P&L Spar varnish and Epifanes Wood Finish Matte

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Forum topic by Evanston posted 05-30-2018 05:33 PM 839 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 495 days

05-30-2018 05:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: pl epifane spar varnish uva

I’ve just applied a single coat of P&L’s Vitralite UVA Spar Varnish to a pine exterior door frame that had been stained with an Old Masters stain. I used Old Masters conditioner prior to staining the wood and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. However, the spar varnish is far more glossy than I had anticipated. This door leads into the kitchen where I’ve refinished all the woodwork (birch) with the same stain and P&L 38 satin. The contrast between the 38 satin and spar varnish is pretty striking so I’m looking for a way to cut down on the gloss. P&L apparently does not make a satin spar varnish so I’m thinking of applying another coat of the P&L spar varnish (the manufacturer recommends 2 coats) followed by a single coat of the Epifane Wood Finish Matte. This door frame is in an enclosed porch facing north, so using a UVA varnish was probably overkill, but I felt it would be more durable to the heat and cold here in northern Illinois.

Has anyone tried combining these 2 products? I’ve seen posts elsewhere that indicate it’s fine to cover Epifane Clear Varnish (high gloss) with Epifane Wood Finish Matte. I believe the Epifane Clear Varnish and P&L Vitralite are similar phenolic-based products, but thought I’d ask the experts here if there is a reason not to do this.

As a somewhat separate question, I stained and varnished the back door (also pine) with the Old Masters and P&L 38 combination before I started thinking about the UVA or temperature considerations of the exterior side of the door. I already have 3 coats of P&L 38 on both sides, but should I consider adding a coat of the Epifane Wood Finish Matte on the exterior side to get at least some small amount of UVA protection?

Thanks for any advice in advance.

-- Measure five times, cut once, curse a bit, get a new piece of wood

2 replies so far

View buckhorn_cortez's profile


7 posts in 491 days

#1 posted 06-05-2018 03:36 AM

Why not use a different sheen P&L 38 varnish? The 38 varnish comes in “satin” and “dull.” I would assume the “dull” is a matte finish. I’ve used Epifanes on a number of projects, and recently finished one with the “Rubbed Effect” varnish on top of two coats of Clear Varnish (as recommended by Epifanes). However, the wood is in an interior location as Epifanes data sheets state that the Rubbed Effect varnish is for interior use as it does not contain UV inhibitors.

You have to be precise as to which Epifanes varnish you’re referencing, as they are not all formulated the same. While the Epifanes Clear Varnish is a tung oil / phenolic varnish, other Epifanes varnishes (such as the Wood Finish) are urethane / alkyd oil varnishes – hence my suggestion to stay with the #38 in a different sheen.

Another suggestion would be to use Waterlox Original in a satin finish. Waterlox Original is also a tung oil / phenolic resin varnish.

However, if you want to use the Epifanes, my experience is that Epifanes products are some of the best formulated varnishes available. As long as you sand the #38 lightly prior to applying the Epifanes, it should work just fine.

View Evanston's profile


6 posts in 495 days

#2 posted 06-05-2018 03:03 PM

buckhorn_cortez, thanks for the suggestions. I’ve used P&L 38 satin extensively and love the finish it imparts, but it is not formulated for UV protection. If I apply it over the P&L Vitralite spar varnish on the door frame my guess is it would not hold up and I’d have to redo it in a couple of years. Epifane Wood Finish Matte is their urethane product with UV protection and a matte finish but my concern was applying it over a different manufacturer’s product – I’m probably being overly cautious.

As for the door itself, if I go ahead and get some of the Epifane urethane (not cheap) I’ll probably apply it over the P&L 38. Sanding first is a good tip.

Here’s a pic of the back door and frame – just got the door back up yesterday.

-- Measure five times, cut once, curse a bit, get a new piece of wood

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