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Surface preparation of wood above the waterline


Make sure the wood is dry and free of all dirt, wax or other contamination before paint, varnish or stain is applied. Degrease oily, resinous types of wood, like teak and Oregon Pine with acetone. Degrease mahogany and other non-oily woods with Epifanes Spray thinner for Paint & Varnish. Allow to fully evaporate.

Wood rot

Cut out all affected sections into dry wood. Precoat all areas needing repair with one coat Epifanes Epoxy Primer, thinned 25%. Once dry, sand and fill with Epifanes Epoxy Filler (max. 2 cm.). After the filler has dried (24 hours) degrease and sand with 60-80 dry abrasive paper to a smooth surface.


Sanding bare wood

Sand the bare wood to a fresh surface using 100-220 dry abrasive paper. In case of very rough and uneven surfaces, first sand with 60-80 dry. Always sand along the wood grain. Remove all dust and degrease once more?

Choice of system

Solid wood and overlapping/lapstrake constructions in wood are flexible by nature. A one-component paint system provides sufficient flexibility to allow for the expansion and contraction of solid wood. Two-component paint systems, i.e., epoxy paints and poly-urethane topcoats, should be applied on dimensionally stable woods like plywood and laminates. Because of their hardness and inflexibility, two-component systems are less suited for solid wood and/ or wood constructions and may eventually crack.



Step 1                                                                                           Step 2

Epifanes Wood primer or Multi Marine Primer                             Epifanes Mono-urethane or Yacht Enamel


Number of coats  1 - 2                                                                 3

              Thinner  5 - 10%                                                            0 - 5%

       Drying Time  18 hours                                                          24 hours

  Abrasive Paper  220 - dry                                                          400 - wet

                 Notes  Thin first coat by 25% and apply with a stiff
                            brush. If needed, fill between coats with         Thin first coat by 5 - 10%
                            Epifanes Combi Filler (max. 1 mm).               



Step                                                                                             1Step 2

Epifanes Epoxy Primer                                                                Epifanes Poly-urethane Yacht Coating


Number of coats  1                                                                      3

              Thinner  25%                                                                 0 - 5%

       Drying Time 12 hours                                                           24 hours

  Abrasive Paper  Not necessary                                                 400 - wet                 

                 Notes  Bonding primer for subsequent coats.          Thin first coat by 5-10%.
                            If needed, fill with Epifanes Epoxy filler.        Recoat within 48 hours without sanding.
                                                                                                  After 48 hours always sand.



In order to keep a paint system in good condition, apply one or more maintenance coats periodically. If the existing paint is still intact 

and only shows discolouration or loss of gloss, degrease with Epifanes Spray thinner for Paint & Varnish. 

Then sand and apply one or more maintenance coats. Lifting and/or damaged paint must be removed completely and replaced by a new 

paint system including primer coats. One-component topcoats, e.g., Epifanes Yacht Enamel and Mono-urethane, can be applied on almost all existing paint systems regardless of brand. Two-component topcoats, e.g., Epifanes Poly-urethane Yacht Coating, may be applied on existing two-component poly-urethane or epoxy based systems regardless of brand.


Surface preparation of wood before applying a clear finish



Make sure the wood is free of all dirt, wax or other contamination.  Moisture content should be no more than 17% before varnish or stain is
applied. Degrease mahogany and other non-oily woods with Epifanes Spray thinner for Paint & Varnish. Degrease oily wood types like teak and iroco multiple times with acetone. Allow to fully evaporate.

Staining wood

To provide a warm mahogany colour on faded wood, apply one to three ​thin coats Epifanes Classic Mahogany Stain. Allow a minimum of two hours between coats. For best result apply by soft long haired brush along the wood grain. After staining, all Epifanes one-component

or two-component varnish systems can be applied.


Choice of system

Solid wood and overlapping/lapstrake constructions in wood are flexible by nature. A one-component system provides the necessary

elasticity to allow for the expansion and contraction of solid wood. Two-component varnish systems should be applied on dimensionally stable plywood and laminates. Because of their hardness and inflexibility two-component systems are less suited for working wood and/or 

wood constructions and may eventually crack.

Hiding discolouration's

On bare wood apply one coat Epifanes Rapidclear. This semi gloss, quick drying finish seals the wood so it takescolour evenly. Afterdrying (min. 5-6 hours), apply one or more coats Epifanes Rapidcoat until the desired colour has been achieved. Rapidcoat is tinted with a light teak tone. Allow min. 5-6 hours between coats; sanding between coats is not necessary. 

​​Epifanes Dutch Mahogany Stain can cover discolorations and matching new wood to old Epifanes stain may be applied directly on bare wood, or mixed with varnish (up to 10%) to add colour to previously finished surfaces.

