How to Varnish Wood… So It Looks Really Good!

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Add several coats of varnish to wood and it will enhance the natural colour of the timber, delivering a lovely, rich sheen. Varnish protects wood, providing a durable surface that helps to prevent damage and keeps it in good condition. So far, so simple. But there’s a bewildering array of wood floor varnish and other products on the market. Here’s our guide to varnishing wood and wood varnishing finishes, with a few handy product recommendations thrown in.

floor-varnish
Floor varnish enhances the natural colour and grain of wooden floors

Wood varnish guide

How to varnish wood?

Whatever product you want to use, as a general rule, you will have to completely remove any existing varnish, waxes, oils, wood stains, dust, dirt, grease, uneven areas and sticky stuff before applying a wood varnish.

Your workspace needs to be dust and dirt free, otherwise it can collect on the surface of the wood and the freshly applied varnish, spoiling the sheen and smooth finish.

It’s best to use a brush with natural rather than synthetic bristles for oil-based finishes, and synthetic brushes (often called ‘nylon’ brushes) for acrylic or water-based varnishes. But you can also use rollers or rags for both kinds of finish.

Every wood varnish product is very slightly different. All the products we sell come with detailed instructions and you should always follow them to the letter. With varnishes, short cuts invariably mean you won’t get the quality finish that you were hoping for. Here are some useful generic tips:

7 tips for varnishing wood

  1. Vacuum the area to remove dust and dirt, before starting work. A slightly damp mop also works well for removing sanding dust from the surface of the floor
  2. Choose a day when the weather isn’t too humid. Varnish will dry slower in humid or cold conditions, and there’s more chance of dust and dirt settling on your project before it’s fully dry, which means you’ll have an imperfect finish. If working indoors, use the heating to get the room temperature somewhere between 20 and 25°C. If the room is too hot, the varnish will dry too fast and messy bubbles might form
  3. Remove any existing varnish or finish with a suitable paint and varnish remover / stripper. Sand the wood to remove any surface imperfections, then use a damp cloth to remove any debris and let the wood dry
  4. The first coat can be thinned if required but this isn’t necessary with many of the modern water-based varnishes. Leave it to dry for 24 hours, then sand it with fine sandpaper and wipe down with a damp cloth or vacuum to remove the dust
  5. Apply your first coat of pure varnish, working with the grain, then let it dry completely
  6. Create a key by gently sanding the surface with very fine sandpaper
  7. Apply as many more coats as you need, generally 2 to 3 coats is the norm, but additional coats can be applied for greater depth of finish, gently sanding in between each coat. Don’t sand your last-but-one or final coat, and go with the grain for the final coat for a super-smooth finish

How to varnish a wood floor?

We think Ronseal’s video about how to varnish a wood floor is excellent! Here it is:

Choosing the right wood varnish

Varnish, polyurethane, lacquer and Shellac…they’re all different and they’re not supposed to be interchangeable. So what’s the score? Let’s look at a few different types of wood varnish.

Shellac varnish

First there’s Shellac varnish, something we’re asked about frequently. But what exactly is Shellac? It’s actually a natural resin secreted by an insect called a lac beetle, which lives in Indian and Thai forests. The substance comes exclusively from the female insect and is scraped off the tree branches, processed into dry flakes then mixed with ethanol to create a liquid. The end product has lots of interesting functions; it is used as a food glaze and colouring as well as a wood varnish.

It’s a remarkable material. As well as a durable natural primer it seals, blocks tannin and smells, stains wood and acts as a high-gloss varnish. It has excellent insulation properties, keeps moisture out and was even used to make old-school 78 rpm gramophone records.

Shellac used to be the most popular wood finish on the planet until polyurethane came along, a much more durable, heat and chemical-resistant material with a longer shelf life. These days, since it is compatible with most other finishes, Shellac is often used as a barrier or primer to prevent wood stains from blotching. It’s a major ingredient in Manns Shellac Sanding Sealer, which we sell on-site, ideal for blocking knots in wood, filling open grains and covering fine scratches.

Polyurethane varnish

Polyurethane is a plastic in liquid form. It comes as either a water based varnish or an oil based varnish, anything from satin varnish to high gloss and absolute matt. The Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish that we stock is a great example of a high performance varnish which has anti-bacterial properties making it suitable for use on kitchen surfaces and utilities as well as bathroom floors and furniture. It’s also safe to use on wooden children’s toys.

Water-based varnishes

Water-based varnishes have come a long way over the last decade or so and are now just as good or better than the traditional spirit-based varnishes used in the past. Excellent examples of modern day water-based varnishes include Woodleys Acrylic Interior Varnish, for interior doors and furniture and Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish for floors and staircases. If you’re looking for a strong, general purpose, water-based varnish that can be used for almost any project, Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish is certainly worth consideration.

  • Low odour
  • Low toxicity
  • Goes on clear without adding colour
  • Dries much faster than oil-based varnishes
  • Doesn’t stand heat and chemicals very well
  • Ideal for indoor wooden items that are protected from the extremes of temperature you get outdoors
  • Can be applied over latex or acrylic paint without adding colour

Oil-based varnishes

  • Slightly more durable than water-based varnish
  • Handles heat better
  • Adds a slight colour to enhance the wood
  • Must be used in a well-ventilated space
  • Takes much longer to dry and cure than water-based
  • Can be applied over latex or acrylic paint, adding slight colour

Spray varnish

Morrells-Nitrocellulose-Lacquer-Spray-Gloss-400ml
Morrells Nitrocellulose Lacquer Sprays

Spray varnish is wonderful if you have large areas to cover, and is ridiculously easy to apply. Take Morrells Nitrocellulose Lacquer Sprays, which come in a broad variety of sheen levels and offers a convenient way of applying a solvent-based spray lacquer without the need for a dedicated spray system. Interestingly, it comes highly recommended by luthiers, who say it’s perfect for varnishing guitars.

Floor varnish

Although floor varnish is generally thought of as a clear product, there are in fact a wide range of pigmented versions such as Ronseal Diamond Hard Coloured Floor Varnish, which comes in six attractive natural wood shades, to produce a remarkably hard-wearing, satin sheen finish.

Ronseal Diamond Hard Coloured Floor Varnish

Lacquer

Believe it or not, lacquers are the same as varnishes. The trade often use the term ‘lacquer’, while the general public tend to use the term ‘varnish’.

Acrylic varnish

Acrylic varnishes are usually water-based. They offer very high transparency levels and don’t go yellow. They are easier to clean up and don’t give off fumes, but don’t tend to penetrate the wood as well as oil-based products. They feature good UV-resistance and dust resistance, and are often used by artists to seal and protect paintings, sometimes with special ultraviolet light resistors to protect the paint against light.

Marine varnish

You’ve guessed it… marine varnish is simply a super-durable product formulated especially to withstand being submerged in salt or fresh water. It’s brilliant for boats, and US marine fitters Defender have created a handy guide to varnishing boats.

Need help choosing the right wood varnish for the job?

No problem. Just give us a call for free expert advice you can trust.

A guest post by Kate Goldstone

152 COMMENTS

  1. I have several unfinished wood lace bobbins that I would like to varnish before using. These are small (5 inches length, 1/2 inch width) pieces of wood that will have thread repeatedly wrapped around them for the craft of lacemaking. I need a varnish that will not transfer on to the thread or onto the lace pillow (cotton cover) against which they will rest and rub against. It also needs to be very smooth so that the thread fibres do not catch on it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • Good Afternoon Sheila,

      If there is any roughness to the wood before application it will be better to sand the wood first, this will help to avoid any snagging when in use. Once clean and smooth you can look at applying the Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish this will give a smooth and durable finish to the bobbins.

      Ideally a spray application of a number of thin coats will be best, however I appreciate that this is not perhaps a viable option and brush application will be fine, with a sand between coats with a 240 grit paper. Wipe off the sanding dust and apply further coats until you have the desired finish. I would expect 3- 4 coats for you project, however two will be a sufficient minimum.

      The drying time for this product is fairly quick for application of further coats. I would allow a period of a few days at least before putting into use, allowing the varnish to cure well, and then a test run first to ensure the varnish does not impact on the thread, I believe this will be very unlikely but tight tension of thread may over time wear the varnish away.

      I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to let me know.

      All the Best Samantha.

  2. Is it possible to layer different varnishes? Unfortunately Ronseal did not do the colour we wanted so we have had to use a different brand, however I don’t think it will be as hard wearing (label says for use in light traffic areas). I’m wondering if I can put a layer of the clear Ronseal varnish over the top to hopefully make the finish more durable.

