what is the difference between spar urethane and polyurethane

what is the difference between spar urethane and polyurethane

Once you want the proper supplies to complete your subsequent mission, you might have all types of finishes to select from. A fast flick thru the aisles of your native residence enchancment retailer can go away you scratching your head about what you should buy. Is there actually an enormous distinction between spar urethane vs. polyurethane?

You probably have ever questioned what the actual distinction is between these two common varieties of end, it’s time to seek out out extra. Uncover the refined variations and benefits of every of those merchandise on this complete information!

You’re reading: what is the difference between spar urethane and polyurethane

What’s Polyurethane?

You probably have ever accomplished a woodworking mission, the possibilities are that you’ve got encountered polyurethane earlier than. This sort of end is taken into account to be one of the crucial versatile types of end in the marketplace right this moment, and it may be bought in many various types. You possibly can select from oil-based or water-based polyurethane, together with an assortment of various gloss ranges. It serves as a really sturdy remaining coat for woodworking tasks.

For individuals who have an interest within the science behind polyurethane, it’s a artificial resin that’s clear in coloration and resists abrasion. It’s also extremely immune to water, fungus, and mildew.

A water-based polyurethane is a superb choice for somebody who is worried concerning the surroundings. It’s a little bit safer to make use of and sometimes has much less fumes than a solvent-based polyurethane (mostly bought as oil-based polyurethane).

What’s Spar Urethane?

Whereas most individuals have heard of the time period polyurethane earlier than, fewer individuals have heard of spar urethane. This particular sort of end is designed to face up to the weather on the picket poles that help the sails of a ship, additionally known as the spars of the ship. As a result of this piece of wooden should stand as much as excessive moisture and wind, spar urethane was created to face up to the identical situations and to guard the spars of the ship.

The historical past of spar urethane provides customers some perception into when to make use of it, however how does it truly differ from polyurethane? The actual distinction lies in its excessive ratio of resins in comparison with solvents. It additionally comprises some components that make it nice at dispersing ultraviolet gentle. This makes it a favourite for woodworkers who’re developing out of doors furnishings or items that might be uncovered to a substantial amount of daylight.

Take into account that spar urethane does have a a lot thicker consistency than conventional polyurethane. It dries with publicity to circulating air, a course of often called oxidation. Consequently, it may possibly dry should sooner than common polyurethane.

Very like polyurethane, there may be additionally a water-based spar urethane that’s barely much less widespread to see. Just like the water-based polyurethane, this explicit sort of spar urethane is healthier for the surroundings, releases fewer fumes, and dries even sooner than its oil-based counterpart. This makes it nice for woodworkers who do not need a well-ventilated workshop or those that want to complete a mission up rapidly.

The Variations Between Spar Varnish and Polyurethane

There are a number of main variations between spar varnish and polyurethane that set the 2 distinct courses aside from each other. Among the variations are chemical compounds from the best way that they’re combined.

Different variations are discovered within the precise software of the merchandise themselves. Understanding these benefits and downsides gives you a greater thought of when to make use of each. Check out what units every finishes aside from each other.

Quantity of Oil

One of many first and commonest variations that needs to be identified is the oil content material between the 2 of them. Spar urethanes are inclined to have extra oil combined with them, making them a bit softer to work with. The additional oil additionally provides the end extra flexibility when it lastly dries. Wooden naturally expands and contracts with adjustments in humidity and temperature. Spar urethane is much less prone to crack or chip beneath these circumstances.

Alternatively, polyurethane has barely much less oil and generally is a little much less pliable. Whereas it may possibly additionally maintain as much as some motion from the wooden, it’s barely much less versatile on this regard. It does create a stunning end that’s shiny and polished wanting, however it’s much less versatile than spar urethane. Whereas each are nice for exterior use, that is simply one thing to bear in mind.

Dry Instances

Spar urethane tends to have shorter dry occasions than conventional polyurethane. This implies you can full your mission a lot sooner if you’re utilizing spar urethane in comparison with polyurethane. Significantly if you will want a number of coats of polyurethane, this time financial savings might actually add up. Think about what number of coats you may want. Most individuals discover that they will solely do one to 2 coats of polyurethane every day.

