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  • Varathane clear finish.

    Hi,
    What is the difference between Varathane clear wood finish interior vs exterior? One says use only indoors, the other says use only outdoors, they both say "Improves the air quality INSIDE your home...
    I built plant stands for a neighbor and I'm expecting they will get overflow of water on them from time to time, am I better with interior or exterior? And why does the exterior say exterior only? Is it just because of the odor and if I coat the items in a ventilated area, they will be fine inside once they dry?

    (Sorry for the noob question, but this is only my second time using this kind of finish... Also, I should note that the coating will be over amber shellac on pine.)
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  • #2

    Re: Varathane clear finish.

    I can't imagine there's a serious downside to using the outdoor finish indoors. The indoor one won't stand up to the sun and water though.
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    ______________________________________________
    Rob Brown
    Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

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    • #3

      Re: Varathane clear finish.

      I think outdoor finishes need to be more flexible to handle the temperature variations. The downside is that they are softer.
      WeQuick likes this.

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      • #4

        Re: Varathane clear finish.

        I wondered the same thing about beauty-tone window paints. After some google-ing I read that exterior paints will off gas something toxic that you won't notice but can be harmful.

        This might be the site I read that on
        https://medium.com/@amandakimberleyl...e-fa8f8af88b35

        ​​​​​
        Not sure if it's the same for your Varathane. Does one can say mildew resistant and the other doesn't? Even f this is the case I don't think it would be a problem since it's just a few planters, but I'm not a scientist haha.

        Also I'm not experienced with too many finishes either but the best water proof one I've used is called Bow and Spar Urathane, not sure what make.

        ​​​​
        Last edited by Beaverfever1988; 02-01-2019, 07:09 PM.
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        • #5

          Re: Varathane clear finish.

          Yup, I think you're right about the gasses it emits .... Thanks for the input everyone!

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          • #6

            Re: Varathane clear finish.

            The primary difference between interior and exterior paints or finishes is that the exterior ones have UV inhibitors in them, so that they do not chalk or degrade rapidly when exposed to the sun. UV is bad....it attacks resins and many pigments.

            Paint companies spend a lot of time and money formulating their paints so that they will be able to handle the conditions that they will be used in.....and exterior products may also be tweaked for better moisture resistance or greater flexibility or enhanced penetration ...it all depends what the intended use is.
            Thats why we have different choices of different types of coating for different purposes.
            NONE of them outgas when fully cured, that is urban myth, propagated by people who area poor or no understanding of the chemistry involved.
            You (and they) need to understand "cure".
            Some of these products take a long time to fully fully cure..... weeks to a few months eh.....during which time there may indeed be very (very) small amounts of residual solvent being released and if you (or "they") are chemically sensitive you won't like this......so use a zero VOC product...and even then choose carefully.
            Not all zero VOC products are as zero as they purport to be!

            Paint are basically composed of resins with pigments and binders held in solution by a solvent (and BTW, water is " a solvent")...the solvent evaporates and the resin cures (there are various different "curing" mechanisms)...but once cured the paint film is inert.
            Note that many "waterbased" products also contain small amounts (5-14%) of a slow release solvent that is used to modulate the cure and film formation rate.....which is why some people complain "this latex paint still gives me a headache 10 days after it it was applied and I can still smell it"......they can and it may.....that is the sneakiness of labeling for you......zero VOC products don't have that problem.
            Some paints (many these days) contain low levels of moldicides to inhibit mold (used if the intended environment is going to be wet or damp and could grow mold potentially).
            These do not outgas.....if they did then people would be keeling over like flies - and they don't.....not would they be using them in paints.....these are contact based mold inhibitive products....mold does not like then when it contacts them...the moldicide is not airborne.

            Further to your original question...there are two points here - first of all you are talking about a a very small amount of paint or finish ...a few brushfuls maybe .....hardly a risk factor even if it is a vile and dangerous product (and I can't imagine what that would be!) that you have managed to find despite the best-efforts of paint companies to make safe consumer level products.
            Second...sometimes "interior conditions" *which are typically, warm, and dry, and low UV ...are not in fact like that at all....in your case it seems to me that these planters will likely be in the sun and getting wet...so an exterior finish may be a better choice as "wet and sunny" is more and exterior type of exposure condition and you would benefit from UV resistance and improved moisture resistance.....understand "moisture resistance"...pretty much all paints and finishes resist short periods of moisture....they do not instantly dissolve and fall off.....it takes dwell time and repetition to damage any coating.