    • Hello Mark,

      Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry. Generally speaking one varnish will go over another with out issue. It is important to ensure the base coat is dry and it will benefit from a light sand to key the surface. You should then try a test area, and allow this test are to cure for a number of days. Carry our a scratch test to check for adhesion and protection and this will show if there is any adverse reactions or the products are not compatible.

      Our best advice would always be to sand back to bare wood and apply a durable floor finish to get the best results, but I understand this is not always and option and so as long as the results of the test area are positive you could move forward with application. There will be no guarantees in terms of longevity or durability, when you apply two different brands and this is worth bearing in mind when choosing how to proceed with your project.

      I hope that helps and if you have any questions at all please do let me know.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  3. We are having a new engineered wood floor laid and then new wooden skirting and door architraves which we intend to varnish with a Matt finish for the skirting and architrave, can you advise on the best product please

  4. Hi I have a sideboard which has already been varnished in the past, it is looking tatty, do I need to sand the whole thing back to bear wood or would a light sand and ‘re varninsh don the job.
    Also I’m not sure if a coloured stain was used before?

    Would like to add photo, not sure if that is possible?

    • Hello Dawn,

      My advice for the best finish will always be to sand back to bare wood. That said I understand that this is not always an option and depending on the condition a light sand to give key to the surface is an option for re varnishing but will not give the best finish.

      Test areas are going to be the key, firstly to ensure there are no adverse reactions between old and new varnish, and to make sure that you like the finish that will be achieved. I will be happy to have a look at some photos if you wish to send some in to wood@finishes.direct with reference to this Blog Response. I can then perhaps make some suggestions of products to consider for your project.

      I look forward to hearing from you.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  5. I just finished varnishing my floors with Ronseal diamond hard white ash satin varnish. I have some left and would like to ‘paint’ a pine plate rack which appears to have been varnished in the past. Is there any way I can avoid sanding it (all those dowels)? And can I water down the varnish and use it in my paint sprayer (those dowels again)?

    • Good Afternoon Samantha,

      Thank you for your enquiry. The Varnish is likely to be suitable for use on your plate rack. that said I would advice that a light sand is carried out to provide key to the surface to aid adhesion. And that a test area is carried out. The test area should be left for around 3 days and then checked for adhesion and this will ensure that there are no problems.

      Thinning is not advised as this will impact on the durability of the product and brush application is the manufacturers instructions.

      If there is anything further that I can help with please do not hesitate to get in touch.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  6. Hi, the varnished floor in our kitchen is very much looking the worse for wear with grease marks etc. I was wondering if it would be possible to add a little white emulsion paint to water based varnish to give a kind of smoky, denser effect. I’m sure I read this in a magazine somewhere but I’m a bit wary of taking the plunge.
    Thanks
    Ann

    • Hello Ann,

      Thank you for getting in touch, its not necessarily a coarse I would recommend, grease will cause issue with adhesion and finish of most products that you try to apply over the top. You can try wiping the surface of the floor with some Methylated spirits to see if this removes the grease. This will improve the chances of application over the top of the current finish.

      Some paint will adhere to a varnished finish but with so many variables it is not necessarily something that I would recommend. You could have a look a coloured varnish such as Ronseal Diamond Hard to see if this might meet your needs.

      For further advise please feel free to call in ad speak to one of our advisers on 01303 213838 or email to wood@finishes.direct

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  7. Hi there,

    We have recently purchased a lovely wooden dining table and 6 chairs. I am wanting to varnish the table to protect it from stains etc as it needs doing. However, i dont really want to sand all of the chairs as well. Im worried that if i sand the table top down back to bare wood i will never be able to match the original colour to the chairs again. Is it possible to apply a clear varnish on the table top to prevent further damage without sanding it down and removing what is on there already? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many Thanks.

    • Hello Paul,

      That very much depends what is currently on the table and chairs. If it is an oiled finish then you are not able to varnish over the top. If it is already varnished then this gives you a better chance. There is a small test that you can do to get a clue and that is to leave a small drop of oil on the wood, preferable somewhere inconspicuous, and leave it for 30 minutes to an hour. If the oil remains unmoved then you have a varnished surface, if the oil moves or soaks in then you are likely to have an oiled or bare wood table.

      This will then help with moving forward with the right products. If it is varnished then you can lightly key the surface and try the Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish I would recommend a test area first to ensure there are no compatibility issues and that you are getting the finish that you hope for and this product is available in sample sizes.

      Do let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  8. Hi.
    I have a mango table that has a ring on it where the heat from whatever was put on it has taken off the varnish. When I have sanded and varnished the area its now a darker ring than the rest of the table. Seems like the varnish went straight into the wood. Can you help please? Many thanks.

    • Hello Sara,

      Are you able to send me some photos and I will happily take a look. Often heat on the surface will draw up moisture in the wood and create a white ring which is difficult to remove. Get in touch via email wood@finishes.direct and hopefully I will be able to make some helpful suggestions.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  9. Hi Sam,
    Pine bed and 2 pine bedside cabinets made 10 plus years ago and finished with Rustins polyurethane varnish developed a sweet odour over the last few years. I have not had this problem with any of many hardwood projects using Rustins and it took a while to identify the source. I recoated with Rustins 2/3 months ago and it has not improved things.
    I now find many websites reffering to “Polyurethane Smell”, but without any easy
    definite solution.
    Any suggestions for a clear hardwearing finish to seal the smell in without having to strip down ?
    Thanks,
    Brian.

    • Hello Brian,

      I have not come across this before and not sure what could be the cause. Polyurethane will ahve a smell when first applied but this will disperse in a matter of days. Due to the age you may need to consider stripping back to bare wood and re applying a product. I am sorry that I can not be of more help, but if you have any other questions please do let me know.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  10. Hi – I have stripped and sanded an oak dining table top to bare wood, stained it a couple of times using Colron mahogany to match the dark lacquered table legs, then applied Colron liquid wax for darker wood, which contains beeswax. That buffed to a medium shine but I wasn’t satisfied so applied a coat of Danish oil. In so doing, a lot of stain came off on the cloth. The result was even but left me worried about people using the table and getting stain on their clothes! Running out of Danish oil, I then used some Ronseal Teak oil. Again a lot of stain keeps coming off on the cloth. The result so far is a lovely matt sheen but one where clothes would be vulnerable to staining.

    How do I seal the wood to prevent this happening? I wanted to varnish it but your advice suggests this is not an option. I don’t really want to take this back to bare wood and start again, so is it a case of persevering with more coats of Teak oil until the stain is stable or is there something else I can do?

    • Hello Steve,

      It sounds like maybe the stain is being lifted when application occurs, maybe over working the oil is pulling at the stain. My best advice would be to take the wood back to bare and start again just using one durable type of oil such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil which will colour an protect in two thin coats.

      Varnish can not be applied over the top as it will not adhere and I believe applying further coats of oil will continue to cause issues. If you would like further advice please do feel free to email me at wood@finishes.direct.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  11. Hi,

    Wondering if you can help as I can’t find a solution on the Internet. I stripped a softwood door in my house from a dark varnish and washed and sanded the whole thing so it looked like the natural wood again. A few days later I varnished over with a Ronseal birch varnish (water-based). The actually varnish looked green in the tin but the first coat dried and looked okay. Second coat applied and the whole thing has dried a horrible green.

    Any advice on why this happened? I’m going to have to start the whole process again but don’t want a green door again.

    Thanks,

    Nicola

    • Hello Nicola,

      Can you send me some photos of the issue you are having and I will happily take a look for you to see if I can make a suggestions. You can email me at wood@finishes.direct FAO Sam.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  12. Hi, I just finished varnishing my hardwood floors with satin varnish and as I was finishing up I noticed a couple of wee patches I wanted to top up on the already dried areas. When I have done this however, the varnish has went out really matte making them stand oven more. Any idea what is causing this and if I can fix it. I am worried another coat will make it worse.

    • Hello Nicole,

      Are you able to send me an email, with some pictures of the effected area and the whole floor. Can you include details such as what type of wood the floor is, what preparation you carried out, how you applied and any other information that you feel may be relevant. Also what varnish you have used. You can email me at wood@finishes.direct FAO Sam.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  13. Hi, I’m thinking of using rounded edged softwood as a large frame for shelving. I’d like to get a light / medium oak look if possible but also have a finish on top that will not stain as it will be used for placing clothing on. Any suggestions would be much appreciated, Thanks Anil

    • Hello Anil,

      To get the colour you want I would recommend you have a look at the Manns Classic Pine Stain this is a versatile stain that can be intermixed, lightened by adding water or a number of coats applied to intensify the colour.

