Which is better oil based or water based varnish?

Asked By: Faye Guder | Last Updated: 24th June, 2020
Category: hobbies and interests painting
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In the past, oil-based finishes were more durable than their water-based counterparts. Water-based varnish does not amber over time, and keeps the color of your wood truer than an oil-based finish would. However, it also “flattens out” the wood grain, and unlike oil-based finishes, does not enhance the grain.

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Furthermore, which is better oil based or water based polyurethane?

Oil based polyurethane looks better. It has a more depth - both in color and shine and it looks the way we expect hardwood to look. Water based polyurethane has both a duller color and a duller finish. The water based polyurethane (left) is lighter and duller than the oil based poly on the right.

Also Know, can you put water based varnish over oil based varnish? Answer: In most cases, it is OK to use a water-based polyurethane over an oil-based finish in good condition. You should remove grease, dirt and wax by scrubbing the surface with a wood prep/cleaner/de-glosser, or mineral spirits and synthetic steel wool.

Correspondingly, is water based varnish any good?

Advantages of Water-Based Varnish It does not affect the color of the surface on which you applied it. It is not a fire hazard. It builds up quickly as well because it has a high solid content. After use, water-based varnish is easy to clean up.

How long will Polyurethane last?

Gloss oil-based varnish, polyurethane and Danish oil can last 10 or 20 years, though satin finishes and stains may fail sooner as pigments and flattening agents disable the driers. Water-based coatings and paints can also be viable longer than three years. Shellac, though, can go bad in under a year.

29 Related Question Answers Found

How long does water based polyurethane last?

But, if you are using a mid grade water poly (or low grade), expect the durability to be significantly lower than oil based poly. When I say lower durability, I mean that it will scratch and peel more easily and it won't last last as long (often 2 to 4 years less, but everyone's wear and tear is different).

How many coats of polyurethane should I apply?

There needs to be 3 coats of Polyurethane applied, especially if you are using an oil-based finish. The first coat should be mixed with mineral spirits. This acts as a sealer and provides a barrier between the wood and the oil finish you are using. A bristle brush is needed to apply the coats.

How many coats of water based polyurethane should I use on wood floors?

We recommend a minimum of 3 coats of water based polyurethane as it coats in thinner, but harder layers, than an oil based poly. Water based polyurethane dries very quickly and up to 4 coats can be applied in one day.

What is a good polyurethane?

The Minwax® Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane is the best polyurethane because it's great for anything you need to coat around your home. It's water based so it produces less fumes and cleans up easily with warm water. It's also a great polyurethane because it's available in gloss, semi-gloss and satin sheens.

How do you make a matte finish with polyurethane?


Hand Rub With Wipe-On Varnish or Oil
If you want to transform the sheen from high gloss to satin or matte, then using a hardening oil such as tung oil is a good way to do it. Apply a base coat of gloss water- or oil-based polyurethane, let it dry and scuff it with 220-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Apply a second coat.

Can you use polyurethane over linseed oil?

Yes, broadly speaking you can do this and there is no real penalty. You do tend to see an increase in drying time, but contrary to many statement to the contrary online the oil will cure perfectly well under a coat of poly, because the varnish is not at all a perfect oxygen barrier.

How do you apply polyurethane smoothly?

How to Get a Smooth Polyurethane Finish
  1. Overview: Materials and techniques.
  2. Tip 1: Sand out pencil marks.
  3. Tip 2: Maintain a clean work area.
  4. Tip 3: Wipe the project with mineral spirits.
  5. Tip 4: Use a roller on large, flat surfaces.
  6. Tip 5: Finish both sides at once.
  7. Tip 6: Use wipe on poly for small or tight areas.
  8. Tip 7: Lightly sand with pads and paper.

What is the best water based varnish?

Best Water Based Polyurethanes for Floors in March, 2020
Polyurethane
1 Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish Editor's Choice Check Price
2 Bona Mega Clear HD Check Price
3 Minwax Water Based Poly Check Price
4 ZAR Aqua Check Price

What is water based varnish used for?

Water-based varnishes are called that because their solvent is water-based, instead of being oil or alcohol-based like more traditional varnishes. The solvent is used only to dilute the varnish to keep it in a liquid state during application. The goal of a varnish is to harden once applied to the floor.

Which is better varnish or polyurethane?


While polyurethane is water- or oil-based plastic resin, varnish is older and made from resins, oils, and solvents. Because of the higher ratio of solids, varnish is less susceptible to ultraviolet light damage. This finish gives a more tinted color when applied and requires more coats than polyurethane.

How do you use water based varnish?

Apply Water-Based Poly With a Pad
Water-based poly dries faster than oil, so it's even harder to brush over a big surface. The solution is a paint pad, which applies poly fast and smooth. Just dip the pad into a pan of poly and drag the pad across the surface.

How do you remove water based varnish?

Apply some drops of solvent in a hidden area of your flooring. If it is shellac, the solvent will dissolve it. A lacquer thinner, on the other hand, will dissolve water-based and lacquer finishes. You can confirm whether it is lacquer or water-based with the use of toluene.

Does water based polyurethane yellow?

Both oil- and water-based polyurethane can be applied to latex/acrylic paint; however, oil-based polyurethane will create a yellow or amber hue, especially to light colors. To add durability without affected color, use a water-based finish.

Is water based polyurethane waterproof?

Is water based polyurethane waterproof? Neither water borne nor oil based poly are waterproof, but they are both water resilient. There is also a misperception that water based poly isn't as durable as oil based poly, and the truth is that it depends which brand of water borne poly you are using.

Is lacquer oil or water based?


Lacquer can be described as a transparent paint. Ingredients of water based laquer are alkyd, acrylic and/or vinyl acrylic polymers. Water based laquers have many advantages over oil based laquers. They contain much less organic fumes (VOC's) than oil based laquers because they don't need an organic solvent.

Is water based varnish waterproof?

Yes, after it's dry (and even a bit more after about a week). Different brands and types of clear permanent finish will resist later water exposure better than others though. For example, polyurethane (like the brand Varathane) and epoxy resin will resist water better and longer than some others.