Working with wood and wooden surface goes back thousands of years. Wood makes a great building material in many aspects, and it can be fashioned in various ways.
Maintenance, however, has always been an issue. Wood degrades rapidly if not maintained, causing massive losses.
However, products known as spar varnishes have altered that. They are a breakthrough in the carpentry world and have helped preserve wood from irreversible harm.
If you are reading this, no doubt you are looking for ways to add shine to your wooden surfaces. Hence that is why we bring the 7 best spar varnish options money can buy.
Our article provides a candid review and highlights the key aspects of each brand. So, wait no more, and read on!
5 out of 5
TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish
5 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
OLD MASTERS 92310
4 out of 5
Duralux M738-4 Spar Varnish
4.5 out of 5
Best Spar Varnish For The Money in 2021
Let us kick off our reviews with the top 7 varnishes from 7 highly renowned brands. See whether you find your pick here!
1. Rust-Oleum 207008
Kicking off our reviews of the top-notch spar varnish, it is right to start off with the 207008 from the Rust-Oleum store. This highly durable varnish is perfect for a number of applications.
Being oil-based, it is made of advanced formula and consists of polymers that expand or contract depending on weather conditions.
This makes it suitable to be used in all types of climates and conditions.
As it dries up in only 2 hours, you no longer have to wait for half a day just to use the surface you applied the varnish on. Also, covering an area of 150 square feet, it is good enough for most high-end projects.
With excellent resistance to both UV rays and mildew growth, this product is an ideal choice if you want to protect the surface from the unwanted mold.
While being twice as durable as conventional wood varnishes in the market, this product adds twice the shine. As a matter of fact, the crystal clear like sheen is highly attractive and adds a new glow to the wood.
Use this product on almost any type of wooden surface, regardless of shape and form. From furniture to railings to decks, it’s all possible.
- Can be used on multiple surfaces for incredible outcomes
- Dries out very fast, making it convenient to apply
- Can adapt to weather fluctuations, making it suitable for a changing climate
- Offers a high level of UV and mildew protection to prolong wood life
2. TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish
The best marine spar varnish is here, saving you the hassle of a prolonged search, and giving you the option of owning the finest product TotalBoat store has to offer.
This varnish is perfect for all types of wooden surfaces, exterior or interior. With advanced UV protection, there is no need to worry about early damage anymore.
Being waterproof, it is also more than adequate for surfaces often in touch with water. This includes canoes, the exterior of boats, and so on. Furthermore, it is highly used for garage doors, which are always exposed to sun and rain.
Being easy to use, it comes with a strong set of benefits. This includes quick application and fast drying times.
Since it can adjust to temperature changes, it expands and contracts based on the weather conditions outside.
A wood finish is what you want, and it is surely what you get, 100% of the time. By just applying the satin finish version, all you need is to brush 4 coats of it and watch the striking texture materialize in front of your eyes.
Available in two colors, gloss and satin, you also have the option of choosing from a wide range of quantities. This includes pints, quarts, and gallons.
- Easy to apply, and also dries quickly
- Available in many sizes, giving the freedom of choice
- Can be applied on surfaces in touch with water
- Made of advanced composition
- Offers UV blockage
3. McCloskey/Valspar | Best Spar Varnish for Exterior Door
A highly durable, 1-gallon oil-based varnish, this is the product that will take care of all your varnishing needs, inside and outside.
Being of imported quality, it offers unparalleled protection against very harmful UV rays from the sun. The protection is in the form of a neat layer of varnish that settles on the surface.
A plus point of this product is that it can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces equally well.
This makes it useful for internal decoration and floors, as well as furniture or wooden equipment. On the flip side, you can apply it to good effect on window railings, garage doors, planters, and so on.
With a high eye-catching satin finish, it can add beauty and appeal to your wooden surfaces for years on end.
Hence, there is no need to apply it every now and then, and instead, you can rest assured. Once will be enough for a long while.