For a high gloss finish, sand final coat Rapidcoat or Rapidclear with 220 and topcoat with Epifanes Clear Varnish or Epifanes Woodfinish Gloss

Wood rot

Cut out all affected wood sections. Prepare a new fitted piece of wood. Piece in the repair. Allow to cure and sand to a smooth surface.

Precoat the repair area with an epoxy resin and securely glue the wood. 

Wood under stress (masts, helms)

Wood subjected to frequent working stress, such as spars, flex to an even greater degree. A traditional varnish system with Epifanes Clear Varnish or a combination system with a build up of Epifanes PP Varnish Extra (2-comp.) and top coated with Epifanes Clear Varnish (1-comp.) is recommended. These elastic systems are also well suited for varnishing railings, blocks and other wood sections on board.​

Sanding bare wood

Sand the bare wood to a fresh surface using 100-220 dry abrasive paper. In case of very rough and uneven surfaces, first sand with 60-80 dry. Always sand along the wood grain. Remove all dust and degrease once more.


Oak was often used in traditional boatbuilding. This wood type contains acids that may lead to dark spots when varnished. Therefore the breathing, one-component varnish system with Epifanes Woodfinish Gloss or the sealing two-component varnish system with Epifanes PP varnish Extra is advised.

Teak and iroco​

Wood type may also be a factor in choosing a varnish. Oily woods such as teak and iroco can be more difficult for varnishes to adhere to properly. On these wood types a breathing, one-component varnish system with Epifanes Woodfinish Gloss or a sealing two-component varnish system with Epifanes PP Varnish Extra is advised.

                                             Varnish          UV             High
                                                Type           Filter         Gloss   Hardness   Flexibility      Notes
Epifanes Clear Varnish        1-comp          *****           *****         ***               *****        A classic extremely high gloss, clear yacht varnish.
                                                                                                                                       Contains extra UV filter for maximum UV protection.
                                                                                                                                       Suited for all wood types.


Epifanes Woodfinish Gloss 1-comp           *****           *****         ***               *****        A clear, high gloss varnish-like breathing finish.
                                                                                                                                       Especially for use on teak, iroco and oak. Contains                                                                                                                                           UV filter.


Epifanes Woodfinish Matte 1-comp           ****                *          ****                ***         A rich satin exterior finish for use over build up of                                                                                                                                              Woodfinish Gloss or Clear Varnish. Contains UV filter.
                                                                                                                                      Recoat in 12 hours, sanding not necessary (72hr.)


Epifanes Rapidclear            1-comp          ****               ***         ****               ****        A UV resistant semi-gloss wood finish. Quick drying,                                                                                                                                          limited film building. Excellent adhesion to teak and                                                                                                                                            other oily woods.


Epifanes Rapidcoat             1-comp          ****               ***         ****               ****        Teak tinted version of Rapidclear. Camouflages colour
                                                                                                                                      differences in wood. Quick drying, limited film                                                                                                                                                    building. Excellent adhesion to teak and other oily                                                                                                                                              woods.

Epifanes Rubbed Effect
           Varnish                     1-comp            *                  *            ****               ***        A quick drying, clear interior satin finish. Gives                                                                                                                                                    superior protection against alcohol and other
                                                                                                                                      aggressive household chemicals.

Epifanes Poly-urethane
      Clear Gloss                   2-comp          *****            *****         *****               **        A high gloss, two-component scratch resistant                                                                                                                                                    varnish. Contains UV filters. Maximum outdoor                                                                                                                                                  durability. Suitable for plywood and other                                                                                                                                                            dimensionally stable wood constructions.
Epifanes Poly-urethane
      Clear Satin                    2-comp           ****                *           *****               **        A hard scratch resistant two-component, satin varnish.
                                                                                                                                     Superior protection against alcohol and other                                                                                                                                                     aggressive household chemicals.


Epifanes PP Varnish Extra  2-comp          ****         *****             ****              ****      A professional, quick drying (2-3 hr.), high gloss build                                                                                                                                        up varnish. Scratch resistant with perfect bonding to                                                                                                                                          teak. Combines flexibility and hardness in one product.                                                                                                                                      Contains UV filter.




Varnish systems are multiple coat systems. To obtain best adhesion, apply one or more thinned varnish coats to bare wood. These penetrating coats will provide a solid “anchoring” of the total varnish system inside the wood rather than a superficial bonding.

Continue and apply multiple un thinned varnish coats. These build up coats will form a smooth mirror like finish and provide the necessary protection against UV. It is essential that sufficient varnish film build up is applied. Only with sufficient varnish film thickness, can a varnish system maintain its high gloss and provide long-term protection.

Please Note: The number of build up coats stated in the varnish systems on this site is based on the average UV exposure in temperate latitudes. In warmer climates with higher UV levels more varnish coats will be needed. Applying more coats will provide a deeper luster and extend the longevity of the varnish system, with longer intervals between maintenance.



