various types of varnishes

Various types of varnishes | Difference between paint and varnish

Modern boats and vessels are usually made of fiber. But the surface of the boat is made of wood. And the reason we varnish these areas remains the same protection. The reason for varnishing any wood is to protect it from the sun and Saltwater of the sea and rot. The second reason is that wood looks good. In the article, we will discuss the various types of varnishes.

There are various types of varnishes out there in the market, and different manufactures term them slightly differently what makes it even more confusing.

Various types of varnishes?

The varnish is a clear transparent hard protective finish or film. The varnish is basically used in wood finishing applications where natural tones and granules of wood are intended to be visible. It is applied as a final step in obtaining a film for gloss and protection over wood stains.

Here are the most common types of varnishes you'll find and when you should use them:

  • Tung-Oil Varnishes
  • Polyurethanes
  • Two-Part Varnishes
  • Acrylic Varnish

Tung-Oil Varnishes

Tung Oil Varnish is a combination of Tung Oil and fine varnishes. It ensures more extended durability and non-oily finish, which is entirely water and alcohol resistant. It can penetrate the wood surface to protect beautiful furniture, enhancing the wood's natural beauty and smoothness.

It is greatly useable on the interior, bare wood surfaces. You can also use it on antiques and beautiful furniture. Moreover, you can apply it to cabinets, furniture, tables, and bar tops.

It lasts longer than most other varnishes found in the market. Per gallon of varnish can cover approx. 678 sq. Ft. Depending upon the method of application, type, and porosity of the wood.

Tung oil is one of the most water-resistant oils and has a centuries-long history of use as a final finish. Still, it has a high demand for its extraordinary durability. We highly recommend it for a more robust topcoat.


Polyurethanes are such a varnish that offer smooth and hard surface, and you can use on the floors and areas which undergo a lot of wear and tear.

It also resists the heat and ensures a bright, tough finish, which is available in gloss, satin, and matt finishes. Since polyurethane varnishes cannot penetrate the wood, you need to use an oil-based varnish or a thin shellac solution.

It would help you, please kept in mind not to try and put an oil-based varnish on top of a Polyurethane varnish since it will not bond properly. Moreover, they are resistant to spills of mild acids, solvents, and other chemicals.

Though they are hard and durable, they are not immune to UV (sun) light. So, if you use it outside, try to find out one with UV protection, or it will deteriorate quickly.

Two-Part Varnishes

We usually know polyurethane as a varnish-type finish available at paint stores and home centers. There is also two-part polyurethane, which you can use as a finish on wood and metal. It consists of two components that you should mix just before application on the surface of the objects.

Interlux Perfection Plus varnish is a type of two-part polyurethane high-gloss finish for wood and epoxy. It is a high-clarity and high-gloss marine varnish that ensures exceptional UV protection and prolonged resistance to chemicals and abrasion.

The Plus formula is one of Interlux's most durable finishes that lasts up to four times longer than most other conventional one-part varnish products. The manufacturers have designed it for use above the waterline.

Perfection’s chemical cure provides superior resistance to fuels, oil and mild acids, and alkali spills. Moreover, it is highly compatible with oily woods such as teak.

Acrylic Varnish

Typically, acrylic resin varnishes are glossier, more durable, and brighter than acrylic polymer varnishes. Therefore, if you want to get a high-gloss finish, you should select an acrylic resin varnish such as Golden MSA Varnish. Before applying the final varnish, you'll have to use an "isolation coat" over the entire painting.

You can naturally apply Acrylic varnishes for water-based treatments that offer a water-resistant and hard-wearing finish to your wooden worktops. It lasts longer than oil finishes and is easier to clean, and you don't need to reapply. It also ensures proper maintenance of your surfaces.

It does not make any fume and is easily applied with a brush or a roller to ensure a smooth finish. Moreover, the acyclic varnish is almost entirely transparent that doesn't get discolored or darkened in the process. Furthermore, the varnish also has a powerful UV resistance, which ensures that your work surfaces won't get damaged as the sun shines through.

What are varnishes used for?

Varnishes prevent coatings for wooden surfaces, paintings, and various decorative objects from water and dust. Varnish protects and enhances the appearance of wood floors, interior wood paneling, and trimming and furniture. Early varnishes were solutions of natural resins that secreted plants.

What is the difference between paint and varnish?

The paint is usually stored, sold, and applied as a liquid but is hardened in most types. The varnish is a transparent hard protective finish or film. The color of the varnish is low or no color, and unlike paint or wood stains, it has no added pigment, which contains pigment.

What's the difference between stain and varnish?

While a stain deeply penetrates the wood, a varnish remains on the outside of your surfaces, forming a protective barrier. The varnish is usually clear and transparent, and it will harden along with the outer layer of your wood. Some varnishes do include colour to enhance or alter the wood shade.

What is the difference between varnish and shellac?

Moving on, a significant difference between the two is that varnish cures as it dries. This renders the finish impervious to the solvent that is reapplied. Shellac, on the other hand, when dried, dissolves readily once it is moistened with alcohol, fresh shellac, or lacquer thinner.

What are the different types of varnish finishes?

You will encounter different types and prices, depending on the type of varnish you use. Varnish made from pale glue is suitable for light wood finishes but often costs much more than conventional paints. Additionally, some types of varnish work well for individual demands, such as shellac.

Varnishing Tips for the Hardcore

Start with a well-prepared surface:  Before you start applying any type of varnish, make sure the surface is well prepared; Varnish accentuates instead of hiding marks, unwanted stains and obstructions.

Bleach your surface: Bleach the surface with oxalic acid. Rinse heavy water flows to remove every trace of oxalic acid. Sand, as well as the need for a smooth surface. It is idle 100-grit paper for teak, 120-grit for other woods.

Follow the ideal coats: You should keep thin the initial coats. Uncut varnish will bridge wood pores, leaving space for moisture.

It is ideal Thin, the first coat 50% with volume—1/2 ounce of thinner to every ounce of varnish. Should Thin the second coat 25 percent, the third maybe 10 percent.

Keep clean your surfaces: Dust and varnish don't mix, which is embarrassing because all sanding before applying varnish will inevitably create a lot of dust. Carefully handle the dust.

Use a foam brush or roller: Foam brushes prevent you from applying too much concentration of varnish, and they do not damage the finish with loose shaking. Varnish can be applied with a brush that is more ordinary or a roller. If you are planning to use a roller with a small pile.

Use several coats: Apply at least six coats. You can add extra coats later, but you need at least six for full protection.

Wait for drying: Wait 48 hours in the sand. You don’t need sand in the first three coats, but you need sanding for all subsequent coats.

Whatever the instructions say, 24 hours of drying time is insufficient; Allow at least two days.

What type of varnish should I use to seal acrylics on canvas?

You can choose different types of varnish to varnish your acrylic painting. If you want to know more about different options for varnishing acrylic paintings, read on.

If you like a quick answer and want to know what I’ve been using for many years, which I would sincerely recommend, it’s Golden Acrylic Polymer Varnish (Glossy).

How a Varnish Hardens or Cures How to Apply Varnish Tips for a Great Finish

Bottom Line

There are basically two ways to harden varnish and it is very helpful to understand them: Some varnish hardens instantly as the solvent evaporates. In the absence of solvent or dilute the resins and oils become dry and hard.

You should read the specific varnish guide to use more accurate guidelines, but as a general rule, higher temperatures and less humidity will speed up the healing time.

It may not be as good as you think because if any varnish hardens too quickly, it can become brittle.

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