What varnish for a door step?

4 Feb 2010
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United Kingdom
I am just about to fit a new hardwood door frame for my front door. I am painting the uprights and top section in exterior White Satin, but I want to varnish the step in something that won't show scuffs and scratches like white paint would.

Would Yacht Varnish be the best product to use?

The frame will only be exposed to the elements for a few weeks, because I am building a porch that will fully enclose it, and that will have it's own front door eventually.

What I am really after is a varnish that will be robust to constant foot traffic.
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I've used Marine varnish on my front door step which is hardwood. It really brought out the grain of the wood and still looks great, 2 years on. The step is outside and exposed to the elements.

The three bits of advice I'd give you are:

1) After sanding down the step, make sure you give it a good wipe with methylated spirits to clean the surface ready for the varnish
2) Put two coats (or more) of marine varnish on allowing at least 4 hours between coats (or whatever is indicated on the tin).
3) Allow 2-3 days for the varnish to properly dry before you allow anybody to stand on the step as it will damage the varnish if its not properly dried.

Good luck!
Only thing with varnish is that if it gets chipped or wears through, moisture gets underneath and it starts to go white. A micropourus woodstain like Sikkens or sadolin would be better. You can get it clear aswell. This will stand up much better to the expansion and contraction of the timber when the sunlight is on it.

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