The popularity of modern and industrial-influenced design schemes has caused concrete fixtures to soar in popularity. Where tile once reigned supreme, concrete has now taken over. From kitchen countertops to backyard living spaces to bathroom vanities and more, concrete is the new way to give homes an aesthetic edge while also being kind to your budget.
That said, there are some downsides to concrete. The biggest pitfall is that concrete is porous. All those little holes collect dirt, water and color, leading to staining. That’s where a great sealant comes into play, and there’s no better option than Real Milk Paint’s Pure Tung Oil.
Benefits of Tung Oil
When you’re sealing concrete in your bathroom or kitchen, the safety of your finishing products is paramount. Tung oil is an all-natural, food-grade compound that’s safe to use around food. Rather than exposing your family to harsh chemicals, you can use it in place of polyurethane and other potentially dangerous sealants, creating a durable finish on concrete surfaces both indoors and outdoors.
Unlike mineral oil or vegetable oil, this oil oxidizes over time and hardens, creating a lustrous finish that’s both protective and pretty. It also dries quickly, so you’re not stuck in limbo waiting for your deck or countertop to cure. You can use tung oil as your sealant of choice and you’ll reach the finish line faster without comprising the quality of your project.
This oil also has a wonderfully nutty smell. While other chemical-based sealants give off noxious odors that are at best unpleasant and at worst could make you and your family sick, the oil’s natural aroma is barely noticeable.
How to Seal Concrete with Tung Oil
To seal your concrete surfaces, you’ll need three things:
- Real Milk Paint Tung Oil
- A brush or foam roller
- Some good old-fashioned elbow grease
Start with a clean, dry surface—you may need to use a mild cleanser to remove dirt, grease or debris before you can get to work. Once the concrete is prepped, pour on a small amount of oil and rub the oil into the concrete, adding more as the oil absorbs until you’ve achieved full coverage.
You’ll need to apply several coats (often as many as six or seven) for optimal results, letting each coat dry at least a half hour before moving on to the next application.
Tung Oil Curing Times for Concrete
After applying several coats of oil, your surface may feel dry to the touch. However, it’s important to allow the tung oil to fully cure. We recommend waiting a full 30 days for the oil to cure before using the countertop as normal.
For the first week, we recommend not using the surface as much as possible. Light usage is ok during the second week, but make sure not to leave objects sitting on the surface for hours and definitely keep water off of it. If your sink touches the newly sealed area, we recommend using wax paper to temporarily cover the surface to help keep it dry and prevent splashes. Finally, during the 3rd and 4th weeks the oil should be almost fully cured, so you can use it more, but make sure to keep it dry and again, prevent water sitting for too long.
Tips and Tricks
- Always use your rag to rub in the oil rather than letting the oil dry on the surface of your concrete for a nice even coverage.
- If you feel that your concrete needs more protection, you can simply add another coat of tung oil at any time —no sanding, stripping or other prep steps necessary.
- Tung oil is fantastic for both indoor and outdoor projects, but it likes warmer weather. For the best results, it needs temperatures above freezing during application and for 10-15 days afterward.
- Tung oil cures faster in warm environments, however, direct sunlight can cause a fresh application to polymerize, causing a “frosted” look.