People spend lots of money on their furniture, and preserving it and ensuring it does not lose any of its shine is necessary.
Polyurethane and Varnish are two of the widely used finishes which are mainly used to protect and enhance woodwork and furniture.
However, due to their similar purposes, people often get confused between these two finishes and use their terms interchangeably. But despite all the similarities, Polyurethane and Varnish have various differences.
Comparison Between Polyurethane And Varnish
|Meaning||A type of wood finish.||A type of wood finish.|
|Emergence||The traces of the invention of Polyurethane can be traced back to the 1930s.||The traces of invention of Varnish can be traced back to 1906.|
|Purpose||Its sole purpose is to preserve and enhance woodwork and furniture.||Just like Polyurethane, its sole purpose is to preserve and enhance the woodwork and furniture.|
|Types||It generally comes in two forms, i.e., Oil and Water based Polyurethane.||It comes in many forms, with Resins Varnish, Shellac Varnish, and Alkyd Varnish being the most popular.|
|Price||In comparison with Varnish, it is more expensive.||In comparison with Polyurethane, it is an affordable option.|
|Durability||It lasts longer or has higher durability as compared with Varnish.||It does not last long or has moderate durability than Polyurethane.|
|Resistance||It provides resistance against scratches, marks, heat, and water.||It provides resistance against UV rays, heat, and water.|
|Consistency||It is thicker in consistency as compared with Varnish.||It is thinner in consistency as compared with Polyurethane.|
|Application||It can be easily applied with the help of wipes, brushes, and sprays.||It can only be applied with the help of brushes.|
|Coats/Layers||Due to a thicker consistency, it only requires a few coats to cover a wooden surface properly.||Due to a thinner consistency, it requires more coats to cover a wooden surface properly.|
|Drying||It dries quicker than Varnish dries.||It dries slower than Polyurethane dries.|
|Used for||It can only be used indoors because it provides no resistance against UV rays.||It can be used indoors as well outdoors.|
|Advantages||High durability, high drying rate, lesser layers, and easy application are some of the major advantages of Polyurethane.||UV resistance, affordable rate, and application on outdoor articles are some of the major advantages of Varnish.|
|Disadvantages||No UV resistance, high price, and only indoor application are some of the major disadvantages of Polyurethane.||Easy peeling and cracking, if applied not carefully, is the major disadvantage of Varnish.|
Major Differences Between Polyurethane And Varnish
What exactly is Polyurethane?
Polyurethane is a wood finish product that is very durable and has come into existence after Varnish. It typically has two types: oil-based polyurethane and water-based polyurethane.
It has a very thick consistency, and because of this, it only requires a few coats to cover a wooden surface.
One major drawback of Polyurethane is that it does not provide resistance against ultraviolet (UV) rays. Because of this reason, Polyurethane can not be used on outdoor furniture and woodwork.
However, Polyurethane is highly resistant to water, heat, and marks. Speaking of toxicity levels, Polyurethane is generally considered toxic in nature.
Features of Polyurethane
- A highly durable wood finish.
- It emerged after the emergence of Varnish.
- It is typically of two types: oil-based polyurethane and water-based polyurethane.
- It is quite thick in consistency and does not require many coats.
- It is highly resistant to heat, marks, and water.
- It is mainly used for indoor furniture and woodwork.
- It is also considered an expensive option for a wood finish considering the prices of Varnish.
- Brushes, sprays, and wipes are mainly used when applying Polyurethane.
- The major advantage of Polyurethane is that it is water & heat-resistant, highly durable, has easy application, and does not require many coats.
- The major disadvantage of Polyurethane is that it can only be used for indoor work because it does not provide resistance against UV rays.
Key Differences Polyurethane
- Polyurethane is a wood finish that has emerged recently.
- There are generally two forms in which Polyurethane is available, i.e., Oil- and Water-based Polyurethane.
- Polyurethane is very thick in texture and, thus, requires only a few coats.
- Indoor furniture and woodwork are the main surfaces where Polyurethane is used because it is not UV resistant.
- Comparatively, Polyurethane is more expensive than Varnish.
What exactly is Varnish?
Varnish, just like Polyurethane, is a wood finish that has been primarily used for ages. The most common types of Varnish are Resins based Varnish, Shellac Varnish, and Alkyd Varnish.
It is very thin in consistency, and because of this reason, it generally requires many coats to cover a wooden surface properly.
One of the best parts about Varnish is that it protects woodwork & furniture from heat and water and provides resistance against UV rays.
Thus, it can be used indoors and outdoors both. In comparison with Polyurethane, Varnish has very low amounts of toxins.
Features of Varnish
- The oldest wood finish is still largely used.
- It emerged before the existence of Polyurethane.
- Varnish comes in many types, such as Resin Varnish, Shellac Varnish, and Alkyd Varnish.
- It is very thin in consistency and requires multiple coats for proper application.
- It protects against ultraviolet (UV) rays, heat, and water.
- It is used for both indoor and outdoor woodwork and furniture.
- It is a very budget-friendly option considering the prices of Polyurethane.
- To apply Varnish, only brushes can be used.
- One of the major advantages of Varnish is that it provides resistance against UV rays and can be used indoors and outdoor furniture.