                            Step 1                                       Step 2                                       Step 3                                       Step 4


                            Epifanes Clear Varnish            Epifanes Clear Varnish             Epifanes Clear Varnish             Epifanes Clear Varnish

Number of coats  1                                              1                                                1                                               5-6

              Thinner  50%                                         25%                                           15%                                          0 - 5%

       Drying Time  24 hours                                  24 hours                                    24 hours                                   24 hours

  Abrasive Paper  220 - dry                                  220 - dry                                   320 - dry                                   400 - wet

                 Notes  For full varnish penetration      Second penetrating varnish    Third penetrating varnish coat.  The application of more                                     inside the wood fibers, apply  coat.                                                                                           coats will deepen the luster                               this first coat heavily thinned                                                                                                     and prolong the gloss                                                                                                                                                                                         retention of the varnish



                             Step 1                                       Step 2                                       Step 3                                       Step 4        

                             Epifanes Poly-urethane           Epifanes Poly-urethane             Epifanes Poly-urethane            Epifanes Poly-urethane
                             Clear Gloss                             Clear Gloss                                Clear Gloss                              Clear Gloss


Number of coats  1                                              1                                                 2                                               At least 2

              Thinner  10 - 15%                                  10 - 15%                                    5 - 10%                                     0 - 5%

       Drying Time  24 hours                                  24 hours                                     24 hours                                   24 hours

  Abrasive paper  220 - dry                                  220 - dry                                    320 - dry                                   400 - wet

                                                                                                                             Note for all PU coats:

                 Notes  For varnish penetration           Second penetrating varnish     Apply each Poly-urethane         The application of more                                    inside the wood fibers,             coat. Apply this coat within      coat between 24-48 hours         coats will deepen the
                            apply this first coat 25%          48 hours. After 48 hours,          without sanding. In case of        luster and prolong the
                            thinned.                                    always sand.                            overcoating after 48 hours,        gloss retention of the
                                                                                                                             always sand.                              varnish system. After 48
                                                                                                                                                                                hours, always sand.




                             Step 1                                                  Step 2                                                Step 3                                              

                             Epifanes PP Varnish                            Epifanes PP Varnish                         Epifanes

                             Extra (2-comp.)                                    Extra (2-comp.)                                 Clear Varnish (1-comp.)

Number of coats  1                                                           3                                                        3

              Thinner  25%                                                      0 - 5%                                                0 - 5%

        Drying time  2 - 3 hours                                            2 - 3 hours                                         24 hours

  Abrasive paper  Do not sand.                                         220 - dry                                            400 - wet

                 Notes  For varnish penetration inside the        These are the filling /building coats.  These 3 final coats provide the required
                            wood fibers, apply this first coat           In case of open porous wood, more   extra UV protection. The application of
                            25% thinned.                                        coats may be necessary. Sand final   more coats will deepen the luster and                                                                                                     coat only.                                            prolong the gloss retention and longevity of                                                                                                                                                        the varnish system.



                             Step 1                                                    Step 2

                             Epifanes Woodfinish Gloss                    Epifanes Woodfinish Gloss

Number of coats  1                                                              5

              Thinner  25%                                                         0-5%

        Drying time  24 hours                                                  24 hours

  Abrasive paper  280 - dry                                                 400 - wet

                 Notes  For varnish penetration inside                For every coat of Woodfinish:
                            the wood fibers, apply this first               Apply subsequent coat within 24-72 hours without sanding.
                            coat 25% thinned.                                   After 72 hours, always sand.



* The 3 coats Poly-urethane Clear Gloss may be replaced by 3 coats Epifanes Clear Varnish. This one-component finish provides                   sufficient flexibility to bend and move along with working wood without cracking. (e.g., on masts or helms)

                             Step 1                                                   Step 2                                                  Step 3


                            Epifanes                                                 Epifanes                                              Epifanes

                            Epifanes PP Varnish                              Epifanes PP Varnish                           Poly-urethane Clear Gloss*

Number of coats  2                                                            2                                                          3

              Thinner  0-5%                                                      0 - 5%                                                 0 - 5%

        Drying time  2 - 3 hours                                             2 - 3 hours                                          24 hours

  Abrasive paper  220 - dry                                                220 - dry                                             400 - wet

                 Notes  For varnish penetration inside the        Apply third coat. Recoat after             These 3 final coats provide the  required
                            wood fibers, apply this first coat           2-3 hours. Allow fourth coat 24           extra UV protection. The application of

                           10-15% thinned. Allow second coat      hours to cure. This coat must              more coats will deepen the luster and

                            24 hours to cure. This coat must          be sanded                                            prolong the gloss retention and
                            be sanded.                                                                                                        longevity of the varnish system.



