How to Protect Wood in High Humidity Environments – Kitchens and Bathrooms

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Wood is a mainstay of the modern home. Durable and full of character, wood’s incredibly versatile nature allows it to be used in furniture, flooring and cabinetry, and much more. 

It’s in the humid and high moisture environment of kitchens and bathrooms, however, that wood can endure serious and lasting damage to its condition. Constant exposure from the splatter of kitchen and bathroom sinks, as well as heat from baths, showers and the preparation of food, will eventually impact the condition of your wood. 

While woods that are naturally more water-resistant such as teak (commonly used in ship building) will provide some defence, they will eventually succumb to the more detrimental effects of water exposure. 

There are, however, some key methods and products you can use to effectively waterproof your kitchen and bathroom wood. As always, we’re here to offer our expert advice, in the hope of ensuring your wood remains durable for years to come.

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Wood gives great character to a home. Photo credit to: bamaluzhome

Interior Preservers

Perfect for: Protecting Around a Sink

Much like its exterior counterpart, a quality interior preserver will help protect your wood from the more harmful elements of its environment. In this case, high moisture environments. 

Osmo Wood Protector 4006 is a great example of a product of this design. Born from an oil and wax base, it’s free from biocides and is perfectly equipped for use in wet rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. 

We recommend its use on worktops. Upon application, your wood will receive extreme water repellency, a handy quality to have when facing liquid spills; a common occurrence of the kitchen. Those natural oils will also actively enhance the natural character of the wood, granting it a permanent wet effect.

It is important to note that this product also requires a top coat finish like the Manns Premier Top Oil. Also ideal for use on worktops, it’s purpose-built to help prevent marks from liquid spills and contact from hot surfaces. In that regard, it’s particularly suited for high humidity environments.

Worktops benefit greatly from a durable top oil. Photo credit to: Manns UK

Oils

Ideal for: Doors, Worktops and Floors

Wood oils are products designed to finish and protect. By feeding and nourishing the wood from inside the wood grain, they enable resistance against moisture, dirt and wear and tear.

In high humidity conditions, internal doors are susceptible to warping and swelling as the  moisture in the air naturally soaks into the wood. If left untreated, this can lead to cracking and splitting of the wood. To protect from this reality, Osmo Door Oil is your go-to for providing high durability to all softwood and hardwood internal doors. It’s easy to apply and maintain and is safe for humans, animals and plants when dry. 

Those with wooden floors in their home, particularly in kitchens, will know all too well of the likelihood of liquid spills. When running the sink, some exposure to moisture is inevitable. As is the odd spill of wine after one too many.

Blanchon Hard Wax Oil Tints is a quality treatment you can turn to protect against such mishaps. It’s available in a range of luscious, natural shades from Golden Oak to Weathered Wood, and will also provide protection against knocks and scratches. 

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Manns Stains are ideal for inducing a gorgeous kitchen aesthetic. Photo credit to: bamaluzhome

A more eco-friendly alternative to solvent-based treatments is Bona Mega ONE, a water-based floor varnish. It’s ideal for low to medium traffic wooden floors and dries to a non-yellowing, wood warming colouration. Moreover, it doesn’t require the use of a primer. As this product is far more forgiving, it allows for more flex from woods that are known to swell and contract.

Stains

Wood stains are a fantastic way of changing the colour of your wood to achieve a desired aesthetic. Unlike paints, which sit on the surface of the wood, stains absorbing and soaking into the wood. In turn, they enhance the natural wood grain and colour of the wood.

Manns offer a range of classic stains for use on Pine and Oak surfaces, including doors, floors and furniture. Made from an environmentally friendly, water-base, they offer superb depth of colour and grain clarity, and can be easily applied with either a brush, sponge or a spray gun. 

It is imperative to note, though, that stains must be coupled with a protective finish in order to achieve waterproof status.

Looking for an all in one stain and finish? A fitting product we suggest is Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints. This hugely popular product is available in 9 stunning shades to further complement your stain and dries to a highly durable, soft satin finish.

A stunning kitchen complete with a worktop finish. Photo credit to: builderbunny

Our Top Tips

We cannot suggest more highly the importance of fairly regular maintenance of your wood. By staying on top of this practice, you can ensure the longevity of both the wood’s condition and its natural aesthetic. 

Adopting a regular cleaning schedule will go a long way towards helping you achieve your goals. Additionally, it’s very important to never let water sit on wood for too long, leave it too long and the moisture will absorb into the wood. Pay mind to wipe down all surfaces including walls, worktops, shelves and cabinets. 

Need help with your kitchen or bathroom?

Contact our team of resident experts who are always on hand to help with project advice and product recommendations. Alternatively, see our FAQ page which covers many of our most commonly asked questions.

We love to see before, during and after photos of any wood finishing project. If you would like to share your project pictures with us and our followers, you can either send us some photos or share on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram pages.

Other great blogs that discuss kitchen and bathroom projects

  • Wooden vs Plastic Chopping Boards – Which is Superior?
  • What Does Your Kitchen Say About You?
  • Before You Buy – Osmo Door Oil
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