Pro Shop Talk

Comparing the 5 Bona Hardwood Sealers

Choosing the right hardwood flooring sealer can be tricky. Even more so when you consider how many options you have to chose from. Prepare by asking the question, “What is the desired look the customer wants to achieve?” This challenge is yours to get right and educating yourself to know the difference between the different types of sealers – in this case, the five Bona Waterborne sealers.

Your choice of sealer depends on wood type and the desired look once the finish is applied.

Ultimately, the homeowner will decide from the choices they are provided. To help get the look they want, you have to choose the best options to sample.

To better understand how each Bona sealer functions, we sat down with Brad West from Bona to get a better look at each of them. Watch the video above to hear the conversation or read on for an overview of all the Bona sealers!

Quick note: An easy and helpful way to understand Bona sealers is their color spectrum chart on the front of each bottle. These are highlighted in each section below with a picture of the bottle.

Graphic of Bona's hardwood floor sealer ClassicSeal

Hardwood Sealer #1: Bona ClassicSeal

The Look You’ll Achieve From This Hardwood Floor Sealer:

Bona ClassicSeal is consided to be their “normal waterbased sealer.” It tints the wood some but not as much as IntenseSeal or AmberSeal. If you’re looking for a natural opaque or blonde look, ClassicSeal looks great on lighter floors.

How It’s Different From Other Bona Sealers:

ClassicSeal maintains a more natural look compared to other sealers which provide more depth and richness or a white-washed appearance. When applying on white oak, it also greatly minimizes tannin bleed.

Important Things to Note:

One thing to consider when using ClassicSeal is its tendency to gum up when buffing. To avoid loading the screen or screen buildup, simply apply Bona finish over ClassicSeal before buffing. If you’re looking to use Bona finishes, read this first before using Bona Traffic and Mega.

Another great bonus of Bona sealers is their 48-hour open time. This gives you more flexibility on each job and helps eliminate mistakes from rushing because of shorter open times.

Graphic of the Bona hardwood sealer IntenseSeal

Hardwood Sealer #2: Bona IntenseSeal

The Look You’ll Achieve From This Hardwood Floor Sealer:

When using Bona IntenseSeal, it’s clear to see how it lives up to its name. Formerly named Bona Deep Tone Sealer, its major characteristic is how it reacts with the tannins in wood–enhancing the rich tones of the wood. Varied reaction can result in unique tone from one board to another. This reaction can enhance and highlight natural hue of the floor.

How It’s Different From Other Bona Sealers:

The major difference is how IntenseSeal can highlight some boards more than others. It also accents the grain while leaving a wet look to the floor which helps the stain pop. Much easier to abrade as a result of its rapid hardness.

You may be thinking, “What about tannin bleed reaction all over my floor?” Not quite! IntenseSeal, unlike others, reacts with the tannins without creating that blotchy look you may get from tannin pull.

IntenseSeal has a higher recommended coverage rate of 450-600 square feet.

Important Things to Note:

IntenseSeal’s lack of pigment makes it an incredibly versatile hardwood sealer useful for many jobs. One of the best hardwood floor sealer’s in getting your stain to really pop.

If you’re looking for an easy to sand sealer that is VOC compliant, this may become your go-to Bona sealers.

Hardwood Sealer #3: Bona AmberSeal

The Look You’ll Achieve From This Hardwood Floor Sealer:

While IntenseSeal enhances darker tones with the tannin reaction, Bona considers AmberSeal to be the best in bringing out the warmth and richness of natural wood color. Just as IntenseSeal can give added richness to the stain AmberSeal goes further. However, it differs from IntenseSeal in its ability to provide an added oil-modified poly-tone pigment on the floor.

How It’s Different From Other Bona Sealers:

One of the main differences of AmberSeal is it gives the most natural oil-modified undertones resembling that of an oil based sealed floor. In addition, AmberSeal is the only hardwood floor sanding sealer with amber pigment as opposed to the white pigment of NordicSeal or NaturalSeal.

