthy process.

Because wax finishes are easy to apply, making changes if you discover a mistake is also easy. All you have to do is wipe off the wax and reapply another layer.

Environmentally friendly

Adding wax to indoor or outdoor furniture is a more environmentally friendly way to finish surfaces. If you use polyurethane or other types of paint, solvents will be required, which aren’t good for the environment. 

Wax finishes require only natural ingredients to be mixed to form a paste-like product that can then be applied directly onto the wood surface.

This is good news if you want to reduce indoor pollution with your home decor. You can achieve the desired look without having to sacrifice your green lifestyle.

This is beneficial for those who like the natural look but also want something standing out. It is hard to achieve this appearance after applying tung oil or varnish because the result will often look too glossy or matte. 

Appearance

Beeswax wood finishes can give a floor a longer lifespan. In addition, wax has the benefit of offering a protective layer that can keep wood looking new for several years, which is particularly beneficial if you have children or pets who are likely to damage your floors. 

Wax finish is also waterproof, so it won’t be damaged if you spill something on the surface.  This is particularly useful if you have a room with lots of activity and isn’t frequently cleaned. 

Economical

Beeswax is economical in that it requires no chemical additives and still leaves a durable coating. Because it can also be combined with linseed oil, which controls its spread and speeds up the drying time, the wax’s cost is further offset. 

Wood Lubricant

The beeswax coating allows for a smooth movement on the sliding doors or windows that would otherwise stick.

Coating Nails & Screws

Beeswax is also used to help coat the nails and screws since they don’t splinter the beeswax wood while pounding them in. 

Water-resistant

If surfaces are exposed to splashing or spills, a wax finish may help protect them from water damage because wax finish is moderately water-resistant. 

Easy to take off with a solvent

Wax is taken off with a solvent, so you don’t have to sand and scrape the floor when you want to give it a different appearance. These solvents include turpentine, mineral spirits, and paint thinner. 

Can be ingested safely

Beeswax is food-safe, so you can even safely ingest it if need be. It’s a great choice for wooden utensils, majorly cutting boards. 

Beeswax is safe and often applied to wooden toys for children. This is useful if you have an infant or small child who puts everything in their mouth, including the floor. 

What Does Waxing do to Wood?

Wax is a type of wood finish that provides more protection than most other wood coverings. The entire surface of wood objects is kept from moisture when a light layer of wood wax is applied, and the color of the wood is retained for a long time.

Although it’s somewhat challenging to achieve with other products, wood wax produces a rich sheen. Wood wax is used on painted or non-painted wood. 

Wax is used to treat and seal wood, as well as utilized as a light lubricant on occasion. A light coat of paste wax on pull-out drawers and wooden seat screws might be beneficial.

Types of Wood Finishing Waxes

Beeswax 

Beeswax is the most popular wood wax. It’s made from melting honeybees’ wax, mixing it with an alcoholic substance, and cooling it until it becomes solid. 

Pure beeswax finish wax may be used, but it can also be modified to add various colors and effects.

Carnauba wax

Carnauba wax is a hard, brittle yellowish-brown vegetable wax obtained from the leaves of a Carnauba palm tree. It’s processed using chemicals, making it more expensive as compared to beeswax. 

Mineral wax 

Mineral waxes are made from a combination of petroleum and carbon. They are impure and inexpensive as compared to beeswax and carnauba wax. Mineral waxes are used on their own as a finish or as a base for subsequent finishing.

Does Beeswax Polish Attract Dust?

The answer is yes. Beeswax polish will attract dust.

This is a disadvantage to using beeswax polish since it requires frequent waxing for the finish to remain looking good.  Another disadvantage is, fine dirt and grime may also become embedded in the wax surface, so it needs regular cleaning and waxing.

To clean,  wipe the surface with a well wrung damp, lint-free cloth. You can also use mineral spirits to wipe the dusty surface. 

FAQS

Is beeswax a good wood finish?

Yes. Beeswax is a good wood finish. It’s rich and fantastic and is used to seal old scratches and sun-damaged surfaces to make them disappear. It also gives the wood a warm shine and glossy finish. It’s well known for its anti-bacterial properties, protecting delicate surfaces from mold and rot because it kills fungi spores.

Is beeswax finish water resistant?

Yes. Beeswax finish is water-resistant and offers a protective layer that helps maintain the wood’s natural surface and beautiful shine. The water resistance is, however, dependent on proper maintenance.  

What’s the difference between beeswax and finishing wax?

Finishing wax is just that – it’s wax that will be applied after the beeswax has dried to protect it. Beeswax itself serves as protection for whatever wood you’re treating. It’s become popular due to its simplicity of use and the fact that it’s all-natural. Beeswax has a softifying property, while finishing wax is often applied to provide a hard finish for use after other finishes.  

How long does a beeswax finish last?

Beeswax finish lasts for an average of 3-5 years, like varnishes. But unlike varnishes, beeswax isn’t as durable and is easily dented or scratched by sharp objects. 

Does beeswax make wood slippery?

Yes, beeswax makes wood sticky and slippery because it’s an excellent lubricant. When beeswax is brushed on a piece of wood, it penetrates deep into the grain, giving it a shiny sheen. 

Is it better to wax or varnish wood?

It depends on what you want to do with the wood furniture. Varnishing is a better option because it’s opaque and can conceal scratches, dents, and dirt spots. On the other hand, Wax is applied for decorative purposes and reapplied every few years. 

What is waxed wood?

Waxed wood results from submerging wooden furniture, tree, or log into beeswax or other finishes. This process gives the new wooden object an intense shine that would otherwise take years of wear and tear to produce. 

Wax vs. polyurethane on stained wood

Wax maintains color better but maybe too soft for some customers. Polyurethane is more durable but can yellow with time. It’s best to test both products on a small wood area to see which works best with your taste and style.

Can you stain wood with wax?

Yes, you can, but it’s usually best not to. It may leave the wood looking blotchy with some types of stain and tinted with others. If wax is applied over an existing finish, there’s little color change. 

Conclusion

The disadvantages of beeswax finish shouldn’t deter you from giving it a try. While it isn’t the most durable finish, nothing beats wax’s warmth and luster on beeswax wood. If beeswax finish is applied incorrectly, it can turn yellow or grey over time, but if done correctly with the right techniques, it produces an amazing sheen that’ll last for decades.

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