      Once you have achieved the colour that you want then a good quality varnish such as Extra Tough Interior Varnish this will seal the colour and be durable finish for the wood.

      Both products are available in sample sizes and a test area is always recommended. I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do let me know.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  14. Hi all,
    I have some old pine chairs that have been by a sunny window for a long time. The varnish is now lifting and they look terrible (the ones that are less exposed to sunlight are OK though).

    The old varnish lifts fairly easily but the chairs have a lot of ‘difficult’ areas (round moulding etc).

    Is there a way around scraping and sanding to clean the old away?

    Once I have a decent surface what would be the finish you’d recommend (for a soft sheen finish)? I quite like the idea of wax but possibly not for a surface up against clothes.

    Bob

    • Hello Bob,

      Thank you for your enquiry, you could have a look at the Paint Panther which is a quick working gel like product that you can apply to the varnished areas and then scrap off with a Filler Knife A test area is always recommended wit strippers to first ensure there are no adverse reaction and also to show that the product will work for your project.

      As with many projects you may still need to carry out a little sanding to finish of removal or to prepare the wood for its follow up treatment. And if you need any further advice on this please do not hesitate to get in touch, our email is wood@finishes.direct.

      Kind Regards Samantha

  15. Hi, first can you tell me the color stain used on the floors in the picture. Second can you give me the steps on refinishing the floors. Do I start with the shellac, then put the color , then the clear varnish? To remove the old color and clear coat do I just use a stripper then sand? Please give me the steps from beginning to end. from what I’m understanding after old color and gloss have been removed and prepped use shellac then varnish color then gloss?

    Thank you,
    Chris

    • Hello Christine,

      We have some very helpful videos on our You Tube Channel >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK_x4PFwLvY or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Umn0CgJpdSg that give hints and tips on which products to use.

      The picture in this blog is likely to be clear varnish applied directly to a sanded wood. There is no stain, the colours are highlighted by the varnish and the range in colours are due to different types and states of wood. Shellac is a durable natural primer it seals, blocks tannin and smells, and stains wood. It is not always necessary and a Primer is sometimes a better option.

      I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do let me know.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  16. Hi,
    I’ve got an antique walnut dining table which was starting to look quite badly worn. I have sanded it down using very fine grade sanding paper (finishing with 320 Grit) and I tried varnishing it with Ronseal gloss interior varnish (walnut shade). Unfortunately the surface is not very shiny and the wood is a lot darker than it was originally. I’m going to take it back to bare wood again, what would you recommend I should use to bring back a bright gloss finish? I don’t really want to make it much darker that it looks when I wipe a damp cloth over it.

    • Hello Peter,

      It may be that you do not need to apply a coloured varnish. Applying a clear varnish will darken the natural colour of the wood in the way a damp cloth will darken the bare wood. For a high gloss finish you could have a look at Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish it will enhance the grain of the wood and give good quality protection. It is durable and non yellowing and is also available in sample sizes to allow you to carry out a test area first.

      Have a look at this product and check out our helpful You Tube Videos >>> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7-tgwbsUxm73aVnAjLGHRA for hints and tips on application. And if you have any questions please feel free to get back to me.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  17. I would like to change my white table top (ikea) which may be mdf ,to maple or honey colour to match my worktops. Can you advise me the best way to go about this.

    • Hello Mary,

      Would you be able to send some photos via email of the table and the work tops you are looking to match ? You can email then to wood@finishes.direct and I will see if I can make some suggestions for you.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  18. My holiday home has skirting and door surrounds previously stained/varnished with an orange/yellow effect, displaying a colour very similar to that of Antique Pine in your wood stain samples. However I want to change the colour/stain to be brown without any red, orange or yellow i.e. achieve as close to the colour sample Walnut or slightly lighter if possible? Can you recommend what stain samples I should get to attempt to achieve a brown wood & counteract the orange/yellow effect. I think I would apply wax rather than varnish to the finished effect however before I do apply any stain would I have to remove the previous varnish with a product? p.s. It has been over 10 years or more since any product was applied to the wood. Many thanks!

    • Hello Christie,

      Thank you for your enquiry. A stain will need to be able to absorb into the surface of the wood and any pre existing treatment may prevent this. So you would need to strip off any old varnish. The wood that you are applying to can have a direct impact on the colour that will be achieved with the stain. Pines, for example tend to be naturally red,orange or yellow in colour and application of stains, varnishes or oils can highlight the tones of the wood.

      The good thing about these stains is that they are very versatile, you can lighten by adding water or intermix to create an alternate colour. Plus they are available in sample sizes so you can carry out some test areas. Any top coat oils or varnishes will darken slightly so the test area should include this.

      One other alternative to try once you have stripped back to bare wood is a Coloured oil which will colour and protect in one and is also available in a sample size.

      I hope that helps and if you have any questions please feel free to email me on wood@finishes.direct

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  19. Hi.
    Just had a company in who sanded my oak block floors back to the wood. They have put a coat of Ronseal medium oak varnish on the floor and it looks terrible! The finish is patchy with distinct light and dark blotches and some lines along the edges which look like the floor was damp next to the walls – which it wasn’t. What could have gone wrong? I don’t want them to put any more coats on until we know what the problem is – they can’t understand it themselves!
    Thanks for any suggestions and advice. Dave

    • Hello David,

      Can you send me some photos of the whole floor and the effected areas and I will happily take a look for you to see if there are any suggestions I can make. You can send images to wood@finishes.direct with a description of the wood, preparation and application method.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  20. Hi,

    Recently re-finished our pine floors in the satin ronseal diamond hard antique pine varnish, I have used other ronseal products with this colouring previously and thought i knew what to expect so went ahead and did a whole coat. I had misgivings at first, and when the final coat had dried I was sure I felt like i had been tangoed!! It’s very orange, more so than i expected.
    As I don’t think lightening up the floor is viable, if we were to add a few more coats of the medium oak would this darken the floor any? or would walnut be a better choice? I’m not particulary bothered how dark the floor gets i just don’t want it to be orange.

    • Hello Liam,

      How frustrating, the Antique Pine is quite an orange tone and if applied to a wood that has underlying tones of orange this can be highlighted considerably. I am not sure that the Medium Oak will work to tone down the orange, you may have to consider a darker colour or sanding back. And it is very important to try a test area out with which ever colour you go for and allow it to dry so that you get the true colour that will be achieved. Let me know how you got on, feedback on these issues are always helpful for us.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  21. Hi,
    Have just purchased a new headboard that has a foil finish in light oak.
    We ideally need a slightly darker end result but understand that treating a foil finish is difficult and only painting is possible after a rub down and a primer paint applied.
    We don’t really want to paint the headboard as this won’t match the rest of our oak furniture.
    Question is could we rub the board down and apply a clear primer and then a coloured varnish to keep the underlying grain effect or are there any other options available?
    Looking forward to your response.
    Best regards
    Nigel

    • Hello Nigel,

      Your best bet is to contact the company that you purchased the headboard from. Foil finishes are not my field of expertise and I would not really be able to comment or advice on it. I am sorry that I can not be of more help but if there is anything else that I can help with please do let me know.

      All The Best Samantha.

  22. Hi guys, i have made the mistake of varnishing our wooden dining chairs in cold temperatures. The finish looks just fine, but it scratches easily. Any advice to recover my hard effort of applying 3 layers of varnish? Id rather not have to sand it down.

    • Hello Hitesh,

      Can you send me some photos to wood@finishes.direct along with details of the preparation carried out and the application process? Also details of the varnish used and the type of wood, if you know what it is?

      I will happily take a look and see what I can advice for you.

      All the Best Samantha.

  23. Hello Sam,
    I have just got an old (1830…) Gilbert wood clock which was “renovated” a few times. I am now in the process of sanding the many layers of varnish down to bare wood. I would like to give it the original mohogony color. Should I need to stain the wood first and then apply clear varnish or can I go straight to a varnish stain? My problem is sanding between layers because of the intricate design of the clock.
    What do you suggest?

