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Finish on Knotty Pine Paneling

I have recently purchased a home that has tongue & groove paneling throught the living-dinning room. The home is 22 yrs old and the paneling does not feel like there is any finish on it. I am confused at to what type of finish would be best, a polyurethane product or and oil, like linseed or tung. Need advise. Thanks

Re: Finish on Knotty Pine Paneling


It is hard to believe that the paneling would not have been given some kind of finish. 22 year old pine paneling would have turned a fairly dark reddish color in that time. One purpose of staining and sealing is to stop oxidation of the wood.

You can test whether the wood has a finish on it by merely wetting your hand and putting it on the paneling. If the wood darkens and the water seems to get sucked into the wood, you probably are correct that there is no finish on it.

If there is no finish on the wood and you are satisfied with the existing color of the wood, you can put a finish on it. If you want to alter the color of the unfinished wood, it may be stained before covering with varnish or oil. Many people prefer the soft luster of oiled wood to a varnish, but varnish would give you more protection against soiling and also be less maintenance in the long run. If oiled, it will have to be periodically re-oiled. If oiling, I would prefer a product such as Watco Oil. I would not use linseed oil. Linseed oil has a lingering smell and dries very slowly. Put too much on and it may never dry!

I am assuming that this paneling is still relatively clean. I would not wash unfinished wood with water. If cleaning is neccessary, I would prefer to give it a light, even sanding.

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