            Having said that, realistically you could use whatever you want, even the cheapest most inferior clear coat will be good for a few years (specially inside as UV is diminished by passing through the window glass)....and its not like the item is going to suffer from frequent, ongoing or prolonged wetness. Maybe they will spill a wee bit of water now and again....no worries!
            Even less worries if you say "this product is pretty good but its best to avoid standing water on it.....so wipe up any spills."...that covers it (and you) eh!

            I have plants in my house, I water them, I spill from time to time, I wipe up as a matter of course.
            I have lots of wood and all sorts of finishes, from exterior grade acrylics to cheap interior latex and polyurethanes...to oils and epoxies....and my entire family and my dog are still fine...so is the hamster.....so are all the surfaces

            To summarise....you are over thinking this...do not worry, use what ever you want and move on, secure in the knowledge that is will be fine for years and nobody will be get headaches be becoming sick or dead.....good news eh!

            By the way, in case you wondered "who is this chap who is going on and on?" ....I work in the paint and coatings industry - have done for 30 years - this is not just baffelgab and regurgitated unweighed uninformed google data.

            Good luck with your project.

            Julian
            Board in Winnipeg, earl of vincent and 5 others like this.

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            • #7

              Re: Varathane clear finish.

              Originally posted by Julian View Post

              By the way, in case you wondered "who is this chap who is going on and on?" ....I work in the paint and coatings industry - have done for 30 years - this is not just baffelgab and regurgitated unweighed uninformed google data.
              Couldn't have said it any better if I had tried! But sadly these days, social media "gossip" has more appeal than actual facts
              Good to see you back Julian

              Paul

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              • #8

                Re: Varathane clear finish.

                WOW !!! Thanks a bunch!!! Geeez!! That info should be stickied to the top for everyone! You should edit it so it applies to everyone and have it put permanently on the top of the page!

                My real concern was water spots. I had one table years ago that got one drop of water on it and that was it, it had the water spot for life!

                Thanks again for the detailed reply!

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                • #9

                  Re: Varathane clear finish.



                  "I have plants in my house, I water them, I spill from time to time, I wipe up as a matter of course.
                  I have lots of wood and all sorts of finishes, from exterior grade acrylics to cheap interior latex and polyurethanes...to oils and epoxies....and my entire family and my dog are still fine...so is the hamster.....so are all the surfaces"

                  Julian- Have you ever varnished over epoxy for indoor use? I have a epoxy coated buffet table that is exposed to lots of indoor light and i'm wondering about coating it with some sort of UV protective varnish. I've emailed east coast resin (the epoxy brand i used) several times and they have yet to respond. any advice is greatly appreciated. sorry for the thread hijack, OP.


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                  • #10

                    Re: Varathane clear finish.

                    No problem for the hijack! I'll be happy to learn the answer! Julian definitely sounds more experienced then anyone I've spoken to!

                    Also, I had made another thread, but if anyone knows where to find blonde shellac (liquid form preferably) here in Canada, it would be much appreciated! (Lee Valley doesn't carry the blonde anymore, and they only sell in chip form)

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                    • #11

                      Re: Varathane clear finish.

                      Do you have visual evidence of the epoxy of your table being attacked?...or are you merely pondering the potential for the future (in which case you need to weigh how long it will take the UV to make a visual difference.....it may be better to do nothing right now....read on......)

                      As regards over coating epoxy.......
                      First of all, lets me clarify why you want to overcoat it for others as my not fully understand it......
                      Epoxies have many fine properties but one of them is NOT UV stability.
                      They tend to be very sensitive to UV and they chalk rapidly.....a whitish haze forms on the surface as the resins are degraded.
                      All paints will do this over time actually...its just that epoxies do it faster.