    Carlos
    Portugal

    • Hello Carlos,

      I would recommend the Light Fast Wood Stain as a solvent it is unlikely to raised the grain and will reduce the need to denib between coats. There are a couple of Mahogany’s in this range and it give a great depth of colour to the wood.

      You can then look at sealing with a clear varnish such as the Extra Tough Varnish from Manns. This is a clear varnish available in Matt to Super Gloss and can be applied with a brush or roller or even spray applied. Unfortunately we do not ship over seas but are always happy to package up goods should you wish to arrange for a courier to collect from us. For more details you can call us on 0800 7818 123 or email to wood@finishes.direct

      All the Best Samantha.

  24. Hi Sam,
    I have purchased some raw pine shelving from IKEA which I would like to stain and oil. I love the style of the furniture but not the finish! We’ve just had really excellent results on our freshly sanded old pine floorboards with the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil product, and would like something similar for the shelving, ie something we can brush on that provides a satin finish that is reasonably durable and dries relatively quickly. For the shelves, I’d like some colour to add a little character to otherwise completely bland wood. We’ve tried using the leftover Fiddes product on the IKEA shelving – which is prepped but furry in the way that pine wood can be – to see if it darkens the wood in the same way it did our floors (it hasn’t) and to see if gives the satiny finish we want. We thought that if we could achieve the finish using the oil but not the colour, we could order one of the tinted Fiddes Wax Oils, but it doesn’t seem to be working particularly well to give the right finish. Do you know why this would be? Or is there a better product you can recommend for raw pine? I don’t mind using a varnish but was more inclined to use the oil so that we could potentially refresh the shelving in the future without sanding back completely.
    Any advice?
    Mandy

    • Hello Mandy,

      There are a number of different Pines and they can react differently to the same treatment. It may be that you need to sand the shelves to a higher grit 180 or 200 grit to smooth the surface more. But bear in mind that by doing this it will tighten the grain and make it harder for the oil to be absorbed. I would recommend trying this first on a small test area to see how you get on.

      Alternatively you could look at using a Shellac to give a smooth finish that can be stained with Light Fast Wood Stain and then finished with a Varnish

      We also have some helpful videos on our You Tube Channel that have great hints and tips on application methods and product advice >>> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7-tgwbsUxm73aVnAjLGHRA but feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  25. Hi, I have a walnut board I am making into a window sill. I would like a very durable, water proof/resistant matt finish. What type of product would you recommend for hardwood, can’t decide between an oil or varnish?

    • Hello James,

      There are pros and cons to using oils or varnishes. A varnish such as Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish is a more durable seal on the surface of the wood, as long as the seal is not broken it will last long and be water resistant.

      An Oil is still very durable, it soaks into the surface of the wood and leaves it looking and feeling natural. It is easier to maintain and repair than the varnish and just requires a top up coat when you feel the wood needs it. Always try a test area and if you have a read up of the products and let me know if you have any further question I am always happy to help.

      Kind regards Sam.

  26. Hi
    I have just finished sanding down my bedroom flooring which was stained a dark brown colour, it’s very old over 100 years I’m guessing and it has a lot of wear and tear where it’s very uneven the sanding has brought out the different tones and it looks very patchy, I really don’t mind the worn look and a bit patchy is fine I’m thinking of using ronseal diamond walnut floor varnish on top as its most likely to blend in the uneven colours as there dark patches in the large creases left! Do you think this would mostly even it out?

    • Hello Kelly,

      It would be fair to say that the darker the colour that you apply to more is will mask any variations or patchiness. The Ronseal Diamond Hard Coloured Floor Varnish is an easy to apply, hard wearing product that would be ideal for your project. I would recommend a test area first to ensure that you do like the finish that will be achieved. The wood you are applying to will have an impact on the final colour to be achieved. I hope that helps and please do let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  27. Hello, we’ve just had a cabin bed built out of plywood for our little boy. We are going to paint it white and wanted to put a clear varnish over the top of it to make it more durable. I have. I have no idea what is the best type of paint or varnish to use, any advice would be greatly appreciated

    • Hello Debbie,

      I would recommend the Manns Classic Interior Paint. Although advertised as a paint, it is in fact a coloured varnish and so will give colour and protection in one product. 2-3 coats can be applied with a roller or brush and will give a great opaque finish to your project.

      If you have a read up of the product and feel free to let me know if you have any further questions, I am happy to help.

      Kind regards Sam.

  28. Hi.
    I’m in the process of having some new light oak work tops fitted and want to protect them as much as poss’ once installed.
    My wife doesn’t fancy the Danish oil the supplier suggests, but wants a satin hard wearing finish, fairly maintenance free. What would you suggest?
    Kind Regards,
    Bill

    • Hello Bill,

      You could have a look at some of our Top Oils. Osmo Top Oil is a good option and is available in a range of sheen levels. It is easy to apply, repair and maintain over time. We have some great videos on You Tube about products and application methods that are well worth watching. If you have a read up on the recommendation and let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind regards Sam.

  29. Hi. We’ve just had a new staircase fitted made from new, untreated. I wanted to darken the wood up a little to achieve more of an oak colour, so have applied 1 coat of Ronseal Diamond floor varnish in Light Oak. However, the wood now has a green tinge to it, & still feels quite rough to touch. Should i rub down, apply more & hope the colour improves, or try something else? Would a wax be better? Many thanks

    • Hello Isabelle,

      It sounds like the varnish is bringing out the natural tones of the wood you are applying to. I would recommend trying a test area of the varnish to see how this impacts on the colour. If you find that it is still not to your liking you may need to consider removing the varnish and trying again with an alternative colour or product.

      You could apply a water based stain first one with a red tone to it to counter act the green or the base wood, but again a test area is recommended, with the top coat product, as this will darken the colour also. See how you get on and feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind Regards Sam.

      Test areas are the key to getting the right finish, see how you get on and if you have any further questions please do let me know.

  30. Hi
    We have a dresser made for a whole kitchen wall which one of the previous owners of the house varnished in the 70s! Its a lovely piece of furniture but has now gone very orangey yellow. It would be very fiddly to sand the whole thing down. Could I possibly use an antique pine varnish over this, after thorough cleaning, to improve its appearance?
    Thanks
    Marianne

    • Hello Marianne,

      A test area is going to be the best way to find out. Applying a colour over a previous finish can work fine but the base colour can have an effect on the colour that you are applying. You would also need to check for compatibility, the test area will show any adverse reactions. Ensuring that there are no breaks in the seal or areas that are flaking to avoid damage after a fresh coat is applied. Let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  31. Hi. I am considering refinishing a fruitwood chunky dining table. First how can I tell which kind of finish is on the table and secondly I am thinking of stripping the present finish and brush varnishing a new finish on the top can you recommend the best varnish / finish and stain to use and indeed stripper. Thanks Regards Colin.

    • Hello Colin,

      If you have an inconspicuous area where you can put a couple of drops of oil from the kitchen cupboard (Veg or Olive) is fine and leave on the surface for around an hour. If the oil soaks in you have an oil or wax on the surface and if it remains unmoved then a varnish.

      To remove Oils and waxes the best option is sanding or wiping with white spirits, depending on what the oil is will depend on the need for sanding. For removal of varnish you could have a look at the Paint Panther and Varnish Remover which will make the varnish bubble up for scraping off.

      Once you are back to bare wood, then you are ready to get a fresh treatment on the wood. Fiddes Hard Wax Oil will give a natural look and feel to the wood and is hard wearing and durable, whereas Manns Extra Tough Varnish will seal on the surface giving a tough durable finish. If you have a read up of those products and let me know if you have any other questions.

      All the Best Sam.

  32. I have a number of furniture items that I am planning to varnish over the coming weeks. The items are as follows:

    – teak 1960’s dining table and chair set
    – teak 1960’s sideboard
    – Elm ercol easy chairs

    I have sanded all items down using a combination of hand sanding and machine. I would like to apply matt varnish to all items. I have a couple of questions that I would be very grateful if you could answer to help me choose the type of varnish I need to purchase.

    1) I am looking for a fairly water resistant surface for the table as I don’t want to have to rely on table coverings. Would this involve applying more than 2 coats of varnish and is a matt varnish not suitable?
    2) I was looking into spray matt products as I was under the impression that their application gave a more uniform finish. Would you recommend these? Are they good for chair legs?

    Thank you in advance.

    Anna

    • Hello Anna,

      Firstly my apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Some inquiries have got lost in the system. Anyway, for your project I would recommend the Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish. It is durable and hard wearing and would be ideal for your furniture. It is available in a matt finish and this will not impact on the durability. It can also be spray applied and this will give a thinner more even finish.

