Types of varnishes for wood + how to choose the right paintwork

Types of varnishes for wood + how to choose the right paintwork Varieties of varnishes for wood : selection features

Since the earliest times, wood has been successfully used for construction work, the manufacture of furniture, as well as for exterior and interior decoration of buildings.

The material is distinguished by excellent durability, its environmental friendliness and ease of use, but so that it can serve for many years in a row and at the same time does not lose its original appearance, wood varnishes are required for processing, which make it possible to protect surface from abrasion.

In addition, they allow the beauty of the texture of the wood grain to be left open.

Varieties of varnishes for wood

Varnishes for wood are one-component or multicomponent compositions of a viscous type, which, after coating the surface of the material, create a durable film with a glossy or matte finish shine. On the modern market, you can find a wide range of paints and varnishes, which differ from each other in content, drying speed,

as well as field of application:

  1. Oily - They have a high concentration of oils, organic compounds and resins, and for this reason they have a thick consistency and are difficult to apply with a brush.

    After application, a thick film with a slightly yellowish tint is obtained.

  2. Resins - contain thermosetting, natural or even thermoplastic resins. In terms of application and properties, they are similar to oil paints.
  3. Types of varnishes for wood + how to choose the right paintwork Acrylic - such varnish compositions are based on water, and therefore such varnishes can rightfully be considered ecological clean. Paints and varnishes have a high rate of elasticity, and also do not have the thickest structure, so their consumption is much less than that of other compositions.

  4. Epoxy - is the most versatile product that can be used for almost all types of work. The material has a high degree of hardness, resistance to moisture, and they also perfectly resist mechanical damage.
  5. Polishes (alcohol) - due to the presence of ethyl alcohol in the composition, they dry out in just half an hour. Their features include an increased level of strength, as well as the ability to obtain a coating with a beautiful gloss. But the disadvantages are the low level of resistance to water.

  6. Alkyd - have a 100% synthetic composition, and are also distinguished by their strength, abrasion resistance, and fire resistance. They will not deform with temperature changes and make it possible to slow down the aging process of wood.
  7. Nitrolacs - in composition they are very similar to alkyd ones, but dry out even faster. Since they do not have resistance to moisture and are destroyed by UV rays, they are often used as a varnish for wood for interior types of work.
  8. Polyester - are multicomponent paints and varnishes.

    When applied, a thick film is created that is resistant to chemicals and moisture.

  9. Alkyd - Urea - these are two-component compositions into which acidic hardeners should also be poured. They have a high level of moisture resistance and strength.
  10. Acrylic - urethane - have excellent adhesion properties, and still have almost no odor, but are destroyed at negative temperatures.
  11. Alkyd - Urethane - in comparison with alkyd composition, they last twice as long, and they are also easy to apply and distribute over the material.

    They have high elasticity and therefore will not crack during use.

  12. Polyurethane - have excellent resistance to wear and tear, as well as resistance to environmental influences. They are in high demand due to their low level of toxicity, as well as the ability to give wood a lasting shine.

Further it is worth considering the characteristics.


More from those.

the characteristics of varnish compositions for wood can be found in the table below.

Type of paint and varnish composition for wood Composition Drying time Usage


Thickened drying or natural oils

From 24 to 72 hours

Coating furniture and other wood products, except for floors


Resins of natural and artificial origin

From 24 to 72 hours

The use is the same as for oil formulations


Plasticizer, acrylic dispersion, water-based

2 ​​to 3 hours

Finish floor covering, reconstruction of wood products, internal and external work, including wet wood



8 to 12 hours

Coating heavily loaded surfaces (doors, wood floors and parquet)


Plasticizer, cellulose nitrate, solvent, resins

20 to 50 minutes

Pencils , musical instruments


Desiccant, solvent, alkyd resin

Up to 2 days

Parquet, pieces of furniture, floating floor


Ethyl alcohol resin

20 to 30 minutes

Articles of furniture, musical instruments


Polyester resin

3 to 6 hours

Surfaces that require a thick layer of glossy film (musical instruments)
Alkyd-carbamide Alkyd resin and carbamide From several hours to several days Any kind of wood coatings


Solvent, urethanes, acrylic dispersion

From 1 to 2 hours

Interior works (walls, parquet, floors wooden baths or houses)
Yacht (alkyd-urethane) Solvent, urethanes, alkyd resin From 6 to 12 hours Ship surface coating


Hardener and resins

Up to 2 to 3 weeks

Coating parquet floors, garden buildings, interior and exterior walls of wooden buildings, marine yacht

Consumption of paints and varnishes for wood

By average According to the data, the consumption of different varieties of varnish for wood is 1 liter per area from 8 to 10 m 2 .In the case of the subsequent application of the material, a little less is consumed - 1 liter per area from 10 to 12 m 2 , but when processing surfaces, a number of certain criteria must be taken into account,

which will be directly influence the consumption of the formulations:

  • Wood type - Wood with deep pores will require more varnish than a surface with small pores.
  • Viscosity - the thicker the composition, the more it will be required to cover each square meter of area. To reduce the overall consumption, a solvent (or water, if the material is water-based) is very often added to the wood varnish.

