Why General Finishes Brand Is Worth The Extra Money

Water-based products tend to be dull right from the start. Another thing to keep in mind is that you generally need a lot more of Minwax’s products to complete your project. In the end, the total project cost may be similar if you have a lot of wood to finish.

Every poly has its preferred applicator, typically a brush or cloth. Polycrylic, on the other hand, leaves a clear, non-yellowing surface, so it won’t change the appearance of lighter woods such as maple or birch, or anything painted white. Polycrylic is not recommended for use over dark-colored paints or red mahogany stain, however, where it’s clear appearance can become somewhat opaque or milky.

What Is Polyurethane?

For a lot of the stuff around the house like finishing kitchen cabinets, bath vanities, handrails etc, the Minwax WOP (no ethnic slur intentended – I’m half Italian!) is great. The fact that it dries quickly is a definite plus in that you can apply multiple coats in one day and dust settling is not a problem. If you want to take an extra precaution you can use shellac as an intermediate coat. This can also be used to speed up the process because the shellac can go directly onto oiled wood without waiting for the oil to dry. Then you can overcoat the shellac with your final finish after just waiting for the shellac to dry enough, perhaps as little as an hour. Obviously the time between stain and varnish application will be a factor.

This is a generic term used for topcoats consisting of a higher ratio of solids. This product is perfect for raw wood and particularly suitable to use on exterior wood including garden furniture, fences, sheds, and decking. The product is also affected by heat; even a hot bowl or mug placed on a surface treated with shellac can alter the product’s properties. However, it is a great option for most pieces of furniture, and it can even be used as a protective coating on non-wood items. Now that we’ve settled the lacquer vs. polyurethane debate, you might want to know if there are other options.

I do like it but I was just wondering what your experiences have been with minwax. I’m looking to potentially try it out on a few projects. For these reasons, we would recommend Varathane, despite the added cost, as this brand will best allow you to get your wood projects done much faster. However, at the end of the day, the decision is up to you.

Top Picks For Best Polyurethanes

Being able to apply polyurethane yourself will save you time and money instead of having to rely on a professional. This means that you will need to consider polyurethanes that are easy to use. Applying polyurethane to your wooden furnishings doesn’t have to be difficult and with this wipe-on product, you can get it covered even quicker. This is a water-based polyurethane that is easy to apply and even easy to clean up after use. It has a fast-drying formula that makes it convenient to use on a variety of different surfaces.

varathane vs minwax polyurethane

Plus, check out these tips and techniques for applying polyurethane that produce virtually flawless results. They include where wipe-on poly is better than a roller, and the best way to control dust. The published instruction from one author who suggests doing this is to brush one foot every eight seconds and not brush back over.

Thoughts On why General Finishes Brand Is Worth The Extra Money

But for lots of people, this tradeoff is well worth the bright, intense color results they get from oil-based finishes. Many DIYers and professionals alike consider oil-based polyurethane to be the clear varathane vs minwax polyurethane winner. Oil-based polyurethane is more cost effective, provides longer-lasting finishing, and looks better. Oil-based polyurethane also delivers greater depth, better color, and more intense shine.

Water-based polyurethanes dry faster thanks to their thin consistency. Oil-based products generally need about 24 hours to dry. The polyurethane dry time depends on things like the air temperature, humidity, ventilation, and how thick the layers are.

Lacquer Vs Polyurethane

Now it will probably never match exactly because the brazilian cherry changes color over time/darkens. Now when you resand, it will be lighter, but most likely the older area will still be a bit darker. My gut tells me intense on new area since it will make it darker, so the fact that the rest of the floor is naturally darker from age, it may be closer. To get to the point, we would like the floor we asked for and paid for, white oak finished in the traffic HD commercial extra matte.

varathane vs minwax polyurethane

Thus, you will be better off with a water-based polyurethane for lighter woods, whereas oil-based is great for enhancing the color of a darker wood. However, this also means that water-based polyurethanes are not as durable or as long-lasting as their oil-based counterparts. With brush-on polyurethane, you can apply the finish in a more sparingly and controlled way.

And don’t use steel wool to sand if you’re using a water-based product. Tiny bits will come off on the wood and discolour your trim with rust. I hate the look of stain on pine because it reverses the colouration, in that it turns the soft lighter wood dark and the harder rings stay light. IMO you want to seal the pine with a shellac and then sort of glaze it with a poly stain. You might want to check non grain raising stains, they are more of a dye stain less pigment based. Myself, I would probably use a Minwax stain, they’re pretty good.

Bona Water

As we have already mentioned, the most important thing when it comes to polyurethane is the protection and durability it offers. Although all polyurethane is designed to do the same thing, that doesn’t mean that they are all made equal. In the past, oil-based polyurethane was the most common type and it was used for a range of different woods. These can typically be more expensive to purchase than water-based polyurethane but may offer more durability. These kinds of polyurethanes are best used for exterior wooden furnishings and surfaces as they can offer excellent protection from a range of different weather conditions. When it comes to polyurethane, there are two main types of formula that you will have to consider – water-based and oil-based.

Sanding is an important step that can affect the overall aesthetic outcome of your wood project. Inferior paper will wear out quickly, load up rapidly with sanding dust and create broad, deep scratches that are difficult to remove. Before applying, test the color in an inconspicuous area to ensure it’s the color you want.

There are some people who apparently could desperately use reading comprehension here though. He’s not telling you to shake the can, he’s telling you that bubbles will appear in the finish no matter what which is true. Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality. Slanting a panel 5° or 10° is not the way to reduce brush marking, but this has actually been suggested recently.