                      Meanwhile ...in your case, sunlight passing through the window glass will have diminished the UV bit....not alot mind you...so the effect is slowed.

                      So...what to do about your nice table?

                      Hope that the manufacturer had added some UV inhibitors (they may well have!)

                      Failing that, you could wait until a faint cloudyness appears on the surface, enough to annoy you, and buff it off (epoxies polish up really well).
                      I don't know if you know any thing about buffing....but its easy, quite fun and fast if you have a decent ROS and the right pads.....you can also do it simply by hand, while wishing you had a decent ROS.
                      Sometimes a good washing/scrubbing with a mildly caustic soap will take chalking off (and it will not damage the epoxy)...or you could try washing or wiping it with one of those automotive cleaners that "restores old finishes" or some such type of thing....they work pretty well actually.

                      Don't like either of those 2 suggestions?

                      OK....sure you can over coat the epoxy, with pretty much anything you want, water based or solvent based, I've done it many a time.
                      You must be careful though....epoxies have what is called "a recoat window" (which occurs once it is fully cured....a matter of days or weeks typically) after which they become too hard and molecularly smooth and they do not like to be recoated or overcoated after that (unless UV has really attacked the surface...as then it will be molecularly "rough").

                      Fortunately we know about this problem and the solution is simple.....you simply have to scuff the epoxy to remove the gloss - this will minutely abrade the surface - and now you can recoat it with good confidence. "Scuff lightly" does not mean "scour the living daylights out it with 80 grit"......150 grit or 240 grit will do.
                      The other trick, depending on the epoxy and what you are putting on top, is to give it a quick solvent wipe using alcohol or acetone (not varsol!) JUST before you overcoat it (do the scuffing also eh)....this can sometimes marginally soften the surface and improve adhesion of your next (UV absorbing) coat.

                      How do you know if the solvent works???....try rubbing a wee discrete patch (underneath?) and see if it looks or feels different.
                      If it does, then it is....different, I mean. Good!
                      Its actually a good idea to give the scuffed surface a quick solvent wipe with a high flash clean solvent anyhow in order to remove any dust you created....you could use a water damp cloth for that....but why, when solvent is altogether more beneficial.

                      So...there you go.
                      You should understand though that a coat or two of a UV inhibiting coating will not totally solve the problem ...it should diminish the UV reaching the epoxy surface but it will not totally remove it...a few thou of an inch of a coating is NOT a total UV shield.....tin foil is, but that is not so pretty and not highly favoured by all.
                      To add to the overall horror......with most pigmented coatings...the UV is attacking only the top surface.......but with a clear coating the UV can (I said can, not "always does") penetrate and work its evil way through and through the coating destroying as it goes.....then you have a totally opaque coating eventually and the only answer is to remove it all and re-do the work.

                      Totally stopping UV is sort of like stopping the tide.....you can slow it, but ultimately you cannot win.

                      I do not think its likely you will encounter that scenario ...but, just know about it and proceed to deal with if/when it eventually occurs.

                      Good luck with the table!

                      As a final note....I am not a fan putting a clear coat over any coating.....while it may look great at the outset, use and abuse will result in the top clear coat itself being worn or scratched through.....then it will look less good than if one had done nothing at all in the first place....and its likely harder to fix that damage invisibly that dealing with the original base coating.

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                      • #12

                        Re: Varathane clear finish.

                        Thank You, Julian!!!! Your advice is phenomenal and you've got a great flow to the writing. Learned a lot. Thanks again for all the time you put in. I just poured my epoxy 2 weeks ago so i think I'm going to take your advice and leave it alone.

                        "As a final note....I am not a fan putting a clear coat over any coating.....while it may look great at the outset, use and abuse will result in the top clear coat itself being worn or scratched through.....then it will look less good than if one had done nothing at all in the first place....and its likely harder to fix that damage invisibly that dealing with the original base coating."

                        I've got a great buffer if I need to go that route down the road. As my old shop teacher used to say through his thick accent, "That's horrible, Earl. Go buff!!!" If the yellowing/chalkiness occurs too quickly, then I'll probably use some 2-part epifanes as a last resort, but I'd much rather buff.

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