It does not degrade and thereby retains its pristine look for a long time.
- Can be used on external surfaces exposed to the weather
- Works on interior surfaces
- Offers UV protection for longer surface life
- Does not degrade even after a prolonged period
4. OLD MASTERS 92310
Old Masters are old-timers of the game, and they know the game pretty well by now. Their 92310 spar varnish is a testimony to that fact.
At only 340g, this product comes in a very convenient, easy-to-carry, spray bottle. This adds the feature of increased portability.
You can thus take it with you wherever you go, and if you move around a lot for work, then this product will surely make life easier.
The spray bottle is not the only neat feature it offers. It can be applied to a wide range of surfaces that are situated on the inside.
This includes the most common windowsills, door frames, and floors. However, using the spray feature, you can also apply it to hard-to-get places, like corners and edges.
With its advanced chemical composition, it is perfect for UV blockage. This is also one reason why it is so popular. The product also packs a strong punch against external damage.
- Comes in a bottle for easy use
- Can be carried around for work in a tool kit
- Highly suitable for window surfaces
- Offers protection from UV light
5. Duralux M738-4 Spar Varnish for Boat
The M738-4 is a new line of high-end, high-quality varnishes made by Duralux. This particular model has tons of benefits and will be a great addition to your tool kit.
The most striking aspect of this product is that it is highly suitable for boat paint. Quality boat paint is hard to find, and this product does not disappoint in the least.
While it can be used on boats, it is also equally suited for equipment like oars and oil rigs.
This makes it a truly industrial grade product worthy of attention.
Rust is a key reason behind the damage of most structural components. This product helps to mitigate that, by offering high levels of protection against rust and corrosion.
This ultimately aims to prolong the life of the surface and make it more durable.
- Can be used on boats
- Professional grade product, and thus suitable for large projects
- The clear coat does not modify the color
- Highly resistant to rusting and corrosion
6. Daly's SeaFin AquaSpar Waterborne Polyurethane
The AquaSpar varnish from Daly’s is quite renowned for its little drying time, among other things. This polyurethane-based varnish is ideal for marine-related uses.
This product provides premium-grade protection against all the damaging elements. This includes sun, salt, air, and water.
When in combination, these three elements can result in a lot of loss in the form of rust and corrosion. However, this product helps to find a way around that.
No wooden surface is exempt from this product. As a matter of fact, you can safely apply it on a variety of surfaces, including boats, furniture, and even doors.
Being non-flammable, this product can be applied without any risks of fires. This makes it an ideal choice for home and office, where fire hazards must be maintained.
You can paint an area of over 500 sq ft with a single gallon of this unit. The vast capacity will help you achieve project completion with minimum costs.
- Can paint a large area with a single gallon
- Can be used without fire risks
- All sorts of wooden surfaces can be painted, making it a universal solution
- Resistant to damage against salt and water, in addition to the usual elements
7. Absolute 29642 94001 | Best Spar Varnish for Outdoor Furniture
To conclude this section of spar varnish reviews, we end with the highly sought marine and door spar varnish from Absolute.
A key feature of this product is how easy it is to clean up once work is done and dusted.
Water clean up is all that is needed when using this product. As a result, you can use it practically anywhere, without any tension of buying special solvents or detergents to initiate the cleanup process.
Exterior protection is really maximized with this item. It is highly rated for providing much needed external safety to wooden surfaces.
With its advanced chemical composition, it is also an excellent UV ray absorber. This makes it ideal for use in places where UV radiation is rather high, and you need to safeguard wood against this external threat.
With a weight of 9 pounds, this product has a rather large capacity. Also, because of its urethane composition, there are no harmful or strong odors produced.
This means it can be used by people who are rather sensitive to strong smells, or who find the chemical scent to be rather discomfiting.
With a very tough film layer and build, this product has supreme chemical resistance. This implies that it is immune to chemical spills and will not be affected by damaging solvents.
