Step by Step Guide To Fixing a Cloudy Varnish Finish

Similar to Lacquer, Varnish can also become cloudy after application. Varnish applied too quickly to wooden surfaces will trap moisture and result in a hazy, milky finish. If your varnish got cloudy, don’t worry, it is very much fixable and preventable. So, how to fix a cloudy varnish finish?

As a first step to fix a cloudy varnish finish, you should wait a few weeks and see if the Varnish will be cured in that time. If not, use a bit of wet and dry sandpaper and sand with a small amount of water. Then dry it thoroughly and begin again. You can avoid the problem by using thin layers this time and letting the Varnish completely dry between each one. Evaporation of water removes the cloudiness.

Varnish can also be incorrectly applied, creating problems like any other finish. Throughout this article, we will examine possible issues you may run into and how to fix them. Be sure to follow closely!

Three Steps To Fix a Cloudy Varnish Finish

Cloudiness or blushing is quite common among varnishes and finishes. Occasionally, water trapped inside the Varnish can cause this. For example, water can become trapped in Varnish due to; re-coating before it is dry, applying a thick coat, or drying too quickly. In the case of this issue, it is possible to fix it by taking the following steps.

Step One: Reduce the Humidity

Cloudy or milky Varnish means it is not thoroughly dried underneath. Since water-based varnishes tend to dry exceptionally rapidly, the top layers of paint will feel dry if you use too much. You could apply a second coat without realizing the first coat has not entirely dried. 

 As soon as you realize this problem, adjust the temperature in the room where you first sprayed the Varnish. Ultimately, this will prevent a repeat of a similar issue. The Varnish must then be allowed to cure for an extended period at the correct temperature. If it is adequately dried, the cloudiness will disappear.

Step Two: Apply a Fresh Coat of Varnish

Additionally, cloudiness can sometimes result from matting agents that settle out at the bottom of a bottle of Varnish. To resolve this, you can get a new bottle of Satin varnish and shake it thoroughly until no more matting agent is settling at the bottom.

Apply a fresh layer of Varnish on top of the previous layer after shaking for optimal results. A new coat of Varnish will absorb the cloudiness from the last one.

Note: Let the bubbles formed by the shaking settle before coating. 

Step Three: Allow to Dry

Both the temperature of the varnish spraying chamber and the drying room matter just as much. Heat the room appropriately as too much moisture can adversely affect the Varnish.

If you will be working indoors, adjust your heating to somewhere between 20°C and 25°C. Overheated spaces might dry the Varnish too fast and create messy bubbles.

5 Mistakes To Avoid Milky Color Varnish On Wood

The best way to fix a milky color varnish on wood, is to prevent it in the first place. So here are 5 things to keep in mind that will help you prevent a milky color varnish finish.

1. Do Not Apply Varnish to a Wet Surface.

Applying Varnish before a previous stain coat is completely dry may result in cloudy Varnish because moisture is trapped beneath it. It is a good idea to wait 24 hours between staining and varnishing furniture.

2. Avoid Varnish That Has Been Sitting for a Long Time.

Using Varnish that hasn’t been sealed tightly after its last use could result in thick Varnish. A dry film may not develop when applied; instead, you will observe a cloudy, sticky appearance. Seal your containers tightly after use. You may want to discard Varnish if it has been on the shelf for more than a couple of years.

3. Don’t Be in a Hurry.

As obvious as it sounds, While working with Varnish, patience is imperative if you want to get the best result. Let the wood dry naturally before applying a second or third coat. In some cases, this process may take longer than one day.

4. Work in the Right Temperature.

 Choose to work on a day when the weather isn’t too humid. A cold climate will slow down a varnish’s drying time,  and the likelihood of cloudiness increases. In addition, fast-drying, short-oil varnishes are more likely to fail due to their inability to repel moisture absorbed by the varnish gum they contain. To avoid this defect in humid weather, keep windows closed while the Varnish is being sprayed until dry.

5. Improper Preparation.

If you plan to use a wood varnish on untreated wood, remove any existing varnish, waxes, oils, wood stains, dust, dirt, grease, uneven surfaces, and sticky stuff entirely before applying the Varnish.

To prevent the wood and freshly applied Varnish from getting soiled, you should ensure that your work area is free of dust and dirt. Otherwise, the dust can accumulate, and the finish will look shoddy.

Clear Varnish Brands

The type of Varnish to choose should be based on its intended use, specifically, where the item will be displayed. For example, in indoor use, the next question is whether it will experience much wear. Therefore, it is essential to choose a hard, scratch-resistant varnish that has good moisture resistance.

Marine Varnish, sometimes referred to as spar varnish, is a product developed especially for outdoor use. As wood left outdoors is more likely to absorb moisture and expand, these varnishes have an increased ratio of oil to resin, making them more flexible. As an added protection, the Varnish also has UV inhibitors.

TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish does not only provide excellent performance when used in marine projects, but it can also be used outdoors on wooden decks, sheds, and patios. A key feature that makes this Varnish special is that it dries so quickly due to its Tung oil-based formula, which evaporates almost instantly. In addition, the Varnish is highly durable, water-resistant, and UV-resistant.

Essentially, this is a top-quality marine varnish that is suitable for just about anything. Using brushes, you can apply them to inside and outside jobs, as well as marine applications. For superior protection, it is made of a combination of phenol and alkyd resins along with tung oil. In addition, it is resistant to UV light and can be used on both new and old wood, making it an excellent choice for restoration projects.

The Difference Between Lacquer and Varnish

Whether varnished or lacquered, furniture and fixture surfaces will appear glossy when either one is applied. Although sometimes used interchangeably, both lacquer and Varnish have some apparent differences. Some of which are:

  • Unlike lacquers, which can be clear or colored, varnishes are typically transparent and do not come in other colors.
  • Lacquers are available in a range of sheen levels, from high gloss to ultra-matte, while varnishes are often formulated with flatting agents, which produce semi-gloss or satin sheens. 
  • Lacquer dries faster than Varnish.

Final thoughts

By reviewing this article, you have learned about why cloudiness appears in varnish coating, how to fix it, and tips to prevent a recurrence. In addition, you will anticipate how to deal with those concerns if they occur. It may be inevitable to make mistakes. However, knowing what to do when faced with one builds your confidence when faced with similar errors later on. 

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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