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It needs to be famous that there are two completely different drying mechanisms in place when evaluating spar urethane and polyurethane. Polyurethane merely dries, which requires a substantial amount of time to go. Chilly air or excessive humidity can drastically decelerate the drying course of for a standard polyurethane. As a result of they dry slower, you additionally run the chance of mud and different particles getting within the end earlier than it’s fully dry.

Spare urethane dries by oxidation or publicity to extra airflow. If you happen to set a fan in your mission that has been completed with spar urethane, you may sometimes velocity up the ending course of. This may be nice if you wish to end the mission rapidly. Nevertheless, it needs to be famous that it additionally diminishes your working time with the end and will make it tougher to get a easy end on the floor.


Each polyurethane and spar varnish needs to be utilized to your mission with a brush. Polyurethane will be utilized with a standard bristled brush or a foam brush. Spar urethane needs to be utilized utilizing a bristled brush due to its thicker consistency.

If you’re brushing spar urethane onto a bit of furnishings, bear in mind that you could be go away behind brush strokes. Significantly when you’ve got lots of air circulating, it may possibly dry extraordinarily rapidly. As soon as it hardens, you won’t be able to take away these strokes, so take warning to color the end on easily from the very starting. Polyurethane provides you a barely longer working time with the intention to return by means of to get rid of any brushstrokes.

Each varieties of end may also be utilized utilizing a wiping technique. For the spar urethane, you will want to dilute it with half mineral spirits and half spar urethane. From right here, you may apply it to the floor utilizing a clear, lint-free rag. Take into account that you will have so as to add extra coats when making use of the end this manner due to the dilution course of.

Some professionals imagine that these finishes may also be sprayed in your mission to attenuate the chance of brushstrokes that would spoil your end. Polyurethane tends to be the favored selection for spraying, as some professionals imagine that spar urethane is simply too thick to be sprayed. You might must skinny it with mineral spirits first. Since you are thinning the end once more, you may need to use extra coats to attain the specified end thickness and consistency.

Polyurethane can usually be bought in spray cans which can be already prepared to make use of. This may even prevent on the clean-up {that a} conventional paint sprayer would require. You might pay a couple of {dollars} additional for this comfort, however many individuals discover it to be a worthwhile funding.

Take into account that your floor have to be fully easy with a view to stop bubbles and drips when spraying both sort of end. There needs to be no mud, dust, sand, or different particles on the floor of the wooden earlier than you apply the end. In any other case, it’s going to develop into trapped beneath the floor of the end, and you’ll have to sand the urethane off to appropriate it.


Spar urethane and oil-based polyurethane will each have some fumes related to them. Working in a well-ventilated space is essential with these merchandise, although the polyurethane is barely worse than the spar urethane. It’s best to work with most of these supplies in a well-ventilated space away from warmth and hearth.

Some merchandise even suggest that you simply put on a respirator masks whereas working with these supplies. They aren’t probably the most environmentally-friendly merchandise obtainable in the marketplace right this moment. No matter what product you might be working with, it’s best to put on gloves to guard your pores and skin. You may additionally wish to put on protecting clothes to maintain it from ruining your favourite t-shirt or pair of denims.

If you’re extra involved about your general well being or the surroundings, water-based polyurethane would be the higher choice for you. It provides off very low fumes and isn’t as flamable as its oil-based counterpart. The identical goes for water-based spar urethane.

Indoor or Out of doors Use

Spar urethane was initially designed for use on the picket elements of a ship. You might not be shocked to be taught that spar urethane, as it’s bought right this moment, can be nice to be used on out of doors furnishings merchandise. It may be safely used each indoors and outside. Many individuals like to make use of spar urethane as a result of it provides them a bit extra flexibility in how they select to make use of their furnishings after it’s been completed.

Oil-based polyurethane is a barely extra sturdy choice, and it may also be used for each indoor and out of doors functions. It will probably get up in conditions that convey excessive temperature adjustments, each cold and hot. Like spar urethane, oil-based polyurethane can be waterproof in nature and might simply stand as much as rain and snowstorms.

