6 Best Finish For Kitchen Table In 2021| Protect Your Tabletops With Affordable Wood Finish

Make your furniture stand out with the best finish for the kitchen table. You can opt for shellac, varnish, water- or oil-based finish as long as it is easy to use, dries well, and lasts longer. 

Are you thinking of transforming a thrift store or furnishing an antique kitchen table? If your answer is yes, then consider getting the right finish. Remember, you utilize your kitchen tables daily, and it comes into contact with food. Therefore, the perfect finish should be food-safe and hold longer when it cures. 

But, purchasing one is not as easy as you might be tempted to think. There are countless options that suit various needs making decision-making an uphill task. Nonetheless, here we do our best to help you make a choice. We have picked the 6 best finishes for a kitchen table that have received positive reviews from verified customers. There is also a buyer’s guide that will help you evaluate your needs to pick one accordingly.

Read through, buy one and keep your kitchen surfaces safe and elegant!

Best Finish For Kitchen Table

What Is The Best Finish For The Kitchen Table?

Thinking how boring it is to go through the entire review? Or, in a rush? Wait! We have made things easy for you. Here is the summary of the best finish for the kitchen table, their specific features, and their suitability for a quick and wise pick. 

Best Overall: Waterlox TB 6044 Original Satin Finish

The finish is oil-based and results in an elastic lair that blocks away any liquid spills on your table. 

Best Water-Based: Varathane 200241H

It enhances the natural look of your table and leaves it with an excellent look that does not change color.

Best Fast-Drying Finish: Minwax 255554444

A wood finish that dries fast to allow you to do the re-coat within 2 hours. 

Best For Industrial Use: No products found.

This finish gives you good service as it can withstand heavy-duty use, common with kitchen tables. 

Best Versatile: Watco 65141

If you want a finish for multiple surfaces, then Watco 65141 is the best option as it can be applied on stripped, bare, or sanded wood, both indoor and outdoor. 

Best Traditional Finish: Tried And True Wood Finish Varnish Oil

This is a food-safe finish made of 19th-century formulas that give your table an elegant and traditional look. 

Top 8 Best Finish For Kitchen Table Reviews In 2021

We have put together a comparison table below to help you have an overall view of the best products at a go. Kindly go through it and have a feel of the top-rated table finish in the market. 

Comparison Chart Of The Best Table Finishes  

Product Key features Weight Color Material 
Waterlox TB 6044 Original Satin FinisheSmooth finishDurableCreates elastic lair1.99 poundsSatin Oil-based 
Varathane 200241HWater resistant Clear finishDries fast 2.2 poundsSatinWater-based
Minwax 255554444Fast dryingLow odorDurable 10.4 ouncesClearWater-based
Grizzly Industrial H2372Food safeAlcohol and water-resistantFast drying 2.05 poundsMaple Non-Toxic Urethane
Watco 65141Enhances natural lookUsed for various indoor surfacesProtects against spills, chipping, and abrasion 2 poundsGolden Oak Oil-based 
Tried And True Wood Finish Varnish OilHigh resin content Food safeHardens with time2.27 pounds Semi-gloss sheenOil-based/Varnish 

Waterlox TB 6044 Original: Best Oil-Based 

Key Features

1. Oil-Based: TB 6044 forms a waterproof coating when used with original waterlox sealer to furnish kitchen tables.

2. When Applied, It Creates An Elastic Lair: TB 6044 makes an elastic lair that can withstand household spills and moisture.

3. Results In Satin Sheen Appearance: Forget about making faces at the sight of your kitchen table tops as Waterlox TB 6044 results in top-notch and attractive stain touch with 20-25 degrees gloss level.

Product Specs

Dimension 4.15 x 4.15 x 4.9 inches 
Weight 1.99 pounds 
Size 1 quart 
Color Satin (20-25 degrees gloss level)
Material Oil-based

1. Water-resistant

2. Forms elastic finish 

3. Natural touch due to Tung oil

4. Elegant finish


1. Weird smell before it cures

2. Should be used in conjunction with a sealant 

Waterlox TB 6044 penetrates right into tabletops and leaves it waterproof when used in conjunction with the waterlox original sealer. This means it can stand liquid kitchen spills such as milk and coffee.

