Spar Urethane vs Varnish: Which is Better?

Spar Urethane vs Varnish

Last updated on October 1, 2022

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If you are in the market for a protective clear finish for your indoor or outdoor wood surfaces, you may be wondering what the difference is between spar urethane and varnish. Both products provide a durable, long-lasting finish that will protect your surfaces from scratches, stains, and UV damage. 

So, which one should you choose? Read on to find out.

What is Spar Urethane?

Minwax Helmsman Water Based Spar Urethane, Quart, Gloss


Spar Urethane is a type of polyurethane that is commonly used as a protective finish for wood. Unlike traditional varnishes, spar urethane is designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the outdoors. It is often used on boats and other outdoor furniture, as it is highly resistant to UV light, moisture, and temperature fluctuations. Spar urethane can be applied in either a glossy or matte finish, and it can be tinted to match the wood it is being applied to. While it is more expensive than traditional varnishes, spar urethane provides superior protection against the elements and can significantly extend the life of outdoor furniture.

What is Varnish?

Epifanes Clear Varnish (500 ml)


Varnish is a type of protective coating that is applied to wood and other materials in order to extend their lifespan. Varnish is typically made from a variety of synthetic resins, oil, and solvents, which work together to create a hard, durable finish. While varnish can be applied by hand, it is often sprayed on in order to create a smooth, even layer. Once applied, varnish dries quickly and forms a protective barrier against moisture, dirt, and other environmental factors. In addition to extending the life of wood and other materials, varnish also enhances the appearance of surfaces by creating a deep, glossy finish. As a result, varnish is commonly used on furniture, floors, doors, and trim.

Spar Urethane vs Varnish: Which is Better?


So, which one should you choose—spar urethane or varnish? The answer ultimately depends on where the surface will be located and what type of protection you need. If the surface will be exposed to direct sunlight, then spar urethane is the better option because it contains UV inhibitors. However, if the surface will be located in an area that doesn't get much sun exposure, either product would work well.

If you are looking for a long-lasting finish that will withstand heavy use, then spar urethane is probably your best bet. However, if you are working on a budget and are looking for a good value, then varnish would be a good choice. 

FAQ


How To Apply Spar Varnish?

Applying spar varnish is not as difficult as it may seem. The most important thing to remember is to work in a well-ventilated area and to apply the varnish in thin coats. To get started follow the steps:

1. Sand the surface you'll be working on to create a smooth finish. 

2. Wipe away any dust with a damp cloth.

3. Apply a thin layer of varnish with a brush or roller and allow it to dry for 24 hours.

4. Once the first coat is dry, apply a second coat and allow it to dry for 24 hours.

5. Finally, apply a third coat and let it dry for at least 48 hours before using the surface.

This process should be repeated until the desired level of protection is achieved. With a little practice, anyone can achieve professional-looking results by applying spar varnish.

How long does spar varnish take to dry?

Spar varnish typically takes 24-48 hours to dry. However, it is important to wait at least 48 hours before using the surface to allow the finish to cure properly. 


What are the disadvantages of spar varnish?

One disadvantage of spar varnish is that it can yellow over time when exposed to direct sunlight. Additionally, it is more expensive than traditional varnish and requires more frequent reapplication. 

How long does spar varnish last?

Spar varnish typically lasts for 2-3 years before it needs to be reapplied. However, it may need to be reapplied more frequently if the surface is exposed to direct sunlight or heavy use. 


Which Is Better Spar Urethane VS Spar Varnish?

The term “spar” refers to a clear, protective coating that is applied to the exposed surfaces of wooden boats. There are two main types of spar finishes: urethane and varnish. 

Both provide excellent protection against the elements, but there are some key differences between the two. Urethane is more durable and UV resistant than varnish, making it a good choice for areas that receive a lot of sunlight. It is also more resistant to abrasion and can be cleaned with soap and water. However, urethane can yellow over time, and it is not as easy to repair as varnish. Varnish, on the other hand, is easier to apply and touch up, and it will not yellow with age. It also provides a deep, rich lustre that many boat owners prefer. Ultimately, the best type of finish for your boat will depend on your personal preferences and how you plan to use your vessel.

Do I Need To Sand Between Coats Of Spar Urethane?


Applying a new coat of spar urethane to your floors is a great way to protect them from wear and tear. However, you may be wondering if you need to sand between coats. The answer depends on the type of urethane you are using. If you are using an oil-based urethane, then you will need to sand between coats to ensure a smooth finish. However, if you are using a water-based urethane, then you will not need to sand between coats. Water-based urethanes dry quickly and do not require sanding between coats. Instead, they can be applied directly over the previous coat. So, if you are wondering whether or not to sand between coats of spar urethane, the answer depends on the type of urethane you are using.

Which Is Better Oil Based Or Water Based Spar Urethane?


Spar urethane is a type of clear coat that is often used on wood surfaces. It is durable and helps to protect the wood from UV damage, scratches, and other wear and tear. There are two main types of spar urethane: oil-based and water-based. Which one is better?

Oil-based spar urethane tends to be more durable than water-based spar urethane. It also yellow less over time, making it a good choice for light-colored woods. However, oil-based spar urethane can be more difficult to apply evenly and can produce a strong odor. In addition, it is not as eco-friendly as water-based spar urethane.

Water-based spar urethane goes on more smoothly than oil-based spar urethane and has very little odor. It is also the more environmentally friendly option. However, water-based spar urethane is not as durable as its oil-based counterpart and may yellow slightly over time.

So, which is better? Oil-based or water-based spar urethane? The answer may depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you are looking for a durable finish with minimal yellowing, oil-based spar urethane may be the better option. If you want an eco-friendly finish that goes on smoothly, water-based spar urethane may be the better choice. Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your specific project requirements.

Conclusion


When deciding whether to use spar urethane or varnish on your next project, consider where the surface will be located and what type of protection you need. If the surface will be exposed to direct sunlight, then spar urethane is the better option; however, if the surface will be located in an area that doesn't get much sun exposure, then either product would work well. If you are looking for a long-lasting finish that can withstand heavy use, then spar urethane is your best bet; however, if you are working on a budget then varnish would be a good choice. Whichever product you choose, we hope this article has helped you narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your project. Thanks for reading!
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