Choosing between Solvent vs Water Based Finish for Wood

Wooden furnishings elevate the ambience of your home, setting an aesthetic tone, and transforming it into a cosy and inviting space. Selecting the right finish not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your wood furnishings but also contributes to a warm and cohesive atmosphere. 

Choosing between a solvent based or water based finish for wood significantly influences how the wood looks and holds up over time. It’s about balancing aesthetics with practicality and eco-consciousness, ensuring each space retains optimum elegance and strength.

In this article, let’s understand the distinctions between the two wood finishes and guide you in selecting a finish that is tailored to your needs. 

Composition and Base

Wood finish water based

A solvent based finish relies on chemical solvents as its primary components. These finishes ensure durability, often providing a robust shield against wear and tear. On the other hand, a water based finish for wood utilises water as a primary component and is known for its eco-friendliness. 


A solvent based finish enhances the wood’s natural beauty by deepening its colour and enhancing the grain, making it an ideal choice for those desiring a rich, warm, and traditional wood appearance.

Water based polish for wood also offers a warm and vibrant finish and is generally used for its eco-friendliness.


Wood finishes, both solvent or water based, demonstrate exceptional versatility, catering to various wood furnishing preferences and requirements.

Acquabella Water based finishes

The solvent based finishes of ICA’s Parkea UV Curing range and Exterior Finishes offer adaptability for diverse wood furnishings, delivering a classic and timeless aesthetic. ICA’s Acquabella water based finishes showcase flexibility, complementing various wood types and styles seamlessly, particularly appealing to those keen on contemporary design trends. 

Project Based Use

Solvent based finishes are often favoured for wood furnishings where durability is paramount, such as heavy-duty furniture or high-traffic areas like kitchens and hallways. On the other hand, water based polish for wood is preferred for areas where environmental considerations are crucial, making them suitable for lighter-use furniture or indoor applications. However, if you’re seeking the best exterior water based polyurethane (PU) finish, then ICA’s Acquabella range can be the practical choice for outdoor applications. 

Water based finish for exterior

Final Finish

Solvent based wood polish delivers a radiant finish, while water based wood polish provides a smooth finish. Whether you opt for the rich and lustrous look of a solvent based finish or favour the clear look of a water based finish, ICA ensures every wood surface has a stellar finish. Both of these finishes are offered in matt and gloss options.


A solvent based finish is recognised for its endurance and durability, demanding minimal maintenance over time. Water based finishes are easy to maintain, offering simple cleaning methods to keep surfaces pristine.

Maintain the charm of both these finishes with a straightforward routine–clean them regularly using a soft cloth and mild cleaners, exercising caution.

Upgrade Your Wood With ICA Italian Wood Finishes

The choice between solvent based and water based wood finish hinges on these key differentiators—each contributing to a distinct aesthetic and functional outcome. A mindful selection, considering factors like aesthetics, functionality, and environmental impact, helps in upgrading spaces according to personal preferences.

ICA Italian Wood Finishes are a curated expression of style, durability, and environmental mindfulness. Connect with us to learn more about our solvent based and water based wood finishes. 

  • Clear Finishes
  • Coloured Finishes
  • Wood Stains
  • Special Effects
  • Innovations
  • Exterior Finishes
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