Applying finishes

Before starting any painting project consider the 3 most critical questions:

  1. What preparation is necessary
  2. Does the substrate matter
  3. What repair and upkeep is needed

Step 1: Health and Safety

Before commencing preparatory work, ensure the area you are working in is adequately ventilated. Ensure you are wearing the correct PPE; we recommend safety spectacles, goggles or visors, nitrile rubber gloves, overalls (ensuring skin is not exposed) and a solvent mask.

Previously painted surfaces:

Step 2: Inspection

Check for areas of damage, separation or peeling, or any other indications that the existing coating is not firmly adhered to the substrate.

Step 3: Preparation – in good condition

Clean with thinners. Sand smooth with 280-320 grade paper. Remove sanding dust by brushing or dusting. Wipe down thoroughly with solvent and allow to dry completely, to ensure any residual sanding dust is removed. (Note: Small imperfections may be spot primed and sanded down prior to full varnish application.) Continue at Step 6.

Preparation – in poor condition

If previous varnish is cracking, peeling or showing signs of separation from the substrate this should be totally removed.

Bare wood:

Step 4: Preparation

Bare wood should be prepared following the appropriate bare substrate preparation guidelines.


Step 5: Priming

To promote penetration of the surface and the adhesion of subsequent coats; we recommend thinning the first coat of varnish. Decant the amount of varnish you expect to use into a separate container. Thin for priming according to label recommendations.

Apply 1-2 thinned coats of varnish following label recommendations. Alternatively, prime using Clear Wood Sealer Fast Dry; a clear polyurethane primer with excellent grain filling properties that will improve overall scheme durability and aesthetics.


Step 6: Application

Applying varnish with a brush is usually the best method, although roller application can be effective on large, flat surfaces. Brush out, using firm strokes along and then across the grain, holding the brush at 90º to the surface. Finally, ‘tip off’ by gently stroking surface with the brush at a 45º angle, following the grain. The brush you use should be used only for varnishing.

“Achieve a perfect result every time!”

Always follow the scheme recommendations as specified on the label; this will indicate the minimum number of coats required and the sanding recommendations between coats. This informaton will vary depending on the product. To achieve long-lasting protection, you should plan to apply up to ten coats (depending on the system). As the number of coats increases, sanding between coats with a fine grade paper will increase the level of gloss and depth of lustre.