Difference Between Polyurethane and Varnish

Polyurethane and Varnish are widely used when there is a need to add finishing to a hardwood floor. It is a very important phase because it adds quality to home improvement.


Science Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to science

1 / 10

Which of the following is used in pencils?

2 / 10

The first link in all food chains is-

3 / 10

Which of the following gland is present in the human mouth?

4 / 10

What is the S.I unit of frequency?

5 / 10

Which device is used for measuring air pressure?

6 / 10

Which of the following organism breathes from skin?

7 / 10

Name the metal which is easily cut by a simple knife?

8 / 10

Fermentation is the process of ______.

9 / 10

What is the fuel in the Sun?

10 / 10

Quartz crystals normally used in quartz clocks etc. is chemically

Your score is


Polyurethane vs Varnish

The difference between Polyurethane and Varnish is Polyurethane is an oil-based finish, whereas Varnish contains some solvents and resins. Polyurethane can be toxic if it is oil-based, but it is not toxic if it is water-based. Polyurethane is used mainly in indoor furniture, but Varnish is used everywhere, wherever needed.

Polyurethane vs Varnish

Polyurethane is a wood finish that makes the hardwood surface shinier. It is available oil-based and water-based. The oil-based is more durable, and the protection margin is higher.

Varnish is a combination of resin and oil with some kind of solvents. It is resistant to UV. It is very much used for outdoor wood finish. It is done in garden benches or decks.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPolyurethaneVarnish
DefinitionOil-based or Water-based wood finishA wood finish made of resin and oil with some solvents.
Speed Of DryingFastSlow

What is Polyurethane?

It is a wood finish. It is available oil-based or water-based. Water-based is durable. Oil-based has high durability.

The appearance is milky in the container. As soon as it is applied to the wood, it makes the wood shinier. It is of thick quality.

Oil-based can lead to scratches very easily. Both of them are used in only indoor polish. It does not protect the surface from UV protection.

The toxicity level in Polyurethane is very low in the water-based.

If it is applied to outdoor things, then it may lead to cracks on the surface. This is why it is not advised to apply on outdoor things.


What is Varnish?

Varnish is made of resin and oil with some kind of solvents. It has a natural finish. It is widely used for the outdoor finish as it protects the surface from UV radiation.

It is applied on garden beaches, and varnish makes the bench look very shiny. The toxicity level in them is very low as compared to polyurethane. It is very flexible.

Varnish is very thin, due to which it is applied in many coats so that it serves the purpose. It cannot leave the surface very easily.

It is applied using a brush, and it is not so costly as polyurethane. It is a very old material of wood finish. Sometimes people may get confused with Varnish.


Main Differences Between Polyurethane and Varnish

  1. Polyurethane is harder, but Varnish is thinner.
  2. Polyurethane is used indoors, but Varnish is used outdoors.
Difference Between Polyurethane and Varnish


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/app.22432
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11998-016-9805-5
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️