      I would always recommend a test area first to ensure you are getting the finish that you want. And if you have any further questions please do let me know.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  33. Hi

    I make lots of crafts and I have taken up decorating MDF & birch plywood items, using acrylic art paints, I need a good gloss to go over them and a waterproof one please for outdoor use. What ones would you suggest please? I live in the UK.

    Thanks

    • Hello Arabella,

      You could have a look at the Dulux Yacht Varnish. This is the only exterior varnish that we have that may go over paint but I would strongly recommend a test area first to check for compatibility and adhesion. I hope that helps and please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  34. Hi
    I have just painted my bedroom floorboards in chalky white with Rust-Oleum Floor Paint. The floor boards are of a dark brown stain and in good condition. We sanded them first with an electric sander and have just applied the first coat, anticipating a further 2 coats. I would like to give it a gloss finish and although it doesn’t say on the tin that its necessary to seal it for durability, it would give me peace of mind. Would a yachting varnish be suitable and give it a glossier finish or would you recommend a different product?
    Thanks for your help,

    Sally

    • Hello Sally,

      Can you tell me if it is the Chalky Finish Floor paint or something different that you have used ? Its difficult for me to recommend with confidence, a product to go over the top with out knowing the exact product that you have used. If it is the Chalky Paint I would expect you to be able to go over it with a varnish but this will have an effect on the colour, potentially making the white look cream or give a yellow tinge to it. But should you wish to apply a clear varnish I would recommend the Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish. Spray application would be best to avoid pulling the paint during application. And I would strongly recommend test areas first.

      I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do let me know.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  35. Hi All,

    I’m looking for some advice please.

    We are having untreated engineered oak flooring in our lounge. The floor is a rustic finish with lots of knots and grain variation. We have children, a dog and cats.

    We are looking for something to finish the floor that will not alter the colour and that has no “shine”. It also needs to be quick drying so am guessing water based.

    Our joiner recommended Ronseal Diamond Hard Varnish but it is a satin finish and I’m not convinced it won’t make the oak look yellow/orange.

    I have seen a product that I have never heard of called Skylt. It claims to be the only one of its kind, is a varnish, quick drying, non solvent, doesn’t alter colour and leaves natural finish. Downside is it is £170 for 4L.

    Another alternative that has been recommended is Blanchon Original Wood Environment. It looks like a cream that goes on easily, dries quickly, doesn’t alter colour and leaves floor looking like it has had no product etc but I’m not sure how tough it will be in terms of scratching as if isn’t a varnish.

    Any help or recommendations would be really useful

    Thanks

    • Hello Vicki,

      Unfortunately I can not comment on the products that you have mentioned as I am unfamiliar with them. But I can recommend Bona Mega Natural, which is designed to keep the wood looking as natural as possible and give a medium level of durability and is recommended for domestic floors.

      For something that is that little bit extra and we recommend for high traffic and retail use is the Bona Traffic HD, which is a two part lacquer and is more durable and can be put into full use after around 24 hours. Have a read up on the products and if you have any questions please do let me know. Always try a test area first.

      Kind regards Sam.

  36. I have just varnished my newly stripped 1930s doors with clear satin polyurethane varnish. I have noticed that the doors have gone from a pine colour to an almost brown colour. Will it change back If not can I remove the varnish and start again or do the doors have to be stripped again

    • Hello Maureen,

      Most clear products, whether they be oil or varnish are likely to darken the wood a little and give what we call the wet look. Many people like this as it enhances the grain. There are products that are designed to reduce this darkening effect such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural but you would need to remove the existing varnish in order to use this product. I hope that helps and please feel free to get in touch if you have any other questions.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  37. Hi, we have just built a macrocarpa wooden bench. After putting teak oil stain on it very brown marks have shown up. Is there anything we can do to rescue it?

  38. Hi. I am looking for a matt varnish to stop a pine cladding interior from yellowing over time. Any recommendations? Thanks.

  39. I am making a console table from american light oak. I want to achieve a lacquered finish. What would you recommend using and what level of finish?

    • Hello Kevin,

      You could have a look at the Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish it comes in 4 sheen levels and is no yellowing and easy to apply. Have a read up of the product overview and if you have any questions please do let me know. Always remember test areas.

      Kind regards Sam.

  40. Hi I have an old teachers desk which I am going to sand I then want to achieve a high gloss finish over old maps on the top, can you give me an idea of which product would be best? Thanks Aesther

    • Hello Esther,

      I would recommend looking at the Woodleys Acrylic Interior Finish for your project. You should do a test area first to ensure that there are no issues with pulling or damage to the maps, but if you are applying and sealing with a PVA then there should be no issues. I would be interested to see the results of your project and if you want to share then you can email me at wood@finishes.direct

      Kind Regards Sam.

  41. Good morning,
    I have just sanded back the staircase in our new house and love the look of the bare wood. I tried a tester section with a matt varnish and it darkened dramatically and finished in a very red colour which I don’t like. It obviously needs something to protect it but I don’t want to darken it too much or bring out the red of the natural wood. I am thinking of using a wax with a natural oak colour and then varnishing over that which will darken it but at least will remove some of the red colour, do you think this is a good option? Any recommendations would be much appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Hello Kat,

      I would not recommend applying a varnish over a wax there is likely to be adhesion problems when doing this. There is a product that is designed to leave the wood looking as natural as possible whilst still giving excellent protection Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural is a durable finish and is available in sample sizes so that you can try test areas. I would recommend the sample size first as I can not guarantee that this will not still enhance the red tones of the wood also but it may be more suited to your needs.

      I hope that helps and please do get in touch if you have any further questions.

      Kind regards Sam.

  42. Hi there,

    I have had Meranti timber used for my new fencing which I want to retain the beautiful colour of. My builder has recommended using a Water Seal which I can see protects it from water ingress and therefore any rotting but I’m not sure it will enliven its colour at all. Other options include a teak type oil (ideally a clear rarher than yellow, perhaps with the water repellent on top) or could I consider a yacht type varnish. I would definitely want it to be matt and not look like the wood has anything applied to it.

    Can you advise me on products that may be suitable.

    Much appreciated.

    • Hello,

      Thank you for your inquiry, I would recommend having a look at any of the Decking Oils as these would be suitable for your fence or the Barrettine Log Cabin Treatment.

      These are all oil products that will offer great UV Protection and water repellency. Test areas are recommended and to ensure that you like the finish but also that the oil will absorb okay as you are applying it to a Hardwood. The oil will darken the wood slightly. I would not recommend a varnish for fencing, although the Yacht varnish will be tough and durable it will peel and flake over time. And then need fully stripping back before you can re-apply.

      I hope that helps and if you have any further questions feel free to get in touch.

      All the Best Sam.

  43. Hi

    I am in the process of restoring my wooden framed conservatory, it currently has a awful brown finish on it internally & externally which I am sanding back to the natural wood. Once I have finished sanding I would like to apply a product to protect the wood from the elements, has a gloss effect, low maintenance and keeps the natural color of the wood. Can you advise me on a suitable product please.

    Thank you

    • Hello Wendy,

      Thank you for your inquiry, we don’t have many gloss finishes for an exterior finish but you could have a look at the Sadolin Quick Drying Wood Preserver as a first coat treatment to protect and then the Sadolin Extra Durable Clearcoat is available in a gloss finish. Please read all details on the products and always try a test area first. And if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get back in touch.

      All the Best Ben.

  44. Hi there, I have recently bought a table and it’s made of solid oak. It’s a bit rough to touch (risk of splinters etc) and has also stained slightly from glasses that have been placed straight on the table would table matts. I’ve added two coats of Osmo kitchen work top Oil 3058 clear Matt, but I feel like it’s not done anything? What can I do to make the table less rough and also prevent it from causing these staining, and also with things like food and red wine if it goes on the table?
    Thank you!

    • Hello Raghad,

      The Osmo Top Oil is a very durable and hard wearing treatment that will leave the wood protected and water repellent. It is Micro porous and standing liquid will eventually soak in to and stain the wood but the Top Oil is repellent and very protective when applied correctly. It will not however smooth out rough wood as application is thin.

      You may find that the oil is not working as it should because the wood hasn’t been sanded to the recommend grit of 120- 150. This sanding will smooth the wood in preparation for a very thin application of the oil. And the Oil will then create a protective seal in the surface of the wood. I hope that makes sense for you and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

      Kind regards Sam.

