April 12, 2022

Varnish alternative for woodwork

Wood varnish alternatives

A Hard Wax Oil is suitable as an alternative to varnish. Nevertheless, they are highly durable and easier to maintain, even if they aren’t as long-lasting as varnish. Hard Wax Oils are also available in ‘Raw’ and ‘Natural’ formulations, which aid in preserving the wood’s ‘untreated’ appearance. 

Hard Wax Oil provides excellent protection for the wood while being simple to repair and maintain. It soaks into the wood’s surface, making it microporous and allowing it to breathe. The main advantage of using oil is that you don’t have to sand it when it starts to seem old or worn; clean it and apply a fresh layer of oil.

Acrylic paint varnish alternatives

If you want a high-gloss finish, acrylic resin varnish-like Golden MSA Varnish is the way. Acrylic resin varnishes have a higher gloss, are more durable, and are more transparent than acrylic polymer varnishes. You’ll need to spread an “isolation coat” over the entire painting before applying the final varnish.

And this is especially critical if you intend to use a matte or satin varnish, which may appear foggy if you don’t apply an isolation coat first. A standard recommendation is two parts Golden Soft Gel Gloss to 1 part water for an isolation coat. You can varnish your painting after the isolation coat has dried completely. 

Acrylic resin varnishes have the disadvantage of being hazardous if inhaled; therefore, you’ll need to apply them in a well-ventilated location. Mineral spirits will be ideal for thinning the varnish and cleaning your brushes afterward.

On the other hand, acrylic polymer varnishes are non-toxic. You can dilute them with water, and once you finish, you can wash your brush with standard soap and water. An isolation coat is also suitable if you plan to use a satin or matte varnish.

Polyurethane alternative wood floors

Polyurethane is a highly adaptable substance. It’s a popular wood and air sealant that you may find in anything from airplanes to mattresses to crown moldings to diapers. Polyurethane is commonly seen as a flexible foam and is one of the most widely utilized materials in the production of home furnishings. Flexible polyurethane foam serves as a cushioning material for upholstered furniture, making it more robust, pleasant, and supportive.

Tung oil

You can replace polyurethane with tung oil, linseed oil, candelilla wax, and shellac. Tung oil, for example, dries quickly and is less hazardous than polyurethane. As an alternative to polyurethane, you can use varnish, lacquer, or AFM Safecoat.

Tung oil is an excellent alternative to polyurethane and comes from the seeds inside the nut of the tung tree. Because it is known to bring out the intrinsic character of wood, it is suitable as a finisher. If you’re looking for a non-toxic, eco-friendly solution to polish your wood floors or an antique piece of furniture, tung oil is a terrific option. It will improve the appearance of any wood to which it is applied.

Waterlox is a manufacturer of tung oil products combined with resin to create a waterproof barrier on the surface while also improving the appearance of the wood. In addition, the items have a minimal odor, is VOC compliant, and are simple to maintain.

Tung oil works by penetrating deep into the wood’s surface, which can take up to 48 hours to completely dry. If you’re merely using tung oil, you’ll need to apply roughly seven coats to get a waterproof surface. Although seven coats are usually plenty for a smooth, even finish, you can add extra for a shinier look.

Tung oil, unlike polyurethane, is applied by rubbing it into the surface rather than using a brush. Make sure to apply the product with a clean, lint-free rag. Tung oil-finished wood surfaces will require yearly touch-ups after the initial application. One of the most significant advantages of this method is that you can always start over if you don’t like the result. It’s also relatively inexpensive, all-natural, and a perfect substitute for polyurethane wood sealer.


Linseed oil is a popular good substitute for polyurethane wood sealant made from the dried seeds of the flax plant. When it comes to treating hardwood, it’s often the best option. Although linseed oil is available in several blends, the most satisfactory results come when used in its purest form. 

Linseed oil comes from boiling flax seeds, which causes the plant’s beneficial oils to alter. After that, solvents remove every last drop of linseed oil from the mixture. Linseed oil generated in this manner is solely ideal as a wood sealant or a paint binder.

Wood treated with linseed oil will look better and will also last longer.


Shellac is a natural substance that is not typically suitable as a wood finish. It’s a resin produced by the female lac bug, which you may find in Thailand and India’s woods. It is a safer, non-toxic substitute for polyurethane due to its natural origins. 

Shellac is mixed with a solvent, such as alcohol, and sold as a commercial product. It imparts a lovely warm, amber hue to wood surfaces and offers a protective layer. Shellac is harmless once it has dried and hardened.

Shellac’s main disadvantage as a wood finish is its sensitivity to heat and chemicals. White rings will develop when placing a hot mug or bowl on the surface. On the other hand, shellac might not be the best choice for a kitchen table or other furniture subjected to heat or chemicals. Some shellac makers propose applying it to non-wood goods as a protective coating. Use a cotton cloth or a bristle brush to apply the product.


Varnish is frequently valuable as a finish or coating. It is superior to polyurethane in many aspects. Varnish is highly durable because it has a more significant solids ratio than shellac, lacquer, and polyurethane. Spar varnish is perfect for exterior projects, and raw wood is suitable for rustic house exterior trim and doors. Aside from safeguarding the wood, the substance also provides natural ultraviolet protection.


Lacquer is ideal for individuals who desire a glossy finish because it produces a very intense sheen. Lacquer is exceptionally robust and resistant to harm, although it is susceptible to scratching and discoloration with time. As a result, this finish isn’t as long-lasting as some other options. You can find it on a lot of ultramodern or Asian-inspired furniture.

Lacquer is a thin finish that you can often spray with a sprayer. You’ll need a high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) sprayer and a well-ventilated and large workstation to apply it successfully. On the other hand, lacquer is best used outside on a windless day. When you apply lacquer on wood, you’ll get a thin, smooth, and lustrous finish. While the finish is pleasing to the eye, it will not be flawless.

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