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The Best Way to Seal a New Wood Table

Learn the best way to seal a new wood table. Protect your investment from water stains and scratches with these easy steps.

Do you love Pier One?

I sure do!

And although I can still shop online, it was so sad to see our local store close it’s doors.

Before our Pier One officially closed they were consolidating and having some amazing sales.

One day I decided to stop in…just to look around.

But you know how that goes…you say you’re “just looking” and the next thing you know you find the most beautiful table.

Did I need a new dining table?

No, not really.

I didn’t love my kitchen table…I mean it was fine…really it was…but this new one…well, it was gorgeous!

It was just my style.

And it looked so familiar.

Then, I realized that my friend had the same table and had bought it several months prior.

I texted her, like any good friend would, to see if she minded if I got the same one.

Of course, she didn’t mind and told me how much she saved on it since it was such a great sale when she bought it.

Or so she thought!

Because the clearance price was now more than half of what she paid!

It was only $300!


So, I knew then, I just had to get it!!

Why Should You Protect a New Table?

old kitchen table with black painted bottom and wood table top with six chairs around table in kitchen

Every good DIY project starts with a before picture.

This is our original table.

As you can see it’s fine…really it is.

It did have several scratches on the tabletop that you can’t really see in this photo.

My friend also let me know that I needed to be careful with what I put on the new Pier One table.

She said she already had several water ring stains from glasses on her tabletop.

Between her advice and having a bunch of scratches on our old table, I wanted to protect my new table before using it.

The Best Product to Seal a New Wood Table

supplies to seal table sitting on top of table including brush, sanding block, tack cloth and small can of polyurethane

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After lots of research, I decided to apply a polyurethane topcoat to my new wood table.

I invested in General Finishes Flat topcoat.

Although, it’s a bit more expensive than other brands, everything I read when doing my research said this was a quality product.

I also didn’t want to change the sheen or color of the table and the matte finish of this brand poly was perfect.

Supply and Material List

How to Protect a Wood Table

woman applying sealer with paint brush on new wood tabletop

After I made sure the table was completely clean, I applied the first coat of General Finishes.

Using a 2″ paint brush I applied a thin layer of the sealer in the same direction of the wood grain.

It will look a little milky when you start applying the topcoat.

Just be sure to apply the polyurethane evenly and that milky color will fade away as you work.

woman sanding table top with sanding block

After I finished applying the first coat of polyurethane, I waited and hour or two for it to completely dry.

Then I lightly sanded the table using an extra fine 220 grit sanding block.

You can use sand paper if that’s what you have handy at home.

I like using a sanding block on a project like this so I can get into all the curves of the piece.

woman using vacuum brush attachment to clean dust off table after sanding before sealing

You’ll have some dust after you finish sanding your furniture piece.

Using a vacuum with a soft brush attachment got the majority of the debris off the tabletop.

cleaning dust off table with tack cloth after vacuuming and sanding wood table

But there was still some dust left.

As you know, dust and polyurethane don’t mix well together.

To completely remove any debris left behind after vacuuming, use a tack cloth.

You can skip the vacuuming step and just use a tack cloth, but you’ll probably need more than one to get all that dust off.

table on drop cloth in dining room by windows ready to prepare for top coat

Not only did I use the General Finishes on the top of the table, but I also sealed the sides, legs, and bottom of this furniture piece.

I did one coat of poly on the entire table.

Should You Apply Two Coats of Polyurethane?

applying sealant to protect wood table to top with paint brush windows beyond table in room

But decided to do two coats on the table top.

I wanted to be sure the top would be protected from any water rings or stains since we use our kitchen table daily.

You can see in the photo above the surface looks shiny as I was applying the polyurethane.

close up of corner of table after matte sealer applied

But after it was dry you can see it’s a completely matte finish.

And the color of the table didn’t change at all either.

Just what I wanted!

New Protected Kitchen Table

new wood table in kitchen after sealing to protect from stains and scratches with chairs around rectangle table

I didn’t even need to buy new chairs, since our old ones looked awesome with the new table.

This table is a little longer than our previous table, so we can actually fit eight here if we pull up a couple extra seats.

new kitchen wood table after sealed with polyurethane in room with black chairs around table

I love our new protected kitchen table.

If you have a furniture piece that you want to protect too, here’s a handy printable guide:

new wood table in kitchen after sealing to protect from stains and scratches with chairs around rectangle table

How To Seal A Wood Table

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Learn the best way to seal a new wood table. Protect your investment from water stains and scratches with these easy steps.


  • Wood Table or other furniture piece
  • General Finishes Flat Out Flat Topcoat


  • Extra Fine Sanding Block
  • Tack Cloth
  • 2" Paint Brush
  • Drop Cloth
  • Vacuum


  1. Starting with clean table apply one coat of General Finishes Flat Topcoat in a thin layer.
  2. Apply top coat on with 2" paint brush in same direction as the grain of wood table.
  3. Let top coat completely dry 1-2 hours.
  4. Sand wood table with 220 - extra fine sanding block or sand paper.
  5. Vacuum dust off table that was created by sanding.
  6. Wipe table with tack cloth to be sure all dust is completely removed.
  7. Apply another coat of Flat Out top coat to tabletop.


Please refer to the blog post for more information and pictures showing each step.

Recommended Products

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