9 Disadvantages of Beeswax Finish – Wood Finish Pros and Cons

Last Updated on April 28, 2022 by Joseph Tyler


The beeswax finish is described as natural wax. It penetrates directly into the wood to eliminate dry, dull, moisture, and sun-damaged surfaces and, in turn, provides the wood with a very attractive, lustrous, and warm shine.

It fully delivers a type of shine that every professional home decorator dreams of. Beeswax tends to be a popular choice for furniture due to its numerous benefits.

However, it still does have some disadvantages. It might be an excellent option when it comes to wood finishes. It is quite far from being the perfect solution.

So for those wanting to know more about the advantages and disadvantages of this finish before considering and proceeding to get the product, this article will provide you with some of the disadvantages of Beeswax finish as well as all the necessary information required to make an informed decision on whether or not you’re good to go with Beeswax.

What you should know about Beeswax finish

Beeswax wood polish is considered a safe and natural finish that helps pop out the real beauty of wooden furniture pieces.

Beeswax is often seen as an alternative to some synthetic finishes such as lacquers and varnishes, which happen to be toxic to humans and pets if inhaled or ingested for a long time.

Beeswax has been one of the best furniture wax options ever since discovery in beehives. The natural element beeswax makes the finish non-toxic, giving it an edge over other artificial wood finish products such as lacquer or varnish.

Beeswax and oil are the combinations of any primary wood finish and polish. For instance, coconut oil, Walnut oil, Olive oil, tung oil, hemp seed oil, or jojoba oil is mixed with Beeswax to produce this natural wood polish.

After which, the mixture is baked in the sun or oven until it is solid and malleable, making it butter-like and easily spread onto wood furniture surfaces.

Benefits of waxing to wood

Wax is a wood finish that helps provide more protection to wooden surfaces than most other wood coverings. When a light surface of wax is applied to a furniture surface, the entire wood surface is protected from moisture, and the color of the wood is retained for a long time.

Wood wax is used on painted or non-painted wood. It produced a rich sheen which is somewhat difficult to achieve with other products.

A light coat of paste wax on pull-out drawers and wooden seat screws might be beneficial as the wax occasionally uses light lubricant. Wax is also used in the treatment and sealing of wood.

Pros and cons of Beeswax wood finish

Although beeswax is a good finish for wooden furniture, it can dry quickly, protect surfaces from dirt, water, or food stains, and provide a beautiful shine. However, it does have some disadvantages as well.

Disadvantages of Beeswax finish

1. Not suitable for all flooring types

Never use wax on unsealed surfaces like raw wood or wood flooring covered in vinyl, linoleum, or other plastic-type. There are some materials for which wax isn’t suitable.

2. Stains wooden surfaces

The darker the pigment in the beeswax, the stronger the staining potential. And since the finish penetrates deeply into the wood, it could cause staining.

Wax also could cause white spots on the furniture surface if not evenly applied. Wood staining isn’t so big as the wax finish is often applied to enhance the wood grain.

However, suppose you want more of a professional look on the surface. You might consider other wood finishes such as shellacs, varnishes, lacquers, and oil finishes as better options.

3. Quite challenging to remove

Although applying beeswax finish to wood is quite easy, wax is difficult to remove from the furniture. I’m not necessarily saying it’s bad since you don’t have to remove the finish on their wooden furniture. However, there are ways to make it easier for wood refinishing and maintenance.

4. Reapplication build-up

In the first few years of using wax as a finishing coat, you’d have your furniture look fresh and attractive, and all you have to do is to reapply it once a year to regain its elegance. However, as these coats begin to build up, your furniture looks dull and drub, making it less ideal to use as a coat.

Although you can use some steps to get rid of these build-ups, trust me, they don’t come easy, and it could even add more hassle to the frequent reapplication you need to go through at least once a year.

5. Requires high maintenance

It is often required by Beeswax that you reapply this finish frequently to protect the wax and as well, retain its natural beauty.

Though this is more of a minor inconvenience if you don’t mind the process of re-waxing your wooden surface, it is a major problem, especially if you want a more durable and long-lasting wood polish.

However, to maintain a natural finish without doing too much work removing or re-waxing the wood surface, you may want to consider using beeswax on surfaces that won’t be heavily utilized, such as dressers or bedroom tables.

6. Changes color over time

Unlike using tung oil or any other type of surface finish, one of the biggest disadvantages of using wax is that it turns yellowish over time. While this isn’t easily noticeable unless you go back far enough, most people are still displeased with this color change.

7. It easily gives in to heat damage.

If the ambient temperature of a room reaches above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the wax may soon begin to melt and drip, causing damage to the wax finishes.

This is even riskier if you plan on having a fire in their spaces. The wax could melt off any wooden surface surrounding the fireplace, which is unsightly and gives a safety hazard if it drips onto combustible materials.

8. Less durable compared to polyurethane

Polyurethane is more durable and tends to take a long time to fade than wax due to the pigment it contains. This is why wax is rendered a poor choice for use on furniture that will be used heavily, such as kitchen cabinets or tables.
Also, polyurethane would generally require less maintenance as wood flooring needs refinishing more often.

9. Requires physical strength

Hands are applying beeswax, but it needs much physical effort while this is a simple tactic. While getting on your hands and knees, you manually apply wax to the floor using an old rag.

Advantages of Beeswax finish

1. Appearance

Wax has the benefit of rendering a protective layer that can keep wood looking new for several years. This is particularly beneficial if you have children or pets capable of causing damage to your floor.

Beeswax is also waterproof, which means even if you have a room with several activities and it isn’t frequently cleaned, it won’t cause any damage if something is spilled on the surface. Generally, Beeswax wood finish gives the floor a longer lifespan.

2. Economical

Beeswax requires no chemical additives and yet leaves a durable coating due to its natural qualities, making it economical. Because you can also combine beeswax with linseed oil which controls its spread and speeds up its drying time, the cost of wax is further offset.

3. Easy application

Natural wax doesn’t require much time or effort to get its desired result because they are easily applied. This is good because wax can be easily applied to your wooden surfaces when needed rather than going through a lengthy process.

4. Environment friendly

As stated earlier, beeswax is a natural compound produced by bees, so it’s a more environment-friendly solution to protecting your furniture.

There’s no dealing with the pungent smell that varnish or other coatings have. And asides from that, it is one cheaper means of getting your furniture protected and looking as fresh as ever.

5. Provides water resistance

This is also another factor that makes beeswax more durable than other finishes. It provides some water and scratch resistance, and although it doesn’t guarantee your wood 100% resistance to these, it sure gives you some protection.

It is a much better option than using furniture with bare wood, especially those with high absorbent quality.

Final thought – Is Beeswax really worth using?

Beeswax is a natural coating that became a run-to option for many people who want their furniture preserved. Several advantages could be gotten from it, especially when it has to do with protection and looks, some of which have been explained above.

However, beeswax is still not the perfect option for everyone. Though Beeswax’s disadvantages make it less ideal for some people, it still shouldn’t deter you from giving it a try. And while it isn’t the most suitable finish, trust me, nothing beats wax’s warmth and luster on beeswax wood. I hope you find this piece insightful.

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