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The Best Marine Varnishes

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

best marine varnish

Let’s face it, we don’t give as much credit to the almost perfect combination of boats and varnishes. After all, vessels aren’t exactly cheap. They aren’t immune to deterioration as well. If there’s one solid way for you to preserve the life of your investment and even take her beauty up a notch, wouldn’t you seize it?

For my part, I can wholeheartedly say that these varnishes are great investments, especially if we’re talking about the best marine varnish. These concoctions go beyond their practical benefits, lending anything made of wood with a nice finish that only unlocks and magnifies their natural exquisiteness.

I can say as much for the products I’ve featured here. They have given me noteworthy, if not outstanding, results that make the others I’ve tried in my more than ten years of boating and fishing pale in comparison.


  • Great finish
  • Easy to use
  • Great value for money

the best yacht varnish

  • Superb satin finish
  • High gloss protection
  • Very versatile varnish

the best yacht varnish

  • Easy to apply
  • Excellent UV protection

Table of Contents

1. Rust-Oleum 207008 Marine Spar Varnish

2. totalboat gleam marine spar varnish, 3. epifanes cv.500 clear varnish, 4. mccloskey 7509 man o’war spar marine varnish, 5. totalboat 482869 lust marine varnish, 6. epifanes wfm.500 wood finish matte, 7. minwax 63200444 helmsman spar urethane, 8. interlux iva316/qt cetol natural teak varnish, 9. mccloskey 7505 man o’ war spar varnish, 10. pettit marine paint flagship varnish 2015, 11. system three 1855s16 marine spar varnish, 12. duralux m738-1 spar varnish, 13. old masters 153617 spar marine varnish, factors to consider when choosing marine varnish, what is the best marine varnish, what is the difference between spar varnish and marine barnish, how do you apply marine varnish to wood, how long will marine varnish last, is marine spar varnish waterproof, best marine varnish reviews.

If I’m going for all-around reliability and protection from sun and moisture damage, I’d choose this varnish in a heartbeat.

This is my go-to varnish for anything wood found in my sailboat. Whether it’s furniture or railing or sometimes even the bow, I often get the kind of maintainability I want every time I use this. The finish is no less attractive and only gets glittery over time in a number of my past applications.

Thinned up to around 30%, it dries quickly enough to apply multiple coats in a day. Sometimes I go for as low as 20%, down to even 5%. It’s because thinning too much does tend to backfire and lead to the varnish taking a long time to dry. It’s easy to use with everything considered.

If you want the best results, I’ve found that using a fresh foam brush with every coat would result in optimal smoothness. It may seem like a waste, buying multiple brushes, but the results are unrivaled, to say the least. I’ve had applications that lasted for a good 3 years before I needed to refinish them.

  • Excellent UV and water protection
  • More affordable but with high-end results
  • Low shelf life

This varnish smoothly combines ease of use, beautiful finishes, and above-average durability. The winning formula for successful marine finishes for wood, in short.

This varnish is versatile in that it leaves plenty of routes open for you to take. For one, I like that they give you plenty of freedom when choosing the shine you want. It’s also available in different sizes, so I always get to buy only the proportions I deem fit for a specific project.

I have to be partial to the satin finish, though, since it delivers the exquisite luster I like to see in my indoor boat furniture and fixtures like railings. However, I always make sure to apply a high-gloss varnish if I’m working on anything that has to be exposed to the sun for long hours. That being said, I like that this product gives you both satin and gloss options.

I make sure to apply the high-gloss varnish as a topcoat, and I’ve gotten excellent results, mostly 1 to 2 years of unblemished finishes, with this practice. Sometimes, it’s shorter than that, especially on wooden areas that are more exposed to the elements. Yet, it’s protection you normally expect and can get from high-gloss varnish. In addition, it’s a varnish that’s also noticeably on the thin side, so I kind of get that it wears away faster than thicker varieties.

  • Uncomplicated to apply
  • Has multiple sheen and size options
  • Not as durable as others

Another safe option, Epifanes marine spar varnish is anything but average with its status as a crowd favorite. Expect superior finish and durability if you choose this.

This varnish easily earns a spot here, considering its unchanging and undeniably positive reputation among boaters. Simply put, it’s hard to fault because of the wonderful results it can bring. The shiny, attractive gloss that has the Epifanes trademark is rarely surpassed by other marine-grade varnishes in my opinion.

What’s equally neat is that it’s not difficult to apply. You don’t really need to sand it with every coat, unlike the majority of other brands out there, but I still suggest you do it, especially in the later coatings. I recommend using marine spirits as a thinner with a 2:1 ratio, and take the time to pour it through a strainer to guarantee a smooth finish. At best, you’ll have to set 5 to 7 days of gradual coating to get the kind of attractive finish you want; and I mean capital-A attractive.

As in other great exterior varnishes, this product is an example to follow when imparting UV protection. At least, that’s what I think is primarily responsible for the excellent finish and the overall durability. I use this as much on my sailboat’s wood portions above the waterline and furniture as well as furnishings in my home, and the finish often lasts for 2 years on average.

  • Amazing shine and finish
  • Takes a while to dry
  • Short shelf life

the best yacht varnish

McCloskey’s Man O’War spar varnish is durable, to an almost no-brainer degree. It’s what I buy if I want to get the best out of what spar varnish offers to the average boater.

Despite its relatively hard finish, spar varnish tends to wear out faster than urethane. It’s a natural thing, so I won’t bother to list it as a con. You can’t mimic the deep amber tint, caramelization, and versatility of good old spar varnish, and this brand delivers no less than that trio of perks.

If I’m going to name a worthy brand representative of spar varnishes, I’d promptly pick this one. It adheres excellently to any kind of wood, so I generously slather any wooden fixture in my boat with this once I get a hold of a bottle.

While it’s easy to use, you’d better be prepared to invest time working with this varnish. I use mineral spirits for thinning, and I make sure to apply thin coats, starting from the middle, using a mini roller and a brush, mohair and ox hair respectively. I sand in between coats, and overall it takes time since it dries slowly.

The durability stems a lot from the outstanding UV protection. My sailboat’s wooden bow that has this finish has been battered by rain a good number of times already, and it’s still holding up after a year since the initial application. Since it’s effortless to apply, I just sand and recoat every once in a while.

  • Outstanding UV protection
  • Adheres to most types of wood
  • Classic, eye-catching spar varnish finish
  • Slow-drying
  • Limited availability

the best yacht varnish

TotalBoat is a household name in the marine industry as far as paints and varnishes go. This is the brand’s best offering if we’re going to consider fundamental factors like durability, shine, and value for money.

I need to stress outright that this varnish is extra thick, almost honey-like. If you don’t thin it out to at least 50%, you’ll only end up grappling with it to less than desirable results. It’s not exactly beginner-friendly with that considered, but it does pay off since you get optimal protection and the kind of shine any boat owner would be proud of.

Speaking of the finish, it begins to shine through once you hit the one-year mark. At least, that’s what I get from most of the vessels and furniture I apply it to. I can say that it’s smooth sailing once you take the time to know the right consistency.

I often use a roller and apply 5 coats then do a recoat after 2 hours in a whole day. Ideally, the last two coats should only be thinned by about 10% only. It might get tricky applying it then but, trust me, you’ll get the hang of it.

I get the results I want within a day or two — or more at times during less than optimal humidities and temperatures. Even so, that’s obviously quicker than handling traditional varnish, which takes weeks to settle. I do acknowledge the thinner’s role in helping with the drying time.

  • Excellent shine and finish
  • Proven durability
  • Becomes easy to use with practice
  • Quick-drying

the best yacht varnish

If we’re talking about top-of-the-line, marine-grade durability, this one deserves to be called the best marine wood finish.

This is my favorite to use on teak because of its proven waterproof capabilities and the fact that its satin finish has just the right amount of sheen, for me, at least. It brings out the beauty of the teak and almost any wood I apply it to, for that matter, and this is coming from someone who has tried numerous marine-grade varnish before. I’ve had furniture that managed to maintain its finish for an impressive 5 years with the help of this varnish.

It’s a bit of a challenge to apply. It actually flows well enough as it is, and I rarely have to thin it with every application. However, you have to make sure that you apply it evenly with every coat and oftentimes as quickly as possible. Once I get patchy and bubbly results, that’s the only time I thin it, and I sand after the first coat, totaling up to 3 coats on average. It will dry more slowly if I thin it, though.

  • Excellent durability
  • Nice satin finish
  • Flows smoothly without thinning
  • Brings out the beauty of the wood extremely well
  • Fairly cost-effective
  • Not beginner-friendly

the best yacht varnish

Though not marine-grade, Minwax has proven to be just as durable as many products with that label. It’s very easy to use and delivers just the right amount of shine.

I often use this on my sailboat’s furniture, and if left with no other options, even the wooden exterior of the hull and bow. It goes well with canoes, but I only tend to apply it on the ribs, rudder, and planking. While not marine-grade, it’s great for outdoor furniture, and, to me, that’s always a good sign of heavy-duty UV protection.

If I want to reinforce the protection, I only need to apply more layers, 4 coats at most but not less than 2. I’ve only used it on oak-made fixtures, though, and I get the longevity and finish I want with that kind of simple setup. The varnish lasts up to 1 to 2 years before recoating becomes necessary, with minor peeling only appearing after a year based on my experience.

I like that they give you plenty of options with regards to sheen and container sizes. I prefer satin for my interior furniture. I once made the mistake of not mixing it well and got a result that’s almost similar to high gloss. To avoid this, you need to make sure you mix it for a good 5 minutes and scrape the sides and bottoms of the can as you do so. This guarantees the soft shine you’re aiming for.

  • Plenty of sheen and size options
  • Decent durability
  • Dries quickly
  • Not exactly marine-grade

the best yacht varnish

This varnish earns my thumbs up with the kind of inimitable finish it can deliver and its relatively easy application.

This has since become my favorite varnish on teak fixtures when I tried it out 2 years ago. This is because of the immense difference it makes in the way it lends my pulpit or anything made of teak with a sophisticated, good-as-new finish. It’s not overly glossy, which I attribute to the “natural teak” claim, and only darkens the wood a tad so it will still maintain its natural hues.

I’m glad it didn’t cause any yellowing, and after my second application, I can still say the same. It has a runny consistency that merits forgoing thinning on the first coat. I like to use a brush when applying it to have better control over coverage, which is great enough as it is, and all I can say is that I’ll apply this to my boat’s bow and rails the moment they start showing signs of wear.

Nonetheless, it would be pushing it to say that it’s as durable as the other varnishes here. It only took a year before my bow showed signs of peels and cracks. However, after I applied a single maintenance coat on the entire thing, I found that it limited or delayed the damage since I’ve yet to see signs again after doing a recoating. That being said, I suggest applying a fresh layer at least once a year to make the most out of this marine varnish for boats.

  • Outstanding finish
  • No sanding and thinning required in most cases
  • Good coverage
  • Minimal darkening
  • Well worth the money
  • A bit pricey
  • Not durable

the best yacht varnish

Budget-friendly, reliable, and just as good as other solid brands, this McCluskey varnish is a must for anyone choosing to go for value for money all the way.

The fact that this varnish can give you outstanding satin finishes and superb durability without going overboard in cost should give you a ready hint why a lot of boaters are shifting to this product. When I say superb durability, I mean thick coatings that you’ll be confident will last for years.

In my case, the minimum is 3 years on all my wood projects, boat bows, railings, and furniture included. You may start seeing peels and scratches here and there, as evidenced by the 7-year-old canoe that I refurbished 3 years ago. But, to me, it’s still none the worse for wear and nothing a minor recoating job won’t remedy.

The finish is not unlike the ones I get from the other varnishes mentioned here. It accentuates the natural color and look of the wood, and I’m saying this for redwood, teak, and light oak, which are the types I’ve applied it to. It dries in a day like most spar varnishes and typically doesn’t need to be thinned, though sanding is ideal per coat.

Incidentally, I need to underline the fact that this varnish is one of the few that doesn’t skin over in the can after you’ve stored what’s left of it. At least, that’s what I can say for most of the cans I’ve purchased and stored, with about a third of the can full in a year.

  • Works well for most types of wood
  • Superior durability
  • Doesn’t skin like other varnishes
  • More reasonably priced than other brands

the best yacht varnish

This rarely figures in marine varnish review posts, and that’s unfortunate considering it’s another top-quality marine varnish that doesn’t yellow, imparts a glossy and thick appearance, and superb UV protection.

Usually, I use this as a general-purpose varnish for the teak and cedar parts and fixtures of my one and only yacht. It gives a deep-colored, thick, glossy, grainy, and smooth finish that I can’t get enough of. It doesn’t yellow at all, probably because of the UV additive used, at least, partly. Anyway, this is one positive quality I always like from any alkyd varnish that is done right.

I prefer to spray this one, following the 20% thinning guideline. Spraying shortens the time for full coverage. I sand lightly between coats using 220-grit sandpaper, and by and large, I only need 3 to 4 coats to get the beautiful finish I described above. It takes almost a whole day to dry, but I don’t mind since I get quality results.

As for durability, I can safely say it’s UV stable. I often leave a couple of chairs and tables out on the deck if the weather’s great, oftentimes, for an entire day. Besides a few scratches in some parts, which aren’t UV-related, they haven’t peeled yet and have maintained their shininess after 2 years since application. I can say the same for the yacht’s teak pulpit.

  • Doesn’t yellow
  • Superb UV protection
  • Proven gloss retention

the best yacht varnish

To me, this is the best boat varnish if we’re only considering durability. It also earns a ready checkmark in protection and attractive finish, making it nothing short of tough to beat.

As far as durability is concerned, the longest that I’ve seen this last without undergoing any kind of major peeling or cracking is close to 3 and a half years. It was on my favorite canoe, which I use fairly regularly for freshwater fishing. 3 years is the maximum for any exterior wood varnish for me, and without a doubt, many boaters would say the same.

I attribute most of the longevity to the excellent water and UV protection. My canoe has borne the brunt of rain and water splashes over the years. I can say the same when I expose it to extensive sunlight exposure when I go fishing in Lake Erie. Top-tier durability in my book.

I sometimes use a thinner with this varnish, but I’ve found that you don’t really need to thin it if you use an HVLP spray gun. Sure, it takes a while to dry and you have to be extra careful, but I’ll take that any day if I get to enjoy these perks and results consistently.

  • Outstanding durability
  • Relatively attractive finish
  • Easy to apply with a sprayer
  • Comes in gloss and satin varieties
  • Dries slowly without a thinner

the best yacht varnish

A true gem of a find, Duralux exceeded my expectations with its durability and versatility.

In almost any kind of marine varnish for exterior doors, durability and protection immediately go well together. This spar varnish proves it doesn’t belong on the back burner by delivering both. One of my canoes that I applied this on is still going strong for more than a year, and that’s a quality not a lot of products can boast of.

I’ve had varnish that didn’t take more than a month to start peeling and cracking. That’s after a fresh application, mind you, and, yes, I follow brand recommendations to a tee if I haven’t discovered a better way to apply it. This varnish has kept my other canoes shiny every time so I deemed it deserves the spotlight.

Moreover, it doesn’t yellow over time, unlike some clear varnish I’ve used before. You may argue that there’s a lot of variables when it comes to varnish yellowing, like sanding and possible chemicals it can react to. I’m not sure whether this is spar polyurethane, but I’m betting it is since that’s the only type of varnish I’ve used that doesn’t give me the yellowing effect even with minimal to no sanding.

  • Satisfactory finish
  • Uncomplicated application
  • Doesn’t yellow over time
  • Doesn’t dry quickly

the best yacht varnish

Old Masters’s varnish shouldn’t be overlooked for its conveniences and quality that only a few top-tier varnish brands can bravely claim they can deliver every time.

This is among the lesser-known spar varnishes that don’t yellow even after a long time has passed. The canoe that I refurbished 3 years ago would prove as much, as it’s still holding up well, surprisingly if I might add. To be honest, this was a second option when I bought it as I didn’t have TotalBoat and McCluskey varnishes available back when I did the finishing job.

I was pleasantly surprised by how things turned out. I followed the instructions and stirred it well. It’s just the right kind of thick, to the point that I don’t have to thin it when applying with a brush or roller. I do have to thoroughly sand and clean the surface first, and it evens out nicely with every coating.

It dries quickly enough for me to apply a second coat in a single day, making me think it’s an exception among oil-based spar varnishes. At best, I give an allowance of 8 to 10 hours before brushing the next coat. Obviously, that’s a time-saving perk I’ll take any day.

It doesn’t produce a yellowing effect, even when applied to parts of my canoe that are regularly exposed to heat, sunlight, and the elements. That’s noteworthy considering it’s a clear varnish. I even have to say that the slightly weathered look it has gotten lends it a charm that most boaters would appreciate.

  • Easy application
  • Decent durability and finish
  • Doesn’t yellow with age
  • Limited to small pint-sized cans


Based on my experience, there are many “safe” marine varnish options out there. This only means you’re likely to not run out of beginner-friendly brands and can guarantee high-quality results at the same time. Whether it’s high-gloss or satin, all spar varnishes are easy to apply over new wood or previously coated surfaces. Marine varnish is also not partial to any type of wood and can accommodate those commonly found aboard or form part of a vessel, like teak, redwood, oak, etc.

However, that doesn’t completely discount the need to pay attention to certain factors when making your decision. These are usually the ones I make a note of when planning to start a varnishing job.

  • Durability – I’ve found that marine-grade polyurethane is hard to equal when it comes to finishes that are guaranteed to last. Most spar varnishes pale in comparison to their urethane counterparts in this regard because polyurethane tends to last for a minimum of 3 years before re-coats are needed, based on my experience. This is why they’re great options as a marine varnish for outdoor furniture.

For spar varnishes, I’ve had finishes that only lasted a year or even less. At best, these two offer equally potent UV protection, waterproof benefits, and even resistance to scratching.

  • Drying Time – Are you working with a severely limited timeframe and need to complete coats within a day? You may want to consider varnishes that dry faster like water-based spar urethane since these can dry in only a few hours. Most spar varnishes require a whole day of waiting to apply coats, assuming climate conditions are optimal.
  • Ease of Use – To ensure you won’t end up throwing away your money, don’t ignore how easy or hard a specific varnish is typically applied.
  • Shelf Life – It won’t hurt to pay attention to how long a specific can of varnish will last while in storage.
  • Gloss – This is admittedly a largely subjective factor, but if you’re opting for high-gloss varnish, it’s almost always the one with the best durability. However, do you like your wood to be extra shiny? There are semi-gloss and satin finishes that are just as attractive, if not more, especially when used on anything wood that is below deck.

We also need to discuss the possibility of a varnish yellowing or darkening the wood that it is applied to. Sometimes, the darkening could be due to the UV additive or tint used; thus, making it unavoidable unless you opt for a different varnish brand altogether.

As for yellowing, there are ways to avoid it. I shall discuss it below, but sometimes, it’s due to the actual product as well, especially if they are clear, alkyd, or oil-based. It’s not an absolute thing, though, and there are products that prove to be exceptions to this rule.


You’ll hear a lot of experienced boaters recommending brands like Epifanes, TotalBoat, McCloskey, and Rust-Oleum. I agree with them because, to me, these brands can easily meet the standards of high-quality marine varnish. Each one has qualities where they serve to shine better, and the reviews I outlined above should give you a good idea about what they are.

Nonetheless, I’m not completely discounting the other brands I included here. I daresay that they’re just as good as those top-dog brands, especially in essential factors like durability and a long-lasting aesthetically appealing finish. Moreover, I find them to be valuable substitutes if any go-to brand happens to be unavailable and won’t even hesitate to pick them as the main option based on certain requirements of a finishing job.

Incidentally, you may have noticed that I didn’t include ease of cleaning when discussing these brands. That’s because most, if not all, of them are very easy to clean for me. At least, for the almost uniform smooth finishes that I get out of them.

There’s not much, really. When boaters use the term “spar varnish”, chances are, they’re also automatically referring to marine varnish. You can also see this in how brands usually label their products in online stores, like Sherwin Williams marine spar varnish or TotalBoat gleam marine spar varnish, to cite a few examples. If you’re using spar varnish, it’s almost always marine-grade.

Both terms give the ready connotation of finishes that provide heavy-duty protection against the harsh elements usually involved when boating, fishing, and cruising. You’ll find plenty of oil-based spar varnishes (i.e. tung oil, alkyd resin, etc.) that are imbued with additives that serve to accentuate the natural beauty of the wood, as well as solvents and other chemicals that promote fast drying and add UV protection.

Since certain varnishes have different components or are more natural or synthetic, it’s best to stick to the manufacturer’s instructions when applying any kind of varnish. However, we can’t deny that most projects share a few essential guidelines, such as the following:

  • Preparation usually entails sanding between coats. The most ideal to use for this purpose is 180 to 220-grit sandpaper or even a Scotchbrite pad will do sometimes. Take note that some varnish products can do without sanding, especially for the initial coat. But, this would still depend on whether you’re applying it to a bare wooden surface or if it’s been previously coated before. If it’s the latter, then you’d most likely need to sand it first.
  • Clean the dust that forms after sanding using a clean rag. I wipe it down further with a tack rag to ensure no dust or debris would still be present the moment I start applying coats.
  • As for temperature and humidity, it’s best to apply any kind of marine varnish if the temperatures during the entire day don’t go above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity should be 50 to 60% or even slightly lower than that. I found that the smartest route to take is to be patient and wait for the right climate before going ahead with a project, especially if you know that it will take a number of days to finish.
  • Thinning depends a lot on the product. If it’s too thick, it’s often necessary to do this, even if the brand doesn’t mention it in the instructions. The safest route for this is to follow a 2:1 varnish to thinner ratio. Mineral spirits are recommended.
  • I also recommend taking the time to strain the varnish using a paint strainer to ensure a smooth finish. Sometimes, this can make all the difference in the world in getting the kind of finish that any boater would be proud of.
  • As for applying coats, there are certain products that require you to start from the middle so that you can ensure an even coating. Others would caution about wiping too much, while many suggest, as is often the case in spar oil-based urethane, to make thin coats for every layer.
  • Bristle brushes and badger-hair brushes are often the standard tool for application. But, again, there are products that are easier to apply with a spray or roller.

Most marine varnishes typically last for at least 2 years. There are brands that have a minimum of 3 years before they begin showing signs of damage. I can attest to marine varnish that keeps its shine and protection for 5 years, and I’ve highlighted the exact products that can achieve that.

Ultimately, if you keep its sun exposure to a minimum, you’re guaranteed to extend any kind of varnish’s lifespan. I’ve noticed that varnished fixtures and furniture in my yacht tend to last significantly longer than the ones that are exposed to sunlight extensively, regardless of the varnish’s UV-protective capabilities.

This is almost always the case considering this type of varnish is marine-grade. Most experts attribute this to spar varnish’s flexibility (i.e. its ability to expand and contract with the wood). However, equally many attribute it to the simple fact that spar varnish is mainly oil-based, allowing to wick away moisture with ease.

Now, do you have a good idea of what the best marine varnish brings to the table? With all things considered, the best parting advice I can give is to not hesitate to try out the options available to you. Sure, there will always be no-brainer choices, but it didn’t take long for me to find out that it pays to try out other brands because they may give your boat the kind of shine or longevity you’ve always wanted.

the best yacht varnish

“I am James Harvey – founder of Boating Basics Online. It is established with the drive to help out first-time boaters, which are those desiring to explore their way through the water. So if you are new to boating, start from here with me. “

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Best boat varnish: 7 top options for gleaming woodwork

  • Drew Maglio
  • October 13, 2022

Different varnishes do different jobs. Understanding their properties will help you decide what's the best boat varnish for your woodwork. Drew Maglio explains all...


Few things are as quintessential to the archetypal sailboat as gleaming, iridescent woodwork that is indicative of a recent coat with one of the best boat varnish products on the market.

Choosing a product and methodology to apply marine varnish to achieve such results is not as simple as it would seem at first glance however, and this guide aims to make the whole process easier for novice and seasoned boat-owners alike.

First things first, what exactly is boat varnish? Put simply, varnish is a chemical solution of three parts which includes a penetrating oil, resin, and solvent.

Boat varnish for exterior use, aka. “spar varnish” — aptly named because it was designed and envisioned as a flexible protective coating to protect a yacht’s wooden spar in the harsh (outdoor) marine environment — both protects and beautifies a vessel’s wood parts.

It does so by sealing the wood with a somewhat hard, yet flexible, clear protective barrier that can last up to three years of UV and element exposure in temperate climates for the most durable two-part product formulations.

These days, most high-end boat varnishes use tung oil and an alkyld or polyurethane resin. Of the two types of resin, polyurethane — either one or two part — is going to be much more durable and resistant to UV, abrasion, fuel/solvent spills, and impacts.

While a two-part product cannot be applied over a one-part product, a two-part product is going to last much longer and be far more durable. Hence for high traffic areas like cabin soles, a two-part polyurethane product cannot be beat for longevity and durability.

Boaters should be aware that the most onerous task of applying boat varnish is the surface prep, which requires removing all flaking previous coatings by sanding, washing with solvent to degrease the surface, in addition to taping nearby areas to keep the varnish off.

Because of that, I highly recommend using quality products over cheaper, lower cost options which will mean your boat needs revarnishing far more often.

International Perfection Plus two-part varnish

Best polyurethane boat varnish

the best yacht varnish

International Perfection Plus is a well-known two-pot polyurethane

International Perfection Plus (sold in the US under the Interlux brnad) is arguably the best overall marine spar varnish on the market. This two-part polyurethane formulation is not only the most aesthetically spectacular, but also the most durable and longest lasting when exposed to UV.

This two-part product is applied to bare wood after careful sanding and degreasing and can be rolled/brushed or sprayed. It uses a proprietary Interlux thinner and one’s results will be excellent if one follows the recommended procedures to the “t.”

Of all the boat varnish products on this list, this two-part product is probably the least DIY-friendly.

Reasons to buy

• Most durable marine varnish in terms of hardness and flexibility • Best UV resistance • Most beautiful (glossy) varnish if applied properly • Hardness and longevity makes it a prime contender to redo cabin soles and floor boards (after proper surface prep)

Reasons to avoid

• Difficult application for inexperienced laymen • Expensive

Buy International Perfection PLUS two-part varnish on Amazon (UK)

Buy International Perfection PLUS two-part Varnish on Gael Force Marine

Buy Interlux Perfection PLUS two-part varnish on Amazon (US)

Buy Interlux Perfection PLUS two-part varnish on West Marine

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Epifanes clear varnish.


Epifanes Clear Varnish includes tung oil and alkyd

Epifanes offers quality marine paints and varnishes at reasonable prices and their Clear High Gloss Varnish is no exception. With 64% solids content (tung oil) and an alkyd base, this varnish is sure to be brilliant in terms of gloss with reasonable durability and longevity.

With one-part alkyd products, boat owners can expect up to two years of protection before maintenance is required if left out in the elements year-round. This product can be brushed, rolled, or sprayed.

• Affordable, quality one-part product • High solids content results in very glossy finish • Relatively easy to apply and achieve satisfactory results

• Not as much UV protection as other offerings • Not as impact or abrasion-resistant as other offerings

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International Paints are also sold in the US under the Interlux brand

International Schooner Premish Varnish

A traditional marine spar varnish — albeit a good one — is Interlux’s Schooner Varnish.

With an alkyd base, 47% of tung oil solids, and UV inhibitors to boot, this product is a well-balanced one-part product that is suitable for a variety of uses. This product can be brushed, rolled, or sprayed.

• Affordable, quality one-part product • Well-balanced product in terms of UV protection and solids content • Relatively easy to apply and achieve satisfactory results

• More expensive than Epifanes • Not as impact or abrasion-resistant as some other offerings • Not as much UV protection as some other offerings

Buy International Schooner Varnish on Amazon (UK)

Buy International Schooner Varnish on Gael Force Marine

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Total Boat Lust High Gloss Marine Varnish

Best value boat varnish

In recent years, Total Boat has become very popular offering products comparable—and sometimes superior—to the “big three” of Interlux, Petit, and Epifanes, at a fraction of the cost and their “Lust High Gloss Marine Varnish” is no exception. This one-part formulation uses linseed oil and a modified polyurethane base.

• Very affordable one-part proper “marine” varnish • Does not require sanding • Comes in matte for those seeking a satin finish • One-hour re-coat time

• Tends to cure quicker than most varnishes and therefore can cure before properly “flowing out” • Requires 6-8 coats

Buy Total Boat Lust High Gloss Marine Varnish on Amazon (US)

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sikkens cetol marine

Cetol Marine Wood Finish

Best boat varnish for external teak

Cetol has been making alternative wood finishes for a long time. While this product does not have the aesthetic beauty of freshly applied gleaming varnish, it lasts far longer and stands up to UV better than every one-part varnish on this list.

When I had peeling varnish on my 1987 Ericson 38-200 sailboat moored in the tropical Florida Keys, I elected to use Cetol’s “Natural Teak” offering in lieu of varnish and found it incredibly easy to apply and long-lasting, requiring no surface prep to speak up but a quick hand sand and power wash. For outside teak, Cetol cannot be beat.

• Incredibly easy to achieve satisfactory results • Affordable • Long-lasting even when exposed to UV

• Not as beautiful as real varnish • Softer and less durable to impact/abrasion compared to most varnishes, especially polyurethane formulations

Buy Cetol Marine Wood Finish on West Marine

miniwax helmsman spar urethane

Miniwax Helmsman Spar Urethane

The last product featured on our list is Miniwax’s one-part polyurethane spar varnish. While not the most beautiful finish available, this product is durable (hard and abrasion-resistant), easy to use, and very affordable, making it a good choice for touching up one-part varnishes inside a boat’s cabin.

For repairing, touching up, or even redoing cabin soles, this would also be a decent budget option and therefore is included on this list. Unlike the many UV-resistant offerings on this list, Miniwax Helmsman is not very UV-resistant and therefore is not recommended outdoors.

• Very affordable, even for a gallon • One-part polyurethane enhances durability and longevity over alkyd-based products • Good for sailors on a budget needing to repair and touch up existing interior varnish

• Not as beautiful as alkyd-based marine spar varnished • Not very UV-resistant • Yellows in sunlight

Buy Miniwax Helmsman Spar Urethane on Amazon (US)

Hempel Dura Gloss

Best solvent-based boat varnish

Hempel Dura Gloss

Hempel Dura Gloss Varnish is a urethane modified alkyd, ideal for interior use

Hempel’s Dura Gloss Varnish is a urethane modified alkyd, ideal for interior use

On the downside, alkyd varnishes lack resistance to abrasion and usually only one coat can be applied per day, which can make varnishing a drawn out process.

The more expensive types are formulated to speed up cure times, improve gloss retention and generally last longer.

Buy Hempel’s Dura-Gloss Varnish on Amazon


Varnish properly applied to brightwork is a joy to behold. Photo: Thornton Cohen/Alamy

Which type of boat varnish to choose?

Varnishing often appears to be a simple task, but there’s a bewildering choice of boat varnishes on the market, writes Rupert Holmes.

