Skip to content


What is it?

Varnish is a clear and transparent coating that acts as a film on a timber surface. Typically made up from a drying oil, resin, a solvent or thinner and a drying agent, ingredients do vary.

Where possible, I use a water-based varnish as opposed to smelly oil based ones. The oil-based ones are a great way to get a headache! They are smelly, flammable and messy to clean up – hence my preference for water-based varnishes.

My go to brand is Intergrain (Exterior). It’s a water based, marine grade finish that is hard wearing. It protects against UV rays (one of the worst enemies of timber), is low odour and won’t yellow like typical oil-based finishes.

Where I use it:

I’ll use varnish for most of my exterior pieces as it provides long lasting results and a strong water buffer. I’ll also use it for some of my rustic interior pieces where a higher gloss level is required.

Why I use it:

Varnish can be mixed easily with stains (colours) to change the appearance of timber so is a good option where long last exterior colours are desired. I also use varnish where customers want a glossy surface as it’s readily available in Satin, Matte and Gloss finish levels.