  45. We had most of the ground floor of our house sanded just before Christmas about 125m2. The boards are old (not sure how old) and had a dark brown stain / colour. We employed a ‘professional’ to go the job. He sanded and said the existing costing was very tough and he used twice normal amount sanding discs. He recommended a clear laquer as the replacement floor covering. It transpired however he was an alcoholic and announced one day that he had ‘fallen off the wagon’ and would not be coming back! He said however that another company had agreed to come and do the laquer as a favour. We agreed given it was just before Christmas. 3 of them arrived did final sand and lacquered over a weekend. The floor however now now is very easily marked. It is covered in scratches from our Labrador walking over it and moving furniture e.g. Pull furniture out to hoover gouges floor. Would applying ronseal diamond hard over top existing solve this problem? I think existing clear also is too light, could I add an oak colour at the same time? Thanks

    • Hello John,

      It sound like you have had a bit of a time of it with the workmen. It is fair to say that most varnished floors will mark if it has furniture moved about on it, heavy shoes, heels and large dogs are all things that can contribute to damaging varnished floors but that said adding and extra coat or two can increase the durability of the varnish.

      It will also help to improve and cover over some of the minor scratches that you have but maybe not all of them. The Ronseal Diamond Hard Floor Varnish is certainly a good option if you are wanting to add some colour but it is important to do a test area first to ensure adhesion and colour result. And the key to avoiding damaging the surface is to allow a few days for the varnish to fully cure before putting the floor back into full use and avoiding scraping furniture about on the surface.

      Please do let me know if you have any further questions

      All the Best Sam.

  46. Hi,
    I’ve just stripped back my mantelpiece with the view of putting a clear varnish on to bring out the colour of the natural wood, however it seems shelf may have been replaced and is a different colour to the sides. Could I use Ronseal French oak interior varnish to match up the colours or would I be better staining then adding a clear top layer?

    Many thanks

    • Hello Gary,

      Colour matching and trying to get two differing woods to look the same can be difficult, but not impossible. If you would like to take some photos and send them to wood@finishes.direct and I will happily take a look for you. But realistically it may require a bit of experimenting and test areas to achieve what you are looking for.

      Kind regards Sam.

  47. Hi,

    I am thinking of creating a feature wall using new pine wooden planks. I wanted to create an effect of up to three varying colours but not with too much of a contrast. The idea being that I sand and treat the planks to varying colours before attaching them to the wall battens in a random pattern. Could I use the Ronseal Diamond Hard products and water them down to different degrees to get the different shades that I would like?

    • Hello David,

      I would recommend using the Manns Classic Pine Stain to get the differing colours/tones that you are looking for. You could potentially get one colour and then apply in different ways to get the differing tones.

      For example, you can apply as many coats as you want and each layer will intensify the colour a little bit more. Or you can and water to lighten. And then when you apply a top coat product, such as Hard Wax Oil or Varnish it will darken slightly also. Please feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind regards Sam.

    • Hello Mike,

      Thank you for your inquiry, this is a little out of our remit as we are suppliers of finishes, however if you would like to email us at wood@finishes.direct with the photo and description of what you would like to do. And I will get one of our wood finishing experts to take a look and see if i can offer some advice.

      Kind regards Sam.

  48. Hi Sam. Thanks. That does sound like the problem as I was at the bottom of the tin. I will give it a good sand with courser paper and try again with new tin. Thanks for your help. Heather

  49. Hi matt. I have put white gloss on my dining room table, two coats. Then I used a water based clear gloss varnish on top, but I think I put too much on and it’s got dark murky patches all over it and looks awful. I was hoping it would dry out eventually but it’s been 24 hours now and it’s the same. It’s like streaks and you can see it badly. What can I do? I didn’t know it had to be put on mega sparingly as it didn’t say that on the tin. What can I do now?

    • Hello Angel,

      It doesn’t sound good, its disappointing when you have a finish in mind and you put the work in for it to come out wrong. If you would like to email me with details of exactly which products you used and how you prepared the table and applied the finishes and then hopefully I can send some advise your way. You can email to wood@finishes.direct and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

      Kind Regards Sam.

    • Hi Heather,

      Thank you, the reason I ask is because it sounded to me like a cluster of Matting agent. Generally all varnishes start as a gloss finish and a matting agent is added to then to reduce the shine to a Satin or Matt finish. This agent will sink to the bottom of the tin when left standing and requires a really good stir before application. So I believe that the problem that you have had is due to the not quite enough stirring before and during the application process,resulting in the small area of concentrated Matting agent.

      Unfortunately I think the only way to solve the issue is to fully sand back and start again, its probably not what you would want to hear, if there is anything else I can help with please do let me know. You can also call and speak to one of our expert advisers.

      Kind regards Sam.

  50. Hi. I have had all my internal doors replaced with light oak doors and I am using Ronseal clear varnish on them. I have varnished about 8 so far but there are patches on the last 2 which look whitish and I can see brush strokes. I thought that maybe I had put the varnish on too thickly in places. I have tried lightly sanding them and reapplying the varnish but it still looks white in places. I have had no trouble with the other doors. Any ideas as to what I can do? I have tried heating the patches but that hasn’t helped either.

  51. Enquiring about using a polyurethane or lacquer on a white painted wooden floor ?

    Intending to paint new red deal floorboards with WB50 paint from Colortrend, General Paints. I intend to use the Primer, Primer 1 from Colortrend.

    Could you advise re. A polyurethane or lacquer on the WB50 paint ?

    Do you have any knowledge of WB50 as a floor paint ?

    Tim.

    • Hello Tim,

      White is a very popular colour for floor finishing, it never seem to go off trend. But it can be a real problem if not done right. I am not familiar with the WB50, but I can tell you that applying a clear varnish over a white paint can result in a yellow tinted finish. This is because although clear varnishes always come out ‘Clear’ they actually have a minute amount of pigment in them which when put on a white finish can become visible.

      We have a great blog about how to get a the best white finishes that is worth looking at and I can recommend a few products to consider, such as Ronseal Diamond Floor Paint or Osmo Polyx Oil Tints is an oil-based product that will colour and protect in one. I hope that is of some help and please let me know if you have any further questions – Sam.

  52. I am redecorating for a client – she has lovely new oak doors and she wants me to varnish the newly fitted door frames to match. They are rather higgledy piggledy assorted pine frames (that is, the architrave is made up of different lengths of pine, not matching the doorstop or each other!) and I am not sure how to fill the gaps between the lengths (I would use decorators caulk if I were going to paint them). Also the screw holes. Could you give me any advice please?

    • Hello Lesley,

      There are a number of fillers that you could use, but you might want to start by looking at the Bona Gap Master. There are a selection of colours available that you could colour match (go slightly darker as opposed to lighter if there is not an exact match) with the wood and then varnish over with a water-based varnish. For the varnish I can recommend the Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish.

      I hope this helps and if you have any further questions do let me know – Sam.

  53. Hi
    We have an oak table that we have purchased second hand and the finish (varnish?) is a little patchy in places. What would you recommend for re-coating the table top please?
    Thanks
    Martin

    • Hello Martin,

      If the table already has varnish on it then you can only really re-apply another Varnish. The Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish is a good option. If you lightly sand the table and ensure that there are no damaged or flaking areas, then you can apply a coat of the Manns Varnish. You should do a test area first however to check firstly that the finish is to your liking and also that the Varnishes previous and new will adhere to each other. I hop ethat helps and if you need any more advice please let me know – Sam.

  54. hi, I have just bought ten internal hardwood doors and I would like to use a varnish that does not darken them too much.
    Could you recommend one please.

  55. Hi there,

    I have a new walnut stairs just fitted and wondering what’s the best finish for it to bring up the colour, grain and to protect it?? Thanks

    • Hello Mel,

      Assuming that the stairs are as yet untreated, I can recommend trying a product, such as a hard wax oil. Fiddes Hard Wax Oil is a good option. It will protect the wood well and will not peel and flake. The Oil will enhance the grain and darken the wood slightly but leave a natural hard wearing finish. I would always recommend doing a test area first to ensure that the finish you will get is one that you like and the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil does come in sample sizes. If you have any further questions please let me know – Sam.

  56. Greetings,

    I have a ping pong table (mdf partical board) recently painted with acrylic paint. To guarantee a smooth table top surface I would like to spray a coat or two of lacquer sanding sealer (which I have on hand) over the table followed by a coat of lacquer to guarantee a smooth surface. Can I put the lacquer sanding sealer over the acrylic without any negative chemical reaction?

