What’s The Difference Between Polyurethane, Varnish, Shellac and Lacquer?

malaysia top coat

You have already painted the door with the glossy brown shade that you have chosen and now want to apply a protective layer over it. As you walk into the hardware store, you are baffled with the many type of top coats available. What then are the differences? We explain them to you.

Shellac Coat

– This is perhaps the most common top coats that are sold in all hardware stores. It is actually a type of natural product and extremely safe for use. Shellac is very popular because it serves 2 main purpose, protection and aesthetics. Besides offering the protecting layer of coat on the surface that can stand many years, it adds a warm woody outlook to it too and usually comes in liquid form.

Polyurethane Coat

– This type of protective coat comes in water and oil-based versions and mostly used to create a glossy effect on the surface. The water-based version is more popular as it does not release as much odor and toxicity although it dries slower as compared to oil-based polyurethane. It is however more suitable for furniture as polyurethane does not last long under heat. This makes it extremely useful if you want to create husky and woody outlook to your bookcases or tables.

Varnish Coat

– Varnish is a popular top coat applied for raw wood. In most cases, varnish is used as a finish to a project involving wood. It does not have much shading or color to it but is mainly used to protect the surface from cracking. Varnish can be used for benches and coffee tables and is a great option if the furniture is place near water.

Lacquer Coat

– This type of top coat is very durable and lasts a long time. Unlike shellac or polyurethane which comes in liquid form, lacquer is usually sold in a spray can and does not create a thick layer as other types of top coat do.