LESLIE: Jan in Utah needs some help selecting a finish for her project. What can we do for you?
Using Marine Varnish to Seal Doors
JAN: I have been refinishing my front door and I’ve stripped the whole door down. It’s a solid wood. I think it’s knotty elder, so it’s a soft wood. I stripped it, I stained it and now I want to put a polyurethane or something on the front of it. It’s an east-facing door and we live in the desert – well, pretty much the desert. We’ve got real penetrating sun and it’s sunny almost all the time. And I did the back door, which faces the west, about two years ago and the finish is just gone.
TOM: Yeah, you need something that’s got really good UV protection. I would recommend a marine varnish. Have you thought about that?
JAN: I haven’t. Now will that leave a yellow kind of – well, does it turn yellow?
TOM: Not as much as it used to. The marine varnish is a really durable product and it’s something that’s specifically designed to give you a very high level of protective coating from ultraviolet radiation. The other option you could use is a spar urethane. Minwax makes a product called Helmsman which has pretty good resistance to sunlight. But I think if I wanted to be really, really cautious, I’d probably go with a marine varnish.
JAN: Oh, that’s such good advice. Well, I have tried the spar varnish and I was wondering whether it matters if it’s the water base or the oil base.
TOM: Ah, it does matter. To me, I really don’t like water-base urethanes.
TOM: I just don’t think they’re very durable. I would use them on like maybe furniture or something like that that I don’t really need to have the level of wear resistance on. But anything that’s going to really take a beating, I always use the oil-based urethanes.
JAN: Oh, that is such good news. OK, so marine varnish; where do I get it?
TOM: Oh, any hardware store or home center or marine supply house; anything like that.
JAN: Alright. Oh, thank you so much. That was just the answer I need.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.