What Is the Difference Between Varnish and Oil?

There’s a wide variety of options available for those who are hoping to coat their wooden furniture with a clear, protective coat. Determining whether to utilize varnish or oil on your hardwood lumber in Franklin County, MA, however, can be a difficult task. Understanding the differences between these two substances is an essential part of making an informed decision.

Oil stain

Tung oil stains penetrate deep into your hardwood lumber, and soak into the grain of the timber itself. This means that it cannot crack or peel off, and is more matte and velvety in appearance than alternatives. To reapply oil stain, you can simply clean off the surface, and add to the existing layer. There is no need to sand the surface down and remove the previous layer of stain.

Polyurethane varnish

Polyurethane is an actual liquid plastic, meaning that it is applied onto rather than into the hardwood lumber. Varnish creates a hard barrier between the wood and the exterior, which protects the wood from water and mold damage and can make it last substantially longer than stained wood. Varnish, however, is susceptible to cracking and peeling, and requires the entire old layer to be removed in order to reseal the wood.

Differing applications

In order to apply polyurethane varnish, a fairly involved and equipment-heavy process must be carefully observed. The application of varnish requires a fine bristle brush, paint thinner, a cut bucket, lint-free rags, a wire brush and a lot of excess time. Great care must be taken to avoid the formation of bubbles, which can cause undesirable effects and leave your wood unprotected. The varnish should be thinly applied with the brush using long, even strokes.

While drying after application, some bubbles may form that will need to be sanded off before applying a second coat. It is extremely important to make sure that there are no bubbles in the varnish that is covering the surface of your hardwood lumber in Franklin County, MA. Additionally, at least 24 hours should be allowed between each coat, and there should be a bare minimum of two coats.

Oil stain, on the other hand, is tremendously easier to apply than polyurethane varnish. To put oil stain on your hardwood lumber, you will just need a sponge and a soft, lint-free rag. To apply the oil stain, wrap the rag around the sponge, dip it in the stain and quickly cover as much of your hardwood lumber as you can. Once you have covered a substantial amount of your lumber, use another rag to wipe off any excess stain, and then use a dry rag to buff out any areas where excessive stain was applied.

A minimum of three coats of oil stain should be used, and at least 24 hours should be given between each coat. No sanding is necessary for oil stained wood if the polish has been properly applied.

Since 1946, Forest Products Associates has been providing Greenfield, MA with high-quality hardwood lumber and other timber products and services. To learn about our extensive inventory of hardwood lumber, oils and varnishes, call one of our friendly sales associates today.