An understanding of the qualities of different types of varnish is needed to choose the optimum one for each purpose. This is particularly true for exterior woodwork which has to withstand the ravages of sun, rain and frost.

There are only a few basic types of varnish, although in many cases hybrid products are available, particularly alkyd/ tung oil and alkyd/modified urethanes that can offer a wider range of desirable properties.

Polyurethane boat varnish

Polyurethane varnishes are a harder option with good wear resistance, but they lack the flexibility of alkyds. In addition, they tend to sit more on the surface of the timber, so often do not adhere as well to the substrate, which can make them prone to flaking and chipping.

The lack of flexibility makes a pure polyurethane unsuitable for traditionally planked boats, but it can be ideal for plywood , as well as for cold moulded and strip planked hulls.

Polyurethanes are available as both one-pot and two-pot products, the latter giving a harder coating and faster cure, which allows multiple coats to be applied in one day.

Article continues below…

A man working with boat woods to make repairs to a boat

Boat wood: a complete guide for yacht owners

Boatbuilder and finisher Lyndon March explains which types of wood work best for different repairs and modifications on board


How to re-caulk teak decks: Vagabond 47 owners explain how they did it

First, they removed the old caulking between the planks using a Bosch Palm Router and pinned a guide into the…


Teak alternatives: How to make your decks look as good as the real thing

However, according to a recent report by the Environment Investigation Agency, there are grave questions over the sustainability and sourcing…

If you need to save the varnish overnight, take a look at this top tip on preserving two-part varnish in the fridge. However, they are a much more expensive option.

N.B. One-pot polyurethane can be applied over two-pot varnish but not the other way round.

Ultra-flexible single-pot polyurethanes, such as Coelan have an elasticity of more than 300%. It can also seal cracks, is highly resistant to impact damage and doesn’t need overcoating for several years and can last twice as long as traditional varnishes.

The biggest downside is that it’s four or five times more expensive than typical basic alkyd varnishes, so up-front costs are higher, although its long term performance means the total cost difference will be smaller.

the best yacht varnish

Many boat varnish products can be painted, sprayed or rolled

Tung oil varnish

Tung oil is also frequently used in traditional varnishes: it soaks in well and, although a pure tung oil product will usually cure very slowly, the final finish is very tough.

Solvent-based varnish

Traditional solvent-based one-pot alkyd varnishes are ideal for use with traditionally built wooden boats. The coating is soft but flexible, which makes it resistant to cracking when used on timber that expands when wet and contracts in dry summer weather. Additionally, the initial coats tend to soak into the timber effectively.

Epoxy resin

Epoxy resin can also be used to coat timber, but generally has poor resistance to ultra-violet light, so a varnish needs to be applied over the top. Beware inexpensive ‘yacht’ varnish sold in DIY stores – the low prices are usually easy to explain in terms of extended drying times or poor long-term performance when used outside.

Dealing with surface damage? Don’t delay!

Whatever type of varnish is used, don’t delay on sealing any areas of damage. The key priority is to keep water out, so don’t wait until you have time and suitable weather for a full repair – touch in the damaged area immediately.

This may not have a silky smooth finish initially, but don’t worry. Even if it’s a few weeks before you’re able to do a proper fix you know there won’t be any further degradation.

Top boat varnish tip

A useful tip is to clean out one of the small match pots DIY stores sell to enable customers to test household colour schemes and fill it with varnish. They have a brush built into the lid, which never needs to be cleaned, thus making a quick touch up of damage a task that only takes a couple of minutes.

Find out how to get the best finish with these 8 top tips for varnishing .

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated boating page for more marine products.

the best yacht varnish

What’s the Best Varnish for Your Yacht?

Looking for the  best yacht insurance ? Buy your  sailing yacht insurance  online at Admiral Marine, or contact our expert team for advice.

Varnishing your yacht is an essential part of its care and maintenance. The benefits are twofold: yacht varnish protects your boat from the elements, while also giving it a beautiful shiny finish. But with so many different yacht and marine varnishes to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your boat.

In this article, we’ll run through some of the most popular types of yacht varnish on the market to help you choose the right option.

What is Yacht Varnish?

Yacht varnish is an extremely durable solvent-based coating that is designed to protect the wood that yachts are made of and stop it decaying over time. Most varnishes are made up of a penetrating oil, resin and solvent. Although most yacht varnish is applied with a brush, it is possible to buy yacht varnish spray.

Different Types of Yacht Varnish Finish

There are many different types of finish to choose from, so you’ll need to know a little about them to decide which is the best yacht varnish for you.

 What’s the Best Varnish for Your Yacht?

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Yacht Varnish Brands

There are various brands that produce yacht varnish. Here are a couple of the most popular:

Screwfix Yacht Varnish

Screwfix is a retailer in the UK that sells a variety of products, including hardware and building supplies. They may carry different brands and types of yacht varnish. Yacht varnish provides resistance to water, UV rays, and other environmental elements. Yacht varnishes often contain additives to enhance their durability and performance in marine conditions.

Ronseal Yacht Varnish

A durable, long-lasting marine varnish for wood that flexes with the movement of the wood and resists peeling and cracking. This varnish is slightly more pricey than the Screwfix varnish, but gets great reviews. You can buy the Ronseal brand of yacht varnish in B&Q and other retailers.

How to Varnish Your Yacht

Varnishing a yacht is fairly straightforward, if a little time-consuming. First you’ll need to carefully sand down the entire surface that you want to varnish to get it looking smooth. Then use a soft brush to wipe off any excess dust and debris, since you don’t want it getting trapped in the varnish.

Finally, use a paintbrush to coat the yacht with varnish. Leave it to dry for the recommended amount of time on the tin, then apply additional coats as required. Always check the instructions of your varnish type, and if unsure consult with an expert before starting.

Yacht varnish is solvent-based and contains toxic chemicals, which means it should not be used for varnishing animal enclosures (for example, rabbit hutches or reptile enclosures).

  • What is yacht varnish used for? Yacht varnish is used for sealing and protecting wood on boats and yachts. It is also commonly used for outdoor items such as wooden doors, window frames or pergolas.
  • What type of varnish is yacht varnish? Yacht varnish is a solvent-based outdoor varnish that is extremely durable. It is usually made up of tung oil and polyurethane resin. 
  • What is the best varnish to use on a boat? The type of varnish that is best for your boat will depend on the type of wood your boat is made from and the finish you are looking for. Tung oil varnish is a safe bet for most boats, or you may prefer to use a one-part polyurethane varnish for added durability.
  • What is the difference between yacht varnish and outdoor varnish? In general, yacht varnish dries quicker and is designed for marine conditions, so it’s likely to be more durable than outdoor varnish. However, yacht varnish is unlikely to have an anti-slip formulation, making it unsuitable for decking around the home.

the best yacht varnish

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the best yacht varnish

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the best yacht varnish

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Wood Rated

Top 8 Best Marine Varnish for Wood- UPDATED Buying Guide

Table of Contents

With the best marine varnish for wood, you can ensure that your wooden boat or other wooden objects will remain in perfect condition. With so many different products on the market, it is difficult to find the best without doing some research first. In this article, we have compiled a list of the best marine varnishes for wood and what factors to consider when making your decision about which one is best suited for you and your needs. We hope that after reading this article you will be able to make an informed decision as well as select the best product available on the market.

The most frequent way of rejuvenating old wood is to varnish it in different wood finishes. Many people varnish their cabinets and countertops to give them extra protection as well as a glossy finish. A finely varnished wood or piece of furniture is both attractive and stunning sight.

However, determining the finest marine varnish for wood is a difficult enterprise. Many people are perplexed as to whether or not they’re using the proper product. I’ll go through the best marine varnishes for wood and what you need to know before making a decision and how to apply them correctly. What exactly is a maritime varnish?

Summary Of The Best Marine Varnish For Wood 

TotalBoat Lust Marine Varnish, High Gloss and Matte Finish for Wood, Boats and Outdoor Furniture

What Is Marine Varnish?

Marine varnish is a type of varnish that is specifically formulated to protect wood surfaces in marine environments. It is made with special ingredients that make it more durable and resistant to water, UV rays, and salt. Marine varnish is commonly used to protect wooden boats, decks, and outdoor furniture. It is also used on interior wood surfaces that are exposed to high humidity or moisture, such as bathrooms or kitchens. Marine varnish can be applied to bare wood or over an existing finish, such as stain or paint. Tung oil , phenolic, and alkyd resin are some of the current materials used in the best marine varnishes for wood.

What Do Marine Varnishes Protect Against?

Marine varnish protects the surface of wooden boats and objects made from pine or any other type of wood that has been exposed to water against damage, corrosion, mold growth, UV degradation, scuffs, and abrasions. The best marine varnish for wood can be used on exterior and interior surfaces, so you only need to purchase one product for a film-forming finish. They can also protect against harsh weather conditions such as rain or humidity that might influence your best marine varnish for wood.

Different Types of Marine Varnishes

There are several types of marine varnishes available in the market, and choosing the right one can be confusing. Here are the six different types of marine varnishes:

  • Traditional Varnish: Natural resins, such as linseed oil, tung oil, and pine tar are the essential components of traditional varnish that coat surfaces to a deep luster. This finish is very resilient but requires multiple coats for completion as well as a longer drying time than other finishes.
  • Spar Varnish: Spar varnish is a specially designed exterior sealant that fuses natural and synthetic resins, making it resilient to ultraviolet rays, water damage as well as other harsh weather conditions. With this type of durability at your disposal, you’re sure to have long-lasting protection for your outdoor investments.
  • Two-Part Varnish: Make your boat shine with two-part varnish. This high-performance product is composed of a resin and hardener that when combined, form an incredibly long-lasting finish. Due to its durability, this type of varnish is commonly used in marine applications and boats alike. So give your vessel the protection it deserves – go for two-part varnish today.
  • Epoxy Varnish: For superior protection against water and UV rays, the epoxy varnish is your go-to solution. Boats and other marine applications reap the most benefit from this innovative type of varnish, made with powerful epoxy resin for a hardy finish that will stand up to even the toughest conditions.
  • Polyurethane Varnish: Polyurethane varnish is a resilient, waterproof solution that provides long-lasting protection against the elements and UV rays. It’s an excellent choice for outdoor furniture and decking surfaces, as it maintains its strength over time despite regular exposure to rain or sunlight.
  • Acrylic Varnish: For a protective finish that can withstand the elements, the acrylic varnish is your answer. Made with acrylic resin and offering resistance to water damage and sun rays alike, this type of varnish works wonders on all indoor wood surfaces.

Benefits of Marine Varnish

Protection against water and moisture.

Applying a layer of marine varnish to wooden surfaces helps create an impermeable shield that prevents water from infiltrating and causing damage. This is especially important for boats, docks, or any other structure which are regularly exposed to moisture. Marine varnish guards against wood rot, warping, swelling, and cracking brought on by prolonged exposure to humidity.

Take a wooden dock that is consistently exposed to water, for example. Without the appropriate protection and maintenance, it can rapidly deteriorate and become hazardous. By coating it with marine varnish though, you can protect the wood from damage caused by moisture; thus preserving its longevity for many years.

UV Protection

Exposing wood to extended amounts of sunlight can cause it to lose its vibrancy and become weakened, not just in terms of color but also strength. The use of marine varnish helps protect the wooden surface from solar radiation by providing a UV filter. Consequently, these filters help maintain the quality of your wood’s appearance for years on end while preventing any discoloration or fading that might otherwise occur without this protective layer in place.

Durable and long-lasting finish

Marine varnish is crafted to ensure toughness and durability, even in harsh conditions. Saltwater, humidity, and extreme temperatures can all be tolerated with this veneer – making it the perfect solution for boat decks, dockside areas, or any other exterior wood surfaces exposed to tough elements. With marine varnish coating your outdoor furniture you are sure that its beauty will stay intact no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.

Unlike other finishes, marine varnish offers enduring protection that can continue for up to 10 years or even more when adequately cared for.

Enhances the natural beauty of wood

Boats can be a work of art, and marine varnish helps to bring out their natural beauty. This clear finish enhances the wood grain and texture so that it pops – creating an eye-catching look with stunning results. In other words, the marine varnish is essential for any boat to fully appreciate its unique aesthetic.

As an example, think of a sailboat with magnificent teak decking. Enhancing its innate beauty by varnishing it can make the wood appear more eye-catching and timelessly classic at the same time.

Resistant to scratches and abrasions

Marine varnish stands apart as an impenetrable finish that resists scratches and abrasions. For areas of your home or business that are subjected to regular use, the marine varnish is the ideal choice for keeping surfaces looking pristine.

Consider, for instance, a dock of wood utilized to load and unload boats. Unprotected wood surfaces are prone to becoming scuffed or scraped easily; however, with the application of marine varnish as a protective layer these abrasions will be guarded against so that your wooden dock remains in pristine condition over many years.

Reduces maintenance requirements

Marine varnish gives a robust and enduring finish, thereby reducing the need for the upkeep of wood surfaces. Unlike other finishes which may necessitate frequent application or sanding, marine varnish offers long-term protection that requires little maintenance. This can be particularly beneficial for boat owners, who may not have the time or resources to perform regular maintenance on their vessels. By using a marine varnish, they can ensure that their boat remains in good condition with minimal effort.

Can be used on a variety of wood surfaces

Marine varnish is a multifunctional finish that can be utilized to protect various wooden surfaces, from boats and docks to outdoor furniture. For instance, think of a deck exposed to the elements – sun, rain, or snow – it’s the perfect place for marine varnish! With its robustness and versatility in mind, there are countless applications where this protective coating should not be overlooked. By applying a marine varnish, the deck can be safeguarded against damage caused by these elements, and its beauty preserved for many years.

Marine varnish is a remarkably adaptable finish that can be applied to boats, docks, decks, and outdoor furniture. This makes it the perfect choice for any application requiring an effective layer of protection against harsh weather conditions.

Consider a wood deck, exposed to all the elements nature has to offer such as sun, rain, and snow. Applying marine varnish will protect this type of surface from wear and tear over time, ensuring that it requires less maintenance in the long term. Similar logic applies to outdoor furniture which is also subject to diverse weather conditions; protecting them with marine varnish can dramatically extend their lifespan and reduce upkeep requirements.

Provides a glossy or satin finish

Marine varnish is renowned for its ability to provide a stunning glossy or satin finish that truly brings out the natural beauty of wood. Whether you desire a low sheen or high gloss, marine varnish has it all due to its heightened resin and oil content which together create an ultra-durable surface capable of reflecting light and lending deep vibrancy to any type of timber.

Disadvantages of Using Marine Varnish

Longer drying times.

Although marine varnish is renowned for its impressive durability and long-lasting protection, it, unfortunately, takes longer to dry than other finishes. Depending on the specifics of each application such as the type of varnish and environmental conditions, drying times could range anywhere from a few hours up to several days. However, due to this extended curing period, you can rest assured that your project will be secure against even the harshest weather conditions.

Requires multiple coats

Applying multiple coats is a common requirement for marine varnish, as it lacks the same thickness and strength in comparison to other wood finishes. Consequently, you must layer on several layers of this finish to protect your woodwork and achieve your desired level of aesthetic quality.

More expensive than regular varnish

Marine varnish is costlier than other wood finishes due to the exceptional durability and longevity it provides. This is because marine varnish contains increased resin levels, as well as additional ingredients, which increase its production costs. Furthermore, this type of finish necessitates multiple coats be applied; thus increasing labor-related expenses that are associated with using a marine varnish finish.

Can be challenging to apply

Applying marine varnish, especially for those with limited experience with the process, can be tricky. Its thinner consistency compared to other finishes makes it more vulnerable to dripping and streaking while its extended drying period can make achieving an even application in humid or damp climates a challenge.

Not suitable for all types of wood

Marine varnish can be an ideal option for many wood surfaces, yet it may not always deliver the best results. For instance, when applied to excessively porous or oily woods, the marine varnish will likely fail to adhere properly and produce a sub-par finish. To ensure success with this product on certain types of wood, proper preparation or conditioning is necessary before application.

Can yellow over time

If you’re looking for a varnish that won’t discolor your wood over time, it’s important to invest in one of high-quality containing UV inhibitors or other additives. Such products can prevent yellowing due to prolonged exposure to UV light and the environment. Marine varnishes without these features are more likely to cause an undesirable amber tone on wooden surfaces as they age. Additionally, regular maintenance and cleaning can also help to prevent yellowing and extend the life of the finish.

RELATED: Best Varnish for Wood Doors: Top 5 Reviewed, 2O21

Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best Marine Varnish for Wood

The type of wood being used.

Before selecting the optimal marine varnish for wood, it is essential to identify the kind of timber being used. Different woods have distinctive properties that influence their absorption and retention of varnish. Some kinds such as teak or mahogany contain natural oils which can make adhesion difficult; consequently, these must be taken into consideration when deciding on what product will ensure proper coverage. Woods like pine are more susceptible to harm from rain and other elements due to their softer, porous nature. Therefore, you must select a marine varnish tailored to the material used for it to provide maximum protection.

The location and environment of the wood

When selecting marine varnish, it is essential to think about where and how the wood has been exposed. Woods that are subject to intense conditions such as saltwater, ultraviolet light, and extreme temperatures necessitate a more reliable and protective coating than those in calmer environments. To further ensure longevity, woods located in damp climates must be rubbed with a varnish that can stand up to these particular conditions without eroding their defensive qualities.

The level of protection required

When selecting a protective coating for your wood, its location is of paramount importance. If it’s exposed to harsh environmental conditions like those found in marine settings, you’ll need to invest in higher-grade protection against water and UV rays. Alternatively, if the wood resides in an area where these elements are less present, lower levels of varnish may suffice.

The desired finish

When selecting a marine varnish for your wood, the desired finish should be kept in mind. These types of paints come in varying finishes from high gloss to satin, so it’s important to consider what look you’re going for before making any decisions. Ultimately, the choice is purely based on personal preference and desired aesthetic.

The application method

The application process is integral in the selection of a marine varnish. There are many types available, some of which can be brushed on while others require spraying or rolling. To create that perfect even finish you seek, make sure to select one that can be applied with your desired method; otherwise, it may not provide satisfactory results.

The drying time

When selecting the ideal varnish, one needs to consider drying time. Certain marine varnishes may require a longer wait before they are ready for use or exposure to harsh weather conditions – and this is something you must take into account when making your choice. Thus, you must select an option with a drying time appropriate for its purpose.

The durability of the varnish

When selecting a marine varnish, it is essential to consider its durability. Although all marine varnishes have been crafted for longevity, some are more durable than others. Opt for one that will protect the wood from any conditions it may encounter and guarantee an optimal level of protection.

The cost of the varnish

When deciding on a marine varnish, not only is it essential to take the level of protection into account but also its cost. Prices may range greatly among different products, so prudently select one that fulfills your needs without breaking the bank. You should keep in mind though, that quality costs more upfront; nevertheless, you can save money over time because premium brands require fewer reapplications or repairs.

Marine Varnish For Wood vs Oil-based Finish: Differences

Marine varnish for wood and oil-based finishes are two popular options for protecting and enhancing the natural beauty of wood surfaces. While they share some similarities, they also have significant differences.

Composition of Oil-Based Finishes:

Natural oils, resins, and solvents come together to make oil-based finishes. These penetrative sealants protect the wood while granting it a natural glow. Popular examples of these finishes include tung oil, linseed oil, and Danish oil.

Advantages of Oil-Based Finishes:

  • Easy to apply
  • Penetrates the wood fibers for deep protection
  • Enhances the natural grain and color of the wood
  • Can be easily repaired if damaged
  • Provides a soft, natural-looking finish
  • Less expensive than marine varnish

Disadvantages of Oil-Based Finishes:

  • Longer drying time than marine varnish
  • Requires multiple coats for maximum protection
  • Susceptible to scratches and abrasions
  • Can attract dirt and grime over time
  • Not as durable as marine varnish
  • May require more frequent reapplication than marine varnish

How Oil-Based Finishes Compare to Marine Varnish for Wood:

Offering protection and bringing out the natural beauty of wood surfaces, oil-based finishes, and marine varnish have distinct discrepancies. Marine varnish is meant for outdoor use specifically as it provides optimal security from water, moisture, and UV rays; additionally, its toughness surpasses that of oil-based finishes making it more durable in the long run. In comparison, oil-based finishes are simpler to use, appear more natural and cost less than marine varnish. At the end of the day, a person’s selection between these two should be based on their desired outcome and personal preferences.

Marine Varnish For Wood vs Polyurethane: Differences and Similarities

Marine varnish and polyurethane are two popular finishes for wood. While they share some similarities, they also have some key differences. Here are some of the main differences and similarities between marine varnish and polyurethane:

Composition of polyurethane finishes:

Polyurethane is a synthetic plastic material that is composed of urethane and other chemicals. It is used as a coating for many materials, including wood. Polyurethane is available in both water-based and oil-based formulas.

Advantages of polyurethane finishes:

  • Durable: Polyurethane is a very durable finish that can resist scratches, abrasions, and other types of wear and tear.
  • Water-resistant: Polyurethane is water-resistant, making it a good choice for use in areas that are exposed to moisture.
  • Easy to apply: Polyurethane is easy to apply, and can be applied with a brush, roller, or spray gun.
  • Versatile: Polyurethane can be used on a variety of surfaces, including wood, metal, and plastic.
  • Quick drying time: Polyurethane dries relatively quickly, which can be convenient when you’re trying to finish a project quickly.
  • Glossy finish: Polyurethane provides a glossy finish that can enhance the natural beauty of wood.

Disadvantages of polyurethane finishes:

  • Can be difficult to clean up: Polyurethane is difficult to clean up, especially if you’re using an oil-based formula.
  • Strong odor: Polyurethane has a strong odor, which can be unpleasant and may require proper ventilation during application.
  • Can yellow over time: Polyurethane can yellow over time, which can be a problem if you want to maintain the natural color of the wood.
  • Not as resistant to UV rays: Polyurethane is not as resistant to UV rays as marine varnish, which means that it may not provide as much protection against sun damage.
  • Not as flexible: Polyurethane is not as flexible as marine varnish, which means that it may crack or peel if applied to wood that expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity.
  • Can be expensive: Polyurethane can be more expensive than other types of wood finishes, which may be a consideration for some users.

How polyurethane finishes compare to marine varnish for wood:

When deliberating on which finish to select for your woodwork, polyurethane and marine varnish present two distinct options. Marine varnish is not only more durable than polyurethane but it also stands up better against UV rays due to its greater flexibility. Polyurethane does have a few advantages of its own; it is easier to apply and dries rapidly compared with the longer drying time typical of marine varnish. Polyurethane is more water-resistant than marine varnish and might be a wiser choice for projects that come in contact with moisture. Ultimately, the ideal decision between polyurethane or marine varnish relies on your specific project requirements as well as the wood you are working with.

How to Apply The Best Marine Varnish for Wood In 8 Steps

When it comes to applying marine varnish to wood, it is important to follow the right steps to ensure a smooth and long-lasting finish. Here are eight steps to consider:

Step 1: Sanding the wood

Before applying marine varnish, you need to sand the wood to create a smooth surface. Start with coarse sandpaper and gradually move to a finer grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface. Make sure to remove all the dust and debris using a vacuum or tack cloth.

Step 2: Cleaning the surface

The wood surface needs to be clean and free of any oils, dirt, or debris. Use a wood cleaner or denatured alcohol to clean the surface thoroughly.

Step 3: Applying the first coat

Apply the first coat of marine varnish using a brush, roller, or sprayer. Make sure to apply an even coat and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the recommended thickness of the coat.

Step 4: Sanding between coats

After the first coat dries, sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper. This will help the subsequent coats adhere better to the surface.

Step 5: Applying subsequent coats

Apply subsequent coats of marine varnish following the same process as the first coat. Make sure to apply thin coats and sand between coats.

Step 6: Sanding the final coat

After the final coat dries, sand the surface with very fine grit sandpaper. This will create a smooth and even surface for the final finish.

Step 7: Buffing the surface

Buff the surface using a buffing pad or cloth to create a glossy finish.

Step 8: Maintaining the finish

To maintain the finish of the marine varnish, make sure to clean the surface regularly and reapply a coat of varnish when necessary.

Tips for Maintaining Marine Varnish Finish

  • Avoid exposing the wood to extreme temperatures or moisture: To keep your marine varnish finish looking its best, be sure to protect the wood from extreme temperatures and moisture. This involves staying away from direct sunlight as well as shielding it against rain, snowfall, or humidity. Neglecting this will cause the lacquer to crack or peel which can make for an unsightly outcome that is difficult to fix.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloth to clean the surface: To keep your wood looking pristine, it is essential to utilize a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloth for cleaning. Refrain from using any abrasive scrub brushes or materials that could potentially scratch the finish and damage the varnish. Additionally, make sure you use a gentle cleaner specifically formulated for marine varnishes to simplify maintenance while effectively retaining its glossy luster.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials: To preserve the elegance of your wooden furniture, be careful to avoid any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials. These can strip away the protective varnish and accelerate wear and tear on its surface. Instead, opt for a mild cleanser that won’t cause scratches or other damage when you clean it.
  • Apply a fresh coat of varnish periodically to maintain the finish: Over the years, the marine varnish may become worn or lose its shine. To keep your wooden structures looking their best and well-protected, it is essential to apply a new coat of varnish on occasion. The frequency of this task depends on the level of utilization and exposure; however, as a general guideline, you should consider renewing the surface every 1-2 years for optimal results.
  • Store the varnish in a cool, dry place to prolong its shelf life: Prolong the shelf life of your extra varnish and guarantee its usability for upcoming projects by storing it in a cool, dry place. Keeping it away from direct sunlight or humid environments is key as this could cause irreparable damage and render your leftovers unusable.
  • Consider using a UV-resistant varnish: If your wood surface is exposed to a lot of sunlight, you may want to consider using a UV-resistant varnish. This type of varnish is specifically designed to protect against the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays, which can cause the varnish to fade or break down over time.

Choosing the Right Brush for Applying Marine Varnish

Making the proper choice of the brush when applying marine varnish can prove to be invaluable. Natural bristle brushes make great use of animal hair, such as badger and hog bristles, while synthetic brushes are manufactured using a combination of nylon or polyester fibers. Deciding on which type is right for you will depend on your preferences and needs.

Natural bristle brushes offer several advantages, such as their capability to contain more varnish for even coating. Nonetheless, these brushes can be costly and are not suited for use with water-based varnishes. On the flip side, synthetic brushes provide a cost-effective option that is ideal for multiple types of coatings or finishes. When selecting a brush for marine varnish, the size and shape should also be taken into account. A tool that is too small may require more effort to apply correctly, while an oversized one can lead to excess drips and wasted varnish. Generally speaking, brushes between 2-3 inches wide are ideal for most applications involving marine varnish application; not only will this save time but money as well.

To guarantee a long lifetime and superior performance, it’s essential to mindfully maintain your brush. Following each use, your brush should be cleaned with the right solvent that is suitable for the type of varnish you employed. Subsequently, rinse and dry thoroughly before storing in an airy atmosphere devoid of moisture.

Reviews of the Top 10 Best Marine Varnish for Wood 1. TotalBoat Lust Matte Finish Marine Varnish   – Editors’ Pick

  • MARINE GRADE VARNISH imparts a rich, clear amber tone that enhances wood grain; creates a durable, uv resistant, waterproof finish that won't fade; ideal for interior and exterior wood, brightwork on boats & outdoor furniture
  • CLASSIC SPAR VARNISH WITH A MODERN TWIST: High-build, fast-drying formula allows rapid recoating, multiple coats per day and no sanding between coats; sand lightly before the final coat - be done in a little over 1 day
  • FLEXIBLE COATING WON'T CRACK OR PEEL: Premium, oil-based marine polyurethane finish is not damaged when wood expands and contracts with changes in temperature; perfect for all types of wood
  • EASY TO APPLY by brushing, rolling or spraying; For a high gloss varnish finish apply 6-8 coats of Lust Gloss; for a smooth satin finish, build with coats of Lust gloss varnish; use Lust Matte for the finish coats
  • AVAILABLE IN HIGH GLOSS OR MATTE FINISH in Pint, Quart and Gallon sizes; Thinner: TotalBoat Special Brushing Thinner 100 (brushing/rolling) or TotalBoat Spray Thinner 101 (spraying); Coverage: 360-400 sq. ft./gallon

The TotalBoat Lust Matte Finish Marine Varnish is our Editors’ Pick because it’s water-based, easy to apply, and dries quickly. It imparts a smooth matte finish when applied to your best marine varnish for wood, making it resistant to scuffs, scratches, and discoloration caused by sun exposure. It’s oil-based, so it can be used on fiberglass or any exterior surface of your best marine varnish for wood including aluminum boats as well as a finish coat to other types of marine best marine varnishes without compromising adhesion.

  • Available in quarts, gallons, and five-gallon containers
  • A flat matte finish is ideal for exterior surfaces
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes
  • Can be recoated after six hours of dry time
  • Contains UV inhibitors and stabilizers
  • Water-soluble after it has dried
  • Some surfaces might require two coats for full opacity

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2. Rust-Oleum 207008 Marine Spar Varnish, Quart

  • Ideal for use on exterior wood surfaces above the water line, including trim, railings and wood furniture
  • Oil-based formula expands and contracts with changing weather conditions
  • Dries to the touch in 2 hours and covers up to 150 sq. ft.
  • Durable coating provides excellent resistance to UV, salt and mildew
  • Crystal-clear varnish leaves a beautiful gloss finish with maximum protection

Rust-Oleum Marine Varnish is the best marine varnish for wood with a high gloss, durable finish that can be applied on exterior surfaces. It dries quickly, offers superior UV protection that won’t yellow over time, and is oil-based for use with metal or fiberglass best marine varnishes for wood.

The UV- and weather-resistant qualities of this spar varnish make it durable in even the toughest conditions. The formula is designed to give the wood optimal protection against chemicals, sunlight, and water droplets. Because the varnish is so flexible, it can expand and contract with the seasons as needed, retaining its brilliant and superior appearance.

  • Dries quickly
  • The high gloss finish resists scuffs, scratches, and UV damage
  • Safe to use on metal and fiberglass surfaces
  • Consistency can be adjusted by adding thinner
  • Must be applied to a completely dry surface or it will not adhere properly

3. Epifanes Clear Varnish – The Ultimate UV-Resistant Marine Varnish

  • World famous, highest quality traditional tung oil marine spar varnish.
  • Formulated with tung oil, phenolic and alkyd resins resulting in a finish that has superior flow, gloss, durability, and exceptional longevity.
  • UV filters for superior protection with an ultra high gloss finish
  • Used in many applications, both exterior and interior, household or marine, brushed, sprayed, or rolled and tipped.
  • Use on new wood or restoring old wood to a deep clear finish, softwood or hardwood, marine or household applications.

Epifanes Clear Varnish is the best marine varnish for wood that offers protection from UV damage that won’t yellow over time. This clear varnish is non-yellowing and resists water and chemicals while giving the wood a tough, high-gloss finish with an easy application process. The UV-resistant qualities of this Epifanes marine varnish for wood ensure it lasts longer than others on the market today by protecting against harmful UV rays and can be applied by spray equipment.