Always Apply Thin Coats

You may also want to consider the color of the polyurethane, although most are clear, and whether it will yellow over time. This polyurethane has a water-based formula that makes it easy to apply and clear away after use. The satin finish is guaranteed to improve the appearance of wood and will never yellow, even over time. This is a low odor polyurethane making it ideal to be used indoors on a range of different surfaces.

Choosing a finish can make your head spin, mostly because there are so many options available. Ultimately, the finish that’s best for you depends on your requirements. On the whole, Minwax products are significantly cheaper than Varathane finishes. But as we’ve demonstrated, Varathane outperforms Minwax in several categories, a factor that may push you towards the more expensive option. If your wood will live outside, finding a finish that’s waterproof is critical to its health and longevity.

The 8 Best Wood Stains Of 2021

This process takes at least four or five coats, but the work is not strenuous, and it goes more quickly than you might think. Another glossy polyurethane varnish, this option has a crystal-clear finish that does well for light-colored woods like maple, ash, and birch. The fast-drying formula allows quick recoats in just two hours, and the low-odor composition prevents headaches while you work. Easy to remove with soap and water, the water-based solution makes for a fast cleanup while maintaining its scratch-proof, non-yellowing, and ultra-protective qualities.

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Oils and stains, on the other hand, are appropriate for interior woods that need less protection. Just like with other kinds of paints, wooden finishes may require more than one coat. The recommended number of coats is a critical factor to keep in mind before purchasing a water-based or oil-based wood finish. If you have to apply several coats, you will spend more time finishing the wood, and the price of your project can increase. Minwax is a clear, water-based, and oil-based long-lasting protective finish.

Polishing The Surface

However, because the wood is already saturated with these preservatives, it doesn’t soak up the stain quite as easily. Designed for interior use, this stain delivers great results with one coat, is easy to use, and comes in a wide range of colors. We used a very nice brush for the project for a smooth finish. After this project was complete we found out that “clear” does not mean “clear” in the world of stain, apparently. We were not aware of this as none of the local home improvement stores carried “crystal clear” in any product to even know that it existed.

Polyurethane on the other hand, offers durability and flexibility for interior projects. Most people tend to try to apply their polyurethane with a brush, which can make it more difficult to achieve a perfect finish. This is because the act of stirring the paint or wiping the edge of the can with the brush will result in bubbles, which will show in the final finish.

You can find a wide variety of oil-based and water-based options in several different colors, such as black, brown, blue, grey, walnut, and more. Though two or three coats are typically required to achieve the color you want, you know you’ll receive excellent quality with Minwax’s line. Both of them provided a good finish and are widely used. Varathane (Oil-based) requires the application of only a single coating as it is thicker and has a better quality.

  • Minwax Polyurethane is available in gloss, semi-gloss, and satin sheens.
  • Minwax offers a wide variety of products that are well suited to practically any kind of wood that lives in interiors.
  • They are advantageous as they come in two coats of the same color; giving either thicker or thinner coating according to preference.
  • Although the stain can only take two hours to dry, it might take a day to set correctly.
  • This polyurethane will provide excellent resistance and protection from UV, salt, and mildew, making it suitable to be used outdoors.
  • Thanks to the addition of polyurethane resin, this type of finish has excellent water, scratch, and heat resistance.
  • Wiping varnish, usually a type of polyurethane, comes premixed, but you can make your own by thinning regular varnish with mineral spirits.
  • You will need to experiment with this a little, as you will need to find the perfect setting that allows the polyurethane to be sprayed evenly with each coating.

Oil-based polyurethane is a highly durable finish, but it is also easy to apply. It is resistant to heat, chemicals, and wear and tear such as scratches. When applied according to directions, oil-based polyurethane supplies a lustrous finish that deepens the color of the wood. I recently finished a dresser top in a very light gray oil based stain.

You can also use a rag moistened with mineral spirits (for an oil-based poly) or cheesecloth moistened with denatured alcohol (for a water-based poly). Most wood stain needs to be applied with a paintbrush, but for small projects, you can simply use the Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths. These convenient wipes are saturated with stain, so you can simply swipe them over the wood for easy application. This wood stain and sealer allows you to color and protect exterior wood in just one step and provides a weatherproof finish. This stain will help protect the wood on your outdoor project from mold, mildew and ultraviolet rays and dries to a durable finish. Finally move to fine 180-grit sandpaper for a final sweep over the wood surface.

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If the tipping-off doesn’t work well enough, add 5 or 10 percent mineral spirits to keep the finish “open” longer and give the bubbles more time to pop out. sanding between coats for removing any blemishes and to remove dust nibs makes it common sense. The author saying sanding for better adhesion is a myth and sanding doesn’t serve a purpose is off base with part of his statement.

Using Varathane’s Premium Wood Conditioner for example, all you need to do is apply it 30 minutes before the stain of your choice and you are good to go. If you apply Minwax Stainable Wood Filler, let it harden, sand it down, and you can begin staining in no time. If you want a stain and finishing product to take to the wood, it must be prepared. Varathane and Minwax both produce preparation products such as Varathane’s Wood Conditioner or Minwax’s Sanding Sealer. It is generally recommended that you prepare wood by sanding it first.

It should not be used on pre-stained or painted surfaces, as it has a tendency to yellow, but works wonders on natural wood surfaces. It can be used on previously painted or antique items, and some customers even report success with use on vinyl floors. However, some users have noted that brush streaks can appear if it’s applied too thin. To avoid this, just use more material in a slightly thicker application. The best kind of finish will differ based on the type of wood that you are covering with polyurethane. For example, wooden tabletops would benefit from a gloss-finish top coat as this will improve the appearance and enhance the natural color.

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