When it comes to working with wood, we have all the knowledge, but when it comes to your home DIY project, you may find yourself lingering with a question or two. This month, we are here to provide you with an answer to a question which we regularly hear from our own customers: “What is the difference between varnish and lacquer?”. Let’s take a look…

What is varnish?

Varnish is a tough transparent coating which is applied to bespoke joinery in a way that provides a quality aesthetic with a glossed finish. The varnish works to enhance the natural colours and tones of the wood to provide a piece of furniture which stands out from any other dull, untreated wooden products, whilst protecting it from obtaining damage through natural wear and tear.

What is lacquer?

Differing from varnish, lacquer is available for use in a range of different colours and opacity strengths. No matter the aesthetic option you choose, your lacquer coating will still provide a tough and glossy finish that provides your wooden joinery with a high-quality finish.

Are their application methods different?

The application methods for varnish and lacquer differ ever so slightly. Varnish is most commonly applied by hand with a brush at a more concentrated level and steadier speed. Lacquer is most often applied in a lighter spray form and can coat a wooden material in a much faster timeframe. The density of the substance, along with its evaporating qualities, also makes it a coating type that dries faster, shortening the coating process in total.

How do their finishes alter?

Only an expert – or possibly if you were to look extremely closely – would you be able to tell the difference between an applied and dried varnish and lacquer coating. Whilst lacquer can apply a level of colour, varnish can work to intensify the wood’s natural tones. Their glossy finishes also replicate each other. The difference in finish purely comes down to the strength, durability, and longevity.

Should I use varnish or lacquer?

Whilst the two materials are applied differently and can provide a different finish, the types of materials that they are used on don’t differ as much. The factor you may want to instead consider is the strength of the coating. Varnish creates a level of protection between the material and the outside world, defending against natural wear and tear caused by knocks and spills. Lacquer has a higher level of durability and so is used to protect wood against harsher conditions, such as wooden flooring which has to withstand footfall all day.

Here at A.G. Kerr Carpentry and Construction, our expertise in woodwork allows us to hold answers to any of the bespoke joinery or construction questions you may have. Our team of joiners and carpenters can also transform any of your joinery visualisations into a bespoke reality without any hassle to you. All you need to do is get in touch! Give us a call on 01342 822 750 or send us an email at today.