Furthermore, it is formulated with Tung oil that contains 90% renewable natural resources that gives the tabletops an elegant finish. Besides, Waterlox TB 6044 has a gentle and pleasing gloss that leaves beautiful joinery and unique carvings. 

Varathane 200241H: Best Water-Based 

Key Features

1. Water-Based: The finish is food safe, dries fast, and easy to clean with soap and water.

2. Clear Satin Finish: Your tabletop will keep its classic and natural look as the varathane 200241H gives a clear and satin finish.

3. Excellent Stain And Scratch Resistance: With varathane 200241H, the kitchen tables will look great longer.  

Product Specs

Dimension 4.3 x 6 x 4.5 inches 
Weight 2.2 pounds 
Size 1 quart 
Color Satin 
Material Water-based

1. Preserve its color over time

2. Water-resistant 

3. Classy and natural touch

4. Low odor

5. Dries fast 


1. No mention of toxicity 

This is a water-based finish that enhances the natural beauty of your kitchen table. Varathane 200241H is clear with a high level of transparency. It is also great at scratch and stain resistance, ensuring wood surfaces stay great longer. In addition, once applied, the finish forms a protective layer that will never change the color. 

Apart from the kitchen table, you can also apply the varathane 200241H on other wood surfaces such as cabinets, windows, furniture, and trim. The formula also dries fast and cleans easily by the use of water and soap. This presents no challenge in keeping the table glowing. 

Minwax 255554444: Best Fast-Drying Finish 

Key Features

1. Ultra-Fast-Drying: The finish dries quickly and allows for re-coat in 2 hours

2. Crystal Clear Finish: You can use Minwax 255554444 over light woods such as birch, ash, and maple. It also does well when used over the brand’s water-based wood stains.

3. Easy Clean-Up: With water, you can leave the surface with the finish clean and glowing.

Product Specs

Dimension 2.8 x 2.8x 2.9 inches 
Weight 10.4 ounces 
Size Half-pint 
Color Clear 
Finish Gloss
Material Water-based

1. Durable

2. No yellowing

3. Fast drying

4. Water-based, therefore, safe


1. Can leave uneven surface if the thick coat is applied

Forget having to wait for hours before using your kitchen table. Minwax 255554444 does wonder as it dries easily and lets you apply the re-coat within 2 hours. It does well with light wood such as birch, ash, maple, and over-brand water-based stain. This is due to its crystal clear finish.

The finish is also water-based and thus easy to keep clean with soap and water. You can opt for ultra-flat, matte, satin, semi-gloss or gloss shade from the brand if you want a different look. The low odor and non-yellowing of the finish during and after the application is a feature that further gives the model an upper hand.

Grizzly Industrial H2372: Best For Industrial Use 

Key Features

1. Food-Safe: Made of non-toxic urethane that is safe for food contact, making it best for kitchen table tops. 

2. Dries Fast: You do not need to brush over the finish for it to as it is formulated with synthetic oils that dry fast. 

3. Resistant To Alcohol And Water: Once you apply the finish, your kitchen table will withstand alcohol and water spills.

Product Specs

Dimension 10 x 14 x 6 inches 
Weight 2.05 pounds
Size Quart  
Color Maple
Material Non-Toxic Urethane

1. Excellent surface appearance

2. Durable

3. Easy to apply

4. Leaves a waterproof layer


1. Can cost more 

Grizzly Industrial H2372 is great fishing for kitchen tables as it provides a durable and food-safe finish. You can as well use it on the under-mount sink as the product is water- and alcohol-proof. Besides, once applied, the odor fades off quickly. Meaning, you do not have to get out of your kitchen when done applying. The finish dries fast, and your table will be ready for use within a few hours.

Another great feature is its ease of application. You do not have to be an expert; the paint is easy to apply using a cloth and would leave a uniform layer on wood surfaces. So buy one, rub it on and enhance the beauty of your kitchen table longer.