Epifanes Clear Varnish is ideal for use on both interior and exterior surfaces, with a high-gloss finish that’s tough enough to withstand weathering from wind and water while providing superior resistance against scuffs, stains, and scratches, chips, or dirt accumulation. The varnish features excellent adhesion properties so it forms a tough, protective layer over the wood and prevents moisture from penetrating finished wood due to paste wax.

  • Waterproof and resistant to scratches, scuffs, chemicals
  • Tough, high-gloss finish
  • Resists yellowing and moisture penetration
  • Resists water and chemicals
  • Best high gloss finish
  • UV-resistant
  • Not intended for use on fiberglass surfaces due to its oil-based formula

4. Epifanes Clear Varnish (250 ml)

  • World famous, highest quality tradional tung oil marine spar varnish.

Epifanes Clear Varnish (250 ml) is the best marine varnish for wood with a clear finish that dries to a hard, durable film in just one coat. This varnish resists yellowing and moisture penetration while drying quickly to a tough, high-gloss finish that’s resistant to scuffs, stains, scratches, or dirt accumulation.

Epifanes Clear Varnish is ideal for both interior and exterior surfaces as it forms a protective layer over the wood. It is waterproof and resists yellowing, moisture penetration, or chemicals while drying quickly to a tough high-gloss finish that’s resistant to scuffs, stains, scratches, or dirt accumulation. The varnish features excellent adhesion properties so it forms a protective layer over the wood and prevents moisture from penetrating.

  • A high gloss finish resists water and chemicals
  • Long-lasting, durable finish that resists scratches and scuffs
  • Waterproof when dry, resistant to scratches or dirt accumulation
  • Not for use on fiberglass
  • Requires sanding between layers

5. TotalBoat Lust High Gloss Marine Varnish

TotalBoat Lust High Gloss Marine Varnish is the best marine varnish for wood that is easy to apply and provides a high gloss finish. This varnish resists scuffs, stains, scratches, or dirt accumulation while drying in just one hour. The water-resistant qualities of this lust marine varnish for wood ensure it lasts longer than others on the market today by protecting against yellowing or moisture penetration over time.

  • Waterproof and resistant to scuffs, stains, scratches, or dirt accumulation
  • Glossy finish with no brush marks
  • Resists yellowing over time
  • Highly durable, long-lasting finish that resists chemicals
  • Dries quickly (one hour)
  • Too glossy for some applications

6. Valspar Spar Varnish

McCloskey/Valspar Spar Varnish - # 7505 Man O' War - 1 Gallon ~ Satin

  • Maximum U.V. Protection/Extra protection from sun and weather
  • Use on interior and exterior wood surfaces to protect and beautify for years to come
  • Water Resistant/Prevents Weather Damage - Clear Satin Finish
  • Use on hand rails, Wood outdoor furniture, Interior window sills and frames, Planters, Lamp posts, Wood trim on boats (above water line)
  • EPA banned in AK, CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA

Valspar Spar Varnish is another marine varnish for wood that dries quickly. This gloss spar varnish protects against scuffs, stains, scratches, or dirt accumulation while resisting yellowing over time. It also resists moisture penetration and is water-resistant when dry making it ideal for exterior use on wood surfaces that are exposed to the elements.

This high-gloss varnish is simple to apply and does not require sanding between coats because of its low porosity level. As a result, the varnish brings out the best finish in the wood while hiding its unsightly appearance.

  • Waterproof finish
  • Easy application with no brush marks
  • Long-lasting finish that resists stains & scratches
  • Spar varnish is less flexible than other finishes; not ideal for environments with extreme temperature changes.

7. Minwax 63200444 Spar Urethane Varnish

  • PROTECTIVE CLEAR FINISH – Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane is specially formulated as a protective varnish for wood for interior and exterior projects. It contains special UV blockers that reduce the sun’s graying and fading effects.
  • EFFECTIVE YEAR ROUND – This wood varnish forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture to protect your projects and keep them looking their best. Special oils allow the finish to expand & contract with the wood as seasons and temperatures change.
  • VERSATILE – Ideal for use on doors, windows, trim, bathroom cabinets, bar tops, kitchen countertops, outdoor furniture and more.
  • GLOSS FINISH – Give your wood projects a sleek finish with this gloss varnish. It not only protects the natural beauty of the wood, but offers a shiny, sleek sheen for a modern look.
  • A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST – Minwax is America’s leading brand of wood finishing and wood care products. Since 1904, we have been inspiring consumers to Keep on Finishing. We offer consumers a complete line of products to meet every wood finishing need.

Minwax Spar Urethane Varnish is a fast-drying urethane varnish that is easy to apply. This urethane marine varnish for wood provides a long-lasting finish with protection against moisture penetration. It also resists yellowing over time while resisting scuffs, stains, and scratches. This varnish dries quickly with a glossy finish that does not require sanding between coats because of its low level of porosity which helps it bring out the best in your wood surface.

  • Waterproof when dry; protects against moisture penetration
  • Easy application with no brush marks; resists scuffs, stains & scratches
  • You will need to be fast with the application, as it dries quickly

How to Sand Wood for Marine Varnish Application

Before applying marine varnish to wood, it’s important to properly sand the surface. Sanding helps to remove any imperfections, smooth out rough patches, and create a clean and even surface for the varnish to adhere to. Here are some tips f sanding wood for marine varnish application:

Choosing the right sandpaper grit for different wood surfaces: The abrasive quality of sandpaper is determined by its coarseness or fineness. When prepping wood for marine varnish, a medium-grit paper between 100 and 120 should be used to achieve the required balance of smoothness and durability. For rougher materials, select something in the range between 80–100 while finer surfaces need higher grits from 120 up to 150.

The importance of proper sanding techniques: Sanding is best done with the natural grain of the wood, utilizing a back-and-forth pattern. To keep the sandpaper from creating patchy surfaces, make sure to continually move it in one direction following the grain’s lines – this will help preserve and protect your wooden material.

Tips for avoiding common sanding mistakes: A frequent mistake when sanding is applying too much force, which can cause the sandpaper to generate scratches or divots in the wood. Likewise, using an excessively fine grit of sandpaper too early on could make it difficult for varnish to stick securely onto the surface. Therefore you must be precise and take your time while sanding instead of rushing through it haphazardly.

How to Remove Marine Varnish from Wood

When it comes to removing marine varnish from wood, several methods can be used depending on the extent of the finish, the type of wood, and the tools available.

Tools and materials

3M PAPR Respirator, Versaflo Powered Air Purifying Respirator Kit, TR-300N+ HKL, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare, Medium-Large

  • Chemical stripper
  • Protective gear, such as gloves, goggles, and a respirator.

Here are four common methods for removing old varnish:

  • Sanding: For those seeking to revitalize their aged varnish, sanding is the most popular method. By utilizing either a manual or electric sander, you can slowly strip away layers until the desired finish is achieved – all while avoiding toxic chemicals! It’s an effective way of purging old coats; however, it may be time-consuming and messy at times.
  • Chemical stripping: Chemical strippers are remarkably effective solvents that dissolve existing varnish, making it easy to remove. Although quicker than sanding, this process requires extra preparation and can be quite messy. For safety reasons, read the product label carefully and wear protective clothing such as gloves at all times while using chemical strippers.
  • Heat gun: For speed and ease in removing varnish from surfaces, a heat gun is an excellent tool. However, it’s important to take safety precautions when using this device. You must wear protective gloves and work in an area with proper ventilation to avoid any hazardous situations. With the right steps taken care of, simply use your putty knife or scraper to scrape away the softened varnish quickly and efficiently.
  • Planing: With the use of a woodworking plane, you can easily remove the top layer of the surface and its varnish from flat surfaces or large areas. Although it requires some expertise to master this technique, practice makes perfect.

Tips for minimizing damage to the wood surface during varnish removal:

  • Work slowly and carefully to avoid gouging the wood surface.
  • Use a scraper or putty knife to gently remove the varnish, working with the grain of the wood.
  • If using a heat gun, keep the nozzle moving and avoid focusing on one spot for too long to prevent scorching or burning the wood.
  • If using a chemical stripper, follow the instructions carefully and avoid leaving the product on the wood for too long.
  • When sanding, start with a coarse grit sandpaper and gradually work your way up to a finer grit to avoid scratching the wood surface.
  • Use a sanding block or machine to ensure even sanding.
  • Remove all dust and debris from the wood surface before applying a new finish.
  • Consider seeking professional help if you’re unsure about how to proceed or if the wood surface is particularly delicate or valuable.

Environmental and Health Considerations When Using Marine Varnish

Marine varnish contains potentially hazardous chemicals that can have negative environmental and health impacts if not used and disposed of properly. Here are some environmental and health considerations to keep in mind when using marine varnish:

  • Potential environmental impact: Applying marine varnish can be hazardous to the environment if not disposed of responsibly, as these chemicals may contaminate soil and water sources that are critical for plants and animals.
  • Proper disposal: It is imperative to discard unutilized varnish and other materials correctly. Ensure you contact your local waste management institute to ascertain if they have special rules for disposing of hazardous substances such as varnish.
  • Precautions in enclosed spaces: If you are applying varnish in a limited or not well-ventilated area, it is essential to take safety measures for your well-being. Wear a respirator and other security gear while ensuring there is an abundance of fresh air circulating throughout the space. Use of protective clothing and equipment: When applying marine varnish, it’s important to wear protective clothing like gloves and long sleeves to prevent skin contact. You should also wear eye protection and a respirator to avoid inhaling any fumes.
  • Consider alternatives: If you worry about the environmental and health consequences of using marine varnish, why not switch to a more eco-friendly or non-toxic alternative? Look for labels that say low-VOC or water-based, but if those don’t appeal to you, consider natural finishes like oils or waxes instead.

What is the difference between marine varnish and regular varnish?

Marine varnish is specifically designed to withstand exposure to harsh marine environments, such as saltwater, UV rays, and moisture. It contains additives that provide extra protection against these elements. Regular varnish, on the other hand, is designed for interior use and provides less protection against environmental factors.

How many coats of marine varnish do I need to apply?

The number of coats of marine varnish needed depends on the level of protection desired and the condition of the wood surface. Typically, two to three coats are recommended, with sanding between each coat for better adhesion.

How long does marine varnish take to dry?

The drying time of marine varnish can vary depending on the product and environmental conditions. Typically, it can take 24 to 48 hours for each coat to dry. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific drying times.

Can I apply marine varnish over an oil-based finish?

Yes, it is possible to apply marine varnish over an oil-based finish, but it is important to ensure that the surface is clean and sanded for proper adhesion.

Can I apply marine varnish over painted wood?

No, it is not recommended to apply marine varnish over painted wood as it may not adhere properly and can result in an uneven or peeling finish.

How often do I need to maintain the marine varnish finish?

The maintenance frequency of the marine varnish finish depends on the level of exposure to environmental elements and wear and tear. Typically, a fresh coat of varnish may need to be applied every 1 to 2 years to maintain the protective finish. Regular cleaning and inspection of the surface can help identify any areas that need touch-ups or repairs.

The finest marine for wood is a must-have. When you want your furniture or boat to last as long as possible on wood finish , you should use the greatest marine varnish. The ideal marine varnish will preserve and enhance the appearance of your wood furnishings by giving them a glossy finish. Your furniture will endure longer without fading or losing its attractiveness.

RELATED: Top 5 Best Varnish for Plywood: Updated Reviews 2021

Reference: Wikipedia

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the best yacht varnish

Best Marine Varnishes in 2024

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When it comes to pro­tect­ing and enhanc­ing the beau­ty of wood sur­faces on boats, marine var­nish­es are the go-to solu­tion for boaters and marine enthu­si­asts. Check our top choic­es:

the best yacht varnish

Most reviewed

the best yacht varnish

Table of Con­tents

Top 5 Best Marine Varnishes

Deter­min­ing the best marine var­nish involves con­sid­er­ing var­i­ous fac­tors such as dura­bil­i­ty, UV resis­tance, ease of appli­ca­tion, and over­all per­for­mance. While per­son­al pref­er­ences and spe­cif­ic project require­ments may vary, there are sev­er­al marine var­nish­es that con­sis­tent­ly receive pos­i­tive reviews and are com­mon­ly regard­ed as top choic­es:

  • Epi­fanes Clear Var­nish
  • Inter­lux Schooner Var­nish
  • Total­Boat Gleam Marine Spar Var­nish
  • Pet­tit Cap­tain’s Var­nish
  • Epi­fanes Wood Fin­ish Gloss

1. Epifanes Clear Varnish

the best yacht varnish

Epi­fanes is well-known for pro­duc­ing high-qual­i­ty marine var­nish­es. Their clear var­nish offers excel­lent pro­tec­tion against UV rays, water, and weath­er­ing. It is high­ly durable and pro­vides a glossy, smooth fin­ish. Epi­fanes var­nish­es are known for their ease of appli­ca­tion and abil­i­ty to enhance the nat­ur­al beau­ty of wood.

  • Need to wait for it to dry

2. Interlux Schooner Varnish

the best yacht varnish

Inter­lux Schooner Var­nish is a pop­u­lar choice among boaters. It offers supe­ri­or gloss reten­tion, UV resis­tance, and long-last­ing pro­tec­tion. This var­nish pro­vides a rich, high-gloss fin­ish and is easy to apply. It is suit­able for both inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or wood sur­faces.

  • More expen­sive

3. TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish

the best yacht varnish

Total­Boat Gleam Marine Spar Var­nish is a high-qual­i­ty, high-gloss var­nish that pro­vides excel­lent pro­tec­tion for wood sur­faces. It is for­mu­lat­ed to resist UV dam­age, water, and weath­er­ing, mak­ing it ide­al for marine envi­ron­ments. The var­nish is self-lev­el­ing and offers a durable, clear fin­ish.

  • Not as durable as oth­ers

4. Pettit Captain’s Varnish

the best yacht varnish

Pet­tit Cap­tain’s Var­nish is a tra­di­tion­al marine var­nish that has stood the test of time. It offers supe­ri­or pro­tec­tion against the ele­ments and has excel­lent flex­i­bil­i­ty, mak­ing it ide­al for wood­en boats. This var­nish pro­vides a rich, amber fin­ish and is known for its dura­bil­i­ty and long-last­ing per­for­mance.

5. Epifanes Wood Finish Gloss

the best yacht varnish

Epi­fanes Wood Fin­ish Gloss is a high-build var­nish that offers excep­tion­al UV pro­tec­tion and dura­bil­i­ty. It pro­vides a beau­ti­ful, high-gloss fin­ish and is resis­tant to water, chem­i­cals, and abra­sion. This var­nish is renowned for its long-last­ing per­for­mance and ease of appli­ca­tion.

  • Not begin­ner-friend­ly

TIP: Prop­er­ly pre­pare the wood before apply­ing it. The wood should be clean and free of debris, and any exist­ing coat­ings should be com­plete­ly removed. Sand the wood light­ly with a fine-grit sand­pa­per and then apply the var­nish in thin, even coats, allow­ing each coat to dry ful­ly before apply­ing the next. Use a nat­ur­al-bris­tle brush when apply­ing the var­nish and to avoid over­work­ing the var­nish to min­i­mize brush marks. Fol­low man­u­fac­tur­er instruc­tions for the num­ber of coats and dry­ing times for best results.

Best Marine Grade Polyurethane

The best marine grade polyurethane is one that is specif­i­cal­ly designed and for­mu­lat­ed for use in marine envi­ron­ments. It should be water resis­tant, UV resis­tant, and have a high lev­el of abra­sion and wear resis­tance. To com­ple­ment it You might think of teak seal­ers that will help a lot. It should also have excel­lent adhe­sion qual­i­ties and be able to with­stand extreme tem­per­a­tures, salt water, and humid­i­ty. It should be easy to apply and have a long-last­ing fin­ish.

There are a few top choic­es known for their dura­bil­i­ty, pro­tec­tion, and over­all per­for­mance in marine envi­ron­ments. Here are three high­ly regard­ed marine-grade polyurethane options:

  • Epi­fanes Clear Gloss Var­nish : Epi­fanes is a renowned brand in the marine indus­try, and their Clear Gloss Var­nish is high­ly regard­ed for its excel­lent UV resis­tance, weath­er resis­tance, and long-last­ing pro­tec­tion. It pro­vides a beau­ti­ful high-gloss fin­ish, enhances the nat­ur­al wood beau­ty, and offers excep­tion­al dura­bil­i­ty against the harsh marine ele­ments.
  • Total­Boat Lust Marine Var­nish : Total­Boat Lust Marine Var­nish is anoth­er pop­u­lar choice known for its excep­tion­al per­for­mance. It offers a clear, high-gloss fin­ish that enhances the wood’s appear­ance and pro­vides excel­lent UV pro­tec­tion. This var­nish is for­mu­lat­ed to resist crack­ing, peel­ing, and yel­low­ing, ensur­ing long-last­ing pro­tec­tion for your boat’s wood sur­faces.
  • Inter­lux Schooner Var­nish : Inter­lux Schooner Var­nish is a tra­di­tion­al marine-grade polyurethane var­nish that has stood the test of time. It offers out­stand­ing pro­tec­tion against UV rays, salt­wa­ter, and harsh weath­er con­di­tions. This var­nish pro­vides a high-gloss fin­ish, enhances the nat­ur­al wood grain, and offers excel­lent dura­bil­i­ty for marine appli­ca­tions.

Good marine grade polyurethane should be non-tox­ic and safe for the envi­ron­ment, as well as being durable enough to with­stand harsh weath­er and UV radi­a­tion. The best polyurethanes should also pro­vide a smooth, glossy, and attrac­tive fin­ish, as well as being easy to clean and main­tain. It should be able to stand up to the con­stant expo­sure to water, salt, and sun, as well as being resilient enough to with­stand bumps, knocks, and scrapes. It should be afford­able and easy to find.

brown boat on body of water near green mountains under white sky at daytime

Types of Marine Varnish

Mar ine var n ish is a type of coat­ing that is used to pro­tect wood , met­al , and oth­er sur­faces from the ele­ments . It pro­vides a hard , durable fin­ish that is resis­tant to UV rays , water , and oth­er envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions . There are sev­er­al types of marine var n ish avail­able , includ­ing al ky d , phen olic , and poly ure th ane .

  • Tra­di­tion­al Spar Var­nish : Tra­di­tion­al spar var­nish is a pop­u­lar choice for marine appli­ca­tions due to its excel­lent dura­bil­i­ty and UV resis­tance. It typ­i­cal­ly con­tains a blend of nat­ur­al resins, such as tung oil or lin­seed oil, com­bined with phe­no­lic or alkyd resins. Spar var­nish­es are known for their high gloss fin­ish and abil­i­ty to with­stand harsh weath­er con­di­tions.
  • Two-Part Polyurethane Var­nish : Two-part polyurethane var­nish­es pro­vide excep­tion­al dura­bil­i­ty and pro­tec­tion against UV rays and salt­wa­ter. These var­nish­es con­sist of a resin and a hard­en­er, which must be mixed before appli­ca­tion. They offer a high-gloss fin­ish, excel­lent abra­sion resis­tance, and are often con­sid­ered the most durable option for marine appli­ca­tions.
  • Water-Based Var­nish : Water-based var­nish­es have gained pop­u­lar­i­ty due to their low VOC (volatile organ­ic com­pound) con­tent and ease of appli­ca­tion. These var­nish­es offer good pro­tec­tion against UV rays and are gen­er­al­ly more envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly. They dry faster than tra­di­tion­al var­nish­es and pro­vide a clear, satin, or mat­te fin­ish.
  • Epoxy Var­nish : Epoxy var­nish­es are known for their excep­tion­al dura­bil­i­ty and mois­ture resis­tance. They are often used as an under­coat or primer before apply­ing a final var­nish lay­er. Epoxy var­nish­es can pen­e­trate the wood, pro­vid­ing excel­lent adhe­sion and pro­tec­tion against mois­ture intru­sion.
  • Spar Ure­thane Var­nish : Spar ure­thane var­nish­es com­bine the dura­bil­i­ty and UV resis­tance of polyurethane with the flex­i­bil­i­ty and mois­ture resis­tance of tra­di­tion­al spar var­nish­es. These var­nish­es offer good pro­tec­tion against weath­er­ing and are suit­able for both inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or marine appli­ca­tions.

Al ky d var n ish­es are more com­mon­ly used for inte­ri­or wood and met­al sur­faces , while phen olics and poly ure th anes are often used for exte­ri­or sur­faces . Each type of marine var n ish has its own char­ac­ter­is­tics and ben­e­fits , so it is impor­tant to select the right one for the job .

The Mast

Alkyd Marine Varnish

Alkyd marine var­nish is the tra­di­tion­al choice for marine appli­ca­tions. It is gen­er­al­ly more afford­able than polyurethane and is eas­i­er to apply. Alkyd marine var­nish is also more flex­i­ble than polyurethane and is bet­ter at resist­ing crack­ing and peel­ing.

  • More afford­able than polyurethane
  • Eas­i­er to apply
  • More flex­i­ble than polyurethane
  • Bet­ter at resist­ing crack­ing and peel­ing
  • Does not have as good UV pro­tec­tion as polyurethane
  • Can yel­low over time
  • Not as resis­tant to mildew and fun­gus

Al ky d Marine V arn ish is a type of wood fin­ish that is designed to pro­tect wood sur­faces on boats and oth­er marine ves­sels from the harsh ele­ments of the ocean . It is made from a resin that is high­ly resis­tant to UV rays , salt water , and mois­ture , mak­ing it ide­al for out­door use . Al ky d Marine V arn ish is easy to apply and pro­vides a beau­ti­ful , glossy fin­ish that is sure to pro­tect your boat for years to come .

Polyurethane Marine Varnish

Polyurethane marine var­nish is the new­er, more mod­ern ver­sion of marine var­nish. It is more expen­sive than alkyd, but it is also much more durable. Polyurethane marine var­nish has excel­lent UV pro­tec­tion and is more resis­tant to mildew and fun­gus.

  • Excel­lent UV pro­tec­tion
  • More resis­tant to mildew and fun­gus
  • More durable than alkyd
  • Does not yel­low over time
  • More expen­sive than alkyd
  • More dif­fi­cult to apply
  • Not as flex­i­ble as alkyd

Poly ure th ane marine var n ish is a pro­tec­tive coat­ing used on wood sur­faces that are exposed to marine envi­ron­ments . It is typ­i­cal­ly used on boats or oth­er items that are exposed to salt water , sun , and mois­ture . Poly ure th ane marine var n ish is designed to pro­vide supe­ri­or pro­tec­tion against the ele­ments , with a high lev­el of UV pro­tec­tion and water resis­tance . This type of var n ish also offers a beau­ti­ful fin­ish that is easy to apply and main­tain .

Choosing the Best Marine Varnish

When choos­ing the best marine var­nish, it is impor­tant to con­sid­er the appli­ca­tion and envi­ron­ment. If the wood is exposed to direct sun­light and harsh ele­ments, it is best to choose a polyurethane marine var­nish. If the wood is not exposed to direct sun­light and harsh ele­ments, an alkyd marine var­nish may be the bet­ter choice.

Look for a marine var­nish that offers excel­lent dura­bil­i­ty to with­stand the harsh con­di­tions encoun­tered in a marine envi­ron­ment. It should be resis­tant to UV rays, salt­wa­ter, mois­ture, and tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions.

UV resis­tance is cru­cial to pre­vent the var­nish from fad­ing, yel­low­ing, or degrad­ing under pro­longed expo­sure to sun­light. Opt for a var­nish with high UV resis­tance to main­tain the appear­ance and integri­ty of your wood sur­faces.

Con­sid­er the desired lev­el of gloss for your wood sur­faces. Marine var­nish­es typ­i­cal­ly offer a range of gloss options, from high gloss to satin or mat­te fin­ish­es. Choose a var­nish that aligns with your aes­thet­ic

Look for a marine var­nish that is easy to apply, even for indi­vid­u­als with lim­it­ed expe­ri­ence. Con­sid­er fac­tors such as brusha­bil­i­ty, self-lev­el­ing prop­er­ties, and whether it requires thin­ning or mul­ti­ple coats for prop­er cov­er­age.

The dry­ing time of the var­nish is an impor­tant con­sid­er­a­tion, espe­cial­ly if you have time con­straints or need to com­plete the project with­in a spe­cif­ic time­frame. Some var­nish­es have quick­er dry­ing times, while oth­ers may require longer cur­ing peri­ods.

Ensure that the marine var­nish you choose is com­pat­i­ble with the type of wood you are work­ing with. Dif­fer­ent var­nish­es may have spe­cif­ic rec­om­men­da­tions for use on par­tic­u­lar wood species, so ver­i­fy com­pat­i­bil­i­ty before appli­ca­tion.

Con­sid­er the ease of main­te­nance and repair for the var­nish. Look for a var­nish that allows for easy touch-ups or refin­ish­ing with­out requir­ing com­plete strip­ping and reap­pli­ca­tion.

Offshore Powerboat Class 1 Rules Specs Speed


When apply­ing marine var­nish, it is impor­tant to fol­low the man­u­fac­tur­er’s instruc­tions. Marine var­nish must be applied in thin, even coats for best results. A foam brush or roller is the best way to apply the var­nish, as it will help pre­vent any drips or runs. The var­nish should be allowed to dry com­plete­ly between coats, and the num­ber of coats will depend on the type of var­nish being used.

Preparing the Surface

Before apply­ing the marine var­nish, it is impor­tant to prop­er­ly pre­pare the sur­face. The wood should be sand­ed with a fine grit sand­pa­per and all debris should be removed. The wood should also be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt. Any flaws in the wood should be filled in with a wood filler before apply­ing the marine var­nish.

Applying the Marine Varnish

Once the wood is pre­pared, the marine var­nish can be applied. It is impor­tant to work in a well-ven­ti­lat­ed area and to wear pro­tec­tive cloth­ing, such as gloves and a res­pi­ra­tor mask. A foam brush or roller is the best way to apply the var­nish, as it will help pre­vent any drips or runs. The var­nish should be allowed to dry com­plete­ly between coats, and the num­ber of coats will depend on the type of var­nish being used.

Maintenance and Repair

To keep marine var­nish look­ing its best, it is impor­tant to per­form reg­u­lar main­te­nance and repairs. The wood should be cleaned reg­u­lar­ly with a mild soap and water solu­tion. If the wood becomes scratched or dam­aged, it should be sand­ed and re-var­nished.

Repairing Scratches

Scratch­es in the marine var­nish can be repaired by sand­ing them with a fine grit sand­pa­per and then re-var­nish­ing the area. It is impor­tant to use a fine grit sand­pa­per, as a coarse grit sand­pa­per can dam­age the wood.

Repairing Cracks

Cracks in the marine var­nish can be repaired by apply­ing a flex­i­ble adhe­sive to the crack and then re-var­nish­ing the area. It is impor­tant to use a flex­i­ble adhe­sive, as it will help pre­vent the crack from return­ing.

What is the best varnish for a boat?

The best var­nish for a boat depends on the type of wood and the desired fin­ish. Gen­er­al­ly, for out­door use, a high-qual­i­ty marine spar var­nish is rec­om­mend­ed. It is typ­i­cal­ly a long-last­ing, pro­tec­tive fin­ish that will retain its gloss and flex­i­bil­i­ty in the harsh marine envi­ron­ment. When apply­ing any var­nish, it is impor­tant to ensure the wood is prop­er­ly pre­pared and the var­nish is applied cor­rect­ly in mul­ti­ple thin coats.

When select­ing a marine spar var­nish, con­sid­er the cli­mate you are in, as some are bet­ter suit­ed to warm and humid cli­mates and oth­ers to cold cli­mates. Also con­sid­er any spe­cif­ic needs you have, such as UV pro­tec­tion or a high-gloss fin­ish. It is often ben­e­fi­cial to choose a var­nish that con­tains UV inhibitors and mildew­cides to pro­tect your boat from the ele­ments. Look for a var­nish that is easy to apply, has good adhe­sion and is resis­tant to crack­ing, peel­ing and yel­low­ing.

What Are The Parts Of A Boat Called

What is the hardest marine varnish?

The hard­est marine var­nish is a var­nish that con­tains high amounts of UV absorbers, chem­i­cal sta­bi­liz­ers and alkyd resins. This com­bi­na­tion of ingre­di­ents pro­vides a hard­er and more durable fin­ish that is resis­tant to crack­ing, fad­ing and dis­col­oration over time. It also pro­vides supe­ri­or pro­tec­tion from salt­wa­ter and oth­er envi­ron­men­tal ele­ments.

It is also for­mu­lat­ed to be resis­tant to abra­sion and wear, mak­ing it an ide­al choice for boats and oth­er marine appli­ca­tions. It is also com­mon­ly used on out­door fur­ni­ture, shut­ters, and oth­er exte­ri­or sur­faces that are exposed to the ele­ments. This type of var­nish is also often used on masts and spars, as it pro­vides excel­lent pro­tec­tion against ultra­vi­o­let radi­a­tion and oxi­da­tion.

What is the best marine varnish for wood?

Deter­min­ing the best marine var­nish for wood depends on var­i­ous fac­tors such as gloss lev­el, dura­bil­i­ty, and UV resis­tance. Some top choic­es in the mar­ket include Epi­fanes Clear Var­nish, Inter­lux Schooner Var­nish, and Total­Boat Lust Marine Var­nish.

Epi­fanes Clear Var­nish is renowned for its high gloss fin­ish and excel­lent UV resis­tance. Inter­lux Schooner Var­nish offers dura­bil­i­ty and a beau­ti­ful amber hue that enhances the nat­ur­al beau­ty of wood. Total­Boat Lust Marine Var­nish is known for its easy appli­ca­tion, long-last­ing pro­tec­tion, and excep­tion­al gloss reten­tion. Con­sid­er your spe­cif­ic needs and pref­er­ences to choose the marine var­nish that best suits your project and pro­vides opti­mal pro­tec­tion for your boat’s wood sur­faces.

What is the difference between marine varnish and regular varnish?

Marine var­nish is specif­i­cal­ly for­mu­lat­ed to with­stand the harsh con­di­tions encoun­tered in marine envi­ron­ments, such as expo­sure to UV rays, salt­wa­ter, and mois­ture. It offers enhanced dura­bil­i­ty and pro­tec­tion com­pared to reg­u­lar var­nish­es, mak­ing it suit­able for boat appli­ca­tions.

How many coats of marine varnish should I apply?

The num­ber of coats required can vary depend­ing on the spe­cif­ic marine var­nish and the con­di­tion of the wood sur­face. In gen­er­al, it is rec­om­mend­ed to apply mul­ti­ple thin coats rather than a sin­gle thick coat. This helps achieve prop­er cov­er­age, improves adhe­sion, and allows for bet­ter con­trol over the fin­ish.

Can I apply marine varnish over an existing finish?

It is pos­si­ble to apply marine var­nish over an exist­ing fin­ish, pro­vid­ed that the sur­face is prop­er­ly pre­pared. The exist­ing fin­ish should be clean, dry, and free from any loose or flak­ing mate­r­i­al. Light sand­ing or strip­ping may be nec­es­sary to cre­ate a suit­able sur­face for the marine var­nish to adhere to.