    Thanks,

    Ron

    • Hello Ron,

      This is one of those situations where a test area is the best way to tell. Having spoken to our wood finishing expert he says that using a Lacquer directly on the paint is how he would do it, but if you would like to use the sanding sealer then a test area should be done first.

      Regards Sam.

  57. Have used Manns water based floor varnish on a wooden floor and also on a table top. Three coats on each. At the start, it seemed excellent, added no colour, was easy to apply and we were pleased with it. However, we have noticed that if you drop any oil drips on it, (such as might be spilled accidentally from an olive oil salad dressing), this penetrates into the varnish and leaves a stain. This is very disappointing.

    • Hello Peter,

      Apologies for the delay in getting back to you, I wanted to run this one past our flooring expert, Merv. Because we do vigorous testing with all our products, particularly the Manns range as this is our own brand, we believe its possible that you have under applied the varnish. Merv has carried out test with oils from the kitchen, as well as liquids that are hot and cold. They have been left standing on the surface for at least 12 hours, and not affected the varnish.

      Merv has suggested that you give the surface a light rub down and then apply another coat of the Varnish. I hope that this improves the finish for you and if you have any further problems please don’t hesitate to contact me at wood@finishes.direct

  58. We are in the process of refinishing our kitchen farm table. Originally it had a gloss finish without stain. We removed the gloss finish, sanded and got it down to the bare wood, then used steel wool with a little mineral spirits to remove any stripping residue. We are using a water based polyurethane to bring the table back to its original shine. After the first coat, the polyurethane seems to be separating from the wood in some areas. We lightly sanded and then applied a second coat. The polyurethane is again separating in the same areas. What did we do wrong? What can we do to correct this? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hello Linda,

      It is difficult to give a definitive answer without knowing what was previously on the table. However from what you have described I believe it may have been Oil based, and that some has penetrated deeply into the timber. This would cause adhesion issues with the applied varnish or lacquer. To prevent this from happening you will need to do a little more work to remove the previous product. Unfortunately, more sanding may be required. Also try a Finishing Pad and some Methylated Spirit. This should help to dissolve and remove any remaining oil in the wood.

      Apply a very thin coat of water based varnish, if the wood is cleaned back correctly this will be sufficient as a primer coat and then you can apply your subsequent coats if the first coat does not show signs of separating. One other thing that could be considered is using a Sanding Sealer as a base coat and then the Polyurethane varnish on top. We also have a range of applicators and accessories for the job including lint-free, microfibre cloths, foam sponges and of course brushes that are ideal for applying water-based varnishes and sealers.

  59. Thank you Sam, sorry didn’t respond sooner but have been away for a few days. I will show your reply to the guy who made the gates.

    Cheers

    Robert.

  60. Hello.

    We have had two 7ft natural oak gates made for our drive. They have been made very well. However we wanted them finished with an Osmo uv protection oil. The guy who made them insisted that he use a water based product by a firm called Melisi. He said it was a far superior product than Osmo. Four months down the line the gates are already bleaching in areas and parts of them have got black stains presumably the tannin in the oak. Also cracks are appearing in places. What I would like to know is whether I could sand them down as well as I could, I don’t think I will be able to get them down to bare wood! And then give them two coats of Osmo ? Do you think the Osmo will penetrate passed the water based coat, which is obviously breaking down? Thanks . Robert

    • Good morning Robert,

      I am not familiar with the Melisi product that you have used but it sounds like a Varnish, this will create a seal on the surface of the wood. Some external varnishes can be very good but we tend to recommend oil over varnish for external wood because it is inevitable that after some time the varnish will begin to break down and need removing completely. The Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra can only be applied once all the previous varnish has been removed as it needs to soak into the surface of the wood.

      The main benefit of using an Oil on your wood is that it is easier to maintain, so after a couple of years if the wood is starting to look like it needs a top up, you can just make sure the surface is clean and dry and then apply a coat. If you gates are particularly exposed or are south facing you may need to apply maintenance coats sooner rather then later, but there is no need to remove previous coats.

      If you are unable to remove all the varnish by sanding we do have a removal product that you might want to consider Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover, but always try a test area first. I really hope that you manage to resolve your problem and if you have any further questions please let me know – Sam.

  61. Hi there,

    We properly prepped and sanded down a white painted wooden floor in our 1900s flat about 3 months ago. Once this was all sanded down and good to go we applied 4 coats of dulux interior wood white paint (waiting 8 hours between each application), but even after the suggested drying time and 3 months on the paint is still tacky, leaves dirt marks and impressions in the paint whenever you stand on it, and if any item is left on it when you pick it up it takes a chunk of paint stuck to it. Sounds like perhaps it hasn’t cured (it was quite humid and rainy outside over the few days we did this).

    We looked for solutions online and also went to a nearby hardware store who advised us putting a water based polyurethane clear varnish over the top would work to seal it. They didn’t stock a water based polyurethane for floors but instead had Ronseal clear diamond hard floor varnish. My query is whether this is the right product to seal the floor? It looks like it doesn’t contain polyurethane so we aren’t sure it is the right stuff…

    We are currently lightly sanding down the current white paint so we can try and apply this either today or tomorrow, so any help would be much appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Jenny

    • Hello Jenny,

      This sounds like an annoying situation for you, I am not familiar with the Dulux Paint Ranges but if you are using the Floor Paint from Dulux then presumably it should be hard wearing enough in its own right. It maybe worth trying too contact Dulux directly to get some advice. The Ronseal Diamond Hard is a Polyurethene varnish that potentially could go over to top of the paint, but I do feel that if the paint itself is not cured adding a Varnish will not solve the problem and may potentially cause more. If it is not a floor paint that you have used but a standard interior paint then it may be that it is not durable enough for the floor and then the Varnish will provide the protection. If you can do a test area somewhere inconspicuous to see firstly that the paint and Varnish are compatible and secondly if the Varnish does provide the protection that you need. I hope that you manage to solve your problem – Sam.

  62. Hi
    I have engineered/veneered floor boards in my hall way and utility room, they were fitted about 10 years ago and looking a little worn. I have now sanded them down and they already look good. I need a tough hard wearing finishe and ideally keep the light colour of the natural wood – I am thinking of using to seal diamond tough varnish. Can you please advise if this product will give me the finished I would like.

    thank you
    Fi

  63. I have a walnut & leather steering wheel on my car.
    The wood appears to have faded around the top of the wheel due to sun & age. The finish coating is still sound, no chips/lifting. The top coat (lacquer?) is tinted & it is this that I think has faded.
    Would it be possible to ‘top up’ this faded area with a tinted spray lacquer & a hard wearing top coat (high gloss) ?
    What would you suggest?

    SteveN

    • Hello Steve,

      A difficult question this one. And may be better answered by a specialist restorer. We don’t do tinted Lacquers and I’m not sure that would be the answer to your fading problem. In this situation I would normally recommend sanding back and removing previous products and then re coating as the sanding would take the wood back to its original colour, but I feel that this project may be a little more complex than that. I’m sorry I can’t give you a more definitive answer -Sam

  64. hello, I’m looking to protect/varnish an untreated, softwood floor. It’s the interior of a Dunster House bough garden office. It won’t have huge foot traffic but I would like to keep the wood from indentations and stains (if something’s gets spilt). What would you recommend. I would like as Matt and natural finish as possible but durable.

    Many thanks

    • Hello Lou,

      You could consider the Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish. It is available in a Matt finish, and is a durable non yellowing product. You can apply a Primer first if you want but as you are applying to bare wood it is not essential, 3 coats of the Varnish would be sufficient. We would love to see some before and after images – Sam

  65. I’ve put two coats of Ronseal wax on oak faced ply boards on the interior of our narrowboat. It doesn’t appear to have done anything to it and certainly doesn’t feel waxed. I’m wondering if it’ll protect it or if I need to add another coat? Additionally if I wanted to varnish it, would I have to remove the wax and if so, how?

    • Hello Sue,

      Is it the Ronseal Interior Wax that you have used. This is not a product that we sell as yet, but having looked at the details in our Ronseal Information pack I can see that this product is a durable and protective Wax that works like a Varnish against knocks and scratches. So 2 coats of this should offer a good durable protective finish.