  • The quality of wood processing - If the wood is perfectly sanded, then less composition is required.
  • Application method - More varnish will be consumed while processing the material with a roller or brush than when spraying with a spray gun.

Next, we propose to consider how to choose varnish compositions for coating surfaces.

How to choose varnish for wood

Any varnish composition for covering wood is designed, first of all, to protect the treated surface from mechanical damage , exposure to sunlight and moisture, as well as the processes of decay and destruction. The choice of these or those materials will largely depend on the technical characteristics, and therefore it is worthwhile to understand the fact which of the many products will be suitable for a particular case.

When purchasing, you should pay attention to the following parameters:

  1. Wear resistance - the highest requirements for wear resistance are usually presented to floor coverings. The most popular are polyurethane varnishes for wood, which are distinguished by optimal protection against abrasion. Acrylic-urethane and alkyd-urethane paints and varnishes can be classified in the same category.
  2. The degree of gloss - this parameter will play an essential role for interior decoration. Each residential type room has objects with the same gloss level, and therefore, when considering the similarity of the varnish with the interior design in general.

  3. Scope of use - if interior decoration is required, then you should definitely buy varnish for work inside the house, and if outdoors, then for outdoor.
  4. Drying Rate - Each product will have its own drying time, which will vary from 1/3 hour to several weeks. Water-based formulations dry out most quickly, and polyurethane compounds for the longest time.
  5. Fire safety - if interior work is carried out in houses made of wood, then it is worth choosing paints and varnishes with excellent resistance to high temperatures. In stores, you can find a huge selection of materials that do not support combustion.

    They are much more expensive in cost than the simplest varnishes for wood, but the costs of fire safety still cannot be compared with the costs that may be needed to recover from a fire.

Next, we propose to consider a separate category of the composition.

Varnish for wood for work inside the house / apartment

The main aspect when purchasing varnish for wood for internal work will be the degree of toxicity. The incredible requirements for environmental friendliness will dictate their own conditions, and for this reason, for surface treatment inside the house, you need to choose compositions that will be as safe as possible for health. Because of this, preference should be given to acrylic and oil compositions that can be applied to pieces of furniture, window frames and other products, even in a children's room.

When wood varnish is chosen to cover floors or even grades on wooden stairs, it is worth considering its resistance to wear and tear. If the room is passable (kitchen or living room), then the best option would be to purchase an alkyd-urethane or polyurethane varnish. For a children's room or bedroom, oil and acrylic products are used.

The drying time of the coating will be of great importance. It is best to leave the house during the renovation, but if this is not possible, then surface treatment should be carried out in the warm season, when it will be possible to open doors and windows for a long time to check the room.

An exception will be wood varnish, which has a water-dispersion base, which is used without restrictions.

Varnish for outdoor use

From the point of view of the final result, varnish for external coating is almost the same as varnish for wood for indoor work. But when choosing a composition for external decoration, it is worth considering that outdoor surfaces require a higher degree of protection from rot, moisture and mold.

Because of this, the ideal option would be products that, after use, create a water-repellent and vapor-permeable film:

  • Oily.
  • Yachting.

  • Alkyd.
  • Acrylic.

The remaining criteria for choosing a composition for wood will be resistance to ultraviolet rays. Exposure to the sun is the main reason for the rapid deterioration of the coating, because the formulations will quickly lose their protective properties due to burnout. So, when choosing a material, you should give preference to products with special additives that will increase the resistance of the paintwork to ultraviolet light.

Rules for working with paintwork materials on wood + technology

The ideal conditions for applying the composition on wood is calm dry weather with a temperature not lower than +10 degrees. Ideally, the humidity level should not be higher than 80%, and the temperature should be from +15 to +35 degrees. Before proceeding with processing, gloves, mask and safety glasses should be prepared.Such accessories are needed even if the work will be carried out outdoors, and the material is non-toxic.

The application of the composition will include several interrelated stages:

  1. Types of varnishes for wood + how to choose the right paintwork Tool Selection - Application is usually done using a roller, brush or spray gun.

    Brushes with natural bristles are perfect for applying oil varnish, and with synthetic bristles for a smooth surface. Rollers are relevant for covering a large area, and spray guns are considered the most convenient tool with which you can process not only fences and facades, but even hard-to-reach places.

  2. Surface Preparation - To obtain excellent adhesion between wood and varnish, the surface must be prepared. Remove the old coating, and fill cracks and crevices with putty.
  3. Priming compound - This is not necessary every time, but it makes it possible to make the processing material smoother, as well as reduce material consumption.

With the right choice of varnish for wood and adherence to the rules of application, you can get a perfectly smooth and aesthetic surface that will be perfectly protected from the external environment.

( 1 grade, average 5 of 5 )