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Six-Month Checkup: Long-Term Boat Wood Finish Exposure Test

Testers rate 53 varnishes and varnish alternatives in our quest for the ideal exterior wood finish..

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Do you ever wonder why its called “wood finish?” Youre never “finished” with it. Unfortunately, that rings true for most boat maintenance tasks. With that harsh reality in mind, we set out in 2007 to find the best exterior wood finish on the market, one thats durable and easy to apply.

Since then, weve reported on and rated the application and original finish of more than 50 products in our long-term exposure test. In the August 2007 issue, we introduced the one-part test varnishes, followed by the initial report on synthetics and teak treatments (varnish alternatives) in the October 2007 issue, and two-part varnishes in the December 2007 issue. In April 2008, we wrapped up the application reporting with teak oils and stains.

After multiple delays, including two brushes with tropical storms, we mounted the test rack outdoors last summer to begin the exposure test. (See “How We Tested.”) This report takes a look at how the test panels are faring after six months facing the elements on The Rack (pictured above), the moniker weve given to our test set-up.

Six-Month Checkup: Long-Term Boat Wood Finish Exposure Test

What We Tested

Practical Sailor

So in our quest for the Holy Grail of wood protectors, we refrained from limiting the test to a single type of coating and are looking for a wood finish all-star. However, to make the data easier to digest, weve broken the test field into four categories-one-part varnishes, two-part varnishes, synthetics and treatments, and sealers and oils. This apples-to-apples and apples-to-oranges comparison, we hope, will answer that often-asked reader query: “What wood finish should I use?”

The number of coatings on the market today is mind-boggling, hence the dozens of products in this evaluation. And, as with bottom paint, delving into formulation differences and the science behind the magic tends to only muddy the waters.

So when choosing a wood finish, knowing the basic characteristics of each finish type is helpful in determining which best matches your aesthetic tastes, maintenance appetite, and protection needs.

Another downside to these hard coatings is that they may crack or peel over time, requiring spot maintenance or stripping and re-applying. A glossy, mirror-like finish also tends to show nicks and scratches more readily than lower-gloss or soft finishes.

Two-part varnishes offer a more abrasion-resistant finish, but that super-hard shell means sanding for touchups is more of a headache. The hard barrier also means the coating will blister if moisture migrates up through fastener holes, so epoxying the holes and resetting fasteners before varnishing is a good idea.

In short: Application and prep tend to be arduous, as does re-applying, but these are more durable than soft coatings and offer that classic, mirror-like finish.

Synthetics and Stains:

Synthetics and stains penetrate deep into the wood, and are more flexible than varnish, so they allow the substrate to breathe and will not crack or peel. Many synthetic finishes have added pigments that can turn the wood red, yellow, or an opaque brown. Considered varnish alternatives, some combine an oil-based bottom coat and a glossy sealer coat to offer the deep penetration of an oil and a hard varnish-like shell.

Synthetics and stains come in a range of glosses, but rarely will have the high-gloss wet look of a varnish. Opaque stains have more solids, which mask the woods grain more than semitransparent products but claim to offer better protection from harmful UV rays, the nemesis of a clear varnish.

Six-Month Checkup: Long-Term Boat Wood Finish Exposure Test

In short: Synthetics and stains are a breeze to apply, maintain, and re-apply, but may not last as long as a hard varnish finish.

Teak oils and sealers:

What sets a teak oil and a teak sealer apart is the amount of solids in the product. Sealers usually have a higher percentage of solids, providing better protection from UV light and allowing the coating to build up faster on the substrate. They also last longer than oils, typically.

How We Tested

The focus of this exterior wood finishes all-star test is to evaluate three things: a products ease of application; the integrity of its gloss and appearance; and how it fares over time under real-world conditions. These results will offer a larger picture of which type of wood finish has the most longevity and which products stand out among their peers.

Except for a number of latecomers, the products were applied to panels cut from the same bare teak stock. Testers did not note any irregularities in performance that might be attributed by differences in wood stock.

Each product was applied per manufacturers instructions, and testers rated each ones ease of application-how smoothly the product went on, how complete the instructions were, and how simple the process was. Each product and each panel were assigned a number so that judging could be done blindly.

For the varnishes, testers evaluated and rated the original gloss shine and reflective qualities. Because the other coatings often have matte or semi-gloss finishes, they received no “original gloss” rating.

Last summer, the panels were mounted on a rack that was set up at a 45-degree angle in an unobstructed area on the roof of the Practical Sailor workshop in Sarasota, Fla. This ensured that all panels received the same amount of exposure to the weather and UV rays. A portion of each mounted panel was covered so testers would have a control to compare the weathered area and original finish over time. When rating the panels, testers removed the covers and rated each for coating integrity, color, and gloss retention.

Six-Month Checkup: Long-Term Boat Wood Finish Exposure Test

Because our test setup lacks a way to simulate sea-spray-and baked-on salt water can shorten a coatings lifespan-weve put some top finishes into service aboard test boats. Testers will continue to regularly check the panels and test boat applications, and well report the results every six months or so.

How We Rated

After six months of weathering the South Florida elements, the panels were rated for coating integrity, color retention, and gloss retention.

Coating integrity ratings took into account the entire panel. Excellent ratings were given only to those with a totally uncompromised coating.

Color and gloss retention ratings are relative to the panels original finish, not the finish of other coatings. So although a panel may have had only a Fair rating for its initial gloss, if it maintained that same level of gloss for six months, it earned an Excellent for gloss retention.

Initial gloss and ease of application ratings are relative to the field within each coating category, and these were assigned immediately after the panels were coated.

Recommended varnishes for a single season earned three or more “Excellent” ratings in the following categories: ease of application, coating integrity, color retention, and gloss retention. Recommended varnish alternatives earned at least two Excellent ratings, and a Good or better for coating integrity.

Because no oil or sealer performed well enough after six months to earn an Excellent, we recommend the only one that rated above Poor on coating integrity-Star brite Tropical Teak Sealer-for a season of protection.

Interlux Goldspar Clear

Panels with Poor coating integrity were pulled from the test. Most of these were teak oils, which testers did not expect to make it through a full season of exposure.

What We Found

So far, our findings support our past tests and real-world experience: If you want a multi-season coating, oil is not the finish to use. Teak oils need to be re-applied every few months. Like woods natural oils, they dry up and wear away when exposed to UV and saltwater. When we started this exposure test, we expected them to be the first to get voted off the test rack, and so it was.

Star brite, the maker of multiple teak oil products, claims users can expect an oil to last three to four months in conditions like those found in Florida or up to six months in northern locales. The Star brite teak sealer lasted longer than other oils and sealers, implying that its higher solids content does offer better UV protection.

The finish categories with the highest ratings after a single season were the varnishes. All but two one-part varnishes (Coelan and HMG Coma Berenice) and two two-parts (Bristol Finish and Honey Teak) rated Excellent for coating integrity, and all but one rated Good or better for color and gloss retention. Both the Bristol and Honey Teak had only a slight loss of coating, and so, combined with their other ratings, are still in the running for long-term protection.

Seven one-part and one two-part (Honey Teak) varnishes did not fade or change color. All synthetics, oils, and stains had some color change. In some instances, the color change was actually preferred by testers. The Amazon Teak Lustre panels, for instance, lost some of their opaqueness, and turned from an opaque brown to a lighter blond, while retaining much of their initial gloss.

A few facts worth noting: The West Marine WoodPro Plus Semi-gloss is actually a re-branded Epifanes Rapid Clear. And Interluxs Jet Speed, which was rated well at the six-month mark, is not manufacturer-recommended for exterior use, unless its overcoated with a UV-filtering finish like Interlux Schooner.

Amazon Teak Lustre Satin

Overall, the Interlux Sikkens Cetol products fared quite well after six months. The panel with Cetol Natural (without gloss), however, weathered slightly more than the other Cetol panels. On our test boats hatch trim (below), the Cetol Natural lasted about eight months in the South Florida sun before needing to be recoated. According to Interlux, their tests show that it performs as well as the more opaque Cetol Marine and Marine Light. The Cetol Natural, which has a more transparent finish than its sister products, contains a different blend of pigments than the others, and this could be why it didnt hold up quite as well in our test. Testers still prefer its more natural look to the opaque Marine and Marine Light.

The products that have been removed from the test rack are: Deks Olje No. 1, Interlux Premium Teak Oil, Star brite Premium Teak Oil, MDR Amazon Golden Teak Oil, Ace Wood Royal Deck and Siding Stain Oil, Semco, Crab Coat Gloss, Le Tonkinois Bio Impression, Dalys Teak Oil, and Nanovations Teak Guard.

Teak Guard and Crab Coat were the only non-teak oil products to be pulled from testing at six months. According to its maker, Crystalac Co., the Crab Coats early failure is unusual. Though weve ruled out application error as the cause, we plan to give the varnish alternative a second chance and will apply it to the teak trim on one of our test boats.

Teak Guard was re-formulated in 2008, after this test began. However, its maker claims our coating should have lasted six to 12 months and attributed the mildew on our test panel to the breakdown of the coatings waterproof top layer. The company says that re-applying the finish sooner would have prevented the mildew.


Selecting a wood finish (or nothing at all) comes down to what appeals to a boat owners sense of aesthetics, patience for prep and application, tolerance for regular maintenance, and proclivity for sanding and scraping. Other factors to be considered concern the area to be finished and its use, handling, and the traffic its likely to see. Obviously, we don’t recommend coating your teak decks with a slick varnish. But, if youre looking to spiff up cockpit trim or a toerail, and prefer an upfront investment of time and energy for the longevity payoff, choose one of the top one-part varnishes or synthetics with an overcoat. If youre on a budget and want high gloss, the Ace Spar Varnish and Minwax Indoor/Outdoor Helmsman Spar Urethane will suit your needs.

For those brightwork aficionados looking for a wet, high-gloss look, who enjoy the labor of love that is two-part varnish, any of the two-part products would work. Our top picks of this group so far are Nautiking Nautithane, Interlux Perfection, and Honey Teak. If youre looking for the most durable oil or sealer, Star brite teak sealer is a good choice.

For spots where a slippery-when-wet finish is not feasible, check out the top synthetics or teak sealer. We also recommend these for boat owners with little time or energy to spend on brightwork, those with an aversion to sanders and scrapers, and those less than deft with a brush.

For decks, our favorite is Semco. It doesn’t darken the wood, so decks stay cooler. Although it will need to be re-applied every few months, depending on conditions and usage, but reapplication is painless, and it fades away rather than leaving a partially failed coating that requires sanding. Most teak-oil makers, including Star brite, recommend scrubbing the deck with a teak cleaner before re-applying. With Semco, however, only regular washing is needed.

Any of the Recommended products on pages 24-25 are good choices for single-season exterior wood finishes. To see which ones can go the distance and last for multiple seasons, stay tuned for our one-year report.

Six-Month Checkup: Long-Term Boat Wood Finish Exposure Test

Eight teak oils and sealers round out our test group. Often favored for their ease of application and resistance to blistering or cracking, oils and sealers are not as durable as other finishes. They require frequent re-application, every three to four months in most locations. They dry fast and penetrate deep into the wood, but they lack the hard protection of varnish. The thinner (less viscous) of these finishes make the most of teaks natural nonskid properties. Some teak oil critics maintain that this type of finish attracts dirt and encourages mold and mildew growth, which we found to be true in some of our test panels. This test field includes 17 products that fall into the synthetics and teak treatments category. The top selling point for these is their ease of application: They require fewer coats than varnish, dry faster, and require little or no sanding between coats. These softer finishes will need to be reapplied more frequently than varnish but less frequently than teak oils. : We tested 22 one-part varnishes and six two-part systems. One- and two-part varnishes are clear, hard coatings that allow the woods natural beauty to show through. They come in a variety of glosses, from the classic wet look to a matte finish, which is less slick and has less glare. Prep and application are more labor-intensive than with other finishes and require a more careful hand. But a high-quality varnish will typically last longer than other coatings types. They have the benefit of less frequent application and less frequent maintenance, but once the coating integrity is compromised, repairs may require stripping the wood totally. Two-part systems, which involve mixing a base and curing agent, require the most application effort, but are generally regarded as being more durable than single-parts. defines an ideal exterior wood finish as one that is relatively easy to apply, easy to maintain, lasts for multiple seasons, and wont break the bank. Thats a lot to ask, we know.

  • Practical Sailor Value Guide: Varnish Alternatives, Teak Oils, and Teak Sealers
  • Practical Sailor Value Guide: One-Part Varnishes and Two-Part Systems
  • Wood Panels Outlined
  • Practical Sailor Value Guide Exterior Wood Finishes (August 2007)
  • Practical Sailor Value Guide: Exterior Wood Finishes (October 2007)
  • Practical Sailor Value Guide: Exterior Wood Finishes (December 2007)
  • Practical Sailor Value Guide: Exterior Wood Finishes (April 2008)
  • Download PDF Format


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Which Yacht Varnish Is Best For My Boat?

Yacht varnish is a specialized type of varnish that is often used on boats. It has several advantages over conventional varnish, which is why it is becoming more and more popular among boat owners. In this guide, we will discuss the benefits of yacht varnish. We will also answer some common questions about yacht varnish. So if you are interested in learning more about this topic, keep reading!

Yacht varnish is a type of varnish specifically designed for boats. It is typically made from a tougher resin that can withstand the harsh conditions that boats are exposed to, such as salt water and sunlight. Yacht varnish also often contains UV inhibitors to help protect the wood from fading and other damage caused by exposure to sunlight. Conventional varnishes are not as durable as yacht varnish and will not stand up to the same conditions. This makes them less suitable for use on boats. However, they can still be used for other applications, such as furniture or around the garden.

Which types of varnish to use on my boat?

Marine varnish can be divided into three different types, each with its own perfect uses. Yacht owners choose to use one or all of these types for better performance.

Tung Oil-based varnish 

Is the most popular type among yacht owners who take boat maintenance seriously. International Schooner or Goldspar Boat Varnish are both oil-based varnishes that coats the wood evenly leaving a smooth finish while requiring minimal preparation work before it can be applied. This only requires a couple of coats. Is advisable to lightly sand the surface between coats to achieve the highest quality glossy finish. The smooth, high gloss finish will protect teak parts from water stains and help to maintain their appearance over time! Its UV protection helps prevent mould growth too which is especially important in wetter climates. Oil-based varnish is easy to apply and can be repaired by sanding and re-oiling the wood, meaning it will last longer than other conventional varnishes. It's also easier to apply compared with water-based yacht varnish which requires no sanding or priming before application.

Water-based boat varnish

Often used on marine boats where there is not much exposure to agitation or rubbing, making oil-based varnish too heavy for use. This yacht varnish type tends to leave a thin, powdery residue that needs sanding down after drying but offers better penetration into the wood than its oil counterpart. Polyurethane boat varnish - is much more hard-wearing than oil or water-based yacht varnishes. Stronger than oil-based or water-based yacht varnish, polyurethane yacht varnish tends to dry quickly and offers an ultra-hard surface that is resistant to impact, scratching and denting. This yacht varnish type has a high gloss tough finish so it's best suited for areas of the boat that are exposed to more wear and tear. This type of varnish can also be divided into two categories as one part polyurethane boat varnish and two-part polyurethane varnish.

One Part Polyurethane Varnish

The yacht varnish that is most commonly used for yacht paint jobs. The yacht varnish offers a quick drying time and can be easily re-coated within hours between each coat. It should be noted that due to its rigidity it is not recommended to be used for painting highly flexible wooden areas as it might crack in time leaving the wood exposed to elements. Two-Part Polyurethane Varnish - is the varnish with longer working times, making it easier to apply on larger boats. It's advisable to use only one part polyurethane yacht varnish for smaller projects as two-part yacht varnishes tend to leave an unprofessional finish when applied by hand. This type of varnish is extremely tough and consists of two products mixed together. It offers very good protection from moisture and UV damage but the same as the above this is not suitable for some areas on your yacht (such as spars) and it will crack as the wood moves and will leave the wood exposed to the elements.

Is yacht varnish waterproof?

Yes, yacht varnish is typically waterproof. This makes it a good choice for protecting boats from the elements. It can also help to keep the wood of the boat looking its best for longer.

Does yacht vanishes need a primer?

No, yacht varnish does not typically need primer. However, it is a good idea to test it on a small area of the surface you are going to varnish to make sure it adheres properly. If you do decide to use primer, make sure it is designed for use with yacht varnish.

Does yacht varnish seal wood?

Yes, yacht varnish seals the wood. It forms a protective barrier that helps to keep the wood from damage and keeps it looking its best for longer.

How long does yacht varnish last?

The lifespan of yacht varnish varies depending on the brand and the conditions it is exposed to. However, it typically lasts for several years, anywhere from two to three years before you need to apply a new coat or two. Some varnishes obviously last longer than others depending on the area where they will be applied.

Which is better? Woodstain or yacht varnish?

There is no simple answer to this question as it depends on the specific application and the needs of the user. However, in general, yacht varnish is a better option for protecting wood from the elements and keeping it looking its best. It is also typically more durable than wood stain, which makes it a better choice for boats.

Why is it important to sand between coats?

It is important to sand between coats of yacht varnish because it helps to create a smooth, even surface. This makes the final coat of varnish look its best and helps to protect the wood from damage.

How many coats should I apply?

The number of coats you should apply depends on the specific product you are using and the area you are varnishing. In general, two to three coats are sufficient. However, it is always a good idea to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

What type of finish can you get?

There are three types of finish on boat varnish: gloss, semigloss, and satin. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to choose the one that best suits your needs. Gloss finish is the most durable, but it is also the most reflective. This can make it difficult to see in bright sunlight. The semigloss finish is less reflective than gloss, but it is still quite durable. It is a good choice for areas that receive moderate amounts of sunlight. The satin finish is the least reflective and also the least durable. However, it can provide a more natural look to the wood. It is a good choice for areas that do not receive a lot of sunlight.

Can you paint yacht varnish over wood stain?

Yes, you can put yacht varnish over the wood stain. However, it is important to make sure that the stain is fully dry before applying the varnish. Otherwise, you may end up with a sticky mess.

How long does it take for yacht varnish to dry?

The drying time for yacht varnish varies depending on the brand and the conditions it is used in. In general, you can expect it to take anywhere from six to eight hours to fully dry. However, it is always a good idea to read the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

Can you thin yacht varnish?

Yes, you can thin yacht varnish if it is too thick. However, you should only use a thinner that is specifically designed for use with yacht varnish. Otherwise, you may end up with a poor-quality finish.

What is the best way to remove yacht varnish?

The best way to remove yacht varnish depends on the type of finish you have. If you have a glossy finish, you can use a polishing compound. For a semigloss or satin finish, you can use sandpaper. In general, it is best to remove yacht varnish with a power sander. However, you can also remove it by hand if you are careful.

Can I apply a new coat over the existing varnish?

Yes, you can apply a new coat of varnish over the existing varnish. However, it is important to make sure that the old coat is in good condition. Otherwise, you may not get the desired results.

Does yacht varnish go yellow?

Yacht varnish is designed to keep your boat looking good as new even throughout the season's hottest and coldest temperatures. The UV inhibitors prevent yellowing, which can otherwise occur due to exposure to external factors like sunlight or rainwater on a dock; they also remain slightly soft so that it will not crack when expanding or contracting with changes throughout each year. Liquids such as engine oils may cause blistering if left unprotected by an anti-blister agent like silicone lubricant (which contains graphite).

Is yacht varnish oil or water-based?

Yacht varnish is typically oil-based. This makes it more durable and resistant to fading. However, water-based varnishes are also available. These are less durable but easier to apply.

So which yacht varnish is right for you?

Choosing the right yacht varnish depends on how much time you want to put into maintaining your boat as well as its location. We stock a wide range of varnish suitable for any type of wood on your vessel.

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The Best Marine Varnishes for 2024

best marine varnish

Boats often come in contact with a lot of different pressures such as waters, rocks, and even animals. On top of this, it is also exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays all of the time. With this, the need for marine varnish became extremely popular among boat owners. It is actually one of the most effective things that any boat owner can do to preserve the beauty of their boat.

However, it is not that easy to find the perfect marine varnish that will work wonders for our boats. We have to experience a lot of trial and errors before we finally find what specific marine varnish is best for our lovely ships.

Do you want to keep your boat as pristine as possible? Read on to know about the top 10 best marine varnishes!

1. Rust-Oleum 207008 Marine Spar Varnish

2. epifanes clear varnish, 3. totalboat lust marine varnish, 4. system three 1855s16 marine spar varnish, 5. minwax 630500444 helmsman spar urethane, 6. interlux iva316/qt cetol natural teak varnish, 7. mccloskey man o’war spar marine varnish, 8. old masters 92304 spar marine varnish, 9. pettit captains varnish, 10. interlux y60/pt goldspar satin varnish, who is this for, factors to consider when buying a marine varnish, advantages and disadvantages of using a marine varnish, care and maintenance, frequently asked questions, best marine varnish reviews.

rust-oleum 207008 marine spar varnish

I was so stunned by this beautiful marine varnish! When I received it, I could immediately tell that it will perform amazingly. I sincerely appreciate that the company made sure that the application process will be easy! All I needed was a foam paintbrush to apply it on my boat’s surface and a good quality sanding sponge to smooth out the wood surface for a clean and even coat.

Unlike other varnishes, the company advises its customers to skip the thinner before using this product because it will affect the varnish’s performance by prolonging the drying time and increasing the chances of bubble formation.

Now, the most notable thing that I love about this product is that it dries so quickly! After the 1st layer that I applied on my boat, it only took roughly 2 hours for the spar varnish to dry. I am so flabbergasted because it was so convenient to use!

I love how I did not need to wait for at least 12 hours just to apply the 2nd coat of this marine varnish! This is such a good deal because not everyone has the time to let the varnish sink in. Although, you still have to sand the boat before applying the 2nd layer of varnish so that your application will glide as smoothly as butter!

As an oil-based marine varnish, it is better than a water-based marine varnish because it provides a more vivid color with a shine that does not look dull! Even though it is a little bit runny, its consistency does not affect its performance because it is oil-based. It sticks to the wood more comfortably, which is actually one of the reasons why it dries quicker!

  • It does not require a thinning agent.
  • Even application
  • A quick drying time of 2 hours
  • Can do two coats in one day
  • Vivid and shiny
  • It has a runny consistency

I have nothing to say but outstanding! I cannot get over the fact that this marine grade spar varnish performs exceptionally well. I am so excited to use this on my other boats because I’m sure that it will provide the perfect coating for protection and aesthetics!

epifanes clear varnish

First of all, I love how this product does not smell too strong! That’s one of the many things that I love about this epifanes marine spar varnish. Because of my countless attempts at finding the best spar varnish, I know how stinky some varnishes could be. It really is a hassle because some products have strong smells that give me a headache.

But this one was delightful to use because it almost does not have a strong chemical smell! I spent a lot of time using this spar varnish, and I can safely say that I did not experience any headaches.

I used a thinning agent before the first coat for this varnish because this product’s consistency is quite thick, almost similar to a syrup’s texture. Doing this resulted in a deep, high-gloss, and smooth finish! I cannot get enough of how beautiful the finished product is.

The company recommends a total of 8 coats, but I achieved my desired deepness and intensity with just five coats. Because of this, I have enough left varnish left for future use, which I sincerely appreciate!

I especially love that this product gives off a dark amber color. I prefer this type of finish because it made my boat look rustic yet fresh at the same time! And because it is on the darker side, it can cover old stains that may be present on your boat, so technically, it is a varnish and a light paint in one!

The wood on my boat started to look really nice once the spar varnish has dried. At the end of the day, it looked brand-new and ready to take on the fiery waters!

  • It does not smell too strong.
  • It did not give me headaches due to the chemical scent.
  • Thick consistency
  • Varnish and paint in one
  • The recommended number of coats is 8

I think that is such a steal! For just half the container, I was able to apply five coats, and my boat looked very beautiful instantly. If I were you, I would get my hands on this beautiful spar varnish!

totalboat lust marine varnish

I received this totalboat gleam marine spar varnish; it was love at first sight! I immediately started to use it, and upon the initial application, I love how it enhances the woodgrain feature of my boat. Unlike other spar varnishes, this one does not try to eliminate the texture of wood; it makes it look more pleasing to the eyes!

Another thing that made my heart fall for this varnish is that it does not require the use of a sanding sponge or sandpaper. As I said, it aims to enhance the wood’s texture, so there is no need to even it out.

I also enjoy how with just six coats, I was able to finish varnishing my entire boat in one day. This made me fall head over heels for this product!

I also appreciate that this product features a slight tint that improves the overall design of the boat. No, it does not entirely cover up the boat’s original color; it makes the actual color brighter and more alive. I have had some experience with varnishes that dulls down the boat’s original hue, so I am happy that this one does not do that!

Lastly, the company offers two different types of varnish – one matte and one high gloss. Personally, I prefer a high gloss spar varnish because it lessens the appearance of scratches. However, some people enjoy matte varnishes, so kudos to TotalBoat for providing boat owners such as me with options!

Although it is quite thick, and I had to reapply varnish on some parts because, for some reason, the material does not adhere to it, I was still left with a beautifully-varnished boat at the end of the day!

  • Improved my boat’s woodgrain texture
  • It does not require sanding.
  • Enhanced the color of the boat
  • It has two different kinds of varnish
  • I had to reapply varnish on several areas

To sum it up, I am so glad that I was able to try this product! For such a long time, I have been looking for the varnish that has a perfect balance between tint and gloss, and I finally found it in this product!

system three 1855s16 marine spar varnish

Upon receiving the product, I ordered both variants: satin and high shine. I decided to combine the two types of finish to get a more solid hue without losing the varnish glossiness.

I think I made the right decision! The end product is exceptionally smooth, glossy, and stable at the same time. I love how it is as soft as a baby’s butt… maybe even softer!

Because its consistency is quite thick, I used an HV/LP sprayer to apply it. This product applies like a dream. I’ve never used a marine varnish as smooth as this before. Therefore, the use of a thinning agent is totally necessary since it is viscous.

I also find its consistency to be quite thick. I love how this product really gave me the option to have my varnish on the thicker side or on, the thinner side. Well, I opted to thin it out a little bit using a thinning agent.

I love how it applies! For me, I would not use a bristled paintbrush with this product because there is a chance for bubble formation and streaky application. So, I used an HV/LP sprayer to apply it, and I honestly did not get tired at all!

I got so excited because I have never used a marine varnish that was as smooth as this before! I personally prefer mixing it with a thinning agent for the sprayer, but if you want it to be thicker, you may want to use a new paint roller to do the job.

Even though this does not dry as quickly as the other spar varnishes I have tried, I think those good things really do come to those who wait. As I used this product, I learned to be patient and to keep on trusting the process.

In the end, I got the best-looking boat ever! On top of that, this one also has superior saltwater protection for my boat. I can honestly tell you this: I think this is such a great deal!

  • Available in satin and high shine
  • Thick consistency for fuller application
  • Best used with a paint sprayer
  • Saltwater protection
  • Excellent finish if both variants are mixed.
  • Long drying time

Honestly, I think I got such an excellent deal with this product. This could easily be the best marine varnish UV protection!

minwax 630500444 helmsman spar urethane

This one is for the boat owners who prefer marine varnishes without any tint! This product from Minwax is a water based marine varnish, and this means that it is a clear gloss that does not have any color to it.

I love how this could be used on top of colored boats. Since it does not alter the existing shade that the ship has, this is a good option for those who prefer to maintain the current color, brightness, and contrast of their boats.

Its consistency is thin, mostly because it is water based. With this, I used a paint roller. I got the most seamless application because a thin consistency goes well with a roller! I am in awe that I only had to use a sanding sponge or sandpaper before applying the first coat. The succeeding layers did not require any sanding because they glide on like a dream!

Overall, it took me a total of 4 coats to get an excellent finish. However, I added an extra layer to be sure that the end product will be as beautiful and vibrant as possible.

I love how to apply this even over latex paint, unlike other varnishes with spar polyurethane as an ingredient.

This goes to show how dedicated the company is to provide us with quality products that won’t be inconvenient to use.

The only issue that I came across is that it tends to crack whenever I suddenly apply too much. I was able to remedy this by ensuring that each layer is skinny to avoid any separation of the varnish.

  • It does not have a tint
  • It does not affect the original color of the boat
  • It can be used over latex paint
  • It has a tendency to crack if too much is applied
  • Thin application per layer is needed

This one is indeed a tremendous marine varnish to let the right color of your boat shine through. I highly recommend this beautiful marine varnish!

interlux iva316/qt cetol natural teak varnish

I have to say that this product is a rare breed! There are two common types of marine varnishes, and these are the high gloss and the matte variants. It is uncommon for the market to offer a satin varnish. Satin is a cross between a high luster and a matte finish; it has a shine, but it is also relatively flat. Basically, it is the best of both worlds!

My boat is made of a wood called teak. Honestly, I believe that this product from Interlux is the best marine varnish for teak! I did not have to use any unique tool to make it look splendid. No thinning agent and sandpaper had to be used because this boat varnish already does a great job in penetrating teak and, honestly, other types of wood effectively!

This product has a golden hue. It is the perfect shade for my boat’s wood! I love how it made my boat look expensive and well-kept. It also has a knack for giving a boat its personality!

I was able to see it personally because my boat’s color has already faded. But soon after applying this boat varnish, its color started to come alive! It slowly became brighter and radiant. Suddenly, my faded boat transformed into a beautiful ship with a rich and deep copper hue.

Even though this product can only be applied right above the waterline both for interior and exterior portions of the boat because it is not effective against saltwater, it is still not a bad deal because this varnish is not only useful for boats. It can also be used as an alternative for tables, chairs, and doors!

  • Satin finish
  • Penetrates teak effectively
  • It has a golden hue
  • Alternative varnish for tables, chairs, and doors
  • Only useful above the waterline
  • Not effective against harsh saltwater

Because of the fantastic quality that this product offers, I simply cannot get enough! I’m sure that I will be using it again soon for my other boats.

mccloskey man o'war spar marine varnish

This marine grade spar varnish proves that a boat undergoes a lot of adverse conditions both while sailing and while being stored. As a varnish, I love how this product is very well-versed when it comes to being durable!

I am so amazed because it does not peel easily, unlike other marine varnishes that I have used in the past. It stays put for a long time, and it does not crack. It is very different from polyurethane-based varnishes because this one from McCloskey/Valspar screams flexibility. It has the power to adhere onto various surfaces, and it sinks deep into the wood quite decently.

It is made with tung oil instead of urethane. It can be seen as old-school because it does not have the synthetic material that modern varnishes contain, but whoever said that old-school is terrible? Actually, tung oil is useful, and it gives off a beautiful finish!

I specifically go crazy about this product because it is thick and pigmented enough to provide a certain degree of coverage. I love that it is useful as a corrector; it completely covers the tiny scratches and stains on my boat’s surface!

But still, this product is not advised to be applied on decks. It is a high gloss varnish, so when it gets wet, there is an excellent chance for the surface to become extra slippery. To avoid accidents on the deck, I decided to apply a matte marine varnish instead.