      If you wanted to remove it then you would need to use the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover, which works by softening the paint so that you can scrape it off. Alternatively, you can use the PeelAway 7 Paint Remover, which you leave on for 24-48 hours and then peel away the poultice and the paint at the same time.

  66. Hi,
    We have finished our parquet floor restoration including replacing some areas of the floor with reclaimed parquet. After sanding and varnishing by a specialist company the floor looks very patchy with much darker colour on the reclaimed parquet. Our contractor seems to be unable to advice us or solve the problem.
    Would you tell if it is possible to even the colour of the floor now at all and what would be the process involved? Thank you

    • Hello Olivia,

      It is likely that the wood used to restore the floor is a different variety from the original, however even if it is the same type of wood, colour variation is common. There are many factors that cause variants in colour from one piece of wood to another and you will also find that different woods will take stains and colours in a different way also. All these factors and more mean that colour matching in the wood industry can be difficult and require lots of experimenting in order to get where you want to be. There is no easy answer to your question, but I don’t think that more sanding will help.

      Generally speaking the darker you go with the colour the more you will hide the difference, but it will not camouflage it completely. The Manns Classic Pine Stain has a wide range of colours and can be inter mixed or lightened by adding water. They are also easy to remove when you do your test areas, by just scrubbing with off with water. You may be able to use two different colours on the floor to try to bring a more even overall colour, but this would require some experimentation. You would also need to remove any existing finish, like the varnish before you can apply this colour stain. And then once you have achieved the colour you want a top coat product, Varnish or Hard wax Oil, would be needed and its worth noting that the top coat will darken the finish over all. I hope you manage to get the finish you want and if you have any more question please ask – Sam

  67. Hi,
    I’m an artist who paints in acrylics on wooden objects (small boxes etc) and usually seal them with a water-based interior varnish.

    I would like to try making some coasters; will the varnished surface be able to withstand the heat e.g. from a cup of coffee?

    What about if I made something to place a hot casserole dish on, straight from the oven? Would the varnish ‘melt’?
    (Even if it doesn’t. I wonder if the acrylic paints beneath would be affected…)

    • Hello Kes,

      Our Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish is a hard wearing and durable product that will take a reasonable amount of heat. We have experimented in house by putting Hot mugs on a Varnished surface with good results. It is fair to say however that equipment straight out of the oven will damage the varnish and I would anticipate possibly the paint underneath too. It is also necessary to ensure the correct application of the product and allow it to cure completely before putting into use, as using it before it is ready could result in damaged being caused. Hope this helps – Sam

  68. I have painted some tea trays with chalk paint and would like a finish on them (matt if possible) to protect and waterproof them. The trays were originally lightly varnished when I bought them but I sanded them down as I found I had tiny bubbles coming up on my second coat of paint and this seemed to rectify that problem. I tried a cheap supermarket water based varnish but this sort of caused the paint to split. Should I have primed my wood first?

    • Hello Kathryn,

      It is not advisable to use varnish over the Chalk paint, we have had many people call in with disaster stories that have occurred when putting Varnish over a chalk paint. The only product that is suitable to got on to would be a Wax such as Fiddes Supreme Wax Polish. We have a Blog on How To Seal Chalk Paint which would be worth a read if you have time. I hope this helps – Sam

  69. Hi, I have just finished having all new door frames, architrave, skirting boards, doors and bannistairs all fitted in untreated pine. I would really like to keep the colour as close to what it looks like now as possible Ive been told to use a clear water based varnish with a high UV resistance to help limit future discoluration. Could you advise if A:this is correct? and B:which product would be best to use?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Neal,

      A water-based interior varnish would be suitable, to use although Interiors products tend not to have UV protection in them, and it is also worth noting that a clear Varnish will darken the wood slightly. To get an idea of how much you can wipe a damp cloth across the surface of the bare wood.

      For a treatment that will leave the wood as Natural as possible it is worth considering Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural this is an Oil that will soak into the surface of the wood and leave it as unchanged and Natural as possible. Test areas are always recommended.

  70. Hi, I have stripped and sanded my wooden stairs but unluckily where the paint was (1/4 on either side, aprox) the wood looks “lighter” than in the “unprotected” half bit. I am not sure if varnishing over will help or actually make it worse. what would you recommend?

    • Hello Gabriel,

      It is likely that you will still see the difference in the lighter and darker areas when a Varnish is applied. It may be possible to stain the lighter wood using some of the Manns Pine Wood Stain and there is also an Oak range. It may require a little bit of experimentation to get a good match but the water based stains are easy to mix or lighten with water if needed, and also easy to remove by scrubbing off, if it is not the right colour. Once you have achieved the colour you would like, you can then apply your finishing coat of varnish.

  71. Hi I’ve replaced all of my internal doors with new 6 panel pine doors. After varnishing the doors with a satin polyurethane varnish I notice that the overall colour of the doors have a much lighter colour than my existing torus skirting boards and architraves which I varnished with the same product. The colour is almost like the original pine colour prior to varnishing.

    What type of varnish would you recommend for any future pine skirting boards and architraving to maintain a similar colour to how my new doors appear?

    • Hello Peter,

      Thank you for your inquiry, it is very difficult to lighten a wood in order to match it to another, and much easier to bring the lighter wood up to the darker colour. However as you have Varnished the Doors it will be difficult to match the two different colours. The main options are to sand back the varnished areas and start again using a Stain to match the colour before Varnishing, which I understand is a less than desirable option. Or you could have a look at the Ronseal Diamond Hard Coloured Floor Varnish to see if there is a colour in there that would suit your needs, as this may be suitable to go over your existing varnish. Always do a test area first.

  72. Hi We have varnished newly sanded pine floor boards in medium oak and the floor looks slightly red shall we add antique pine (a yellowy colour) to turn to brown

    • Hello Beverley,

      Achieving the right colour can be difficult and require a little bit of experimentation but it is fair to say that the Antique Pine or the Driftwood Stain from the Manns Classic Pine Stain may be the ones to try. They are both quite greenish in tone and so in theory the green and orange together should equal brown. Test areas on the actual wood that you are treating will be the only way to get a true indication of the colour that you will achieve, and its worth bearing in mind that any finishing product put on top will darken the finish. You can also add water to the water-based Stain to lighten the colour if you need to. Hope this helps and that you are able to achieve the colour that you are looking for.

  73. Hi, I make acrylic paintings on raw wood panels (birch and maple), leaving a lot of the wood grain showing. Some of my paintings are bought by museum benefactors, and so I would like to use the most durable, archival, quality varnish available to preserve the paintings and the wood. I’m leaning toward an oil based varnish, but afraid that might damage the acrylic painting. Any thoughts/suggestions would be grately appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hello,

      Thank you for your inquiry, this is something that we have not had any direct experience with, but I believe that you would be okay with either oil or water-based varnish. The oil-based is likely to yellow sooner than the Water based although we do believe that both will yellow over time especially if subjected to direct sunlight. I also believe that a Glossy finish is less likely to yellow in comparison to a Matt finish. As this is untested territory for us, I would strongly recommend test areas left over time to see how the products performs. We don’t supply an Oil based varnish but we do have a Water based one Woodleys Acrylic Interior Varnish that you could try. I hope this helps and remember always do a test area first.

  74. I am thinking of using clear ronseal perftect finish interor satin varnish on my oak vaneer internal cottage doors from b&q. Can you advice if this is suitable or can i use danish oil. I do not wish to change the colour or the look of the door. Thank you

    • Hi Jacqui,

      Are the doors currently bare wood i.e nothing on them at the moment? It’s also worth reading through the information label that should have come with the doors as some manufacturers are very specific about which types of products can and can’t be used, especially on veneered doors.

      Any clear varnish or oil will darken the wood giving it an almost damp like appearance; it will also draw out the natural grain and colour of the timber. You can get a good idea of what the doors will look like by wiping a small section of the wood with a slightly damp cloth or sponge, the door will return back to its natural colour once the damp area has fully dried.

      Using an oil in place of a varnish is a good option as it’s easier to maintain and repair if it becomes, marked, scuffed or slightly scratched. Danish oil is made from a blend of various oils and tends to add a fair amount of colour to wood. If you’re looking to keep the doors as natural as possible, consider Osmo Polyx Oil Raw 3044 or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural. Both of these products will offer a good level of protection while retaining an appearance similar to the unfinished timber.

      Always follow the door manufacturer’s guidelines and any instructions on the product tin. Always do a small test area to make sure you are happy with the results before starting the main project.

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