Understanding how varnish works and our recommendations
YOUR FLOOR WILL NEED SEVERAL COATS OF VARNISH.
We recommend at least 3 coats.
There are different types of varnish. Oil or spirit based varnish, water based varnish and acid catalyst varnish.
these varnishes have different effects on the wood.
WATER BASED VARNISH
leaves the wood as pale as possible and is very quick drying, 1-3 hours. It has a low odour, is hard wearing and easy to use, with no yellowing. Clean rollers, brushes etc. with water. Of the three is is the most environmentally safe and friendly.
SPIRIT OR OIL BASED VARNISH
Can darken the wood considerably and is Slow to dry 6-8 hours . It has a Strong odour, is hard wearing and discolors with age. Solvents are needed to clean brushes etc.
ACID CATALYST VARNISH
Darkens wood, is quick drying, 2-3 hours, hard wearing and has a very strong odour which can last for days. Special solvents are needed to clean brushes etc.
CHOOSING A VARNISH.
Go for the best quality you can afford and allow for at least two to three coats. Peter always applies at least 3. Trade quality varnishes are available to the public, but not in your high street shop. They are better quality than the DIY store choices. If you try to save money on something make sure it's not the varnish. Go for a professional varnish every time. DIY varnishes can give your floor a very orange/yellow finish and can be problematic on application.
It's important your floor is sanded to a high standard, don't cut corners thinking the varnish will cover up mistakes, it's quite the opposite, the varnish shows up the mistakes.
FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH YOU ARE STRONGLY ADVISED to wear a mask that protects against vapor when using ANY floor varnish. Make arrangements to have your children and pets safely out of the vicinity of odors caused by the application of varnish. Some varnishes give off very strong dangerous fumes especially acid catalyst varnish. Water based varnish gives off the least odor.
Of all the varnishes, Peter recommends the water based Bonakemi varnishes (made in Sweden)of which there are several to choose from depending on the amount of traffic the floor is expected to receive, or the Mylands Varnishes (made in South London) For domestic use we recommend the Bonakemi Mega varnish or Mylands Mylac which gives a beautiful finish, ideal for all rooms, with three coats of either of these varnishes will have a long life and give hard wearing protection. Many of the homes we sand and varnish have had Mega or Mylac applied to the floors. To see the final finish that is produced look at some of the floors we have completed using these varnishes.
Bonakemi Traffic is for floors that receive very heavy traffic eg, work spaces, galleries, museums etc. It is a 2 part varnish and needs some expertise to apply. Mega or Mylac are both one part varnishes and very easy to apply (glides on like silk) and is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. These varnishes are widely used by the flooring trade. Most types of varnish come in a choice of gloss, semi gloss or satin and in some cases extra matt finishes. GLOSS is the hardest wearing but can be mirror reflective in a room with large windows and plenty of sun, it also shows up any scratches so dont use this if you have a dog. SEMI GLOSS OR SATIN has a softer shine which looks more natural on a wooden surface.
More information on the download
WORK OUT THE QUANTITY YOU NEED TO BUY
— Make all measurements in metres.
— Measure the total length of the room into any bays.
— Measure the total width into alcoves.
— Multiply the 2 figures together. The result will be the area of the room in squaremetres.
Length. 4 metre 15 cm (4.15 metre)
Width. 3 metre 60 cm (3.6 metre)
4.15 X 3.6 = 14.94. Area = 14.94 square metres.
In this example, to give the floor 3 coats of varnish multiply the area by 3 ( 3 X 14.94 ) = 44.82 square metres.
One 5 litre bottle of varnish will cover 50 square metres, so 1 bottle is enough for this floor.
These floors have been varnished with Bonakemi or Mylands water based varnishes.
If you need help/advice that can't be found already on this site check out our personal one to one advisory service