  • Extremely durable
  • It does not peel and crack easily.
  • Flexible; can be used on different surfaces.
  • Made with tung oil
  • Thick and pigmented
  • Can cover stains and scratches
  • It can’t be used on the deck
  • Slippery when it gets quite wet

For me, I will still go for this product even though I can’t use it on my deck. It gives some of the best gloss that I have seen, and it is very durable!

old masters 92304 spar marine varnish

What a beautiful product! All I can say is wow! This marine varnish is quite exceptional! This company really is the Old Master of the varnish industry. The sun is known to be a catalyst for the faster aging process of wood and paint, which results in brittle and faded-looking boats.

I am so happy that I have this product, which is perfect for absorbing the sun’s harmful UV rays, so it worked well as my boat’s exterior marine varnish! I love how it can be used above and below the waterline so I could still protect the bottom half of my ship from fading quickly.

Although this product works well as exterior spar varnish, I am in awe because it is also useful as an interior varnish! Because of its satin finish, the deck would not feel slippery even when the area is wet. I love how the safety of all riders is guaranteed because of this varnish!

However, it took me three days to finish the entire application process because the drying time took 5-8 hours per each coat. But even though the process took quite some time, I was not disappointed with the result that I got!

After patiently applying eight coats, I was left with the most marvelously looking boat! It seemed very mysterious; not too shiny, not too matte. Now, my boat has the perfect coating!

  • Absorbs the sun’s harmful UV rays
  • Perfect as an exterior marine varnish
  • It can be used below the waterline.
  • Also great for interior portions of the boat
  • It prevents boat aging and fading
  • Not too shiny, not too matte
  • The drying time is 5-8 hours per each coat

Because of this product, I am so glad! I was left with a good-looking and well-protected boat. I could not ask for more!

pettit captains varnish

I am so happy that this product is a water based marine polyurethane varnish. It can be challenging to find a glossy varnish that is water based because most glossy varnishes are oil based. Because of this, I am always on the hunt for a water based product that is a high gloss, and finally, here it is!

I love that this product is exceptionally eco-friendly because it does not contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds, which can be harmful. Varnishes usually release these, and long-term exposure to these chemical compounds can result in long-term health effects.

I am so relieved to finally see a marine varnish that does not negatively affect humans and species that reside in water. I love how this company went the extra mile just to give us a healthier alternative to the usual varnish formula that we get in the market!

Another reason to stan this product is its exceptional clarity! Upon using this, I could immediately say that it produces a very smooth, flexible, and clear varnish. I am so happy because I did not have a hard time applying it on the boat.

I really like how this varnish was able to encourage the improvement of my boat’s woodwork! It did not weirdly interact with the ship, and it actually sank into the wood utterly. This is one of the best features of this product!

Now, let me tell you about its leveling property! This is the smoothest and most even varnish application I have ever experience. I love that it glides on smoothly and allows room for error. You can go over a wet varnish as many times as you want!

  • High gloss, even though it is water based.
  • Eco-friendly
  • It does not produce volatile organic compounds.
  • It does not pose harmful health problems.
  • Exceptional clarify
  • Improves woodwork
  • Amazing leveling property
  • Allows room for error during application

As a water based varnish, I cannot believe that this is as amazing as it is! If I were you, I would stock up on this product, especially if you have multiple boats!

interlux y60/pt goldspar satin varnish

Indeed, a fantastic product! This marine polyurethane varnish gave my boat an amazingly bright and lively hue. I love how it did not change my boat’s color; it only brightened it up by introducing a nice sheen on top of it!

For this one, I decided to use a bristled paintbrush because it made the application smoother and more even. It went on in a more uniform layer, which makes layering seamless and effortless! Even though it has a thick consistency, it works well with a brush. I love how it did not form any air bubbles!

Because it is quite thick, the drying time is kind of long. I applied it for a total of two days, and on the first day, when the temperature was low in humidity with excellent air circulation, each coat was able to dry for just 5 hours. However, the weather was a little more humid on the second day, and each coat dried for 7 hours.

I love how hard this product is once it is dry! Because of its thick consistency, it was able to cover my boat’s surface better than other marine varnishes. It can resist stains, scratches, and other minor physical damages that roaring waters and sharp rocks can cause. I love how I can be assured that my boat will look its best even when I sail rough waters!

When I started to check how it feels inside the boat, I was taken aback because it did make a huge difference! I thought that the interior had a new coating, but it did not feel slippery at all. I can assure you that this marine grade varnish for wood is very useful in providing a safe surface for passengers!

I am quite disappointed with this because obviously, one of the main reasons why we, boat owners, invest in great marine varnishes is because of its UV protection. Although this product offers a great sheen and exceptional thickness, it, unfortunately, cannot prevent the boat from aging and fading.

  • A modified version of polyurethane
  • Did not form any air bubbles and streaks
  • Thick consistency offers excellent protection.
  • Resists stains, scratches, and other minor physical damages
  • Not slippery
  • It does not have UV protection.
  • It can’t protect my boat from aging and fading.

I am very fond of this product. I can see myself using it more in the future, although it will work best as an interior marine varnish!

best boat varnish

The marine varnish is for people who are passionate about improving their boats’ appearance. Other than that, it can also be used as a substitute for the typical varnish that is used for daily materials such as doors, windows, chairs, and tables.

Boat Owners

The marine varnish is for boat owners because they take pride in their boats’ beauty and maintenance . Boat owners need to apply marine varnish on their ships because it protects the wood against the rigorous events that take place while sailing.

Marine Artists

Marine artists also need marine varnish because they are responsible for doing the dirty work that most boat owners prefer not to do. They get paid to paint, design, and apply varnish on boats so that the wood is protected and well-maintained.

Varnishing is an essential aspect of carpentry because it strengthens wood. It provides a protective layer between the wood and the outside world, which could pose harmful threats to the wood.

Marine varnish, sometimes referred to as spar varnish, is a term that is quite famous in the boating world. This specific type of varnish is a finish specially designed to protect boats from the harsh conditions they experience during sailing. It is one of the essential materials that a boat owner has in their arsenal of boating essentials.

There are a lot of different options when it comes to purchasing a marine varnish. Here are some of the best features that you might want to consider before buying one:

UV Protection

This is the main reason why marine varnish was specifically made is for it to act as a UV blocker against the sun’s damaging UV rays. As you shop for your next varnish, it is vital to make sure that you are getting one that has the best marine varnish UV protection because it will help to prolong your boat’s life.

Remember that a protected boat will always remain on top of its game. It will not age, fade, and get damaged easily.

High Gloss, Satin, or Matte

There are three different finishes that marine varnish comes in:

It will make your boat appear new and shiny. This variant is best used for the boat’s exterior area because it tends to become too slippery if used inside the ship. Accidents may happen, such as accidental slips, which could result in harmful injuries.

As you can tell, this finish is entirely flat and free of any shine and gloss. This is the best choice for your boat’s interior area because it will provide you and the passengers the perfect surface texture for walking and standing.

This finish is perfect for both exterior and interior portions of your boat. It has a sheen, but it is not too glossy. It is a fusion between a high gloss and a matte, which leads to a perfect finish that is suitable for any boat.

Tinted or Untinted

A tinted marine varnish has the capability of slightly altering the original color of your boat. It will most likely produce a more resonant tone that will complement the color of your boat’s wood. Usually, oil based marine varnishes have tints.

Basically, this form of marine varnish does not have any color to it. If you prefer to maintain your boat’s paint but you want to add some gloss and protection to it, you may opt for this variant. Typically, water based marine varnishes are untinted.

Oil Based Or Water Based

As mentioned above, oil based marine varnishes have a tint to them. It could be amber, golden, or a rich copper tone. As time passes by, rest assured that your boat’s tint will get more prosperous and more profound.

I like this type of marine varnish because it does not try to hide the wood grain of the boat. It actually aims to improve its texture, not cancel it out. It is also essential to take note that oil based marine varnishes are glossier if compared to water based marine varnishes.

Water based

This base has no color at all; it is transparent. It only provides gloss because it does not affect the original color of the boat. However, this has the tendency of flatting out the wood grain of a vessel.

Again, take note that even though water based marine varnishes are still quite glossy, it is still less glossy than oil based marine varnishes.

best varnish for boat interior

Marine varnish’s sole purpose is, in simpler terms, to protect the boat from aging. It can block the sun’s UV rays, which can slowly but surely deteriorate the wood’s quality and color.

Most marine varnishes in the market nowadays are effective in protecting the wood against harmful light. This will ensure the boat owner that their boat will maintain its quality for an extended period of time.

Aesthetically Pleasing

The varnish is used to enhance the wood’s appearance. It provides shine and evenness across the entire wood surfaces. It reduces the wood’s porosity by sealing each area; it penetrates the wood without damaging it. It also keeps tiny wood parts in place to avoid woodcut incidents.

Covers Micro Tears, Scratches, and Stains

Marine varnish can also serve as an additional cover over micro-tears, scratches, and stains. Even though your boat has some scratches, rest assured that a few coatings of the best boat varnish will thoroughly cover it up. Also, it is thick enough to resist minor physical damages.


Slow Drying Time

Some, not all, marine varnishes tend to dry slowly. So instead of getting the job done within a day, you might have to work for 2 to 3 days just to finish all of the needed varnish layers.

Can Contain VOCs

Most marine varnishes nowadays contain Alkyd or Polyurethane synthetic products. Although they provide excellent results for applying and retaining the varnish onto boats, they produce high amounts of VOCs or volatile organic compounds.

VOCs are gases that Alkyd and Polyurethane emit into the air. It is associated with the formation of cancer within the human body. It also has the capacity to interact with other forms of gases, which could result in both short-term and long-term health issues.

Some other health issues that volatile organic compounds pose are the following:

  • Irritation of eyes, nose, and throat
  • Dizziness and headache
  • Memory loss
  • Visual impairment
  • Sick building syndrome

Clean Before and After Sailing

As a rule of thumb, always clean your boat’s surfaces before and after sailing . Not only will it make sure that your varnish is well-kept and beautiful-looking, but it will also lengthen the life of your boat.

While cleaning, do your best to get rid of all sorts of grime and dirt. Check both the interior and exterior. It is also a smart choice to do a thorough cleaning at least once or every two weeks. Not only will it keep your boat hygienic, but it will also make your boat maintain its best shape.

Apply New Varnish If Needed

Yes, you have fully applied marine varnish on your boat’s surfaces. However, you need to check for the need to reapply every now and then. Keep in mind that it is always better to prevent damage rather than to repair it.

By doing a monthly check-up, your boat’s safety and elegance will always be assured. If you can see certain varnished spots that have thinned down, reapply several marine varnish coats onto that area to avoid the promotion of wood brittleness.


Where can I Buy a Marine Varnish?

There are a lot of different places where you can purchase a marine varnish. Here are some of the most common establishments where you can find the best marine varnish for your boat:

  • Hardware stores
  • Department stores
  • Ship’s stores
  • Marine stores

Can a Marine Varnish be used on a Deck?

Yes, you may use a marine varnish to enhance your deck’s beauty and UV protection. But make sure to choose a matte or satin marine varnish so that the deck would be safe to walk on. Avoid using high gloss marine varnishes because they will be too slippery to walk on and may result in unwanted accidents!

Does a Marine Varnish Effectively Waterproof a Wood?

In a way, it does provide a non-porous layer between the wood and the outer area. Think of marine varnish, especially polyurethane marine varnish, as a thin plastic that clings onto the wood. If you put in enough oceanic varnish layers, you will successfully get rid of any porous areas, directly waterproofing the wood.

In a nutshell, every boat owner has to have a little bit of knowledge on marine varnish because it is one of the most effective ways to preserve a boat’s health. With just one session of marine varnish application, their craft will be protected for a long time.

The marine varnish is essential to protect boats from getting older instantly. As much as possible, we have to do our best to take good care of them because, let’s face it; they cost quite a lot! This list of the best marine varnish of 2021 will surely give you some ideas about which varnish to purchase!

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How to Use Yacht Varnish? (A Step-by-Step Guide)

the best yacht varnish

Are you looking for a way to give your boat a polished, professional finish? Yacht varnish provides a layer of protection and a beautiful shine that wont fade over time.

In this step-by-step guide, well explain what yacht varnish is, the benefits of using it, and how you can apply it to your boat.

Well also discuss preparation, application, drying, and sanding between coats, so you can be sure your boat is looking its best.

So, if youre ready to learn how to use yacht varnish, lets get started!.

Table of Contents

Short Answer

Yacht varnish is a protective coating used to seal and protect wood surfaces on boats.

To apply yacht varnish, start by sanding the wood surface with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Then, apply a thin coat of the varnish with a brush, working in long, even strokes.

Allow the varnish to dry for 24 hours before applying a second coat.

Finally, sand the surface with very fine sandpaper before buffing it with a soft cloth.

What is Yacht Varnish?

Yacht varnish is a specialized wood finish designed to protect outdoor wood surfaces from moisture and UV damage.

It typically consists of a blend of resins, oils, and solvents that provide a tough, yet flexible coating, which is ideal for protecting boat decks, outdoor furniture, and other wood surfaces that are exposed to the elements.

Yacht varnish also provides a glossy, attractive finish that enhances the beauty of the wood.

Unlike paint, yacht varnish does not completely cover the wood, allowing the natural grain of the wood to show through.

It is also relatively easy to apply and maintain, making it a popular choice for marine and outdoor wood surfaces.

Benefits of Yacht Varnish

the best yacht varnish

When it comes to protecting outdoor wood surfaces, yacht varnish is an excellent choice.

Not only does it protect the wood from moisture and UV damage, but it also adds a beautiful shine and luster to the wood.

Yacht varnish is a long-lasting coating that can provide years of protection under the right conditions.

It is also easy to apply and can be used on a variety of wood surfaces, including boats, decks, and other outdoor wood surfaces.

When applied correctly, yacht varnish offers many benefits.

It forms a protective barrier against moisture and UV damage, preventing fading, cracking, warping, and other damage that can occur with prolonged exposure to the elements.

The coating also helps keep the wood from rotting, which can be an issue if the wood isn’t properly sealed.

Finally, the varnish adds a beautiful shine and luster to the wood, making it look like new.

Yacht varnish is also easy to apply and can be used on a variety of wood surfaces.

It is a great choice for any outdoor wood surface, including boats, decks, furniture, and more.

It is also relatively inexpensive and can be found at most home improvement stores.

With the right application, yacht varnish can provide years of protection and a beautiful finish to any outdoor wood surface.

Preparing the Wood Surface

Before applying yacht varnish, it is important to properly prepare the wood surface.

The surface should be thoroughly cleaned and dried, and any old varnish should be removed.

Sanding the wood will also help to ensure a smooth, even finish.

It is important to use the correct type of sandpaper for the project.

For instance, a medium-grit sandpaper is suitable for most wood surfaces, while a finer grit may be necessary for surfaces that require a more delicate finish.

Once the surface is prepared, it should be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.

This will help ensure a successful application of yacht varnish.

Applying the Varnish

the best yacht varnish

When it comes to applying yacht varnish, its important to understand the steps involved in the process.

First, the wood surface should be clean, dry, and sanded.

This ensures that the varnish will adhere properly and will provide maximum protection.

Next, apply a thin coat of varnish with a natural-bristle brush.

This helps to ensure even coverage and minimal brush strokes.

Allow the varnish to dry before applying a second coat.

Its important to allow the varnish to dry completely before applying any additional coats.

Sand lightly between coats to help ensure an even surface.

Additional coats should be applied as needed, but always be sure to allow the varnish to dry completely before exposing the surface to the elements.

With proper application, yacht varnish will protect your outdoor wood surfaces for years to come.

Allowing the Varnish to Dry

When it comes to yacht varnish, it is important to allow the varnish to dry completely before exposing the surface to the elements.

This will ensure that the varnish is properly bonded to the wood and will provide optimal protection from moisture and UV damage.

It is best to allow the varnish to dry for at least 24 hours before applying a second coat.

The drying time will also depend on the temperature and humidity of your environment, so it is important to allow for extra time if these conditions are not ideal.

Once the varnish is dry, it is recommended to lightly sand the surface before applying a second coat.

This will help to ensure that the varnish bonds properly and that the finish is even and smooth.

If additional coats are needed, the process should be repeated.

It is important to allow the varnish to dry completely between each coat, as this will ensure that the varnish fully bonds with the wood.

For best results, allow the varnish to dry for at least 48 hours before exposing the surface to the elements.

By allowing the yacht varnish to dry completely, you can be sure that the wood is properly protected and that the finish will last for years to come.

Sanding between Coats

the best yacht varnish

Sanding between coats is an important step when applying yacht varnish.

After each coat of varnish is applied and has dried, the surface should be lightly sanded to remove any imperfections.

Sanding helps create a smooth, even finish and provides more effective protection against moisture and UV damage.

It also helps ensure that the next coat of varnish adheres properly to the surface.

When sanding between coats, use a fine-grit sandpaper (preferably around 320-400 grit) and sand in the direction of the wood grain.

This helps prevent scratches and other damage to the wood.

Be sure to only sand lightly, as sanding too aggressively can damage the wood and reduce the effectiveness of the varnish.

After sanding, use a clean cloth or brush to remove any dust or debris from the surface.

This will help ensure that the varnish adheres properly and provides the best possible protection.

Once the surface is clean, apply the next coat of varnish as normal.

With proper sanding between coats, yacht varnish will provide effective protection and lasting results.

Applying Additional Coats

Once you have applied the first coat of yacht varnish, it is important to apply additional coats for the best protection.

Depending on the specific product you are using, you may need to apply anywhere from two to seven coats.

It is important to allow the first coat to dry completely before applying any additional coats.

When applying additional coats, it is recommended to lightly sand the surface between each application.

This will help ensure a smooth, even finish and allow the varnish to adhere better.

After sanding, be sure to remove any dust or debris before applying the next coat.

When applying multiple coats of yacht varnish, it is important to use the same type of brush and same technique each time.

This will help ensure a consistent finish.

For example, if you used a natural-bristle brush when applying the first coat, it is recommended to use the same type of brush for subsequent coats.

Additionally, use long, even strokes when applying the varnish.

It is important to note that you should avoid applying too many coats of yacht varnish.

Too many coats can cause the varnish to become too thick and may make the surface appear uneven.

Generally, three to four coats should be more than enough.

Once you have finished applying the desired number of coats, allow the varnish to dry completely before exposing the surface to the elements.

With proper application and care, yacht varnish will help protect your outdoor wood surfaces for years to come.

Final Thoughts

Yacht varnish is a great way to protect your outdoor wood surfaces from moisture and UV damage.

Its important to apply yacht varnish correctly in order to get the best results.

Start by preparing the wood surface, then apply a thin coat with a natural-bristle brush.

Allow the varnish to dry before sanding and applying additional coats as needed.

With proper application, you can enjoy your outdoor wood surfaces for years to come.

Now that you know how to use yacht varnish, why not give it a try on your next project?.

James Frami

At the age of 15, he and four other friends from his neighborhood constructed their first boat. He has been sailing for almost 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge that he wants to share with others.

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Better Sailing

Best Marine Varnish for Boats

Best Marine Varnish for Boats

What is Marine Varnish? Marine varnish is a finish coating that protects the outer part of the wood. Specifically, in this instance, it protects the wooden parts of a boat from the sun, rain, wind, sea spray, ultraviolet rays, chemicals, and other extraneous factors. Therefore, a marine varnish must be applied to a boat’s outer wooden parts. Therefore, for one to gain the full advantage of marine varnish, he must choose a good marine varnish product to avoid unnecessary complications that would affect the structure of the boat’s wooden surfaces. In this article will discuss the best marine varnishes to help you make the right choice when purchasing a marine varnish product. 

Some Of The Best Marine Varnishes for Boats Are:

Epifanes Clear Varnish

The “Epifanes clear varnish” is well-rounded when it comes to all the features an exterior finish should have. It is composed of Ultraviolet rays filters like alkyd resins and phenolic that would protect the outer wooden parts properly from the effects of Ultraviolet rays. Due to its components, it is easily absorbed by wooden surfaces, and its effects are long-lasting, which makes it an ideal wood varnish. In other words, it gives off a durable rock solid result. It also has a glossy finish that improves the aesthetic value of any wooden surface. 

Application of the varnish can take days because of the process involved. However, another advantage of the “Epifanes Clear Varnish” is that it takes less time to apply than the typical marine varnish, and more than three methods can be used. In other words, this particular product is very effective when it comes to the longevity and durability of wooden structures. Link to Amazon .

Epifanes Clear Boat Marine Varnish

>>Also Read: Best Antifouling Bottom Paint for Boats

Total Boat Lust Marine Varnish

A remarkable feature of this marine varnish is its high glossy look, improving the aesthetic value of any boat’s wooden surface. Generally, most marine varnishes change the color of the wood it is applied on by either making it a lighter or darker shade of brown, thereby altering the originality of the wood. The “Totalboat Lust Marine Varnish” improves the wood’s original color without taking from the original aesthetic. The varnish makes the original color of the boat bolder and gives it a fresher look. 

Also, because of the varnish’s nature, sandpaper is not needed to remove materials or scratches from the wood surface because the varnish aims to improve the wood’s natural texture. Like the “Epifanes Clear Varnish,” and unlike most marine varnishes, Total Boat Lust Marine Varnish doesn’t take much time to apply because it dries fast. It can also be applied between six to eight coatings which is not difficult compared to other varnishes. A day is sufficient. 

This product is available in two different forms: the matte finish and the high gloss finish. The matte finish improves the natural beauty of the wood, giving it a bolder outlook. In contrast, the high gloss finish improves the brightness of the woodwork. The varnish is also strengthened by UV stabilizers which means that the wooden surface will be protected from Ultra Violet rays from the sun. Link to Amazon .

Total Boat Lust Best Marine Varnish for Boats

TotalBoat Gleam Spar Varnish

As the name implies, the “TotalBoat Gleam Spar Varnish” can be applied to almost every wooden part of the boat. It can be used for the exterior and interior parts and even wooden furniture with the boat. An excellent feature of this varnish is its versatility. It is made up of tung oil, resins, and other stabilizers that prevent ultraviolet rays from affecting the wooden structure of the boat. It is highly resistant to sunlight and its effect.

Also, it is a very unique varnish that gives off a warm effect and has a very pleasant smell that lacks harshness when applied. 

It also improves the coloring of the wood by giving it a light amber effect which improves its beauty. In other words, the “TotalBoat Gleam Varnish” makes the wooden part of the boat look and smell nice. Another valuable feature of this varnish is that it is waterproof. The importance of a boat being waterproof cannot be over-emphasized because it improves the lifespan of the boat’s wood (like a wooden deck) and prevents decay etc.

In terms of application, it can be applied in several ways. For instance, it can be applied using a brush, a roller, a spray gun, etc. This varnish comes in two forms: the gloss and satin finish. The gloss finish varnish is the preferred option for the outside wooden part of the boat because of its properties. It gives the boat depth and makes it look more solid when applied. Also, the satin varnish improves the texture of the wood, so it is great for interior woodwork. Link to Amazon .

TotalBoat Gleam Spar Boat Varnish

>>Also Read: Best Non-Skid Boat Deck Paints

Pettit Captain’s Varnish

Unlike the other recent varnishes, the “Pettit Captain’s Varnish” is an old brand that has been on the market for over 5(five) decades. The beauty of this product is that the new version is always better than the last. In other words, the “Pettit Captain’s Varnish” is a legendary brand that has been greatly improved over the years. As a result, it is the “experienced boater’s choice”. It has a glossy look that improves the boat’s natural beauty and gives it a bold and deep feature when applied.

It is a very durable varnish that lasts long and has been tested and recommended by boaters for decades. Also, the varnish provides UV protection on the wooden surfaces from UV rays’ effects. Like the “TotalBoat Gleam Varnish,” the Pettite’s varnish can be applied inside and out. In addition, the varnish can protect the boat from harsh weather conditions when applied properly.

As for the properties of the varnish, it is a water-based, marine-grade polyurethane gloss varnish that gives a smooth, elegant effect after it has been applied to any wooden surface of your boat. Another added advantage of this varnish is that it is eco-friendly. Most varnishes affect the environment because of their chemical elements. Also, they can impact the health of the boaters in the long run. However, this varnish is all-natural and eco-friendly, and this feature makes it stand out from the other varnishes.  Link to Amazon .

Pettit Captain

McCloskey/Valspar Spar Varnish

In a saltwater environment, the smell of the surroundings can get attached to your boat, giving it the “smell of the sea.” Although most of the time it’s nice, it can be very unpleasant sometimes. That is where the key feature of the “McCloskey/Valspar Spar Varnish” comes into effect. The varnish is resistant to water, salty air, and the smell of it. It also has a very durable finish that can last for a very long time. Also, it protects the boat from the effects of sunlight because of the UV protection present in the finish. 

It improves the wood color significantly, especially if it is an old wooden boat. If applied carefully, it can be used to hide the age of a boat, especially if the color of the wood has an old look to it. Also, it can be used for interior furniture to improve its natural beauty. It can be applied with different techniques, ranging from a brush to a roller. 

Another valuable feature of the “McCloskey/Valspar Spar Varnish” is that it is very resistant to the harsh weather environment that usually affects boats generally. Although this product is very effective, it is not advised to be applied to decks. The main reason is that it has a slippery feel to it when it’s wet, which can be very dangerous in certain circumstances. Apart from this setback, it is a very effective varnish. Link to Amazon .

McCloskey or Valspar Spar Boat Varnish

>>Also Read: Painting Gelcoat: How To

Rust-Oleum 250141H Ultimate Spar

The key selling feature of the “Rust-Oleum 250141H Ultimate Spar Varnish” is that it is resistant to so many factors that can possibly affect boats in general. For instance, it is resistant to mildew, scratches, damage from UV rays, and harsh weather conditions because of its durability. It not only improves the beauty of the wooden part of the boat but is also a very effective protective coating. 

The durability of the “Rust-Oleum 250141H Ultimate Spar Varnish” is outstanding compared to other varnishes. It can also be used in the interior parts of the boat in places like doors, interior floorboards, etc. It can also be cleaned frequently with soaps and detergents. The “Rust-Oleum 250141H Ultimate Spar Varnish” has three finish options: satin, gloss, and semi-gloss, which is unique because you can use any depending on your taste and what you want.

Also, most marine varnishes rarely have above 2 finishes. This clearly differentiates the “Rust-Oleum 250141H Ultimate Spar Varnish” from other varnishes.  Link to Amazon .

Rust-Oleum 250141H Ultimate Spar Marine Varnish Saltwater

>>Also Read: Best Boat Hull Cleaners

Best Marine Varnish for Boats – Final Thoughts

The best marine varnishes listed above should be on your purchase list when you are looking for a marine varnish that would protect, enhance the overall effectiveness and improve upon the aesthetic value of your boat.


Peter is the editor of Better Sailing. He has sailed for countless hours and has maintained his own boats and sailboats for years. After years of trial and error, he decided to start this website to share the knowledge.

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Top 7 Best Marine Varnish for Wood (Reviews & Buying Guide 2022)

Varnishing wood is the commonest way of revitalizing old wood. Many people varnish their cabinets and countertops to offer additional protection and add a glossy finish to them. A nicely varnished wood or piece of furniture is attractive and a beautiful sight to behold.

But, choosing the best marine varnish for wood is one hell of a tough task. Many people get confused as to which product is the varnish or not. I’ll be reviewing the best marine varnish for wood and what you need to know before selecting the right product and how to apply the varnish perfectly. First, what’s a marine varnish?

All at a Glance

Choose from our top 3 Picks

TotalBoat-496608 Lust Marine Varnish, High Gloss and Matte Finish for Wood, Boats, Outdoor Furniture (Matte, Gallon)

Last update on 2024-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Is Marine Varnish?

The marine varnish is a formula that acts as a protective film against wear and chipping. It’s specifically designed for wood exposed to water. Before now, varnishes comprised resin and pine sap. Now, varnishes feature simpler chemical ingredients like Tung oil, phenolic, and alkyd resin, making painting much easier.

One significant thing that differentiates the varnish from paints is the color. Unlike paints, the varnish isn’t colored. Plus, you can’t use paints for marine wood because the water will wash it away.

Marine varnishes provide sturdier finishes and can withstand water and bad weather conditions excellently. It has good coverage and offers more protection to the wood, prolonging its lifespan.

Reviews of the Best Marine Varnish for Wood

1. totalboat lust matte finish marine varnish – best overall marine varnish.

the best yacht varnish

TotalBoat Lust Matte Finish Marine Varnish is an incredible marine varnish that will keep your piece of furniture and boats glowing and beautiful. This high-grade varnish is super durable and ideal for coating interior and exterior wood projects.

The premium finish is resistant to scratches, and won’t peel or wear away. The finish remains the same, whether the wood contracts or not. The temperature changes won’t affect the appearance or the lifespan of the varnish.

This marine varnish delivers a rich, and amber finish on your wooden pieces, and enhances their appearance. The finish is UV resistant, which is why you can use it on exterior projects. Thanks to its waterproof feature, water splashes have no effect on the finish.

One of the best features of this marine varnish is its drying time. The finish dries super-fast and permits rapid coating. You can apply this finish multiple times without sanding in between until the final finish.

TotalBoat-496608 Lust Marine Varnish, High Gloss and Matte Finish for Wood, Boats, Outdoor Furniture (Matte, Gallon)

  • MARINE GRADE VARNISH imparts a rich, clear amber tone that enhances wood grain; creates a durable, uv resistant, waterproof finish that won't fade; ideal for interior and exterior wood, brightwork on boats & outdoor furniture
  • CLASSIC SPAR VARNISH WITH A MODERN TWIST: High-build, fast-drying formula allows rapid recoating, multiple coats per day and no sanding between coats; sand lightly before the final coat - be done in a little over 1 day
  • FLEXIBLE COATING WON'T CRACK OR PEEL: Premium, oil-based marine polyurethane finish is not damaged when wood expands and contracts with changes in temperature; perfect for all types of wood
  • EASY TO APPLY by brushing, rolling or spraying; For a high gloss varnish finish apply 6-8 coats of Lust Gloss; for a smooth satin finish, build with coats of Lust gloss varnish; use Lust Matte for the finish coats
  • AVAILABLE IN HIGH GLOSS OR MATTE FINISH in Pint, Quart and Gallon sizes; Thinner: TotalBoat Special Brushing Thinner 100 (brushing/rolling) or TotalBoat Spray Thinner 101 (spraying); Coverage: 360-400 sq. ft./gallon

In addition to its fast-drying formula, the varnish is easy to use and relatively thick. Using a brush or roller, this varnish cures into a lustrous and yellow finish that you would adore.

  • It’s durable
  • UV protected
  • Super easy to apply
  • Great for indoor and outdoor use
  • Weather-resistant
  • Includes a fast-drying formula
  • Cures into a beautiful finish
  • The amber coloring doesn’t sit well with many people.

Aside from its amber coloring, TotalBoat Lust Matte Finish Marine Varnish is arguably the best marine varnish available. It’s thick, straightforward to use, and suits various indoor and outdoor projects.