- Can be cleaned up with water, making way for easy use
- Has a tough film, and is thus immune to spills
- Does not emit any strong smell
- Offers very good protection from UV rays.
Comparison Table of Top Spar Varnish
TotalBoat Spar Varnish
1 Gallon, 1 Quart, 1 Pint
Exterior and Interior
Exterior and Interior
OLD MASTERS 92310
Exterior and Interior
Duralux M738-4 Spar Varnish.
Daly's SeaFin AquaSpar Waterorne Polyurethane
1 Gallon, 1 Quart, 1 Pint
Absolute 29642 94001
Spar Varnish : What to Look Before Buying One?
This section will cover some of the key aspects you need to keep in mind when aiming to buy right spar varnish for the money.
These pointers will compliment your choice of varnish to enable the best possible outcome.
Resistance to UV Rays
UV rays are a constant source of harmful, ionizing radiation that cannot be evaded. They come straight from the sun, thereby making it impossible to avoid.
UV rays can also cause long term damage to varnishes, and ruin their chemical set up. This leads to degradation of the surface on which the varnish has been applied.
Hence, a varnish that is resistant to UV rays will counteract this problem being immune to the damage caused by this threat.
Thus, this will save your varnish and money in the long run, as you will not have to reapply it over and over again.
So, if possible, always go for a UV resistant product.
Oil or Water Based Varnish
Varnishes are generally split into two groups: oil-based and water-based. Water-based varnishes do not modify or change the color of the surface it is applied on.
This means, it will not darken or lighten over time, so your surface (for example wooden) will retain its original look.
However, oil-based varnishes will darken the texture and color of the surface they are applied on. This is a gradual process, but a noticeable one.
If you want the surface to take on a darker hue, then oil-based is the way to go. Whichever you pick is completely up to you and the resources you have.
Cleaning up is an essential part of the varnish application process. You will want minimum fuss in this chore, so you can devote more time to other aspects, like aesthetics.
For this reason, it is wise to get a varnish that cleans up easily. By easy, we mean that there will no harmful or dangerous chemicals involved in the cleaning process, which could otherwise lead to more harm.
Another crucial aspect that is often ignored is the drying time. Imagine having to wait for hours on end just to see that the varnish hasn’t even dried off properly!
This can be annoying, to say the least. A good quality varnish should not take more than a couple of hours to dry off. At most it could take half a day, but not more.
People Also Asked (FAQs)
If you have any questions thus far, now it is time to clear things out. We will answer your most common questions in this FAQ section.
1. Where Can I Apply Marine Spar Varnish?
Answer: Marine spar varnish is mainly suitable for external surfaces. These include exterior wooden surfaces like railings, platforms, doors, etc.
The best marine spar varnish will add a gloss to these surfaces unlike any other, so it is worth considering for these cases.
2. Are Oil Varnishes Durable?
Answer: Indeed they are! These varnishes are widely used by professional carpenters when they work on large, expensive projects.
3. Will the Varnish Protect Against Mold Growth?
Answer: This depends on the composition of the varnish. However, most varnishes made nowadays do offer protection against mold growth.
4. I Live in an Area Where It Rains A Lot. Can I Still Apply Varnish To External Surfaces?
Answer: Of course, you can. However, it would be prudent to ensure that the product you buy has a high tolerance to moisture, as that would help it last longer.
5. Can I Use Varnish For Metallic Surfaces?
Answer: For metallic surfaces, lacquer would be a better choice. It dries faster and is tougher, something which is needed for such surfaces.
We hope our article on the best spar varnish was enlightening and fun to read too. As you can see from our marine varnishes reviews, wooden surfaces can be a bit hard to deal with.
But that should not discourage you from working with them. If handled well, the result can be a complete eye candy. Spar varnishes help achieve that, so make sure you pick your product wisely.
Hopefully, our guide was a beacon for you in this regard. We hope to write to you again soon, and till then, happy woodworking!
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