Best Varnish for Wood – [Reviews & Guide 2020]

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Our Choice
There is no doubt that this clear varnish product from Epifanes is the best choice due to its maximum protection from sunlight and the ultra-high gloss finish you would get. It is made with top quality chemicals and it is easy to apply.

Wood varnish has been there since the time of the Egyptians but we have gotten a long way from just combining alcohol and tree sap. Modern made varnishes now offer a mix of beauty hardness and ease of use. Recently, applying varnish to a surface is as easy as just painting on that surface.

In as much as that, there are also fake or low-quality products which are in stores and we would help you as much as possible for you not to come across them. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the products that would serve you better.

1. Epifanes Clear Varnish – Best for Floors

This clear varnish from Epifanes is one that comes with maximum ultraviolet protection. This is a very popular choice by users due to the fact that it is produced with top-notch quality. Most boat owners go with this product because it provides them with an ultra-high gloss finish that you won’t find in most finishes. This product gives its users a clear finish and it has been rated one of the best ultraviolet resistant varnish in a popular boat building forum. If users want maximum protection and a stunning appearance for their outdoor wood, this is the product to go for. This is because it does a magnificent job highlighting the natural look and feel of the wood surface.

For application, this product is not handed to put on wooden surfaces, it comes with instructions and directions on how to make the best use of it. It also applies very smoothly and tends to self-level more when compared with other products. There are also sides you have to know before you buy this product. First of all, you have to apply about 3 coatings to get the required result you want. Secondly, their customer support is not prompt in reply or action.

Pros
  • It is very durable.
  • It gives users a transparent gloss finish.
  • It helps restore old wood.
  • It is convenient for both hard and softwood.
  • It contains alkyd and phenolic resins.
Cons
  • It has unreliable customer service.

Overall Impression

This product has been known to give users a lustrous finish and it would provide them with high standard protection in any climate. Although it has a few flaws, it is undeniably the best varnish for hardwood, softwood, and marine application. It can also be used to restore old wood to its former glory.

2. TotalBoat Lust Marine Varnish – Best for Bathrooms

If you are having second thoughts on purchasing a marine varnish, this product would change your doubts. Although it is natural to be skeptical about a product before you go head in first and when you are not familiar with the best characteristics to evaluate. But if you look into this product you would find out you won’t regret buying it. This product from TotalBoat gives it’s users a rich but deep finish. It is eligible for building multiple coats in a jiffy and it also gives your project a maximum ultraviolet coating. It can be used both externally as well as internally. It results in a durable, clear and excellent finish coating.

A lot of users love this product because it is unique and it dried very fast for extra re-coating. Unlike other wood varnish found online, this product comes with a high-build and instant drying formula that makes it possible for users to apply or recoat without any need of sanding in between coats. It also comes with exceptional finish retention which is very hard to get in most products. The only negative part about this product is that you have to look out for bubbles as you apply this product.

Pros
  • It is available in high gloss and matte finish.
  • It makes fast recoating possible.
  • It doesn’t need sanding between costs.
  • It features a high build formula and an instant-dry formula.
Cons
  • It tends to release bubbles.

Overall Impression

Overall, this product is a very good choice and it comes quickly in a well-packaged box. It is very easy to put up and it dries very fast meaning that you can repost in less time. If it is your first time coating, it is very easy to handle and I would advise newbies to go for this type of varnish.

3. Rust-Oleum 207008 Marine Spar Varnish 1-Quart – Best on Painting

With a lot of products currently circulating the market, picking out the best varnish that suits your needs can really be hard for you. That’s why we chose this product that is made by Rust-Oleum. This product is perfect for use on outdoor wood surfaces such as railings, trims and also furniture made out of wood. It comes with an oil-based formulation which makes it possible to expand and contract altering weather conditions. A lot of users love this brand because it is proven to be very durable compared to the normal finishes and it has the ability to withstand and weather not resulting in cracking.

This finish is known to be transparent and it can provide its users with a glossy finish which serves as protection on the wooden surface. This product is mostly used in the navy when protecting their woodwork which is exposed or constantly in contact with saline water or air. The product however doesn’t they as much as it is said to be. You may need extra time and a huge amount of patience to get excellent results.

Pros
  • It is stronger than the normal wood finish.
  • It promises a long-lasting coating.
  • It is resistant to salt, UV as well as mildew.
  • It is capable of covering up to 150 Square feet.
Cons
  • It doesn’t dry that fast.

Overall Impression

When it comes to this product from Rust-Oleum, it can compete with most of the more expensive brands due to the fact that it produces results as much as them. Unlike most products in the market, this product does not give away a foul smell when it is applied. It is also resistant to UV, mildew, and salt.

4. System Three 1855S16 Clear Marine Spar Urethane Varnish Coating – Best for Table

When it comes to the system Three 1855S16, this is a product that you should not overlook. This product gives it’s users the reliable gloss that can even protect in the harsh weather. It is also great on furniture making it be used on a variety of surfaces. Most users claim that this product has a very nice application and it is very well sturdy too. I also learned that it is capable of offering a wonderful finish that goes on to be sleek and easy.

If compared to other products, this product from system three can work wonderfully after you restripe or restain it. You would be amazed to see the shine which this product would give out when it is being used. Since this product is made to be stable, it can last for a number of years even when it is being exposed to ultraviolet lights. One negative about this product is that it is a bit pricey so people who are on a budget should not purchase it or they should go for another cheaper option. The second negative is it can harden immediately after use mostly when you don’t close the lid therefore you should property close it after use.

Pros
  • It can be gotten in a satin or gloss finish.
  • It can resist salty air and water.
  • It can cure over system three epoxy products.
  • It is produced with VOC compliant finish and high solids.
Cons
  • It gets had if not properly sealed after use.
  • It is quite pricey.