2. Rust-Oleum 207008 Marine Varnish – Best Durable Marine Varnish

the best yacht varnish

Rust-Oleum Marine Varnish will add natural beauty to the wood and deliver a crystal-clear finish. Although it’s an oil-based formula, the amber color will darken over time, leaving you with a more superior finish.

This spar varnish works well even in the harshest weather conditions, thanks to its UV and weather-resistant features. The formula is formulated to provide the wood with optimal protection against chemicals, sunlight, and water splashes. Due to how flexible the varnish is, it can expand and contract as the weather changes, maintaining its clear and superior finish.

The varnish is also durable. It’s tough and resistant to scratches, mildew, and stains. This makes it a perfect option for coating boats and outdoor wood pieces of furniture that are constantly exposed to water.

The oil-based formula is easy to use if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You don’t need to thin the formula before applying it because its liquid nature. For best results, apply with a China bristle brush and a fresh foam paintbrush.

Rust-Oleum 207008 Marine Spar Varnish, Quart, Gloss Clear

  • Ideal for use on exterior wood surfaces above the water line, including trim, railings and wood furniture
  • Oil-based formula expands and contracts with changing weather conditions
  • Dries to the touch in 2 hours and covers up to 150 sq. ft.
  • Durable coating provides excellent resistance to UV, salt and mildew
  • Crystal-clear varnish leaves a beautiful gloss finish with maximum protection

Last update on 2024-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rust-Oleum dries rapidly and has a wide coverage when applied. After coating, the varnish dries under two hours into a beautiful and glossy finish.

  • Produces a clear and great finish
  • Easy to use
  • Requires no thinning
  • Dried quickly
  • Excellent for exterior use
  • Resistant to temperature and sunlight
  • Good value for money
  • Not suitable for indoor use.

This varnish is an incredible formula that will protect your wood adequately from water and other weather elements. Its durability is topnotch and the price is also affordable.

3. Epifanes Clear Varnish – Best UV-Resistant Marine Varnish

the best yacht varnish

When it comes to making a durable and clear marine varnish, the Epifanes is one brand you can rely on. And this Clear Varnish is no different from other lines of products the brand produced.

What makes this product stand out from others is the extra UV filters that it comes with. The filters offer additional protection to the wood compared to other varnishes. With this, you can coat your boats and wood furniture in the sun for long hours without problems.

Unlike some marine varnishes, this product doesn’t change the appearance of your projects. Rather, it enhances the surface’s appearance by creating a beautiful brown/amber finish. This color effect is super glossy and quite clear.

Epifanes Clear Varnish (250 ml)

  • World famous, highest quality tradional tung oil marine spar varnish.
  • Formulated with tung oil, phenolic and alkyd resins resulting in a finish that has superior flow, gloss, durability, and exceptional longevity.
  • UV filters for superior protection with an ultra high gloss finish
  • Used in many applications, both exterior and interior, household or marine, brushed, sprayed, or rolled and tipped.
  • Use on new wood or restoring old wood to a deep clear finish, softwood or hardwood, marine or household applications.

Apart from creating a superior amber and glossy finish, this product is also durable and has a wide range of applications. You can use the varnish on household furniture and for outdoor projects. The varnish accepts various methods of application, such as brushing, rolling, and spraying.

  • Leaves a clear, amber, and glossy finish
  • Contains extra UV filters for added protection
  • Suits different methods of application
  • Great for interior and exterior use.
  • Sanding between coats is required.
  • Creates bubbles if not applied properly.

Epifanes Clear Varnish is the right product for you if looking for a product for both interior and outdoor use. It’s easy to use, as you can use any method of application.

4. TotalBoat Lust High Gloss Marine Varnish

the best yacht varnish

This is another high-quality marine varnish from TotalBoat that will create a deep, rich, amber finish when applied to your wood project.

This marine-grade product enhances the overall look of the grain. It adds a natural beauty that you would love. The varnish is highly durable and comes with sun absorbers to prevent the sun rays from damaging the coats.

Thanks to the varnish’s durability, the coats would neither fade, peel or crack due to temperature changes. The varnish contracts and expands, maintaining the finish and appearance of the wood.

This varnish also creates a waterproof finish. It contains certain ingredients that make it highly resistant to water. This makes it ideal for coating furniture, boats, and all marine applications.

TotalBoat Lust High Gloss Marine Varnish also has a fast-drying formula. Once applied, the first coat dries within an hour. The varnish also allows for multiple coating, and the best thing about it is that you don’t need to sand until the final coat. You can coat your boat and other pieces of furniture in a day, which is great.

TotalBoat-482869 Lust Marine Varnish, High Gloss and Matte Finish for Wood, Boats, Outdoor Furniture (High Gloss, Quart)

In addition to its fast-drying formula, this product cures into a hard, smooth, superior, and glossy finish. The finish is super-clear, even though it’s an amber finish.

  • Creates a superior and beautiful finish
  • Easy to apply
  • Extremely durable
  • Offers optimal protection against water and weather elements
  • Resistant to fade and scratches
  • Requires a few sanding in between coats
  • It’s too thick.

This varnish produces a great finish. It holds up well and requires less sanding in between coats, unlike some conventional varnishes. Although you may need to thin the product as it’s too thick.

5. Epifanes Wood Finish Matte

the best yacht varnish

One thing I love about this varnish is its satin sheen finish. It leaves your boat and other wood furniture with an adorable effect when used.

Thanks to its components such as phenolic-modified alkyd resin and tung oil, this varnish dries into an amber, clear, and elegant finish. Best of all, you don’t need to recoat the wood surface after using this product for a long time. The finish is long-lasting, which is impressive.

Epifanes Wood Finish Matte is super durable, as it offers maximum protection against fade, wears, and scratches. It also comes with UV absorbers that protect the wood from the effects of the sun. This means you can coat your piece of furniture or boat in the sun without side effects.

This finish is easy to apply, and you don’t need to sand in between coats due to its low porosity level. Because of this, the varnish brings out the best finish in the wood while concealing its awkward appearance.

Epifanes Wood Finish Matte (1000 ml)

  • High build, hard matte finish without sanding between coats. (if recoated within 72 hours)
  • Soft matte beauty with outstanding U.V. protection for teak and other fine hardwoods.
  • One component varnish based on phenolic-modified alkyd resin and tung oil.
  • Microscopic porosity properties allows no sanding between coats for up to 72 hours.
  • Matte Finish giving a rubbed effect look.

This product is thick, so you’ll need to thin it with mineral spirit before application. For the best finish, apply with a brush.

  • Great for outdoor use
  • Sanding between coats is unnecessary.
  • Creates a satin and smooth finish
  • Highly durable
  • Contains UV absorbers
  • You will need to be fast with the application, as it dries quickly.

For those who prefer a matte, satin finish, I recommend the Epifanes Clear Varnish. It’s UV protected, resistant to fade, and dries quickly into an adorable finish.

Read Also: Best Water Based Polyurethane for Furniture (Reviews & Buying Guide 2021)

6. McCloskey 6539 Man O’ War Marine Spar Varnish Gloss – Best for Interior and Exterior Use

the best yacht varnish

If you want a durable product that you can use for both interior and exterior wood projects, then the McCloskey Marine Spar Varnish is for you.

This marine spar varnish is extremely durable. When dried, scratches and others have minimal effect on it. Best of all, this marine varnish is UV and moisture-resistant. This marine varnish is suitable for boats, furniture, and other areas that are frequently exposed to water, as it will offer increased protection against ocean salt and peeling.

Bothered about temperature changes? With this marine spar varnish, you don’t need to. It expands and contracts according to temperature changes. This means the beautiful finish on the wood remains the same and unaffected.

MCCLOSKEY 6539 Sc Mow Spar Gloss

  • Resistant to water and UV
  • For wooden boats, furniture and fences
  • For bare, stained previously varnished surfaces
  • For high moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens
  • Clean up with mineral spirits

This product holds up well and quite convenient to use. You don’t need to apply many coats to get your desired finish. The product dries into a hard, long-lasting finish. However, it doesn’t dry as fast as one would expect.

  • Holds up well
  • Works well in any weather condition
  • Resistant to sunlight
  • Long-lasting finish
  • Delivers a superior finish
  • Straightforward to use
  • Gives off an odd smell during use.

This is one of the best marine varnishes on the market that doesn’t cost much. Though it’s designed for marine applications, it’s great for coating indoor wood pieces of furniture. It’s not difficult to apply, as you don’t need to thin it.

7. System Three 1855S16 Clear Marine Spar Urethane Varnish Coating – Best Budget Marine Varnish

the best yacht varnish

If you are looking for the best low-budget marine varnish, I recommend the System Three 1855S16 Clear Marine Spar Urethane Varnish. This varnish is fantastic, and one of the best there is. It cures properly into a satin and gloss finish.

This marine varnish is made for exterior use and offers optimal protection to the wood. The finish is durable, making the wood surface tough and resistant to scratches and weather elements.

Additionally, the marine varnish contains ultraviolet absorbers that prevent the sun rays from getting into the wood. This keeps the wood furniture or surface glowing even when exposed to sunlight. It’s also resistant to water, being that it’s a marine varnish.

For easy application, the System Three Clear Marine Varnish excels greatly. With a roller, brush, or HVLP sprayer, you can easily apply the varnish on doors, railings, etc. You don’t have to thin the varnish before using it unless for special coatings, which is fantastic.

In terms of drying, the finish doesn’t perform badly. It dries relatively fast, and the final finish appears smooth and super glossy. When thinned, a self-leveling finish is created, eliminating the chances of bubbles forming during application.

System Three Marine Spar Varnish, Satin, 1 Qt Can

  • Premium Varnish: Our marine varnish is a high-build coating designed for use as a marine epoxy and exterior wood varnish on surfaces like railings, doors or any surface where a clear, durable gloss finish is desired
  • Features: Formulated to provide exceptional exterior durability for the most demanding environments, this spar varnish contains state-of-the-art UV absorbers designed to keep wood looking beautiful even with constant exposure to strong sunlight
  • Versatile Application: Use a high-quality, natural bristle varnish brush to apply the varnish to boats, outdoor furniture or doors
  • Tips and Tricks: Our spar urethane varnish is resistant to scratching and marring; You can spray varnish after taking proper precautions and by applying proper techniques
  • For Best Results: Weather conditions or sudden drops in temperature will affect any varnish; Do not apply before morning dew has dried, and stop well before dusk

I love the fact that the varnish is affordable. For buyers who are unwilling to spend much on a varnish, this product would be a perfect choice.

  • Creates a fabulous finish
  • Water-resistant
  • Cures into a durable finish
  • Resistant to scratches
  • It doesn’t dry fast.
  • Not great for interior use

System Three Marine Varnish is a low-budget, high-quality finish that will revitalize your old outdoor wood piece of furniture and make them look beautiful again. Its UV absorbers will prolong the wood’s lifespan by preventing the sun from penetrating the wood.

Best Marine Varnish for Wood Buyer’s Guide

When in the market for the best marine varnish for wood, there are essential factors that you must consider to ensure that you make no mistake. Below are some of these factors;

Types of a Marine Varnish

You will encounter several types of marine varnishes when in the market for one. Marine varnishes exist in the following types as Tung Oil mixture, Water-based and Oil-based Polyurethane, Exterior Varnish, Spar Varnish, Two-Part Varnish, and Acrylic Varnish.

As I earlier explained in this article, classic varnish comprised of resin and pine sap. Modern marine varnishes now comprise tung oil, phenolic resins, and alkyds.

Varnishes with tung oil offer gloss finishes and harden after application. This makes them great for coating boats and other things that come in contact with water.

Water-Based and Oil-Based Polyurethane is another type of varnish. They contain chemical components that harden quickly when applied to a surface. Unlike oil-based poly, water-based results in crystal clear finishes and doesn’t give off yellow color. However, it is not durable as oil-based poly.

Exterior Varnish is for exterior use. It comes with UV protection that makes the varnish suitable for outside utilization. This varnish makes it impossible for mold to grow in the wood because of its deep penetration.

Spar varnish is mostly used for coating boats since they come in contact with water constantly.

The two-part varnish is a finish that comes with a base and a hardener. These two components are mixed in the right combination to give the best coating result. Two-part finishes offer maximum abrasion resistance and dry super quickly.

Acrylic varnish dries quickly and non-toxic. Like Exterior Varnish, acrylic varnish comes with UV light protection, so you can use it both on the inside and outside.

The acrylic varnish is also clear after application. However, it has low penetrating power but it’s not corrosive or gives off a bad odor. This makes it safe for use.

Ease of Cleaning

You can’t be too careful with using varnishes, as they sometimes spill accidentally. That’s why you need a formula that’s easy to clean. You will find it more comfortable to clean such a formula when it spills during use.

The varnish should be utterly resistant to abrasion and scratches and last for an extended time. This will minimize expenses and save you money a great deal.

Ease of Use

Some varnishes are difficult to use, especially for those who are just starting. As a beginner, you should use a product that’s easy to apply. You should use a product that you can handle comfortably should mistakes occur during painting.

Drying and Curing Time

Every varnish has its drying and curing time. However, you should avoid those that take time to dry, as they can complicate your schedule. Plus, varnishes that take time to dry are susceptible to dust and debris accumulation, affecting the coating result.

Safety and Maintenance Tips When Using a Marine Varnish

Maintaining a marine varnish will make it last longer and maximize its effect. Therefore, you need to take care of it and ensure that it’s kept in a safe place.

Careless handling of a marine varnish can jeopardize your safety. Marine varnishes are flammable. Exposure to fire and direct heat will cause an explosion.

Before you can begin to apply a marine varnish, make sure the area is properly ventilated. Painting outdoors, especially in the morning is most preferred. Also, you must wear safety gear like gloves, goggles, and a respirator for optimal security.

Although some marine varnishes come with UV protection, direct sunlight can affect the drying process. So you should either paint in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid fast drying.

How to Apply a Varnish

  • Clean the surface and prepare the surface for the first coat.
  • Rough the surface up with 80-grit sandpaper so that the coat can stick.
  • Thin the first coat with white spirit for oily varnishes and water for water-based varnishes.
  • Apply the first coat with a roller. You can also use a paintbrush.
  • Make sure the coat is dried properly.
  • If you can see some bubbles on the surface, sand it with 180-grit sandpaper or any other fine-grit sandpaper to smoothen.
  • Apply the second coat. This time, don’t dilute it.
  • Wait for it to dry.
  • If you wish to apply the third coat, repeat the process from step 7

What is the difference between spar varnish and marine varnish?

Spar varnish, also known as spar urethane, and marine varnishes are nearly similar. Both protect the wood from water and moisture damage. The major difference between spar varnish and marine varnish is that spar varnish can be oil-based or water-based, while the marine varnish is mainly water-based.

Is marine varnish better than polyurethane?

It depends on the surface you intend to apply the finish. For doors and exterior surfaces, the marine varnish is best to use because of the chemical properties and moisture-resistant abilities. Polyurethane is best used for items inside the home or interior use.

What makes varnishes better for exterior use than polyurethane is due to its low toxicity. They are more flexible and offer better protection against extreme weather conditions.

How long does marine varnish last?

Marine varnish typically lasts for more than ten years, although pigments, temperature, and chemical agents may affect durability. For instance, exposure to direct sunlight can minimize its longevity.

What is the best exterior clear coat for wood?

The best exterior clear coat for wood is marine spar varnish. This finish contains primary ingredients such as linseed and alkyd resin to offer optimal protection to the wood.

Is marine varnish waterproof?

The marine varnish is waterproof. However, its waterproof features are lost when it is used in certain woods. Before you can begin coating, you have to ensure if the varnish’s components are compatible with the surface you intend to paint.

Conclusion – Best Marine Varnish for Wood

Purchasing the best marine for wood is non-negotiable. If you want your furniture or boat to last as long as possible, you need to use the ideal marine varnish.

The best marine varnish will protect your wood furniture and enhance its appearance by creating a glossy finish. With this type of finish, your furniture will last longer without fading or losing its lovely appearance.

This article has provided the best marine varnish for wood. With the comprehensive buyer’s guide, I’m pretty sure you won’t have issues choosing the most suitable finish.

Remember to use the right method application when using any of the varnishes, as it guarantees the finish’s outcome.

Important Reads:

  • Top 7 Best Polyurethane for Table Top (Reviews & Buying Guide 2021)
  • Best Finish For Pine Dining Table 2021| Finishing a Pine Table

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How to Find the Best Marine Varnish

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Boats are dynamic vessels that provide comfort, luxury, and possibly income. You spent a lot of effort and money on them. As a boater, your main priority is to ensure that your vessel is in good working order so it can serve your needs.

The woodwork is a crucial component of the boat that demands special attention. If your boat’s woodwork isn’t adequately cared for, it could lead to discomfort and irreversible damage. Losing a boat to something as minor as damage from the sun, rain, or wind can be disheartening.

This article will provide you with all the necessary information to choose the best varnish for your boat. I also provide you with some varnishes that I recommend.

What is a Marine Varnish?

To begin with, a varnish is a protective coating you can use on woodwork. The varnish provides protection against sun, rain, or chemical damage.

Marine varnish is simply a type of varnish meant for watercraft. It is transparent, but sometimes it has yellowish or dark brownish shades. The shades usually come from how the manufacturer made the varnish or the material it is made with.

What is a Marine Varnish Used For?

Boat Varnishing

Marine varnish is very similar to regular varnish. The only difference is that a marine varnish is used on watercraft, whereas normal varnishes are used on other surfaces.

Because boats are always outside and almost always on the sea, it’s a constant risk for sun damage, water, and other harmful elements.

Like I said earlier, the varnish protects against tiny scratches as well as weather-related severe damages. If the woodwork in your boat has no protection or proper maintenance, it dries out, making it vulnerable to potential damages.

Sometimes, these damages can be permanent and could cost a lot of money fixing or replacing the damaged part.

Furthermore, on the other hand, a marine varnish protects the wood and enhances its attractiveness. It makes it gleaming and glossy, giving your boat an elegant appearance. Also, nobody really likes to look at ugly dried wood.

What are Marine Varnishes Made of?

As a science geek, I usually like to know what is inside any product I get and what they do, especially when it has to do with something as big as a boat. So, if you happen to be as curious as I am, then here you go! But if you are not, feel free to skip to the next paragraph of this article.

Fundamentally, there are five main ingredients in marine varnish, and they are:

  • Oil – The oil provides a soft, shiny, and natural look to the wood.
  • Resin – Resins add a glossy effect to the wood. It also makes the color and grain of the wood shiny, giving it that elegant look.
  • Solvent – Solvents serve two purposes. First, they can be used to melt down the resin to be applied to the wood. And secondly, they can also be used to thin the finishes, making them easier to apply.
  • Driers – This helps the marine varnish to dry faster.
  • Additives – The additives help the marine varnish last longer by protecting it from the sun. It is designed to protect the wood from the harmful effects of sunlight.

Factor to Determine When Choosing a Marine Varnish

In order to find the best marine varnish for your boat, there are a few things you must consider.

Here they are:

How Long Will it Last on the Boat?

As you know, the most important thing about any product is how long it can last. When it comes to marine varnishes, it is essential to understand the durability of the product. This is because the boat is constantly exposed to substances like rain, sun, etc.

Some marine varnishes last much longer when compared to others, and some require special procedures like extra coatings. At the same time, some last up to two to three years before recoats are needed.

So, when buying your marine varnish, I advise you to try to ask your dealer all questions you can think of about the durability of the product so you can make the right decision according to what you want.

How Long Will it Take to Dry ?

The second thing you should consider when looking for a marine varnish is how long it will take to dry.

If you happen to be working on a limited timeframe and need to have your boat completely coated and ready for use in a day or two, then this is a factor you should consider. In this case, you should only look for varnishes that dry much faster. Some dry in a matter of hours.

If you are not in a rush, you don’t have to worry about this so much. But still, look for marine varnishes that can serve your timeframe.

How Easy or Difficult is it to Use ?

I would advise you not to ignore how difficult or easy any product is to use, especially when it comes to marine varnishes. To avoid wasting a lot of money, please find out everything you can about the brands and how to use them. If it is what you can handle, then go for it!

How Glossy is It?

This might sound funny, but yeah, glossiness does matter a lot. Most times, high-glossed varnishes happen to be the best durable because of the thickness. Plus, it also adds to the attractiveness of boats. So, it is safe to say, the glossier the varnish, the better!

Top Ten Marine Varnishes

There are several marine varnishes on the market today. However, I have picked out the top ten products based on the criteria above (durability, drying ease, ease-of-use, and glossiness).

TotalBoat 482869 Lust Marine Varnish

TotalBoat 482869 Lust Marine Varnish

The TotalBoat Lust is the brand’s top product and a top product in the marine varnish industry. Their varnish is extra thick, which provides your boat with maximum protection.

The TotalBoat marine varnish has a U.V. and weather resistance, which makes it the perfect choice for brightwork and more. U.V. means ultraviolet light, means the sun.

The TotalBoat Lust marine varnish is the first one-part marine spar varnish. Usually, when applying varnish on the wood, after each coating dries, you are supposed to scrape the surface with sandpaper so the next coat can stick. However, you don’t need to do that with the TotalBoat Lust because it’s a one-part varnish.

Aside from the safety and convenience features of this product, it does enhance the beauty of the wood. Due to the thickness of this product, it’s able to give your boat an elegant look by adding the shine and glossy effect.

Pros and Cons

The TotalBoat lust marine varnish is an excellent product, but it has a few downsides.

Here we discuss a few pros and cons of the products, which will help you decide if it is something you can handle or not.

  • Easy to use – Generally, the product is easy for anyone familiar with varnishes. But if you’re not very familiar with this, don’t worry, it becomes easier as you practice.
  • Durable – Because the product is an oil-based formula, the wood will not crack or peel when it’s exposed to change in temperature or weather. It is compatible with all types of wood.
  • Good shine and finish – This product provides a clear tone, enhancing the wood grain and lasting longer.
  • U.V. and Weather Resistant – Provides reliable U.V. resistance and waterproofing to the wood.
  • Dries Quickly – When applied on the wood surface, the TotalBoat Lust marine varnish dries very quickly in a matter of hours. This makes it an excellent choice for you if you’re working on a limited time frame and you need to be done in a day or two.
  • Versatile – This can be used almost everywhere. It can be used on the interior, exterior, and bright works on boats.
  • Enhances Wood Appearance – It enhances the appearance of your boat by brightening the color, adding glossy effects.
  • Requires a lot – Because of the extremely thick nature of the TotalBoat lust marine varnish, you have to apply a lot of it to cover every area.
  • Not Ideal for Beginners – Because this product is extremely thick, you’ll need to thin it down to at least 50% before use. A beginner would likely miss this.
  • Low Shelf life – It cannot be stored for a long time, so it must be used on time.

The TotalBoat 482869 Lust Marine Varnish comes in two sizes:

  • Quart – The quart cost about $68.50
  • Gallon – The Gallon costs about $167.12

The prices are the same for both satin and matte.

Rust-Oleum 207008 Marine Spar Varnish

Rust-Oleum 207008 Marine Spar Varnish

This is similar to the TotalBoat Lust marine varnish. If all you want is straight-up protection from the sun and moist conditions, then the rust-oleum marine spar varnish is for you.

This product is made to protect the wood from weather damages, and it is very reliable. It can be used on any type of wood in the sailboat. It also enhances the appearance of your boat with glossiness.

The Rust-Oleum marine spar is easy to use as long as you thin it down to 10% to 30%. It dries up quickly when applied to the wood, and there would still be enough to go around.

I recommend getting a new foam brush to get the best result with this product. Using the brush with every coat makes the finish very smooth. Also, it can help it last longer.

  • Very Strong U.V. and water protection – Provides excellent protection again U.V. rays, water, and harmful moisture.
  • Excellent Finish – Offers an excellent finish.
  • Easy to Use – Does not require any complicated procedure for application.
  • Good For Beginners – This product is generally very easy to use.
  • Highly Efficient – This product performs just as well as other top marine varnishes at a lower price.
  • Low Shelf Life – Cannot be stored for a long time, so it has to be used on time.
  • Quart – The quart costs about $23.00
  • Gallon – The gallon costs about $00.00

System Three 1855S16 Marine Varnish

System Three 1855S16 Marine Varnish

Like every other marine varnish on this list, the System Three marine varnish is good. However, the unique feature about this is how long it can last. So if durability is your top priority with a little bit of everything, then this is the way to go.

According to costumers reviews and researches, this is the best when it comes to durability. In a typical case, three years is the highest a varnish can last before it begins to show signs of a recoat. However, the System Three marine varnish can last up to 3 and a half years without undergoing significant peeling or cracking.

It also provides excellent U.V. and water protection, with a very attractive finish. You can thin it down if you want, but you don’t need to thin it if you use an HVLP spray gun.

But keep in mind that it does not dry very quickly with a thinner. So if you happen to be working a limited time frame, this isn’t the best option.

  • Excellent Durability – Product will withstand the elements for a long time.
  • Very attractive finish – Glossy nature of this product makes your boat more attractive.
  • Easy to apply with a sprayer – It is easy to use with a spray gun.
  • Has Gloss and Satin Options – Comes in gloss and satin options, so you can whichever one you prefer.
  • Does not dry very q uickly – Without a thinner, this product dries very slowly.
  • Not easy to use without a spray gun – Without a spray gun, you might find it challenging to use.
  • Quart – The quart costs about $40.00
  • Gallon – The gallon is about $81.00

Epifanes CV.500 Clear Varnish

In the boating industry, a lot of people like this particular product. It provides durability to the boat as much as it gives an excellent finish. If you want your boat adequately maintained while looking good, you might want to consider this.

The Epifanes Clear Varnish is the best when it comes to providing your boat with an attractive finish.

Apart from the durability and the finish, it is also easy to apply. Although you can if you want, you don’t really need to sand every coating, except for the last one, which guarantees a smooth finish.

And of course, it does provide excellent U.V. protection; it Is a marine varnish, after all. It is also compatible with all kinds of wood, and its finish can last up to 2 years.

  • Very g ood s hine and f inish – It enhances the beauty of your boat with a very shine and finishes.
  • Excellent U.V. p rotection
  • Easy to u se – Does not require any complicated procedures for application.
  • Does not dry very quickly – It takes a long time to dry, so it may not be the best option if you are working on a limited time frame.
  • Low Shelf Life – It cannot be stored for a long time, so it must be used on time.
  • Quart – The quart costs about $36.39
  • Gallon – This gallon costs about $73.26

TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish

TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish

The TotalBoat Gleam marine spar varnish is another product from the TotalBoat brand, just like the TotalBoat Lust marine varnish.

The TotalBoat Gleam marine spar varnish is considered the most versatile of them all. It is a combination of ease of use, fantastic finish, and above-average durability. It comes in different finishes and sizes, so you can choose the exact one you need for your project.

Unfortunately, the TotalBoat Gleam marine varnish is not as strong as the Lust. The finish can last up to 2 years, and sometimes less, if your wood is constantly exposed to elements.

  • Versatile – Can be used both on the boat and household wood.
  • Very good satin finish – Provides a very smooth and clear satin finish.
  • High g loss protection – Because it’s glossy, it provides maximum protection against easy damages such as scratches, etc.
  • Not complicated to use – This product is very easy to use, as long as you thin it out properly.
  • Comes in v arieties of shine and sizes – This product offers multiple options for different shines and finish such as glossy, satin, etc.
  • Not very durable – This product does not last very long under tough elements.
  • Quart – The quart costs about $24.99
  • Gallon – This gallon costs about $109.99

McCloskey 7509 Man O’War Spar Marine Varnish

McCloskey 7509 Man O'War Spar Marine Varnish

This marine varnish offers durability, deep ember tint, caramelization, and versatility.

Although it takes a long time to dry, it is very easy to use. It provides excellent U.V. protection and is waterproof. Also, it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

This protection has a positive reputation for professional sailors. This can last for a few years without showing any signs of flaking, chalking, cracking, or peeling.

  • Excellent U.V. Protection – Provides maximum products again sum rays.
  • High r esistance to b ad weather – This product is resistant to water, salty air, and bad weather.
  • Good finish – Maintains the excellent appearance of the wooden surfaces.
  • Good s atin f inish – Creates a clear satin finish.
  • Versatile – Can be used on both boats and household wood.
  • Easy to use and clean – This product is easy to apply and clean.
  • Needs sanding – Requires a little sanding after each coating.
  • Limited Availability – It is not always on the market.
  • Slow Drying – This product takes a little longer to dry.
  • Quart – The quart costs about $32.48
  • Gallon – This gallon costs about $95.00

Epifanes WFM.500 Wood Finish Matte

Epifanes WFM.500 Wood Finish Matte

The main charm of the Epifanes WFM.500 Wood Finish Matte is its marine-grade durability. It provides excellent U.V. protection for hardwood. So if you are working with a hardwood such as teak, you should consider this.

The Epifanes WFM500 Wood Finish Matte also offers an excellent finish. It enhances the attractiveness of the boat by giving it a lovely satin sheen and soft matte effect.

Aside from the nice things this product offers, it is not the best start for a beginner, unfortunately. It requires a lot of attention. It has to be thinned appropriately, applied evenly with every coating, and quickly.

  • Excellent durability:  This product lasts very long.
  • U.V. Protection:  Offer protects against sun rays.
  • Good satin and matte finish:  Offers a very good satin and soft matte finish.
  • Flows Smoothing – Flows very smooth without thinning.
  • Enhances the attractiveness of the boat – It brings out the beauty of the wood very well.
  • Requires q uick application – You have to apply the product very quickly, especially if it isn’t thinned.
  • Not b eginner-friendly – It might be complicated for a beginner.
  • Quart – The quart costs about $31.87
  • Gallon – This gallon costs about $87.75

Minwax 63200444 Helmsman Spar Urethane

Minwax 63200444 Helmsman Spar Urethane

The Minwax offers just about everything you need from a marine varnish. It is very durable, easy to use, and provides a good shine.

The Minwax marine varnish can be used on both the interior and exterior woodwork on the boat. It provides a protective barrier again rain and moisture when applied to the wood.

  • Easy – to – use – It is generally easy to use.
  • Beginner – f riendly – It is not complicated to use for beginners.
  • Good enough durability – Just as durable as average marine varnishes.
  • Dries quickly – Although it is an oil-based product, the Minwax dries very quickly.
  • Not m arine- g rade – It is not precisely a marine grade varnish, so it might not be very effective.
  • Affects the color of the wood – It makes the wood look a bit darker.
  • Quart – The quart costs about $19.00
  • Gallon – This gallon costs about $65.99

Rust-Oleum 250141H Ultimate Spar

Rust-Oleum 250141H Ultimate Spar

If you look for the perfect marine varnish for exterior wood, this might interest you. The durability is good, and it offers maximum protection from mold, scratches, U.V. damages, and rough water.

It also offers a very good glossy finish, which you may need to maintain by cleaning with soap and water. This will keep the gloss as its optimal appearance.

