Window sill finish

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Forum topic by trsnider posted 04-21-2021 08:11 PM 287 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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258 posts in 3094 days

04-21-2021 08:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Like an idiot I finished our wood windows with shellac. After several years they are, now of course, in desperate need of refinishing. The wood is still good and need a light scraping to remove what finish is on them. My question is what should I refinish them with pre-cat lacquer, a (poly)urethane, spar varnish, or something else? I’d like them to be protected from the sun (UV) and the occasional rain when we leave them open to long. I’d be bushing it on probably or maybe wiping.

4 replies so far

View bilyo's profile


1366 posts in 2186 days

#1 posted 04-21-2021 09:12 PM

I assume you are talking about using a clear finish. If so, probably a spar varnish would be best as it has UV inhibitors in it and will last longer that most others. However, as boat owners will tell you, it will continue to be a maintenance issue. You will need to repeat the process every few years. A good acrylic or latex paint will be your best long term solution.

View trsnider's profile


258 posts in 3094 days

#2 posted 04-22-2021 12:40 PM

I wanted to paint them. We (I) repainted all the walls and trim recently but SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) didn’t want the window casings and sills painted (for some reason unknown to me), so I’m stuck with refinishing them. :)

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6987 posts in 3577 days

#3 posted 04-22-2021 12:47 PM

I agree the spar varnish may be the best choice given the circumstances. But make sure it’s a Marine spar varnihs, not something at the box store. A consumer level spar that seems to be good is the McCloskey’s Man’o War marine spar. I used some on a redwood glider that’s been sitting outside for 18 months (in direst sunlight) so far and shows no sign of damage. I realize that 18 months isn’t all that long…but I tested 3-4 other finishes that all failed within 5 months!

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ibewjon's profile


2417 posts in 3877 days

#4 posted 04-22-2021 12:59 PM

I used Waterlox over five years ago, and it is holding up with no problems, even in south facing windows. Of course, we don’t leave the windows open in the rain. I understand no paint on wood trim. Painting wood trim is an insult to mother nature.

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