Oils and stains, on the other hand, are appropriate for interior woods that need less protection. Just like with other kinds of paints, wooden finishes may require more than one coat. The recommended number of coats is a critical factor to keep in mind before purchasing a water-based or oil-based wood finish. If you have to apply several coats, you will spend more time finishing the wood, and the price of your project can increase. Each of the two has both oil based and water based products. It takes very long to dry and the oil based poly tends to show a yellowish layer when used on light colored surfaces.
Can be expensive to purchase and product quality varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Prior to use, Polyurethane should be stirred well to mix the chemicals together that may have separated over time. The product should never be shaken as this will introduce air bubbles that will be visible in the final finished work.
Best Exterior Polyurethanes
If you cannot properly ventilate the site, make sure it’s clear of other people without a mask before applying. Use some medium sandpaper (#120 grit paper) and sand the wood if you are going to use a water-based stain. If you are planning to use an oil-based stain, use a slightly heftier grit paper as high as #180.
I would rather wait 6 months for their next trip and have them pay less and do it right with oil based. I rely on happy customers who recommend me to their friends and come back to me years later for the other flooring in their home. Two such evaluations are our exterior wood finish tests. [This review was collected as part of a promotion.] I recently received the Miniwax Helmsman Spar Urethane to use while remolding items in my house.
Polyurethane Dos & Don’ts
We hope the comparison enables readers to decide which finish best matches their own taste, potential labor investment, and wood protection needs. The best solution is an epoxy coating, followed by several coats of oil-based polyurethane. They all contain, minwax vs varathane spar urethane in varying amounts, an oil, resin, and solvent. Manufacturers like to play around with the amounts and kinds of each to make their varnish, but this basic recipe is always followed. Within those three ingredients, you also have a couple options.
The main difference that we found in these two finishes was with durability. You won’t find this on your local hardware store shelves, but that doesn’t mean it’s not incredible stuff. Personally, this is my favorite finish for exterior wood. It was designed by boat finishers for boats and us land lovers can benefit from their hard work by using a product that can handle the toughest elements. It uses a phenolic resin, which I think is better suited to outdoor use, and the solvent is naphtha with a little bit of xylene. If I’m finishing an exterior wood project, 9 out of 10 times Epifanes is the stuff I reach for.
I have used both types of finishes and recently refinished a wood front door using a water based polyurethane. Now, there are several benefits to water based polyurethane and in some circumstances, water based poly is a great option. I recently finished a dresser top in a very light gray oil based stain. Afterwards I applied a water based matte poly, because I didn’t want any yellow tint to show on the light gray color .
Hi, Great page… think you may be just the expert I was looking for. I ordered a teak patio dining set as I love the look of it… but 2 things now have me second guessing it. 1) I have become concerned about food/wine stains ruining the table. 2) I am realizing I probably am not the type of person to keep up with the maintenance I’m reading that is required with teak furniture.
You will need to consider whether you would prefer an oil- or water-based polyurethane spray, how long it will take to dry, as well as the end-result. According to finishing expert Bob Flexner, all finishes are food-safe once they have cured. Polyurethane varnish does not present any known hazard.
Nothing fancy – bought from a big box store but I know that in its out of the box state it probably won’t stand up to the weather and sun. Could I apply spar varnish over top of the table or would it need to be sanded down to a raw state beforehand etc? When it comes to ease of use, you should also consider how easy it will be to clean after application. No matter how careful you are, it is likely that you will spill or overline when applying polyurethane, so you may want to choose a product that can be easily cleaned.
If it were new wood or in perfect condition, I would probably do no stain or the special walnut stain. To add to what klem wrote, most factory finishes are a recipe of ingredients. They are almost never a single stain/dye/colorant and always include the final finish coat.
They usually impart an amber coloring, because of this oil content (esp. with the linseed oil). Water-based varnishes don’t have the amber color, though some say they’re not as durable, and other say they’ve improved with time and the newer ones are. Try it on projects where you’d use oilbased varnish but don’t require its abrasion and moisture resistance. The clarity of water-based finishes makes them ideal for light woods such as maple, where you want to preserve the wood’s natural color. For many woodworkers, the contest to choose a finish ends in round one. Whether it’s polyurethane, Danish oil, or spray lacquer, the winner never changes.
- It does take a bit longer to cure, however, so although it may be dry to the touch, it will take longer to dry completely.
- (The table color looks dead, while the leaves are alive.) The chairs have discolored as well.
- We live in St. Louis Missouri, and purchased a 8 foot bamboo fence, in 20 sections, to install as our privacy fence.
- Thanks for the heads up on Epifanes…any particular source for buying it?
- Even though it has a thick consistency, this polyurethane is fast drying and will be dry in less than two hours.
- So what makes more sense is to create what is known as a “long-oil varnish”, that is, a formulation that contains a greater percentage of oil.
- I have never had trouble finishing but am at a loss this time.
- Varnishes have different properties depending upon how they were formulated.