  • High durability – Like most Rust-Oleum marine varnishes, this is also very durable.
  • Water and bad weather resistance – High water resistance and harmful moisture resistance.
  • Can be cleaned – You can wash with soap and water because it is high water and moisture resistant.
  • Good for interior and exterior areas – This product can be used both on the interior and exterior areas of the boat.
  • Dries faster – Does not take time to dry.
  • Three finish choices – It comes in three finish choices: satin, gloss, and semi-gloss.
  • Affect the color of the wood – When the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it turns into a white tint.
  • Quart – The quart costs about $34.00
  • Gallon – This gallon costs about $

Duralux M738-1 Spar Varnish

Duralux M738-1 Spar Varnish

The Duralux M738-1 Spar Varnish is known for its durability and versatility. If you are looking for a marine varnish on the exterior areas, maximum protection and durability is usually the goal. This product provides you with both.

When applied, Duralux M738-1 Spar Varnish can keep your boat protected and shiny for a year and a half and more. The shine is excellent, and the finish is pretty decent.

Duralux M738-1 Spar Varnish does require regular sanding after coating. However, it does not yellow over time.

  • Good enough durability – This product offers very decent durability.
  • Good finish – Provides a satisfying finish and shine.
  • Easy-to-use – Not complicated to use.
  • Does not yellow – Does not yellow over time.
  • Does not dry quickly – It takes time to dry.
  • Quart – The quart costs about $23.00
  • Gallon – This gallon costs about $67.00

The Most Reliable Marine Varnish Brands

Evidently, we can see that there are numerous marine varnish brands on the market today. But, in order to make the selection easier for you, I have highlighted the most trusted brands. These ratings are based not only on my opinions but also on professional sailors and consumers. Here they are:

Answer : An average marine varnish dries to touch in 4 to 6 hours. But, under normal conditions, you should it to last from 8 to 16 hours before recoating.

Answer : Although some marine varnishes are so good, you may not need to sand as much or at all. But, in a normal case, it is always good to sand between coatings. Sanding does two things to the finish: first, it brings down any high knocks, making it smooth and even. And second, it creates tooth for the next coating so it can stick.

Answer : It totally depends in the thickness of the coating. For thin coats, they usually dry within 24 hours.  Also, it depends on the product you are using, I recommend you ask your dealer or a specialist for complete specifications.

Answer : Drying is when the solvent evaporates from the surface of the film, leaving it yack free. When leftover solvents are removed from the film, it begins to bind with oxygen in the air, resulting in increased strength, toughness, damage tolerance, and chemical resistance.

Answer : It depends on what type of stain. Marine varnishes are meant for exterior woods, and it can be used on unfinished wood surfaces. Both of which are likely to be stained, but they all have to be a dried completely.

Answer : Varnish can only adhere to a water-based paint . If, however, the surface you want to paint has oil-based paint on it, then you have to put a water-based primer to it, before applying varnish.

Answer : Yes it is. Marine varnish is a natural oil based products, designed to protect the wood on our boats.

Answer : Generally, it does not. However, some marine varnishes does affect the color of the wood. Some give it a yellowish shade, and some makes it darker while some are just transparent. Also it depends on the thickness the varnish.

Answer : For an average marine varnish, it can last up to 2 to 2 and a half years. While some really good ones can last up to 3 to 3 and a half years.

Marine varnishes are very important, especially if you care about the wellbeing of your boat. Today, there are so many brands producing all kinds of marine varnishes.

This makes it challenging to get the perfect one for you, especially if you don’t know much about marine varnishes. I have highlighted the top ten marine varnishes in this article with their features, pros, and cons. This will help you decide which one is best for you.

I like the TotalBoat 482869 Lust marine varnish the most. It provides maximum wood protection while equally enhancing the appearance. The high glossy nature of this product total helps it accomplish this effect.

If you think like you can handle the thickness of the product, I don’t see you facing much challenges with its application.

Looking for more interesting readings? Check out:

  • How to Find the Best Marine Epoxy Paint
  • How to Find the Best Boat Cleats: Our Top 6 Picks!
  • How to Find the Best Pontoon Boat Grill: Factors to Consider

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the best yacht varnish

Best Varnishes for Wood

Top pick – Best Wood Varnish: Totalboat Marine Spar Varnish

the best yacht varnish

Totalboat Marine Spar Varnish is the best varnish both for your exterior and interior wood. It provides great protection from moisture and UV rays.


Wood varnish has been around since the heyday of the Egyptian Empire, but we’ve come a long way from those original mixtures, which basically consisted of tree sap and alcohol.

Modern varnishes offer a mix of hardness , beauty, and ease of use . At this point, varnishing a surface is no more difficult than painting that surface.

At the same time, there are some inferior products out there, and I want to do our best to help you avoid them. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some products that aren’t so inferior. We will examine different types of wood varnishes in no particular order. Let’s look, then, at the best varnishes for wood .

Best Varnishes for Wood in July, 2024

#VarnishDry time (hours)Covers (quart)Sheen
162,5 sq. ft.gloss, satin
2 2up to 150 sq. ft.gloss
3 462,5 sq. ft.gloss
4 12up to 150 sq. ft.gloss
5 4100 - 125 sq. ft.satin

1. Totalboat Marine Spar Varnish – Best Outdoor Wood Varnish

the best yacht varnish

This is a somewhat specialized product that is intended for marine use, but it serves well for any purpose that requires strong water resistance. Outdoor projects like decks, sheds, and patio furniture are great opportunities to use this stuff. It keeps out water with great effectiveness.

This varnish is made from Tung oil, and its finish is very hard and durable. I like the high level of clarity, as it doesn’t interfere with the natural beauty of the wood. I also like the fact that this is one of those self-leveling formulas. Some say that this feature doesn’t make much difference, but anything that makes it easier to apply a clean and level coating is worthy of praise.

This one also seems to dry a little faster than most varnishes, which is probably due to its Tung oil-based formula. That stuff tends to evaporate faster than most oils , so it would make sense. However, it should be noted that other factors can influence dry time, such as temperature and humidity. Our results might simply be the product of our environment.

May Not Be Worth The Cost For All People

This paint is pretty expensive, so it isn’t worth buying for most projects. This is only worth buying if your project requires extreme waterproofing. Also, it does take quite a few coats to get the full effect. You won’t really see a lot of difference in your wood surface after the first coat, or even after the second coat. Thus, you should allocate a little bit more time when working with this product.

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  • Marine grade
  • Self-leveling formula
  • Blocks UV light
  • Great clarity
  • Fairly quick drying
  • Requires too many coats
  • Pretty expensive

2. Rust-Oleum Marine Spar Varnish – Old Reliable

the best yacht varnish

This paint comes from a trusted brand with a good record for quality, so it gains some points right off the bat. This is another spar varnish, but it’s even tougher than the others. This one resists water beautifully, making it bead up every time. It also resists mildew, UV penetration, and salt. Obviously, the salt protection won’t help you much at home, but the mildew protection is a nice touch.

This one is oil-based, which means that it will penetrate into the wood for a lasting finish that actually becomes part of the wood. It dries crystal-clear: Other than the shine, you won’t even know it’s there. However, that great finish will take more time to dry than most others, requiring two hours before it’s dry to the touch. Full curing takes up to 48 hours.

Long Dry Time

The long drying time is slightly inconvenient, but it’s not really a big deal. However, those who are in a hurry might find this product to be an annoyance. Professionals who are working on a strict timeframe might also have some issues. Further, vertical surfaces are going to be a little harder when you choose this varnish. With its longer dry time, there will be more opportunity for the varnish to run and drip. This will create rough spots that have to be sanded away, adding even more time to the process.

Beauty And Toughness

The oil-based nature of this product gives it a finish that is unique when compared to other products of this type. Most are water-based, which produces a hard and clear finish. While this is great from a durability standpoint, it doesn’t add much of anything to the beauty and visual appeal of the wood. If you want something that will make those grains pop like never before, this is a great one. Not only will it provide the hard and durable surface that you want, but it will also darken the wood, almost like a stain , giving your surface a classic antique look that is both classy and cheap to produce.

  • Trusted brand with a good record
  • Resists UV, mildew, and salt damage
  • Absolutely crystal-clear
  • Oil-based for deep penetration
  • Very flammable
  • Long drying time

3. MCCLOSKEY Voc Mow Spar – Volatile But Effective

the best yacht varnish

This is a premium brand, and a premium product. As such, you can bet that you will pay more for this one. The quantity is a little greater than that of our other choices, but you will pay a bit more for that extra quality, and that’s putting it lightly. While we’re talking about the negatives, let’s talk about the other big one: Volatility. This stuff is made with toxic and flammable chemicals that are somewhat unpleasant to the nose.

Flexible Finish

This one is engineered for maximum UV protection, and so it should last a lot longer than most. Also, it is engineered to dry flexible. This is a great touch for wooden surfaces, which will often bend and warp a little bit as the weather changes. A flexible finish ensures that the varnish layer can flex along with the rest of the wood and avoid flaking.

Resistant To All

This one also does a great job of resisting salt and chemicals, so it’s a great choice for those who live near the ocean. That salty sea air can really do a number on your paint after a few years, but this product should keep those issues down to a minimum. Those who don’t live by the sea might want to consider another product, as the salt resistance won’t make any real difference for them.

  • Maximum UV protection
  • Provides a flexible finish
  • Resists salt and chemicals
  • Good for indoor and outdoor use
  • Quite volatile and bad-smelling
  • Very expensive

4. Epifanes Clear Varnish – A Great Bargain

the best yacht varnish

This is a very high-gloss marine varnish that is suitable for pretty much anything. You can apply it to inside jobs, outside jobs, and marine applications with brushes. Like other marine finishes , it is kind of expensive. However, it’s not as expensive as most products of that type, so that’s a plus.

This product is suitable for both new and old wood, so it’s a great choice for those restoration projects. It resists UV light, so that should do even more to help it resist degradation. This is a definite plus, as it helps you to be sure that your product will last a long time. A longer-lived varnish equals less time before you have to varnish again. This is a major consideration for today’s busy environment.

Imported Equals Extra Taxes

I do see a couple of problems here, in spite of the value factor. This product is imported from Holland, which is only a problem because the import taxes have surely added more to the cost of this product. If it had some kind of special quality, it would be worth the extra money, but it does not. Also, some customers say that this product is prone to bubbling up after a few months.

What Do You Mean By “Bubbling Up?” When I say “bubbling up,” I’m referring to a phenomenon that is often seen from paint that contains too many ingredients. In the process of adding all those things, they end up mixing in a lot of oxygen from the air around the product. Once the can is sealed up, that air has nowhere to go, and it turns into tiny bubbles that may get bigger once they are again exposed to the open air.

  • Suitable for indoor, outdoor, or marine use
  • Suitable for old and new wood
  • Resists UV degradation
  • Imported- extra cost
  • Sometimes prone to bubbling

5. System Three Clear Marine Spar Urethane Varnish Coating – The Budget Option

the best yacht varnish

This spar urethane varnish is quite possibly the most affordable item on my list, and it comes with all the features and advantages that you would expect. First of all, you can get this stuff in several different forms. That’s a very nice touch because some jobs really don’t require a high-gloss approach. The satin paint does a great job of sealing and protecting the wood without making it glisten in the sun. Some people prefer a matte look to their furniture, and those people will probably like this product.

Easy To Use On Pre-Treated Surfaces

This one can be applied over existing paint, other coatings, wood putty , and even epoxy . So, if you’re one of those people who like to use glue for a lot of household repairs, this product will suit you. It has a strong UV protection level, which should keep it from becoming dulled by exposure to sunlight. There is no need to worry about outdoor use with this one.

Relatively poor coverage

At the same time, this product does not give very good coverage. When you consider its lower price, it seems like the obvious winner. However, that relatively low coverage will probably negate the money that you save on each can. You are likely to need more than one can for any large project, so take that into account when planning to use this product. Also, this one is even more flammable and toxic than most of these products.

  • Available in gloss or satin finish
  • Can be applied over epoxy
  • Never gets dulled by sunlight
  • Fairly cheap
  • Very flammable and toxic
  • Poor coverage

Varnish finish is easily one of the most versatile tools in the handyman’s arsenal. It protects, it shines, it improves the look of any wooden object, and it seals the product from moisture, mold , and all sorts of other things. Of course, there is always a right way to make something, and also a wrong way to make something. That is why some varnishes give you a strong finish that will last the ages, and why some others produce a thin and weak veneer that flakes and chips away at the first sign of bad weather.

When you choose a varnish, I hope that you will remember the basic ideas and principles that you have learned today and that they will help you make the perfect choice for you and your home. You just need to remember that every product is unique. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all varnishes are the same, because that mistake could lead to a lot of extra work on your part. Then, as you grumble and curse while scraping away the old finish so that you can try again, you might wish that you had listened more closely to the things that I told you!

William Stewart

The proud owner and lead writer of Started writing in 2018 and sharing his love and passion for wood treatments and crafts.


Can i coat TotalCoat Marine Spar over shellac?

William Stewart

Hello Shaun. Yes, you can.

Shellac is one of the old favorites from way back. I remember my father used it a lot, and he loved it because it goes over everything, and everything goes over it.

Just be sure to clean it well to remove any waxes and give it a quick roughen-up with #000 steel wool or fine sandpaper to create a keying surface.


Hey William! I’m working on an outdoor mural and part of it is painted onto 8×4′ plywood panels. The paint mixers at the hardware store said if I’m using exterior paint that I do not need to varnish on top but I don’t trust that it will be enough to keep the artwork outside all year. Have you any experience with exterior paint vs varnish and if they can or need to be used together? I was planning to at least varnish the edges of the panels but if I’m going that far why not coat the whole thing?

Hello Danica. It depends on the quality of paint used for the mural. if the paint is outdoor paint then you do not need to apply varnish on top. For outdoor application paint is more durable and protective than varnish. In comparison to varnish and other transparent finishes, paint pigments give excellent UV protection. If the mural will come in contact with humans and animals then it is better to seal the mural with varnish. You can use this recommended varnish by Minwax .

Randy James

Hi William For my current project the most important feature would be non yellowing. I am working with almond wood which is fairly light color but everything I have tried makes it darker. From your article i would guess Rust-oleum would be the way to go but i have tried just straight tung oil and it makes it darker

Hello Randy, You have come in term with almost every product will change the shade of wood, wood naturally turns darker when in contact with anything liquid. Can you explain what kind of finish you’re keen on achieving?

Michael deGruccio

Thanks for this article, William. I have loved using Osmo for my furniture finishes and reclaimed wood because it is so very close to the feel of unfinished wood. But I am working on some bathroom vanities that are made of wood near the basin. I am wanting to know which product comes in matte and will also be really good in resisting water and moisture. And finally, do all of the products darken the wood equally?

Hi Michael. This varnish by TotalBoat is available with both a glossy finish and a matte finish and has excellent water resistance. It is necessary to apply more coatings for an excellent finish. This varnish is oil-based and will give a yellow tint. Most oil-based varnishes give yellowing. Acrylic-based varnish does not turn yellow or at least much less. Most varnishes make the wood look wet.


Great article and info, William. Thanks. I have another scenario to ask about: We have an outdoor octagonal gazebo adjoining the back of our house, With 4’x4’ screen windows that let in mist from rain storms and sometimes a dusting of snow in a Minnesota blizzard. The interior is tongue and groove cedar—two full walls and the peaked ceiling, as well as above and below the windows. The old varnish was getting mold/mildew and we have resorted to sanding it all down (except the grooves—too much!). Based on this post I was looking at the RustOleum and putting on several thin coats to minimize dripping on the walls and ceiling. Or do you have another suggestion?

Hi Kevin. I understand that you had a lot of grinding work to do, but, these efforts are always rewarded. I think you made a good choice. If the coating is thick enough it will protect the wood well. At the first signs of damage to the coating, apply another one, so you will protect the wood without having to remove the old varnish.

Frank Church

Thanks for your information.

What about the environmental effects?

I live north of Seattle on a tiny lake, and I am trying to sand/repair our docks. I have been perusing Marine Spar varieties of varnish, but I just don’t see any clear picture of what is the most biodegradable option, in lieu of all the Wild life living in our lake.

I know it’s a weird question, but do you have any ideas, or a point in the general direction?

Thanks again!

Hello Frank, First, I want to congratulate you on your way of thinking. We all need to take an example from you. We must live in peace and harmony with the environment so as not to lose it. Fortunately, the industry has begun to look in your direction, now water-based varnishes are available which are more harmless do not need additional chemical thinners (to wash your brush for example or to dilute the varnish) I think a product like this by TotalBoat even its packaging is more environmentally friendly (uses less material and less space for disposal). However, keep in mind that water-based varnishes may not be as durable as chemical varnishes. Another important thing before applying water-based varnish, if there is old varnish on the boards may not bond well with the old varnish. Ideally, the varnish is applied to the wood. Good luck!


Hi William,

I’m making a river table with spalted beech and need some advice regarding finishing the wood. It’s very light and has some wonderful subtle hues of green/blue in places which I don’t want to obscure with, for instance, tung oil. Ideally I would like something that would penetrate the top layers of the wood which then when scraped back would leave, for want of a better wood, a plasticised feel i.e. you get to feel like your touching the wood but the surface is totally impervious to water. I realise I might be asking for something that doesn’t exist but do you have any recommendations?

The best product to use to get that plasticized feel on the wood would be a spar varnish or spar urethane. Marine spar varnish is the topcoat they use on boats to help protect it from water and sunlight. If you decide to use this product and still want the color in the wood, just make sure you get it clear and don’t make the coat/s too thick. I would suggest using spar urethane by Minwax , or a marine spar varnish by Rust-Oleum . The Rust-Oleum product would probably give you the most plasticized look and feel than the Minwax one but both will work. Getting it in gloss and not satin also helps.

Karen W.

Hi William, I wanted to paint my deck before applying a varnish. Would the paint interfere with the effectiveness of the varnish? Or should I skip the paint and use a waterproof stain instead? Many thanks!

You can paint or a stain under the varnish. If you decide to use paint, just don’t use an oil-based paint or the varnish won’t adhere properly.

Robert Mac Elhinney

Can I use a varnish over starbrite teak oil on outdoor teak furniture? THANK YOU

Yes, you can. I would just make sure the teak oil is completely dry and settled before adding the varnish finish to the wood for the best result.


Hi William, I’m going to use the Totalboat varnish to refinish a cedar lawn chair that has a weathered finish of polyurethane over shellac. Most areas look fine. A few small areas are bare wood, but no peeling or flaking. I don’t want to go thru the work of sanding it all to bare wood. Can I just sand lightly and cover it all with a few coats? Thanks.

Yes, that should work. I would try to even out the previous coat as much as you can. You would get the best results if you completely sanded it but that’s up to you.

Sitar Mohamed

I recently fitted large wardrobe in master bathroom from pine timber wood(white wood) and then painted with white lacquer. My wife is not happy and want some shiny finishing likewise to use clear varnish. Please let us know that which varnish/paint or anything else is good to keep it in nature wood colour and shinny. Thanks and regards

I would use something like this from Walmart or this to get that protection and glossy look.

Michael Galarza

Hello, I have a deck I just burned so I can make a shou sugi ban look. I want to apply a little stain to it to give it a nice look, sunbleached by rustoleum, got the idea from a guy on youtube. The Stain is interior grade so I need something to go over it to either penetrate the wood or cover it but I wanted to last. Do you have something you recommend for my application?

I would recommend something like this waterproof sealer or for even more protection a varnish such as a spar varnish like this .

Mary Kopperud

Hello William, I don’t see my question so I am trying again. We recently bought a children’s wooden playhouse built in China and measures 6x6x6. The paperwork claims it has been treated and guaranteed for 1 year. It is located outside under the fig tree in shade until the leaves drop. Sacramento doesn’t really receive snow. the door is red and the exterior walls are brown. I want to protect from moisture and rain and sun damage. What do you recommend?

I would recommend Spar Varnish . Spar Varnish protects wood from sunlight and from water damage. You can get it at any hardware store or even order it online using the link in the reply.

Jennifer F

Greetings, I am building a large interior barn door made out of black walnut & maple. However, it faces west through a large wall of windows. I’m trying to protect it from the harsh sun but don’t want a high gloss finish. What would you recommend? Thanks in advance.

I would recommend Spar Varnish, the only thing is it’s hard to find it not glossy. I would recommend this satin Spar Urethane or t his semi gloss clear lacquer , although Lacquer is mainly used for protection from scratches it also protects wood from sun damage. I would see if you could find anything like those two products with the least amount of gloss.


Hello, I have some left over untreated rough cut pine I want build a small treehouse with for my son. I don’t want to spend a lot, but I do want the treehouse to last as long as possible. Can I get your opinion on what would be the best/cheapest route to waterproof it. Thanks

I recommend using RainGuard Sealer . It will protect the wood from moisture and rotting for a long time (manufacturer gives warranty for 10 years). By the way, it’s easy to apply (just like paining) and eco-friendly so playing in the treehouse will be completely safe.


I need to weather protect a painted bench that although is supposed to be for indoors, we have it outside. I am thinking a matt exterior varnish water based would be best as I don’t want it to colour or go ‘yellowy’ – a cheap but good one – home base do a ronseal exterior matt varnish but it does not say ridiculously if water based or ok to go on paint and cannot find this info anywhere? Do you know or do you have any suggestions?

You can use exterior clear polyurethane such as Helmsman which can be applied over painted wood.


Hi, We have a large summerhouse that has been painted with Cuprinol Garden Shades in a light cream colour several years ago. We would very much like to change that to a medium wood colour and wondered whether there is a strong enough oak-coloured varnish we could use over the old garden shades paint, so that it actually looks wood colour instead of cream. Or do we have to sand it all back completely which would be a huge job? Any suggestions gratefully received! Thanks

Unfortunately, varnishes don’t have that many colors to choose from (at least I don’t know of one that does). Changing color is always a tricky task, you know. You may buy a pint of some varnish to check how it will work for you. But I think you will have to sand down all the paint even though it would take time.

Jim Watson

What’s the best product for a Cedarwood outbuilding 3 years old.

I can’t really say that some varnish on the list is better for this kind of wood. Just go for TotalBoat , it works with any type of wood.


Hi, I’m really new to DIY projects but I’ve just sanded down my patio set. Do I need to use a sealer & then a varnish or do I just go straight to the varnish. I live in a area that’s extremely hot most of the year but ofcourse also want something that would protect the wood from rain . Thanks

You should use one of those. Go straight to the varnish.


Sir I thank you for all the above information. I have a patio set of eight large chairs an oval table with a lazy Susan I tried stripping by hand as they were in a bad way blistered and patchy so I asked someone to sand blast them. I now wish to finish them any suggestions. Thank you. Tony

There are several options: varnishes, sealers, and oils. Varnishes and sealers are pretty similar except that sealers penetrate the wood whereas varnishes create protection layer on the surface. Oils penetrate the wood and increase its natural color. If you just need protection then you can go for varnishes, for example, TotalBoat.

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What’s The Best Varnish For Your Yacht?

Written by Abigail Meadow - Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Varnishing your yacht is essential to protect it from the elements and preserve its longevity. As wood is a natural product, it’ll break down and become damaged when exposed to moisture, general pollution, and UV rays. Varnish creates a barrier against all of these things, gives your yacht a beautiful finish and makes it easier to clean.

The best way to prevent damage to your boat is to touch up any breakage in the wood as soon as you notice it. Doing this will prevent water from soaking into the wood. Generally, it’s good to varnish your yacht every one to two years.

However, varnishing isn't a simple task, as there’s a large selection of boat varnishes to choose from. Gaining an understanding of the qualities of different types of varnish is essential so you can choose the ideal one for your boat.

Here, we reveal which varnish is best suited to your yacht.

1. How to varnish

Wood must be sanded before finishing – slow and steady is the way to go with sanding. Don’t dig into lower grooves, as it’s important to create even layers when sanding. Otherwise, when the varnish sits on top, it won’t have the professional finish you’re looking for.

When you’re finished sanding, wipe any excess dust with a super soft brush, as you don’t want to varnish over small sharp wood. Some woods, such as teak, are rich in natural oils, so it’s a good idea to wipe the wood with a solvent such as acetone after the final round of sanding. This dissolves the surface oils and helps with finish adhesion.

Once you’ve finished sanding, use a paintbrush and coat the wood in the varnish. It’s important to be precise with varnish and coat every part of the wood thoroughly.

2. Choosing the right finish

the best yacht varnish

Some woods such as teak, cedar, and oak can be left unfinished. These woods are decay-resistant, but adding a varnish finishing enhances its appearance, so most owners still choose to use varnish.

Tropical hardwoods such as cocobolo and lignum vitae are difficult to finish with varnish, as oil-based varnishes won't dry properly when placed on top. If you have a teak deck, it's best to leave it bare, but you should clean the surface regularly with liquid soap or a specific teak deck cleaner. Don't use a stiff or wire brush or rub with the grain when you clean, as this is too harsh. Avoid the temptation to pressure wash your yacht, as doing this will damage and weaken the wood.

The advantage of unfinished wood is that you’ll never have to refinish it; if installed properly, it can last years. Most boat owners prefer the sheen of an oil or film finish, even though this is unnecessary.

3. Tung Oil Varnish

Tung oil boat varnish is what some yacht owners refer to as the classic varnish. It’s referred to in this way because if you’re unsure of what your boat needs, this is a classic, middle of the road, safe bet.

The base and main ingredient of tung varnish is a natural oil, mixed with other things such as solvents, resins, and UV protectors. This type of varnish is flexible and can protect the wood from water, staining, and heat damage.

Over time, however, this type of varnish will crack off the surface, at which point you’ll need to recover the boat in varnish again.

4. One-part polyurethane varnish

Today, most varnishes use blends of synthetic resins such as polyurethane, phenolic, or alkyd polyester. Polyurethane is also known as urethane and is more durable than the other resins.

One-part polyurethane varnish produces just as good a finished result as tung oil and offers the same amount of protection, but is much more durable. Due to its strength, this type of varnish is often used for interior wood flooring.

Due to its rigidity, one-part polyurethane shouldn’t be used on highly flexible areas such as spars, as it can crack and be rendered useless.

5. Two-part polyurethane boat varnish

This varnish consists of two products that have to be mixed. Such as an epoxy resin – listed below, and polyurethane varnish.

This type of varnish is extremely tough, offers very good protection from moisture and UV damage, and helps protect areas prone to damage.

Two-component polyurethane coatings offer better results than single-component ones. In fact, they can guarantee greater resistance to abrasion and chemical agents, high durability, and higher conservation of the coating film.

Again, due to its hardness, two-part polyurethane boat varnish shouldn’t be used on highly flexible woo. That’s because it could crack, leaving room for water to damage the wood.

6. Epoxy resin

Epoxy resin can be used to coat timber, but it generally has poor resistance to UV light. Usually, another varnish tends to be applied over the top, as boats are exposed to a high level of UV rays, especially in the summer months.

At this point, we should advise you to beware of inexpensive yacht varnish sold in various DIY shops . Lower prices are usually an indication of extended drying times or poor long-term performance when on the water.

Specialist yacht insurance from Insure4Boats

Of course, there’s more than one way of taking care of your vessel. One of the most important forms of protection for your yacht is insurance – this is where we come in.

After taking such good care of your vessel and varnishing it to perfection, it’s vital to protect it if any issues occur. Our specialist yacht insurance covers the damage and theft of your yacht and includes Personal Accident cover if you have suffered a serious injury as a result of an accident whilst out at sea.

What’s more, as part of the  Ripe Guarantee , we promise to provide you with great cover and fantastic service at the best possible price. We let you tailor your policy, so you’ll never pay for more than the cover you need.

Find out more about our specialist yacht insurance here .

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Please note the information provided on this page should not be taken as advice and has been written as a matter of opinion. For more on insurance cover and policy wording, see our homepage.

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One Coat Fence Life

Yacht varnish


Yacht Varnish protects outdoor wood all year long so it’s perfect for windows and doors. It’s a tough traditional varnish and resists cracking, peeling and blistering.

  • Long lasting protection for outdoor wood
  • Waterproof and protects from the sun
  • Extremely tough – resists cracking, peeling and blistering
  • Highlights wood’s natural colour
  • Prevents wood from greying over time
  • Protects against sun damage
  • Won't crack, peel or blister

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Smooth planed wood

Need to know

This no-nonsense varnish is extremely tough and durable, giving you a long-lasting glossy finish.

Eight hours might seem like a long time to wait between coats, but it guarantees you lasting protection and the best finish.

3 coats give you a glossy finish

Varnishes up to 16m2 per litre

Brush it on

Smooth exterior wood like doors and windows

How to use Yacht Varnish

Before you start.

Make sure your wood is dry before you begin. Choose a day that’s reasonably warm (above 10°c) and dry.

This varnish isn’t suitable for decking though.

How to prepare wood for varnishing

  • You will need to remove old stain or varnish by sanding it down. Use 120 grit sandpaper and sand away the old finish.
  • Wipe down the surface with white spirit and a cloth to remove the leftover dust.

If your wood is brand new, you will need to sand it to remove loose wood and clean with white spirit.


  • Thoroughly stir your varnish to make sure it’s smooth and there’s no lumpy bits.
  • Test it on a small patch of your door. It’s clear varnish but it may still darken the natural colour of your wood so make sure you’re happy with it.
  • If you are, start painting with a brush. Go in the direction of the grain and for best results, apply two or three coats. Wait eight hours between each coat.
  • Before you apply your last coat, lightly sand the surface and use white spirit to remove the excess dust. This will give you a nice smooth finish. Your last coat will be dry in four hours.

Once your varnish is dry, you’ll be able to clean your door as normal. Keep on top of the dirt and grime for a friendly welcome to your home.

You can clean your brushes with white spirit or brush cleaner.

It’s easy to repair your varnish if sections of it become damaged. Simply use some sandpaper to sand down and smooth out the damaged part and then add a couple of coats so it’s good as new again.

Technical Specification

Usage Smooth exterior wood like doors and windows
Coverage Up to 16m per litre
Dry time Four hours
Coat time Eight hours
Number of coats Three
Colours Clear
Finish Satin and gloss
Durability Won’t grey in the sunshine and protects against the rain
Application Brush
Varnish base Solvent
Sizes 0.5L, 1L, 2.5L
VOC High 

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The Best Marine Varnishes

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

It’s impressive to see a nicely varnished boat or water vessel. You may see a toe rail or handrail and some wooden parts that are neatly done. These parts have different materials, and you may think that a meticulous process was done to achieve magnificent results.

However, you don’t have to miss or ignore the notable contribution of the best marine varnish. Getting this product means not only coming up with the coveted outcome, but by doing so, the application won’t be a tough job.

best marine varnish

You would probably think that you can just drop by at your local hardware or supply store to get it. Some may also assume that it’s easy to browse and place orders online. You have to make a wise decision as they’re not in a low price range.

To avoid wasting your money over, this review will guide you to get the most effective ones, just like the following products.