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It needs to be famous that spar urethane does have components that assist to dispel ultraviolet rays of sunshine. These components permit the spar urethane to assist your wooden keep its identical coloration even when uncovered to daylight. Alternatively, oil-based polyurethane doesn’t have any of those identical components. It’s extra susceptible to alter the colour of the wooden to a extra amber coloration over time. Alternatively, it might permit the wooden to bleach relying on the species.

Each varieties of spar urethane and polyurethane are versatile sufficient to permit the wooden to increase and contract to a point. This permits the wooden to maneuver naturally, although the temperatures and humidity ranges might fluctuate in its environment. You’ll positively need this sort of flexibility if you’re aiming to complete a bit of outside furnishings.

Publicity to Chemical substances

Relying on the mission that you simply intend to craft, the completed product may have to have the ability to maintain up beneath the usage of different chemical compounds comparable to cleaners. How do spar urethane vs. polyurethane fare when uncovered to different chemical compounds? This may make an enormous distinction when deciding which one is true to your mission.

Spar urethane is a bit more prone to break from chemical compounds or alcohol. The end may very well be degraded when these chemical compounds are used to wash the floor of the wooden. Alternatively, polyurethane is immune to most chemical compounds, together with alcohol. This might make it preferrred for a tabletop or bar counter that should stand as much as routine cleansing.


For many individuals, they wish to know precisely what the value distinction goes to be between the 2 merchandise. As a result of they share many similarities, the value would be the deciding issue for you. There are a couple of various things to think about in the case of the price of spar urethane vs. polyurethane.

First, spar urethane can fluctuate considerably in high quality from producer to producer. Nevertheless, it’s typically costlier than polyurethane when it’s properly manufactured. Polyurethane tends to be a extra reasonably priced resolution. It may also be a bit pricier when bought in ready-to-use spray bottles. Many individuals discover that that is way more handy for them and simpler to use, however you’ll pay for the comfort.

Spar Urethane vs. Polyurethane for a Desk Prime

A desk is among the commonest items of furnishings that woodworkers are requested to create. These heirloom gadgets can final for generations, so that you wish to just remember to are utilizing the correct sort of end. Do you have to use water-based spar urethane vs. polyurethane? Maybe the oil-based model is the extra sturdy choice.

The excellent news is you can actually use both sort of end to create a good looking customized tabletop.

Many woodworkers flip to oil-based polyurethane as a result of it’s the extra sturdy out of the 2 choices. Spar urethane vs. polyurethane generally is a tough debate, however polyurethane sometimes wins in the case of indoor functions. It creates a end that appears shiny and polished whereas remaining sturdy sufficient to final. Moreover, it stands up properly to chemical compounds, together with alcohol. This makes it preferrred for a desk that may doubtless should be cleaned with a point of frequency.

You might think about using spar urethane or the water-based polyurethane when you should work in an space with little or no air flow. The oil-based polyurethane has a powerful odor that may be unsafe so that you can breathe for an prolonged time frame. It additionally requires an extended dry time, so ensure you permit sufficient time forward to use a number of coats.

If you happen to occur to be crafting a desk to your patio or sunroom, consultants sometimes suggest going with the spar urethane. It’s much less prone to break from UV rays and might stop the wooden from altering coloration. Spar urethane additionally gives barely extra flexibility in order that the end doesn’t chip or crack as a lot when uncovered to the altering temperatures, parts, or humidity ranges.

Choosing the Excellent End

On the finish of the day, it’s important to actually consider how your mission might be used and the way a lot time it’s important to work on the piece. Each spar urethane and polyurethane are wonderful selections, however they’ve very completely different makes use of. You have to consider what your mission really requires earlier than making a serious choice. In spite of everything, the end you select finally influences what your mission will appear to be and the way it will carry out.

Subsequent time that you must buy a end, you may head to the house enchancment retailer ready to make the ultimate choice. Maintain a few of these issues in thoughts that can assist you make the wisest selection to your mission!

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