- DIYers and woodworker may consider Spar Urethane as an alternative to polyurethane, lacquer, varnish or even oil finishes.
- Doing this will ensure an even coat without any bumps.
- The term “spar varnish” comes from the boating world, where the long wooden poles that support the sails are known as spars.
Although this item gets very good reviews overall, there are some complaints that caught our attention. At least three of the reviewers said that this coating would take on a white, milky color when it rains or otherwise gets wet. They say it will return to normal after drying out again, but this is still a serious potential flaw. Because most buyers including me did not complain about this factor, I tend to believe that it was either a defective batch or a case of user error.
These elements serve to break down the finish over time. Furthermore, changes in humidity cause the wood to expand and contract, and a standard indoor finish would simply crack and deteriorate under these conditions. Spar varnishes are typically designed to not only protect the wood, but also give it the flexibility and UV protection it needs to last for years. And the name “spar varnish” comes from the boating world, where the long wooden poles that support the sails are know as spars. So a spar varnish needs to be one that can withstand the rigorous conditions of seafaring life. It includes Minwax pre stain, Minwax water based polyurethane, wax, and more.
Varathane products are more durable since most of them are oil- based. However, they take a long time to dry and this depends on amount of used filler or putty. They are advantageous as they come in two coats of the same color; giving either thicker or thinner coating according to preference. The best thing about Verathane polyshades is that you only require one coat to achieve desired color. To achieve the desired color shade, two coats of the polyshades are required.
But, for regular homeowners, usually, it’s worth waiting the extra 2-3 days in order to have the job last longer. Launched in 2008, the long-term panel test aimed to determine which type of coating offers the best and longest protection and which products stand out among their peers. Manufacturers vary the amount and type of both the resin and the oil to impart particular performance characteristics to their product. For exterior varnishes, more oil is added to make the varnish softer and more flexible.
Also, polyurethane varnishes should not be used where they are exposed to the sun. Minwax Helmsman for example, was the first finish to fail in Consumer Reports long term tests of exterior clear finishes. Both spar marine varnish and spar urethane have their own benefits, such as water and UV resistance and flexibility, and can be very similar. With the high level of moisture protection that comes with spar urethane, this could be a good choice for coating paddles, canoes or other wooden vessels.
For marine use, where sunlight can damage the wood and the finish, UV absorber chemicals are added to spar varnish to slow the UV damage. One of the primary reasons for using such a finish (“spar” finishes)is to protect wood. For the best results, you want it to penetrate deeply and your oil based finishes are definitely the best for that. Spar marine varnish can require several coats, with several hours in between each one to allow it to dry completely before the next coat. Natural bristle brushes or foam brushes can be ideal for application.
The oil based poly driest fastest as compared to other polyurethanes and does not show any brush strokes. Minwax polycrylic has a fast drying coat which is protective and water based. The paste finishing wax works to protect and add luster to wooden surfaces, whether cabinets, furniture, doors or antiques. I’ve not used Varathane but every other brand of spar varnish I’ve used that came from a bix box store failed to hold up more than a year outdoors. Le Tonkinois is the next product I intend to use if I need to finish an outdoor project.
The advantages of using polyurethane are also essential to consider especially if you want to determine which type is the best for your specific needs. It is better when it comes to durability, high-quality finishes, and longevity. Polyurethane coating features a wide array of chemicals that are affecting the environment due to emissions. Of course, it will protect your furniture so that it can resist the damage especially when it comes to outdoor weather conditions. Find out which finish is best for your project, water-based or oil-based polyurethane.
But I think that’s more related to the fact that the material is more flexible. So if the wood absorbs moisture, the finish will expand and contract with the wood and won’t crack. For something like coasters, personally, I’d go with a high solids varnish, something like Behlens Rock Hard.
It will be exposed to the harsh Australian sun and plenty of winter rain. Even though there will be a bit more up-keep, I’m leaning towards the Spar Marine due to the amount of movement expected of the timber. After 30 years of using varnish, this may be the year to try urethane. You will probably find that you will need around two or three coats in order to get the best protection. But what’s the difference between the two products and how do you know which one you should use?
I’m about to refinish a late 18th century mahogany table with single board sections; it is very dense and heavy mahogany. I’m installing new board and batton shutters on my house. I’m using 1x 4s and a 23 gauge brad nailer to assemble. I was told that the pressure treated needs at least a year to cure before paint could be applied.
This is a low odor polyurethane making it ideal to be used indoors on a range of different surfaces. Spar varnish in most cases is just a marketing term for a manufacturer’s exterior finish. True marine spar varnishes are used on wooden masts where the finish needs to be flexible and soft to bend with the mast.
The best kind of finish will differ based on the type of wood that you are covering with polyurethane. For example, wooden tabletops would benefit from a gloss-finish top coat as this will improve the appearance and enhance the natural color. You may also want to consider the color of the polyurethane, although most are clear, and whether it will yellow over time.