AmberSeal may have the word “seal” in its name, but it is designed to be a base or primer coat only! It is designed to be the foundation or first coat of a three-coat water-based system, so don’t just use it for all your layers, thinking you are saving money and being clever. This is not designed to be the tough outer layer – it is designed to be the best bonding layer. It is runnier than Bona’s topcoats (Mega or Traffic) so that it soaks into the wood and grabs hold. Those high-solid topcoats just don’t go into the wood as well as a sealer does. But the topcoats can really get a good bond to the sealer. And layers of polyurethane are only protective if they can bond to each other. Seal coats like this help prevent “side-bonding” which is the tendency for strong finish coats to literally glue boards together along their edges, which prevents floorboards from gapping evenly during the dry seasons. And finally, sealers are an important first coat on oak floors because topcoats are known to pull the tannin up out of the grain and into the finish, leaving blotchy appearance.
Bona makes six different sealers, each a slightly different under-color. AmberSeal, as the name suggests, is designed to add some warmth and color to the wood by adding some brown pigment to the sealer itself. We are here to tell you that it doesn’t work quite as well as it sounds. The material in the jug certainly looks brown, and when it is first applied, the look is very similar to the warm gold of an oil-based polyurethane. But as it dries, it loses easily 90% of that color. In most of the samples we have made in our shop, the AmberSeal looks indistinguishable from ClassicSeal. So, that is a little disappointing.
But, the real reason we still stock Amberseal, is that it sands so much more easily than ClassicSeal. It seems to be less elastic when dry, which means if you need to abrade it, the sanding screen floats and cuts without grabbing. It makes dust instead of little rubber balls. On large scale jobs, this makes a significant time difference. If you’re only coating a single room, perhaps less of a concern.
A warning though. Even if the amount of amber they have added to this material is very slight, it can still cause challenges during application. Any area where you leave a slightly thicker coat of AmberSeal will appear darker because there is more pigment layered on that spot. If you need to sand a small spot to bare to correct a flaw, when you reapply the Amberseal, you can get darker lap lines where you’ve coated over the original layer of Amberseal.
Available in gallons only
Sealers do not come in different sheen levels; choose the sheen level of your top coat
This product is not freeze-thaw stable, so don't let it freeze. Because we ship this product from Minnesota, there will be some days when simply can't ship this product until weather conditions improve. Call the store at 651-698-5888 if you are trying to order in winter and have a tight time deadline.
Pete’s has a 30-day return policy – what’s up with that?
It may seem draconian but hear us out. We set this return limit because waterborne finishes are chemically delicate. If they are stored at very high or very low temperatures, or temperatures that fluctuate, the de-foaming agents become unstable. The longer a gallon of finish is out of our control, the less we know about how it was handled and stored. If we can’t be sure of how a gallon of finish will behave, we won’t resell it. But if we can’t resell returns, we lose our already low margin. So, yes, we are firm on 30-day returns on all finish.