Important Things to Note:

The trick to achieve the oil-tone appearance with AmberSeal is to apply two coats instead of one. This advantage can make the difference when the customer wants the richness of oil while still using a water-based sealer. This can be used over unstained and previously stained flooring with little to no side bonding.

Coverage per the bottle states 400-500 square feet.

Hardwood Sealer #4: Bona NaturalSeal

The Look You’ll Achieve From This Hardwood Floor Sealer:

As the name implies, Bona NaturalSeal is great for getting a raw look, specifically with lighter colored species of wood. Bona designed NaturalSeal to give the impression of an unfinished floor.

How It’s Different From Other Bona Sealers:

Traditionally, hardwood flooring sealers had a darkening effect producing rich color tones like AmberSeal and IntenseSeal. However, the demand arose for a sanding sealer that would accentuate the natural color freshly sanded appearance without darkening over time. Enter, Bona NaturalSeal. Designed with just enough white pigment to counterbalance the darkening effect that helps maintain a lighter appearance to the floor.

Important Things to Note:

To achieve this look of unfinished wood, NaturalSeal works best with its finish counterpart, Bona Traffic Naturale. With a dry time of 2-3 hours, and coverage rate of 400-500 square feet per gallon, you can quickly see how fast a recoating project can go. The properties of this sealer is like those above with reduced chance of side bonding and tannin bleed. For the most natural fresh and clean appearance, NaturalSeal is your choice.

Hardwood Sealer #5: Bona NordicSeal

The Look You’ll Achieve From This Hardwood Floor Sealer:

If you’re going for that whitewashed Scandinavian look, even more that that NaturalSeal, then NordicSeal is the way to go. NordicSeal, as the name suggests, is the cool icy trend brought from the great white north that has given natural wood that extra bright clean appearance. Containing 2-times the amount of white pigment as what’s in NaturalSeal, this is the choice for anyone wanting to lighten their floors.

How It’s Different From Other Bona Sealers:

Being the farthest left on the bottle’s color spectrum, NordicSeal has achieved being the lightest sealer without adding bleach. Its formula provides an intense whitening affect while avoiding caustic chemicals. NordicSeal is one of the best methods for producing a white washed appearance while being a green alternative.

Important Things to Note:

This sealer looks fantastic when applied overtop red oak that’s water popped. Apply the NordicSeal overtop and watch the sealer counteract the pinkish tone producing a more fresh natural hue.

A title graphic about how to apply a Bona hardwood floor sealer

How to Apply Bona Sealers

It’s easy to apply Bona sealers with any common applicator: pad, t-bar, roller brush, etc.

Where the difference is made in the application process is maintaining consistency. While tools and techniques do matter, applying the sealer consistently is what can make or break a finish job. If the sealer is applied inconsistently, you may end up with bare spots that will respond differently to finish. This can lead to inconsistent finish, requiring an additional coat or refinish.

For more information, watch Bona’s video on the best Bona sealer application practices:

Coverage of Bona Sealers

Each Bona waterborne sealer has a slightly different coverage rate. From 450-550sqft/gal, up even 500-600sqft/gal, the rule of thumb is to aim for 500sqft/gal but realize the first coat on unfinished will require more product while a second coat will take less.

For reference, here’s the breakdown of the coverage for all the Bona sealers with links to their TDS:

Title graphic explaining the hot coat time period of a Bona hardwood floor sealer

Hot Coat Time Period

Bona waterborne sanding sealers can all be hot coated up to 48 hours with no need for abrasion. Unlike other sealers Bona allows this extra leeway before needing to screen before applying the final coat. But to achieve the smoothest results it is recommended to abrade the sealer using 1-2 (stacked) Conditioning Pads and 1-2 Bona Diamond 180 to 240-grit abrasives and clean dust using vacuum and dry tack cloth or Microfiber Cleaning Pads lightly dampened with water before applying finish coat.

Try a Bona Waterborne Sealer

We’re happy to help – call or stop by our location nearest you. For more technical questions, call Bona’s Tech Line at 1-800-872-5515.

Want to learn more about Bona finishes? Click over to “How To Use Bona Wood Floor Finish – Traffic HD and Mega One”.