Top 5 Yacht Varnishing Tips


If you’re in need of interior yacht refinishing in Fort Lauderdale, but want to save a bit of money, you may be interested in varnishing your yacht’s interior on your own. Lucky for you, varnishing interior bulkheads and other surfaces is quite easy, even if you have never done it before.

While many people opt for marine carpentry services like Chi Yacht Refinishing for yacht varnishing, you can do it yourself if you have time to spare, and the inclination to get your hands a bit dirty. Here are our top tips for varnishing your yacht!


  1. Preparation Is Everything

There is no substitute for careful preparation. It’s critical for a good result.

  • Use masking tape to mark out areas for varnish, and set up plastic sheeting to protect the rest of your boat’s surfaces
  • Sand with the grain of the wood, using 180-220 grit sandpaper, working down to 400-grit sandpaper. Use a sanding block for even results. Power sanders are not necessary because varnish coats are very thin.
  • Remove old layers of varnish with a chemical paint stripper, and ensure adequate ventilation, wear protective clothing, and do not let the chemicals touch your skin.


  1. Make Sure The Weather Is Right

After the old varnish has been removed and the area has been sanded, you will need to wait for the right weather. Ideally, you want it to be between 54-65 degrees, with about 55% relative humidity. However, any temperature between 50-80 degrees will lead to good results. If you are working in the open air, ensure your coat is dry before the sun sets. This avoids dew spots.


  1. Invest In The Right Brush 

A high-quality natural bristle brush is the best choice. Don’t use a brush that has ever been used for paint. Most pros use badger hair brushes, which are worth the investment if you take the time to clean them after you’re finished. Otherwise, a foam brush can be used.


  1. Don’t Overload The Brush – And Use Short, Even Strokes

As with all painting, one of the most important things is to be patient, and avoid overloading your brush. Load it with varnish, and wipe the excess off into the can, ensuring the brush is not dripping. Paint it onto the wood in short, even strokes that follow the grain of wood.

Try to avoid being interrupted while painting on a coat of varnish. Finish a section of wood before you have to stop. This will ensure that the result is even and attractive.


  1. Use Multiple Coats For A Great Finish, And Be Patient

Each coat will have to dry for at least 24 hours, and you should let later coats dry for up to 48 hours. You may need 6-10 coats of varnish.

You should sand your wood slightly between each coat, with a very high grit sandpaper. This will help remove any ridges or other issues, and get you that “mirror finish” you want. However, be gentle and ensure that you do not sand through the previous coat.


Varnish Your Boat Yourself – With These Simple Tips!

By following these 5 tips, you’re sure to get a great result when varnishing the interior of your boat. Not sure that you can handle the project yourself? No problem! Chi Yacht Refinishing has expert marine carpentry services providers on-staff. We can take care of all your interior refinishing needs.


Learn more about what we do on our website, and contact us now to get started!