- One of the major disadvantages of Varnish is that it often just cracks & peels and needs many coats to cover a surface properly.
Key Differences Varnish
- Like Polyurethane, Varnish is also a wood finish that has existed for ages.
- There is not any Varnish, but it is largely made up of things like Oil, solvents, and resins.
- Varnish is very thin in nature and, thus, requires many coats.
- Indoor, as well as outdoor furniture and woodwork, are the main areas where Varnish is used because it is not only water resistant but also UV resistant.
- Comparatively, Varnish is cheaper than Polyurethane.
The contrast between Polyurethane and Varnish
Origin of the word
- Polyurethane – The word Polyurethane is a combination of two words: Polymer and Urethane. The word Polymer originated from the German word “polymer” and from the Greek word “polymers,” which means “having many parts.” The word Urethane originated from the French word “uréthane.”
- Varnish – Varnish is a Middle English word originating from an Old French word, “Vernis.” The word Vernis originated from a Medieval Latin word and a Greek word “vernix,” which means “fragrant resin” and “berenikē,” respectively.
- Polyurethane – A widely used wood finish.
- Varnish – A older and widely used wood finish.
- Polyurethane – Polyurethane emerged before the emergence of Varnish. However, its emergence can be traced back to the 1930s.
- Varnish – Varnish came into existence before the emergence of Polyurethane. Its emergence can be traced back to the year 1906.
- Polyurethane – In comparison with Varnish, Polyurethane is more durable.
- Varnish – In comparison with Polyurethane, Varnish is less durable.
- Polyurethane – Generally, there are two types of Polyurethane, i.e., oil-based Polyurethane and water-based Polyurethane.
- Varnish – Resin-based Varnish, Shellac-based Varnish, and Alkyd Varnish are the most popular types of Varnish.
- Polyurethane – Polyurethane is more expensive as compared with Varnish.
- Varnish – Varnish is budget-friendly as compared with Polyurethane.
- Polyurethane – Polyurethane is very thick in consistency.
- Varnish – Varnish is very thin in consistency.
- Polyurethane – Due to its thick consistency, it requires only a few coats to cover woodwork properly.
- Varnish – Due to its thin consistency, it requires many coats to cover woodwork properly.
- Polyurethane – Polyurethane can be applied with the help of wipes, brushes, and sprays.
- Varnish – Only brushes can be used in the application of Varnish.
- Polyurethane – Polyurethane provides resistance against scratches, water, and heat.
- Varnish – Varnish provides resistance against ultra-violet (UV) rays, scratches, water, and heat.
- Polyurethane – Polyurethane generally dries faster than Varnish.
- Varnish – Varnish generally dries slower than Polyurethane.
- Polyurethane – Due to no resistance against UV rays, Polyurethane can be used only for indoor furniture and woodwork.
- Varnish – Varnish can be used indoors and outdoors since it is highly resistant to UV rays.
- Polyurethane – High durability, high drying rate, lesser layers, and easy application are some of the major advantages of Polyurethane.
- Varnish – UV resistance, affordable rate, and application on outdoor articles are some of the major advantages of Varnish.
Polyurethane and Varnish are two of the largely used wood finishes used worldwide. The traces of Polyurethane can be traced back to the 1930s, whereas the traces of Varnish can be traced back to 1906.
Their purpose is the biggest similarity between Polyurethane and Varnish. And just because of this, people use these terms interchangeably many times.
What is majorly distinct between Polyurethane and Varnish is that the former is only used for indoor work, while the latter can be used for indoor and outdoor work.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Which finish among the Polyurethane and Varnish lasts long?
Concerning the durability of Polyurethane and Varnish, Polyurethane lasts longer than Varnish.
Q2. What are the different types of Polyurethane and Varnish?
Water-based Polyurethane and Oil based Polyurethane are two of the widely used types of Polyurethane.
Q3. Why is Polyurethane only used for indoor work?
Polyurethane is largely used for indoor work because it does not provide any resistance against Ultraviolet Rays (UV). If Polyurethane is applied outside, the UV rays coming out from the sun will damage the wooden article as Polyurethane does not provide any protection against UV rays.
Q4. What are the major differences between Polyurethane and Varnish?
The major differences between Polyurethane and Varnish are –
1. Polyurethane came into existence before Varnish did.
2. Polyurethane is an expensive option, whereas Varnish is a budget-friendly option.
3. Polyurethane comes into forms, i.e., Oil Polyurethane and Water
4. Polyurethane, while Varnish, comes in many forms, the most popular ones being Resins Varnish, Shellac Varnish, and Alkyd Varnish.
5. Polyurethane provides resistance against only scratches, marks, heat, and water. Conversely, Varnish provides resistance against UV rays, heat, marks, water, and scratches.
- 24 Main Pros and Cons of Woodwork
- 20+ Bottled Water Pros And Cons
- Gloss And Satin: 20+ Differences between
- A Sport Coat And A Suit Jacket: 20+ Differences between
- Etching and Engraving: 20+ Differences between
Marketing | Branding | Blogging. These Three Words Describe Me in The Best Way. I Am a Self-Taught Marketer with 10 Years of Experience. Helping Startups/ It Companies/ and Small Businesses to Enhance Their Business Through Branding and Marketing Ideas. On A Mission to Help Small Businesses to Be a Brand.