Navigating the Glossy Seas: A Guide to Varnishing with Viking Marine

Navigating the Glossy Seas: A Guide to Varnishing with Viking Marine

As sailors ourselves, we at Viking Marine understand the paramount importance of protecting and enhancing the beauty of your boat. Varnishing isn't just a task; it's an art, a commitment to preserving the beauty and quality of your boat amidst the ever-changing environment. Join us as we take you through the world of yacht varnish, exploring its significance, nuances, and the array of options we stock.

What is Varnish and Why Use it?

Most woods, excluding teak, will deteriorate over time if not shielded from the elements. While paint offers effective protection, it conceals the natural beauty of wood. Varnish, essentially pigment-free paint, forms a hard, transparent coating as it dries. At its core, varnish is a transparent hard coating that safeguards wood while accentuating its natural look. Unlike paint, varnish allows the wood's inherent beauty to shine through. For sailors, varnish is not just an aesthetic choice; it's a practical necessity. With almost all woods susceptible to weathering and rot, varnish serves as a shield against the elements, preserving the integrity of your boat for years to come.

Choosing the Right Varnish

Choosing the appropriate varnish is crucial for achieving the finest finish that lasts the longest. At Viking Marine, we offer a curated selection of high-quality marine-grade varnishes tailored specifically for yachts. Each varnish boasts UV protection, resilience against saltwater, and endurance in harsh weather conditions. Whether you opt for the renowned Epifanes Clear High Gloss Varnish or the versatile International Original Gloss Yacht Varnish, you're investing in unparalleled quality and durability.

Exploring Our Selection

Let's explore the variety of varnishes offered at Viking Marine.

Epifanes Clear High Gloss Varnish

Crafted from tung oil, phenolic-modified alkyd resins, and premium UV absorbers, Epifanes offers unrivalled protection and gloss. Ideal for both interior and exterior woods above the waterline, its superior flow and flexibility make it a staple choice among sailors.

International Original Gloss Yacht Varnish

With its ease of application and exceptional gloss retention, International Original Gloss Yacht Varnish stands as a testament to reliability and performance. Its non-blooming qualities ensure a flawless finish, making it a favourite among seasoned sailors.

Compass Polyurethane Gloss Varnish

Engineered for toughness, Compass Polyurethane Gloss Varnish delivers a durable finish resistant to scratches, abrasions, and spills. Its fast-dry formulation minimises dust contamination, guaranteeing a pristine coat with every application.

International Woodskin Varnish

Embrace the natural beauty of wood with International Woodskin Varnish. This one-component oil varnish hybrid penetrates deep into the grain, providing a flexible, semi-gloss finish. Its microporous technology enables the wood to breathe, ensuring long-lasting protection and allure.

International Schooner Tung Oil Varnish

For aficionados of classic yachts, International Schooner Tung Oil Varnish offers unparalleled durability and UV protection. Suitable for both internal and external wood, its traditional formula withstands the test of time, preserving the timeless elegance of your vessel.

International Goldspar Satin Varnish:

Experience the smooth sophistication of Goldspar Satin Varnish. Quick-drying and resistant to mild acids and alkalis, this interior satin varnish epitomises elegance and practicality, making it a staple choice for yacht interiors.

Understanding the dos and don'ts of yacht varnishing is essential for achieving a professional and durable finish that will last as long as possible.


  • Thoroughly prepare the surface before applying varnish by cleaning with a suitable cleaner and sanding to remove dust and contaminants. A well-prepared surface enhances adhesion and results in a smoother finish.
  • Select a high-quality marine-grade varnish specifically designed for yachts, with UV protection and resistance to saltwater and harsh weather conditions. Investing in a premium product will be beneficial in the long run.
  • Apply multiple thin coats of varnish instead of one thick coat to allow for better penetration, adherence, and drying. Lightly sand between coats to achieve a smooth, glossy finish.
  • Consider weather conditions when varnishing, aiming for moderate temperatures and low humidity. Avoid varnishing in direct sunlight or windy conditions, as these factors can affect the application and drying process.
  • Invest in high-quality brushes or applicators designed for varnish application, as they contribute to an even coat and a professional finish. 
  • Work in a clean and well-ventilated environment to minimise dust and debris settling on the varnish, ensuring a smoother application and finish.  
  • Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next one to avoid uneven coats, bubbles, or a tacky finish. 
  • Lightly sand between coats using fine-grit sandpaper to promote adhesion and achieve a smooth finish without damaging the underlying layers.
  • Regular maintenance is essential for yacht varnish to address wear and tear, ensuring the longevity of the protective coating.


  • Skip or rush the surface preparation process, as neglecting proper cleaning and sanding can result in poor adhesion and an undesirable finish.  
  • Use household varnish for yacht applications, as it lacks the marine-grade properties necessary to withstand the harsh marine environment, leading to premature deterioration.
  • Apply thick coats of varnish, as they can result in uneven drying, air bubbles, and a compromised final appearance. Thin coats are easier to manage and yield a more professional finish.
  • Varnish during extreme weather conditions such as high humidity or direct sunlight, as these conditions can affect the application, drying time, and overall finish of the varnish.
  • Compromise on brushes or applicators, as using low-quality tools can result in uneven application, streaks, or bristle marks on the varnished surface.
  • Neglect safety measures. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and a mask, to protect yourself from fumes and potential skin contact with the varnish.
  • Apply varnish too thick near edges or corners, as excess varnish in these areas can lead to runs and drips, marring the overall finish.

DIY or Professional?

For more extensive restoration projects or if you lack the necessary expertise or equipment, consider hiring a professional marine varnisher or boat restoration specialist. They have the skills, experience, and resources to tackle even the most challenging restoration projects, ensuring optimal results while preserving the integrity of the boat's woodwork.

Yacht varnishing is about more than just getting the job done; it reflects your commitment to both style and quality. With Viking Marine's high-quality varnishes and expert advice, your boat will look great on the water. So, sail with confidence, knowing that your vessel is protected with top-notch varnish, ready to shine on the water.

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