Join Date: Jul 2007
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Varnish vs. polyurethane - Kinda long story
So this weekend I put three coats of "varnish" on the exterior teak parts; 4 handrails, the companionway hatch and surrounds, and the rails that the cabin hatch slides in. The teak had never been varnished before, and was pretty gray and dirty. I gave everything a quick hand sanding, (220grit) and then ran a tack cloth over everything. So far so good…..
I then dug around in the storage closet and found an old can of combination stain/polyurethane varnish, (light maple), but rather then spend good money on the correct varnish, I used this crap. Not only did it turn the nice clean teak a really dark, dirty brown, but it looks like I intentionally painted it.
Fortunately, after one coat I ran out of the maple/stain/varnish stuff and headed off to West Marine to make another sketchy purchase. As I was reading labels, it occurred to me that I probably shouldn’t put real varnish (like Spars) over this other crap, as it might not adhere, or it might cause some weird chemical reaction; so I decided to get some MORE polyurethane varnish. This time I went with clear, hoping that a few coats of high gloss sheen might hide the brown stain. Well….needles to say, it didn’t hide much, but after two more coats it sure is shiny!
Anyway, as I was finishing up, these two guys stopped by to give me hard time about working instead of sailing, when one of them saw the polyurethane varnish and said “You can’t use that stuff on the exterior!” and I’m like, “What!?” I consulted the can, and it was pretty silent on the issue of interior vs. exterior, it only suggests that I not apply when it’s below freezing, (duh).
So my question is…..am I screwed? Is it all going to flake off after the first full moon? Or what? Would it help to apply another coat of real varnish on top?