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Author Topic:   Z-Spar vs Epifanes Varnish
specktrout posted 12-05-2001 03:17 PM ET (US)   Profile for specktrout   Send Email to specktrout  
Thank you for all the replies regarding my question of the best varnish for teak. I have narrowed my choices down to these three. I would appreciate any opinions from people who have used these brands: (If I seem a little nit-picky, it's because I am finally tired of the maintenance of teak oil.)

1. Z-Spar flagship varnish. States it has the "most" UV protection of any marine varnish and states it "does not react with sunlight"

2. Epifanes High gloss varnish. I have seen this mentioned on other posts and people seem to like the results. has "High" amount of UV protection and dries "clear".

3. Epifanes woodfinish- gloss. Kind of expensive, but states on the can it is for teak because it has teak oil in it and is not a vapor barrier. it claims to adhere to oily wood like teak better. Downside- I am looking for a clear finish and this is kind of yellowish.

Again, thanks for any replies.

OutrageMan posted 12-05-2001 03:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
I am wondering why Interlux Interthane Plus didn't make your list?


specktrout posted 12-05-2001 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for specktrout  Send Email to specktrout     
I am not considering a 2-part finish as I understand it is much more difficult to touch up or recoat. (my dog scratches everything)
REDFISH posted 12-05-2001 04:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for REDFISH  Send Email to REDFISH     
the best finish in my opinion is to simply use teak oil and not use a varnish.
lhg posted 12-05-2001 06:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Specktrout only asked for an opinion on varnish preferences, and I have previously given mine, Z Spar Flagship.

However, I don't think one should automatically rule out the idea of varnishing teak. It is done on many luxury yachts, 5 to 10 million dollar range, and seems to be getting popular again in yachting/boating.
The available varnishes are far superior to those of only 10 years ago, and the new foam brushes are helping people achieve better workmanship. A well varnished surface (probably 10 coats or more) is now almost as durable as gelcoat, and can be truly beautiful.

Regarding it's use on Whalers, I am a recent convert for a boat that suffers considerable outdoor exposure, especially sub-tropical FL and other warm, humid, bright sun areas.

I have always been a die-hard teak oil fan, having owned 13 & 16 Nauset boats for the years prior to buying a 1986 outrage with a lot of teak trim. I was happy to get away from all the varnish of the older models.

My 18 is still oiled, but the boat has been garage kept from day one, and has practically no salt water use. I last re-finished the teak 5 years ago, and it still looks like new, with a coat of Amazon's teak oil each season.

My 25, "Whale Lure", is a different story. Because of it's size it has been kept outdoors, under a Mills cover, since new, and is used in FL over the winter. The teak bow pulpit gets no protection at all, being outside of the cover. Until this past summer, I have stuck with my belief in teak oil. But my problems have started to show up, mainly the required sanding to keep down raised grain has been done so many times that I am loosing the visual & actual thickness of the wood. So I decided I had to "lock it in" and try varnishing as a way of ending the endless sanding/oiling cycle. (To keep teak really looking nice, you just can't clean and re-oil - the wood will get more and more raised grain, and the soft fibers are cleaned each time. Then these grooves get black. You have to sand)

The wood looks better high gloss varnished (first teak stained) than it ever did oiled, and is MUCH more durable. I am very pleased with it, although it was a big job initially.

I first discovered the varnish could serve to "lock in" the wood thickness with my teak plywood sump covers. As mentioned, after several orbital disk sandings, the teak surface veneer was almost gone. It was either make new ones of teak plywood, or use black starboard, or varnish. So three years ago, I sanded them once more, stained with teak stain, and varnished 10 coats. They have held up better, and look far superior to the original oiled teak surface, or starboard. And these things get walked on all the time. This last summer, I added two more coats and they still look like they're brand new. Varnish has greatly REDUCED the maintenance on these items. I still believe that HIGH UV inhibitor varnish MUST be used, however. And the stain keeps the wood looking darker as it eventually lightens, and prevents bleaching out by the UV under the varnish.

OutrageMan posted 12-05-2001 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     

Actually the reverse is true. Interthane Plus is at leat 5x more scratch resistant than any varnish on the market. Also, it is much quicker to re-coat than varnish. 2 part finishes like this one require that the first coats only be in the "gel" stage instead of completely dry. This allows for a much faster build up. And when it comes time to re-coat, just light sanding to score and even the surface, and off to re-coating you go.

I think what you may be talking about is its need to be maintained. The big difference her is that if you don't keep it up, you can not chemically strip it. You must scrape/sand it off.

However, because of it durability and UV protection exceeding that of varnish, your time between recoating has been doubbled.

Obviously it is your choice, but after using a 2 part, I am not sure if varnish will see much use on my boats.


jimh posted 12-06-2001 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Added hyperlink to other thread--jimh.]

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