Overall Impression

This product is known to be one of the best exterior vanishes which anyone can purchase online. It is easy to set up as well as tidy up. Using the right tools users can be able to finish the coating before it is done. This product also protects the surface of your wood from UV light.

5. TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish – Best for Boat

If you go through most reviews and forums online, you would know that the TotalBoat Gleam is one of the best varnishes for wood. This product is one most user prefer due to the fact that it has phenolic resins, Tung oil, and UV inhibitors. This nice combo makes this product give off a clear but impressive amber finish. It also helps fight off UV light and moisture damage. This makes it a great choice for both internal and external surfaces.

During application, this product does not form bubbles and or goes on more smoothly than most of the products in its category. There is no need to mix this varnish because it dries very quickly and you can apply as much coating as you want in a single day. It is very transparent and there is no added color plus it clusters when sunlight shines on it.

Pros
  • It is available in different sizes.
  • It is very easy to use.
  • It gives a nice amber finish.
  • It is ideal for both outdoor and indoor uses.
Cons
  • It comes with a thick smell.

Overall Impression

Overall, this varnish product is perfect for users who want to opt-in for outstanding beauty, easy application and self-leveling properties. Due to the fact that this product is user friendly, it is very easy to work with. All you just need is a high-quality brush so you can enjoy a blemish-free application.

6. OLD MASTERS 92304 Spar Marine Varnish, Satin – Best for Furniture

It is worth knowing that this Spar Marine Varnish from Old masters is designed with an amazing satin application, durability, and water resistance. This product comes with a super-strong UV inhibitor which makes it possible for the wood to be protected from the scorching sun that hits and damages the wood quality. Once you varnish your wood with this product, you will find out that it gives the surface a satin finish which would look very attractive to your eyes.

This varnish from old masters flows very well without any hindrance and it is very easy to work with the aid of multiple coatings. You can do the job quickly using just a natural bristle brush. Even if you are not a professional, the result of the product would give you an excellent high-class finish as far as you follow the instructions of the manufacturers.

Pros
  • It protects wooden surfaces from UV light.
  • It can be used externally and sometimes internally.
  • it gives off a high-quality satin finish.
  • It highlights the natural color of the wood.
Cons
  • It is a bit pricey.
  • It might form bubbles.

Overall Impression

This product is formulated to give users an exterior protection finish. It is made with tung oil which gives it a more flexible finish that can resist UV light, salt, and water. I do recommend this product.

7. TotalBoat Envy 2 Part Varnish – Best for Exterior wood

This product is one that is truly a 2 part garnish system that changes the way you think about brightwork refinishing. The company believes that a 1 part spar varnish might be the boating industry standard but they are very difficult to put up and they don’t last. That’s why the company created this TotalBoat Envy, a truly advanced exterior, marine, interior, home, and trim use. It is low in VOC and it can be used in terms of paint, brushed or sprayed with all wood products. It comes with UV light protection and it can last 5 times longer than normal garnish products.

It is available in both satin and gloss finish and it works perfectly on natural wood. Purchasing this product means a professional result with little or minimal preparations. This product was mostly created for boaters by boaters but it can also be used in various applications.

Pros
  • It lasts 5 times more than normal varnish products.
  • It is low in VOC.
  • It is available in both gloss and satin finish.
  • It might not need sanding between each coating.
Cons
  • Most users complained that there were too many flattening agents in this product.

Overall Impression

This product is a unique one due to the fact that it comes in two parts. This makes it more durable and quality, when compared to most, vanishes out there. It may last 5 times more than most vanish you would come across. I recommend this product.

FAQ

Are varnish and polyurethane the same?
When it comes to comparing polyurethane and varnish, polyurethane is mostly used for interior or indoor projects such as table desks as well as bookshelves but varnish, on the other hand, is most preferred for exterior or outside surfaces like wooden patios and decks. Although, applying the Polyurethane finish to an interior hardwood floor is more ideal and a better option. Varnish, on the other hand, is used to combat natural durability and ultraviolet light and it is made for surfaces outdoors. Polyurethane provides more flexibility and durability to interior projects.
How to remove varnish for wood?
If your wood item is large, apply a stripper to an area that measures about 1 Square foot and get rid of the varnish before you move to the next surface. If the stripper has softened and it is perfect for scrapping, the area which you applied the stripper would be furrowed. Now scrap off the surface using a knife or a scrapper and for curved details, consider making use of a stiff-bristled scrub brush. Some particles of garnish may remain on the surface even after scrapping it. To get rid of this, use a wet soft cloth with a more liquid stripper and rub it on the surface which you want to get rid of. Make sure you rub it following the wood grain then wipe everything off with a rag.
How to apply varnish for wood?
To apply varnish to a wooden surface, make use of a foam applicator or a flat paintbrush during the process. As you apply these, make sure you work along the wood grain and use long even strokes. After a day or 24 hours, sand away the first coat with 280-grit sandpaper in the direction of the wood grain and use a dry cloth to wipe away any dust. Apply the second coating the way you applied the first one. If it requires adding the third coating, also repeat the sanding and then apply the third coating as you applied the other ones.
How many coats of varnish on wood?
When you purchase varnish, there are various products that may require at least two or even three coatings to get a smooth result. Apply the varnish anyway you feel is proper and make sure you take note of the manufacturer’s guide. When applying in between coats, let the first coat harden or dry up as stated by the manufacturers.

Conclusion

You have learned about the various forms of garnish from this paragraph but the one that is the best varnish for your wood is the one that fits your needs. Research more and read about the product you pick out if necessary. If you need more convincing, you can go and check out what other people are saying about this product. We hope we have helped you make the right choice and you were able to select the product that would protect your wood.