Expert advice

What’s in a varnish?

Varnishes have always been considered a mysterious blend of black art and science, but in reality there are only five main ingredients in a top quality marine varnish – oil, resin, solvent, driers and additives. The trend in modern varnish technology, that most affects the long-term durability of a varnish, is the inclusion of additives specifically designed to combat the harmful effects of UV energy, i.e. sunlight.

High performance varnishes from International – Perfection Plus, Compass – contain a blend of premium quality UV absorbers and Hindered Amine Light Stabilisers (HALS), as well as UV protectors, to extend the lifespan of the varnish coating beyond that of conventional products.

UV Protection

In addition to UV absorbers and HALS, International uses two additional additives to help protect the surface from UV damage – Surface Stabilisers and Antioxidants. Surface Stabilisers repair damage from UV light by pulling together the polymer (or resin) segments at the coating’s surface, keeping the surface layer stabilised, meaning colour and gloss are maintained. Antioxidants are used to combat photo-degradation and oxidisation. This also helps with colour stability, by keeping the varnish from fading or becoming cloudy.

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