Watco 65141: Best Versatile 

Key Features

1. Versatile: The finish can be used on a wide range of indoor wood surfaces. It enhances the kitchen table’s natural look and leaves it glowing longer.

2. Oil-Based: Your table would be protected against spills, chipping, peeling, and abrasion. Thus, you get some peace of your table looking good longer despite the frequent use. 

3. Soaks Into The Wood: The finish protects the table from within since it penetrates deeper. 

Product Specs

Dimension 4.6 x 2.45 x 8 inches 
Weight 2 pounds
Size Quart  
Color Golden oak
Material Oil-based 

1. It doesn’t peel, chip, or crack

2. Easy to apply

3. Enhances natural look

4. Protects longer


1. May require up to 3 coat for perfect results

If you want the finish to apply on stripped, bare, or sanded wood, Watco 65141 is the best pick. It is best for indoor application as long as you are not planning to use it on floors. Since the finish is oil-based blended with varnish, it penetrates deeply into the kitchen table surface for lasting protection. 

The application of the product is also straightforward. You can apply the finish on a 170 sq. ft. area within an hour, and it would take only 6 hours for it to dry. Moreover, with it, your table is protected against peeling, chipping, abrasion, and spills, giving you peace with the frequently used countertops. Besides, the natural look of your kitchen table would be enhanced as the finish leaves a rich and warm glow. 

Tried And True Wood Finish Varnish Oil: Best traditional finish 

Key Features

1. Hardens With Time: You are assured of continued durability as the coat hardens over time for long-term protection.

2. High Resin Content: This ensures you get a stunning semi-gloss sheen. 

3. Food-Safe: Complies with FDA regulations, and therefore, it can be used safely on kitchen tables without fear of food contamination.

Product Specs

Dimension 4.15 x 4.15 x 4.9 inches 
Weight 2.27 pounds
Size Quart  
Color Semi-gloss sheen 
Material Oil-based 

1. Durable and hardens over time

2. It can be re-coated for built durability

3. Semi-gloss sheen

4. High resin content


1. Need someone with hand-rubbed polish for a stress-free application

If you are conservative and would love a traditional touch on your kitchen tables, tried and true wood finish varnish oil would be the ideal option. It is made of 19th-century formulas that are solvent and 100 solid-free. Apart from its uniqueness, you can use the product for children’s furniture, toys, and cutting boards. In short, its safety is guaranteed since the finish is food safe as per FDA regulations.

The finish contains linseed oil polymerized and fortified with natural resin varnish to give an impressive and quality finish. Besides, there is no hassle in its application, and once applied, it leaves your table scratch and abrasive resistant. 

How To Choose The Best Finish For Kitchen Tables: Buyer’s Guide

With all the options in the market, picking the right finish for the kitchen table can seem to be an uphill task. Many factors come into play before you could settle on a specific product.

If you buy a table finish blindly, the chances are high that you will end up disappointed. Avoid some guesswork!

Here are the considerations to help you pick the right finish for your kitchen table:

The Durability Of The Kitchen Table Finish

Wood surfaces, especially the kitchen tables, go through a lot of wear and tear due to frequent use. Yes, you are going to eat on it daily and so wipe it every day. You might as well prepare food on it, drop bags and keys on it or even use some section for art and craft. So, for the table to withstand all this, the finish used should be durable. For that, be prepared to pay more to get a long-lasting product. 

Ease Of Application

You do not want a product that presents challenges when using it. For this, you need a finish that you can wipe on the table yet leaves it looking amazing. This way, you avoid spending an extra buck to employ an expert, plus you get to have the fun of applying it with your kids. 

Nonetheless, if you have experience in woodworking, you can go for finishes sprayed on or brushed on. All in all, be keen to follow the manufacturer’s application instructions regardless of your experience. 

Types Of The Kitchen Table Finish

You can choose from the countless types of kitchen table finish based on your needs and preferences. Here are the few to consider:

Water-Based Finish: If you want to finish your project fast, then water-based is the ideal option as it dries quickly. During application, the finish has an unnoticeable odor that disappears immediately after the product dries. 

Oil-Based Finish: This is an excellent option for kitchen tables as it leaves the surfaces dust and water-resistant. Thus, it offers optimum protection and gives a nice color touch to the table. 

