Protecting Finished Surfaces During Construction

If you are finishing a project during other construction, it is a good idea to protect your freshly finished surfaces.

Timing and Curing

Waterlox products cure through exposure to oxygen (see drying, curing and ventilation), so when they are covered up, the curing clock is essentially stopped. It is best to allow at least 48 hours with good air flow after the most recent coat was applied before covering any area of the project. At least 24 hours is necessary for the initial surface cure before covering. If you need to cover up any area for a significant length of time, allow at least 7 days. Ideally remove any coverings when possible to allow the surface to receive oxygen and continue to cure.

What to Use

Using the proper materials will prevent sticking, marking, transfer or scratching. Red rosin paper, Ram Board® or clean cardboard will protect Waterlox finished surfaces without sticking. For extra protection from heavy equipment, ladders, etc., cover with one of the previous items and use plywood or Masonite® on top to add additional protection.

DO NOT use plastic or foam pads directly against the finish, as these can stick to the finish or leave marks in the finish, especially if used for long periods of time or if under heavy objects.


  1. Save the final coat. If possible, save the final finish coat until after most construction is done. This allows any potential damage to be addressed before finishing the project.
    1. Wipe down ceiling fans, baseboards, vents or other areas that may have collected dust.
    2. Clean the surface to be finished well with TSP/water and do a clear water rinse to ensure all dust/debris is removed and allow to dry overnight.
    3. Wipe down the surface with a little bit of mineral spirits on a clean, lint free rag 10-15 minutes before coating to pick up any dust that may have settled overnight.
  2. Allow the surface to breathe as much as possible. As stated above, the curing essentially stops when the surface is covered. Avoid covering any areas for long periods of time if at all possible. To get across surfaces without covering them, do so in socks/stockings. No shoes or bare feet for at least 72 hours.

Back to Listing

Looking for Help?

VOC vs Traditional

VOC Compliant vs. Traditional Formulations



Waterlox woodworking finishing guide.



Waterlox TrueTone Finishing Guide