TotalBoat Varnish

the best yacht varnish

+ Oil-based premium formula
+ Doesn’t crack or peel
+ Clear final finish and durable

Jump to Review

Rust-Oleum 207008

the best yacht varnish

+ Perfect for exterior wooden parts
+ Flexible and durable oil-based formula
+ The odor is not too intense

Epifanes Clear Varnish

the best yacht varnish

+ Gives durable, solid rock result
+ Has an extremely glossy finish
+ Made of high-quality components

Table of Contents

1. TotalBoat Lust Marine Varnish

2. rust-oleum 207008 spar varnish, 3. epifanes clear varnish, 4. totalboat gleam spar varnish, 5. minwax 632000444 spar urethane, 6. rust-oleum 250141h ultimate spar, 7. epifanes wood finish matte, 8. pettit 1-spar captains varnish, 9. system three 1855s16 spar varnish, 10. epifanes varnish in 250 ml, 11. totalboat halcyon marine varnish, 12. mccloskey or valspar spar varnish, what is marine varnish and how does it work, types of marine varnishes, benefits and drawbacks of using marine varnish, buyer’s guide, care and maintenance, frequently asked questions, top 12 marine varnish reviews.

It is the best marine spar varnish for me as it keeps my boats looking good. By following the manufacturer’s instructions, I’m able to get the desired finish. Thanks to its classic spar formula with a modern twist. It’s ideal for exterior and interior wooden parts and brightwork on boats.

The premium formula is oil-based so I love how it doesn’t crack or peel. These things might happen on wood as the temperature can make changes, like contracting and expanding, on this material. All the wooden parts of my water vessels are taken care of by this varnish.

Its fast-drying nature is advantageous as I don’t need to wait for a long time to do the recoating. Sanding is not necessary between coatings. Hence, the final coat is accomplished in just more than a single day. It’s recommended to do all the processes with a temperature of around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

I like its availability in matte or gloss shine finish. When I want the wooden part of my boat to exude the natural beauty of wood, I go for a matte finish. The high gloss finish is what I need for brightwork. It leaves surfaces shiny and it gives a wet and sleek look.

Aside from the nice looks that it brings, you can get the surface protected by applying six to eight coatings. This varnish is strengthened by UV stabilizers. It means that it becomes tougher as you add more layers. A gallon would be sufficient for 360 to 400 square feet.

  • Oil-based premium formula with UV stabilizer
  • Doesn’t crack or peel
  • Fast drying, all necessary coatings can be done in just a day
  • No sanding needed between coatings
  • Has two kind of finish: matte and glossy shine
  • Can be thin out or layer up as you wish
  • Clear final finish and durable
  • Dries up after a few months in storage

It’s just expected that I would like the wooden parts of my boat to look great. I’m glad to have found this product from a marine spar varnish review. It works magically on exterior wooden parts that are above the waterline like railings and trims.

I like how flexible this varnish is as it has an oil-based formula. Thus, it can expand and contract as the weather changes. It can even endure the harshest weather. A marvelous clear finish will still be captured! I can say that it’s a perfect marine varnish for outdoor furniture.

I’ve also witnessed how durable the result is. This coating can resist salt, mildew, and UV rays. It’s the part that I appreciate the most. Aside from the beautiful gloss and the crystal clear finish, maximum protection is guaranteed. The surface is protected from water, chemicals, and sea spray.

It stands out among exterior varnishes as its durability is the same as the conventional wood finish. Its strength is even twice as much as the latter. The warm golden glow that it gives is simply stunning.

It takes two hours for every coating to dry, but it’s worth the wait. When durability means spending more time on the varnish, it’s not a problem then. Since I applied it on my boat, the wooden surfaces are firmer than before. I love how the odor is not too intense while I’m applying it.

  • Perfect for exterior wooden parts that are above the waterline
  • Flexible and durable oil-based formula
  • Resistant to salt, mildew, and UV rays
  • The finish protects the surface from water, chemicals, and sea spray.
  • Gives a warm, golden glow to the wood
  • The odor is not too intense.
  • Takes 2 hours for every coating to dry

You may find this varnish well-rounded as it can be utilized in many applications. It can also be the most trusted marine wood finish. The formula is composed of alkyd resins, tung oil, and phenolic. There are UV filters, too to form superior protection.

With its components of the highest quality, you can expect the best from this product. The excellent flow of this varnish is absorbed by the wood, and that’s why the finish is akin to solid rock. So the durability of the finish can’t be denied. It establishes exceptional longevity.

Since it can give out a durable result, my boat’s wooden parts, including the floor, will maintain its extremely glossy finish. It can be completed in just a single day. From what you can expect in varnishing, there’s no shortcut if you want to achieve the optimal effect.

The finest ability of this varnish is also applicable for furniture set and some stuff in the household. There are many ways to apply it: rolling, brushing, spraying, and tipping.

When having it on a horizontal area, it’s best to use a brush. It can be a lot of work, but there’s a purpose behind it. This method will allow you to lessen the formation of bubbles. I feel so happy after laying out this varnish on the floor. It pays off the hard work.

  • Well-rounded product that is usable for boats, furniture, etc.
  • Made of high-quality components (alkyd resins, tung oil, and phenolic)
  • Gives durable, solid rock result
  • Has an extremely glossy finish
  • Can be applied in four different methods
  • Necessary application is relatively lesser.
  • Needs hard work when applying to horizontal surfaces

the best yacht varnish

It’s the best option for any type of interior and exterior wooden surfaces in your boat, kayak, canoe, and other water vessels. It can also be used on furniture, garage doors, tops, and more.

The classic varnish formula is just amazing. It is made up of premium tung oil and phenolic resins. UV blockers are also added to come up with a brilliant result that is transparent amber. It also oozes with a warm effect for both interior and exterior varnishes on any wooden surface.

Aside from the nice looks that it brings, it is also a durable marine varnish for wood. It’s due to its resistance to sunlight and being waterproof at the same time. The radiant result of this varnish is deemed to last. You can apply it with ease, as it can be done through a roller, brush, or spray gun.

There are two choices of this varnish: gloss and satin. The gloss varnish appears so clear and with depth. You should apply 4 to 6 coatings. The more layers, the better. I prefer using satin varnish on interior parts as it’s good at enhancing texture.

Applying this varnish once or twice a year is a part of my boat’s maintenance . Three applications are recommended per day. Recoating can follow in a matter of an hour. The coatings you have done in a day should be given 48 hours to dry up completely.

  • Suitable for interior and exterior wooden parts
  • A mixture of premium quality substances
  • Has waterproof UV blockers for durability
  • Gives off a radiant finish of two kinds: gloss or satin
  • Can be applied by different tools
  • The varnish is soaked in the wood on the first coating.
  • Needs 48 hours for drying

the best yacht varnish

This product may be commonly used for woodwork, furniture, cabinet, paneling accessories, and doors. But it is included in many marine spar varnish reviews. Do you want to know the reason why it can be a great varnish on wooden parts of your boat?

It’s a clear gloss formula that bears special oils. With these components, this varnish can expand and contract with the wooden surfaces. The changes in weather, temperature, and season won’t be a hindrance anymore.

The clear gloss finish won’t be prone to graying and fading due to the UV blockers. Once applied to the wood, it creates a protective barrier against moisture and rain. With the aforementioned characteristics, it is an undeniably essential part of any water vessel maintenance.

I use it for both the interior and exterior wooden sections of my boat. It’s like a custom as I do the application every year. I don’t need to look for a better product for I’m satisfied with this varnish.

I’m surprised that it dries quicker than what I expect from an oil-based formula. The result makes the wood a bit dark, but I’m not complaining. I do rather love the effects as it enhances the color and appearance.

  • Used on many things (woodwork, furniture, cabinet, paneling accessories, doors, etc.)
  • The formula contains special oils
  • Can adapt to the changes in weather and temperature, blocks rain and moisture
  • Gives a clear, glossy finish
  • Has UV blockers so it’s prone to graying and fading
  • Makes the wood appear a bit darker

the best yacht varnish

It is recommended as a protective coating for exterior wooden surfaces because of its abilities. The layers of finish from this product are long-lasting, and I find its durability outstanding.

It’s spar urethane water-based as it can deflect water and is highly resistant to mold, mildew, scratches, and possible damage from UV rays and harsh weather. You may need to do some cleaning up to keep the gloss at its optimal appearance. Use soap and water to keep it neat.

Nonetheless, I also use it on the inside of my boat. I don’t want this area to be deprived of the amazing effects of this coating. It’s convenient and comfortable at the same time to apply it in the interiors as it has low odor. So I don’t get suffocated with some undesirable fumes.

When I went over the exterior wood finishes comparison, it dried quickly as it only needed thirty minutes. I love how easy it is to apply for its absolutely stunning effects. Just make sure you don’t do it when the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Applying it when the temperature is high would make it dry before you achieve an even coat. A whitish tint will be the final result. I do re-coating after two hours, and it’s done four times as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. A quart of this product can cover 87 square feet.

  • Long-lasting and durable
  • Can deflect water and resistant to harmful factors
  • Can be cleaned with soap and water
  • Good for both exterior and interior areas
  • Has a low odor
  • Relatively dries quicker
  • Three choices of finish: satin, gloss, semi-gloss
  • Turns into a whitish tint when the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit

the best yacht varnish

I must admit I like matte, but I won’t turn into this wood finish if it’s not giving my boat the striking effect. The satin sheen that it gives is so nice, and it gives a soft matte attractiveness.

This finish can also be proud of its durable outcome as it has UV protection for wood, teak , and other hardwoods. Aside from having it on my boat, you can see its marks in my house as I love wood pieces more than concrete. You can rely on it to protect the wooden surface from outdoor elements.

It’s a one-component matte finish that has tung oil and phenolic-modified alkyd resin. Imperfections in the wood are concealed when applied. I think it’s because of the minute porosity properties. Due to this factor, sanding is not necessary between coatings.

The matte finish has a rubbed look effect, which I like the most. I read on marine varnishes reviews that it’s challenging to apply this substance that is more liquid. When applying with a brush, you have to be quick and put it evenly.

Knowing some techniques would make steps a lot better. I used mineral spirits to thin it out. I added 25% of it for the first coating and just 10% for the second one. I find it dead flat on the first coating, but I’m amazed on the second try as it showcases the perfect matte finish.

  • Gives satin sheen and a soft matte finish
  • Durable with protection against UV rays
  • Great for exterior use
  • Conceals wood imperfections
  • Sanding not necessary between coatings
  • Humidity is fine for the first coating.
  • The application should be made quickly

the best yacht varnish

You just can’t underestimate old school, just like this varnish from Pettit. It’s still among the most favorite marine polyurethane varnishes, and it gives the same result for 55 years. I don’t know if it sounds funny, but patronizing this product has been handed from my grandfather to me. My boat teak as well as pieces of furniture benefit from its gloss finish.

What makes me and my family use it most of the time is its durable finish, just like how I keep using my boat teak all year round without looking worn out. It’s like an inch thick that seems to project a nice-looking 3D surface.

Its toughness is also tested on the mahogany door at home. This door is exposed to direct sunlight. It’s in its second year now, and I think I need to wait for another two before reapplying.

Thus, it is considered as a spar varnish to exterior door. The credit goes to the UV protectors which prolongs its life. It’s the ultimate shield from the harshest environment.

All these wonderful things happen because it is a water-based, marine grade polyurethane gloss varnish. It’s rich and obviously, of high quality. You can also use it on interiors too aside from brightwork exteriors. The clear and smooth finish reveals the natural beauty of the wood.

The texture of this varnish is like wet honey. When you use a new paintbrush for application, try to apply the varnish first on a spare surface. It should be done to avoid loose hair.

  • Can be used for boats and other things
  • Has a gloss, thick, durable 3D-looking finish with UV protectors
  • Ultimate shield from the harshest environment
  • In high quality, suitable for both interior and exterior use
  • Clear and smooth finish to showcase the natural beauty of the wood
  • Allows you to make the looks that you prefer
  • Have to apply first on the spare surface to avoid loose hair from the new brush

the best yacht varnish

I have built canoes and kayaks made of wood for many years. This varnish is what I ever wanted. It’s best among the ones that I tried. The solution went through proper curing as the system contains three kinds of epoxy. It’s available in satin and gloss finish.

When it comes to marine varnish comparison of easy application, this coating excels among the rest. It can be applied by spraying, so it doesn’t require much more effort than using a brush or roller. You will achieve a smooth satin or gloss finish without working so hard.

This varnish is formulated for marine and exterior surfaces that are made of wood. It doesn’t only look good, but it’s also tough enough to withstand sunlight and other outdoor elements.

One of its components is the ultraviolet light absorbers. Front doors exposed to sunlight can be well protected by this coating. The finish is also protected from water and salt air to remain stunning for a long time. It is VOC compliant with its high solids.

I’m grateful for this product as I can make striking kayaks and canoes. I receive a lot of compliments from my customers, and referrals come from time to time. Hence, it keeps my earnings at its peak.

  • A convenient way to apply is by spraying.
  • Available in satin or gloss finish
  • Has the protection from water and salt air
  • Hasultraviolet light absorbers to withstand sunlight
  • The finish remains stunning for a long time.
  • VOC compliant with high solids
  • Fast-drying varnish
  • Should know the right ratio to avoid bubble formation

the best yacht varnish

I like the effect of the varnish on the wooden parts of my boat. It doesn’t alter the original color as other products do. The red or orange result only pisses me off. I’m glad I chose this product as it leaves a color that is something around amber or brown.

If your color preference is the same as mine, this is the Epifanes marine varnish for you. I always achieve a flawless finish from this product. I think it’s because of its contents which are tung oil, phenolic, and alkyd resin. I’m in awe of its extremely glossy finish.

It’s a varnish that is not just for display but it guarantees durability as well. Its formula is fortified with UV filters. That’s why you can’t only use it on interior parts but with exterior too. Aside from being a marine grade lacquer, it is usable on furniture and other wooden stuff in your house.

The application of this varnish applies to new pieces of wood. It’s also useful for restoration. It’s great on both hardwood and softwood as it will still leave a deep clear finish that everyone is looking for. Thus, you can have it for maintenance or just a newly made water vessel.

The acceptable methods of applying this varnish are by spraying, brushing, tipping, and rolling. The texture is fairly thick but you can still end up with an even result. So you don’t need to questionthat its popularity as it has the highest quality for a traditional tung oil marine spar.

  • Leaves a nice color of amber or brown
  • Gives a flawless and glossy finish; ends up with even result
  • Fortified with UV filters
  • Can be used for restoration and new wood
  • Can be applied in various methods
  • In highest quality tung oil
  • May require sanding for adhesion

the best yacht varnish

This is the top-rated marine polyutherane that you can rely on. It reduces the things that I need to do when maintaining my boat in good condition. Once the brightwork is done, only minimal maintenance is necessary. It is one of the marine grade finishes that provide satin or hard gloss results.

The varnish solution is super flexible as it naturally expands and contracts despite weather changes. It remains in its superb look without yellowing, lifting, or cracking. The excellent adhesion adds up to its durability.

This varnish can effectively block harmful UV rays. Harmful factors like moisture, scratch, and abrasion can also be prevented from happening. Whether you apply it on the exterior or interior sections, the finish remains brilliant. You may also utilize it in enhancing the appearance of furniture.

Even though this varnish gives a beautiful result, handling and application are both a piece of cake. It’s in a resealable pour pack for convenience and no mess usage. This feature also makes it uncomplicated to store while you avoid wasting a single drop of the varnish.

This substance is low VOC, and it can be applied by spraying, brushing, or with a roller. I love how my nose is not bothered by any fume and how it dries quickly. So you have to make your movements nimble. It implies that you can finish fast as five coatings can be done in a day.

  • Makes boat maintenance minimal
  • Can have a satin or hard gloss finish
  • Anti-UV, durable and not prone to damages
  • Suitable for exterior and interior
  • Convenient and ease of use; can be applied in various ways
  • Dries quickly; no sanding is needed
  • Need to make nimble movements as it dries quickly

the best yacht varnish

The most important part to me is that the varnish creates a durable finish. I find this product trustworthy for protecting the wooden surface of my boat. Maximum UV blocking is included in its formula, and that’s what I need when summer comes as I often go out with my boat this season.

The finish is also water and salty air resistant. It’s also not prone to damage that can be caused by bad weather conditions. It gives the boat a nice appearance, and it keeps the beautiful surface as time goes by. So I feel secure that my boat can keep the shiny surface for a long time.

The clear satin finish is just awesome. It won’t only look good on the boat’s wood trim above the water, but also with outdoor wooden furniture, planters, lamp posts, interior window frames, and mills.

The durability is outstanding. It can preserve the good state of these things. I recommend using it on the front door, which receives a lot of sun rays. You will benefit a lot from this varnish if you live in a hot area.

A good bristle brush or a foam brush can be used for the application. The consistency is not similar to honey, so you can lay it out easily. It will be dry to the touch in a matter of four to six hours. Three or four coatings are needed. A light sanding can be done in between.

  • Has maximum UV protection
  • Resistant to water, salty air, and bad weather
  • Can maintain the good appearance of the wooden surface
  • Creates a clear satin finish
  • Can be used on boats and household stuff
  • Efficient and dries quickly
  • Can be cleaned with ease
  • The need for slight sanding


The other name for a marine varnish is spar varnish. It has a formula that is specially crafted for marine exposure. Tung oil, phenolic, and alkyd resin are the usual components present in it. It is deemed as an excellent varnish that forms a finishing suitable for the wooden surface.

It was made for the pole of wood found in sailing ships in the past. Changes are inevitable until it’s the scope of use includes all the wooden areas of the boat. It’s done as a part of maintenance and for beautification purposes nowadays.

The result from the marine varnish is sturdy. It can withstand bad weather conditions, water, and salty air. Its coverage is great on an unpainted wooden surface. People in every corner of the world would call it water-resistant exterior varnish.

Using a marine varnish, you are creating protection not only with your boat but also for furniture and projects with wooden materials. What’s under the covered deck can be in wooden form. So it means that it is exposed to different weather and harsh exterior elements.

To cite an example, UV rays are not too friendly towards the wood. Thus, chalking and cracking occur, and they destroy this material. So a marine varnish is an essential thing to your boat or other vessels. Doors displayed to the sun’s heat all the time can also be protected by the varnish.

When it comes to application, the general recommendation has three coatings. The first one should be thinned with 50% mineral spirits to give way to diffusion. The next step would need two full strength, and sanding may be required between coatings.

The classic varnish is extracted from a resin tree. The thicker one that is present these days is a combination of tung oil, alkyds, and phenolic resins. Furniture pieces were the ones that are receiving the gloss, but later on, boat masts started to take the coating too.

Masts bend with the wind, so varnish moves with it rather than cracking. Thus, a single part consists of a tung oil base, which is also called spar varnish. It is dissolved in solvents, and it’s being hardened right away after application. The first coating should be hardened first before the succeeding coating.

You have to give every coating adequate time as the solvent that’s under the layer will tend to evaporate.


This oil-based varnish is composed of one part polyurethane. Chemicals that are similar to epoxy are in their content. Its usage is applied to covering clear epoxy resin. One way to make layers quicker is to apply epoxy on wood in just a matter of three or four coats of polyutherane with UV protection.

Polyutherane can either be water or oil-based. The advantage of water-based polyutherane is that you can easily clean the crystal clear finish. On the other hand, oil-based lasts longer, and it gives a bit of yellow color. It’s up to you if you prefer color enhancement.

Both of the bases should be hardened first before applying the next coat.

Exterior Varnish

It is formulated for outside utilization, and it specializes in providing UV protection. This varnish is microporous, which means that the wood can breathe. Therefore, mildew and mold don’t have the chance to assemble and rot the wood.

Yacht or Spar Varnish

It is mainly formulated for boats to counter the persistence of water. This solution is suitable for outside timber.

Acrylic Varnish

It is considered non-toxic and dries quickly. It’s quite flexible as it can be used on the inside and outside areas. Ultraviolet-light protection is its best feature. It can also be seen on other kinds of surfaces aside from wood.

The finish that acrylic varnish gives is so clear, but then it doesn’t penetrate the wood. There’s no complication when using it, so it’s user friendly. However, it would be difficult to spread the formula evenly.

Two-Part Varnish

Mixing is what is done with the two-part varnish. The base and the hardener are bought separately and then combined. Resistance to abrasion and durability are the highlights of its features.

Two-part varnish dries quickly as the moisture and air react to it. It shows that it lessens the weight of the job. The coating becomes very hard, too; thus, you can expect a long life from it. So you can go easy on maintenance.


The main reason for varnish application is to give your dear boat or any water vessel optimum protection. Investing in the top-tier marine varnish is a wise move. A boat is much more expensive than a can of varnish.

Choosing the ideal product, tool, equipment, and marine varnish can prolong the good condition of your boat. With marine varnish, you are given assurance that protection against damages is provided. It does an excellent job of safeguarding wooden surfaces.

A marine varnish can impede the accumulation of mildew and mold as well as water penetration and inevitable wear and tear. It does a wonderful job of enhancing the looks of your vessel. Your boat may even look like an expensive one.

The drawbacks of applying marine varnish exemplify the saying – ‘no pain, no gain’. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be hurt. What it takes is patience, and it requires more time. You can’t get it done in just a snap of a finger.

The drawbacks would start with slow drying, so a lot of time is needed. Thus, dust built-up can also happen. Some boat owners will just be surprised about the incompatibility of the lacquer or water-based varnish. Issues may arise during stripping or repairing.

These are the things that you have to check when deciding what marine varnish to buy:

Most of the marine varnish is at a high price. So make sure that you pay for something worthwhile. You should have the initiative to check important information about the product. So you can avoid financial strains if you get the ideal product.

Cleaning Up with Ease

Even though you are careful, it can’t be avoided that there is some amount of varnish drops. With a formula that is easy to clean, you will find it effortless to eliminate the spill.

Easy Application

Applying the varnish can be challenging, especially for newbies on woodwork. If you are one of them, better use a product that is easy peasy for you to handle. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation of the best method of application.

The finish should serve you and your boat for a decent period. Who would want to go back and forth for repairs? Thus, it hinders you from spending money just to make corrections.

Time of Drying and Curing

Minimizing the drying time makes varnishing convenient for you. In this matter, you have to estimate the time that you will spend on your project. So you can manage your schedule.

Although marine varnish is consumable, you still need to be conscious of how you carefully take care of it. In this part, you have to be knowledgeable about the part by reading the label. Take note of precautions for everyone’s safety.

It should be away from the reach of children. Bear in mind that spar varnish is combustible. Don’t place it near open flames, hot surfaces, sparks, and of course, direct heat. Smoking beside it is hazardous to your lungs. It’s like giving yourself ailments as you breathe horrid substances.

When you apply varnish on your boat, you have to be in a well-ventilated area. You have to be outdoors. Protective gear is also necessary, such as gloves, a shield for the eyes and face, and a respirator.


Who makes the top-rated marine varnish?

TotalBoat marine varnish and spar varnish, RustOleum marine varnish or spar, Minwax spar urethane, Pettit varnish, System Three coating, McCloskey varnish, and Epifanes matte finish or Epiphanes marine varnish.

What is the difference between spar varnish and regular varnish?

Spar varnish is designed for outdoor use due to the consideration of different weather and temperature. Its formulation is different from a regular varnish. Humidity can cause the wood to expand and contract. When you use a typical varnish, it will easily crack and get damaged under this circumstance.

Aside from the protection that is provided by spar varnish, flexibility to UV rays is one of its features. So it extends the surface’s life, and it means durability. That’s why spar varnish is deemed to surpass the rigorous condition of marine life.

The difference between spar varnish and regular starts with the oil ratio. The former has more percentage of oil, which will soften the solution. It results in a more flexible finish. Meanwhile, the latter tends to crack when the wood expands or contracts.

Is marine varnish waterproof?

Yes, it is, but you have to take note of the components as each of them specifically works well with a certain kind of wood. For instance, some waterproofing methods are suitable for exterior or interior finish. Some are great for light or dark grained wood.

Make sure the components are compatible with your purpose of varnishing. If you wish to have an attractive and hand-rubbed finish, tung oil and linseed are the right components. It will be the first step that you need to take.

The second part is sealing the wood with lacquer and polyurethane. Of course, the final part is simultaneously waterproofing the wood. Use a stain-sealant combo for this process.

Is marine varnish better than polyurethane?

You can’t exactly say that varnish is better than polyurethane as each of them serves different purposes. It will depend on your purpose and preference too. The varnish turns into an amber or faint yellow shade. Its appearance is similar to the result of oil-based polyurethane.

The varnish is usually applied on water-exposed boats, outdoor decks, or deck chairs. What makes it suitable for these things are its water resistance ability and high solid content.

The formula of varnish has low toxicity, so it’s safe to utilize on exterior doors. The variant called marine varnish or spar offers flexibility and protection against UV rays. So most woodworkers are fond of it. They would apply it to softwoods that are known to flex under extreme conditions.

When it comes to varnish application, you must do it correctly. You also have to see to it that you give it enough time to completely dry. If you fail to do these things, the finish will likely crack, peel, or form some bubbles.

The wood can be susceptible to damages from the surroundings if you don’t do the necessary procedures properly. Several layers should be applied to achieve the optimal result. Give each layer six hours to dry so you can get the photo-finish result.

In the case of polyutherane, its texture can be compared to a liquid plastic. This attribute is based on its content, which can be resin or pure synthetic plastic. The milky appearance turns into a clear coat in just a single or two coatings.

Polyutherane is abrasion-proof, and it can correct a scratch. It is available in water or oil base and something in between called sheen. DIYers like it a lot as there are options like satin or glossy.

Since the content or base can be different, you should know the right designation of use. The water-based polyutherane gives off a revitalizing finish as it maintains the natural color of the wood. Perhaps, for its strength is the low toxicity level, you can clean its coating with soap and water.

The oil-based counterpart is usually seen on hardwood floors. It is capable of providing protection that is more robust than the water-based. So it’s not likely to just give up on UV damage and heat. You can rely on it so that it won’t crack.

The oil-based type is also heat tolerant. Its outcome enhances the wooden tone as it transforms into an amber tone.

To conclude, it can’t be claimed that varnish is better than polyutherane or the other way around. It all depends on the purpose of application or coating.

How long does marine spar varnish last?

The lifespan of marine spar varnish will depend on the environment. Exposure to direct sunlight can reduce its longevity. Rub spots because of hard service require fixing, which leads to the need to apply some coatings or layers.

Recoating should be done in cases of scaling. The affected area is sanded first to reveal the wood for recoating. A good six to eight coatings would remain to look awesome for 4 to 8 years.

You may have done every step properly, so coatings formed well on the wood. Maintenance has a big part too in prolonging the life of spar varnish. Keep it clean all the time.

Where can I buy it?

You don’t have to look high and low for marine varnish. You can get it from a home depot or any of your local hardware stores. You can also opt for online shops but make sure you access a legit website that provides a quality product.

There’s an array of brands both online and offline. When you check online, you can have more ideas about the product. So you can decide which one will work for you best.

What are some tips when applying marine varnish?

Applying outdoors is best done in the morning during the time that the dew has dried. Doing it in the late afternoon or the evening would lead to improper drying and loss of gloss.

Direct sunlight is not also good as it will make the varnish dry quickly. It’s not a recommended method. When you’re varnishing the interior sections, air ventilation is acceptable for drying.

It can’t be avoided that varnish may fall off at the wood edges due to the less film thickness. So what you need to do is to apply extra coatings. The first two coatings need to be thinned by 20% or 25%.

Sanding in between coats can be an extra job, but it is sometimes needed to achieve a flawless finish. It is a chance for you to correct mistakes like drips and runs. Make sure the previous coating is completely dried before you proceed to the next one.

When it comes to the brush that you need for marine varnish, you can try badger brushes. The most important thing that you have to pay attention to is the cleaning and maintenance of this tool. Always start the application with a damp, clean brush.

Think about the best marine varnish that can serve your purpose and application well. The formulation varies to suit the needs and preferences of users. So, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to check the components of a specific marine varnish they’re eyeing to buy. After you read this review, you’ll surely know what’s best for your boat or water vessel.


I am passionate about water sports and technical fields, so combining both makes me interested in making contents about boat accessories. With my partner, we went on many trips and sports games together, which led us to think about how we can spread our joys and passions to many people.

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Word of the day

Word of the Day: varnish

This word has appeared in 20 articles on in the past year. Can you use it in a sentence?

An illustration of a teacher saying the word "varnish."

By The Learning Network

varnish \ ˈvɑrnɪʃ \ noun and verb

noun: a coating that provides a hard, lustrous, transparent finish to a surface noun: an attractive outward appearance that misleads verb: cover with a hard, lustrous finish verb: cover or hide by presenting an attractive appearance verb: embellish or adorn

Listen to the pronunciation.

The word varnish has appeared in 20 articles on in the past year, including on March 14 in “‘ The Notebook’ Review: A Musical Tear-Jerker or Just All Wet ?” by Jesse Green:

The musical, unwilling except at the margins to alter a plot so beloved — or at least so familiar — tries to distinguish itself in other ways. It aims for a rougher, hand-hewn texture, befitting Noah’s career as a carpenter and the indie-folk sound of its songwriter, Ingrid Michaelson. The directors, Michael Greif and Schele Williams, have cast the couples regardless of race: a nice, universalizing touch. … In any case, the de-slicking was a mistake; it turns out that the Hollywood varnish was the only thing holding the picture together. In its place, the musical makes few convincing arguments for a separate existence.

Daily Word Challenge

Can you correctly use the word varnish in a sentence?

Based on the definition and example provided, write a sentence using today’s Word of the Day and share it as a comment on this article. It is most important that your sentence makes sense and demonstrates that you understand the word’s definition, but we also encourage you to be creative and have fun.

If you want a better idea of how varnish can be used in a sentence, read these usage examples on . You can also visit this guide to learn how to use IPA symbols to show how different words are pronounced.

If you enjoy this daily challenge, try our vocabulary quizzes .

Students ages 13 and older in the United States and the United Kingdom, and 16 and older elsewhere, can comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff.

The Word of the Day is provided by . Learn more and see usage examples across a range of subjects in the Dictionary . See every Word of the Day in this column .


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    Most boat owners prefer the sheen of an oil or film finish, even though this is unnecessary. 3. Tung Oil Varnish. Tung oil boat varnish is what some yacht owners refer to as the classic varnish. It's referred to in this way because if you're unsure of what your boat needs, this is a classic, middle of the road, safe bet.

  22. Clear Yacht Varnish In Satin & Gloss

    Make sure your wood is dry before you begin. Choose a day that's reasonably warm (above 10°c) and dry. This varnish isn't suitable for decking though. How to prepare wood for varnishing. You will need to remove old stain or varnish by sanding it down. Use 120 grit sandpaper and sand away the old finish. Wipe down the surface with white ...

  23. The 12 Best Marine Varnish Reviews for 2024

    Top 12 Marine Varnish Reviews. 1. TotalBoat Lust Marine Varnish. It is the best marine spar varnish for me as it keeps my boats looking good. By following the manufacturer's instructions, I'm able to get the desired finish. Thanks to its classic spar formula with a modern twist.

  24. Word of the Day: varnish

    varnish \ ˈvɑrnɪʃ \ noun and verb. noun: a coating that provides a hard, lustrous, transparent finish to a surface noun: an attractive outward appearance that misleads verb: cover with a hard ...