Shellac: Shellac finishes contain both wax and solvents. You can apply easily no matter the expertise, but it is not the best for heavy-duty tables. Also, it does not last long. 

Varnish: If you plan to use your kitchen table outdoor, then go for a varnish-based finish. It protects the wood surface against UV rays, and thus your tables will not suffer any damage from the sun. Though it takes longer to dry, the final results are intense and nice-looking. 


Choose the finish with low odor if you have breathing issues or dislike a strong smell. You will likely enjoy the work time without having to take breaks for odor discomforts.   

Finishing Area Location

The table finishes made of a strong smell are not suitable if you plan to work on projects in place with minimum ventilation. So, if you know you might not be able to keep the windows and doors open, and then go for the finish with mild formulas. Water-based are less toxic and thus best in areas with inadequate air circulation. In specific, do not use spray-on finish in poorly ventilated spaces.


The amount of money you are willing to spend and what you desire to achieve affects the kind of wood finish you will pick. No matter how you fall in love with a product, think twice if it doesn’t fall within your budget. It doesn’t always mean costly is the best; you can always find cheaper options that do the job well. However, be willing to spend some extra bucks if the features and properties are quite impressive and match what you desire.

Tips On How To Apply The Finish 

Here are the tips to help you when applying the finish:

1. When using oil-based, work faster as it might turn sticky within a very short time based on surrounding conditions. For water-based, have all the tools you need as the finish dries quickly. Once you begin the application, do not leave until your kitchen table is ready.

2. When working on larger surfaces using oil-based finishes, apply using a roll-on brush. You might not like the horrible look at the start, but all bubbles will quickly disappear. Unlike the normal brush, the roll-on leaves the table clear and smooth. It is also best to use lighter coats to avoid uneven finish when rolling your brush back and forth. Nonetheless, never use a roll-on brush during water-based finish application. 

3. When dealing with wooden tables, coat underneath as well. Failure to coat the table’s top and the bottom can result in warping and, in the process, getting ruined. 

4. Apply a minimum of three layers to prevent any possible damage. The table will also last longer, and it easier to revive the finish when it fades away. You might even require more than three layers in some cases.

5. Seal first the end grain of the kitchen table. End grain would likely absorb more finish giving it a darker look compared to the face grain. Applying the finish on it first minimizes the amount absorbed, giving your table an even look. Consider using a wood conditioner, sanding sealer, or a half-thinned polyurethane on the end grain. Apply the seal using an artistic brush while you ensure it doesn’t get on the face side.

6. After sanding, clean any white residue: If any residue is left on your kitchen table surface, sand it off to avoid leaving it there and risk getting caught up during your next coating. Also, it can compromise the final appearance of the surface.

Frequently Asked Questions On The Finish For Kitchen 

1. What Is The Most Durable Finish For A Kitchen Table?

Oil-based poly and varnish are the most durable finish for kitchen tables. Linseed and Tung oil also last relatively longer. However, shellac doesn’t last long and is not the best for frequently used kitchen tables.

However, the best option may as well depend on your preferences. Do you plan to alter or enhance the natural look? If you wish to change, consider oil-based and stain for a dark—smooth and rich shine finish. Always go for a heavy-duty wood finish due to the wear and tear that most kitchen tables undergo. 

2. Should I Finish A Wood Kitchen Table?

Yes, it would help if you considered putting a finish on a wooden table to enhance its durability. When a wooden table is coated with the best finish, it serves longer compared to uncoated. The beauty of a table with a finish is something that would not miss an eye. You also lock out moisture to reduce the risks of mildew, mold, or rot. So, always prioritize a waterproof finish, especially when using on kitchen tables. 

Final Word

You may not avoid using your kitchen table frequently. But, do justice to it by applying finish once in a while to leave it looking elegant always. The finishes mentioned above have been proven to work well on wood surfaces and are food safe. Pick one based on your needs and preference for a durable finish. Before you order, remember to check that the cost falls within your budget. But, be willing to stretch more if the features and properties are good. 

Last update on 2023-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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