                             Step 1

                             Epifanes Rapidclear  

Number of coats  5-6

              Thinner  0-5%

        Drying time  5 hours

  Abrasive paper  Not necessary

                 Notes  Only sand second to last coat with 320 dry.

                            For high gloss finish, sand with 220 and topcoat with Epifanes Clear Varnish  or Woodfinish.






                            Step 1                              Step 2                                   Step 3                                  Step 4

                            Epifanes Clear (Gloss)    Epifanes Clear (Gloss)          Epifanes Clear (Gloss)        Epifanes Rubbed Effect Varnish
                            Varnish                            Varnish                                  Varnish

Number of coats  1                                     1                                             1                                         1 or 2

              Thinner  25%                                5 - 10%                                   0 - 5%                                0 - 5%

       Drying Time  24 hours                         24 hours                                 24 hours                            12 hours

  Abrasive Paper  220 - dry                         220 - dry                                 280 - dry                            280 - dry

                 Notes  For varnish penetration  Second filling/building             Third filling/building           Lightly sand between  coats by 
                            inside the wood fibers,    varnish coat.                           varnish coat.                     hand along the wood grain.
                            apply this first coat 25%                                                                                          




* Note for all PU coats: Apply each new Poly-urethane coat between 24-48 hours without sanding. 

  In case of overcoating after 48 hours, always sand.

                             Step 1                                                           Step 2

                             Epifanes Poly-urethane Clear                       Epifanes Poly-urethane Clear Satin*


Number of coats  3                                                                    2

              Thinner  0 - 10%                                                          0 - 5%

        Drying time  24 hours                                                        24 hours

            Abrasive  220 - dry                                                        400 - wet

                 Notes  These are the filling/building coats.              Lightly sand between coats by handalong the wood grain.
Thin first coat on wood by 10-15%.
Sand third coat with 320 dry.





Epifanes varnishes contain highly effective UV filters and inhibitors. A well applied Epifanes varnish system with sufficient film thickness will keep its high gloss and provide long-term protection against UV radiation. Periodic maintenance, however, is necessary on any exterior wood surface, even when coated with Epifanes varnish.

Maintenance is necessary when loss of gloss is noticed. The time frame for maintenance depends on the varnish film thickness and the amount of UV to which the varnish system is exposed. Delaying maintenance in this stage will lead to further deterioration, cracking and eventually lifting of the varnish system. In order to keep a varnish system in good condition, we recommend applying two or more new varnish coats annually, depending on climate and exposure.

Apply additional coats where the varnish system is exposed to higher UV radiation (e.g., flat horizontal surfaces and/or tropical conditions). Wood edges and areas susceptible to mechanical damage will require more varnish coats. A varnish system with insufficient film thickness will appear thin and can offer only limited and temporary UV protection. 

After degreasing and sanding, Epifanes Clear Varnish and Epifanes Woodfinish Gloss may be applied over almost all existing one and two-component varnish brands. After surface preparation, Epifanes Poly-urethane Clear Gloss may be applied over practically all existing two-component poly-urethane varnish systems and epoxy resin. 

Ensure the existing is dry and free of dirt, grease, salt, dust and other contamination. Remove sharp wood edges by sanding so they can hold more varnish. To avoid the intake of moisture and possible warping, apply three or more varnish coats on the underside of the wood. Also make sure sufficient film thickness is applied on overhanging areas where it takes longer for moisture to evaporate. 


Varnish only shows loss of gloss

If the existing varnish is still intact, well adhered and without cracks, degrease with Epifanes Spraythinner for Paint & Varnish, sand the surface with 320 dry and apply two or more new varnish coats.

Varnish looks poor, shows loss of gloss and light crazing

Existing varnish that is still well adhered, but shows both loss of gloss and light cracking indicates neglected maintenance. The varnish system can no longer provide sufficient UV protection. In this case degrease with Epifanes Spraythinner for Paint & Varnish, sand the surface further down with 220 until all crazing and cracking has been sanded off and apply at least four new varnish coats.

Varnish in bad condition

Damaged or lifting adhering varnish systems must be removed by coarse sanding or by hot air gun and sharp scraper. Weathered spots may be treated with a cleaning or bleaching product. If either are used, wash the surface thoroughly with fresh water in order to remove any residue. Allow the surface to dry. If needed or desired, stain bare wood with Epifanes Classic Mahogany Stain. Reapply a new varnish with sufficient film thickness.

Varnish in need of repair

After degreasing and sanding, smaller spots needing repair may be filled with several coats of varnish. When an equal level has been achieved, sand to a smooth surface and apply one or more coats of varnish on the entire surface. Larger repair areas must be sanded back to bare wood followed by the application of a new varnish with a sufficient film thickness.





Generally, deck areas subject to traffic are not varnished because of the potential slipping danger. When exposed to sunlight and rain, teak will slowly discolor and eventually turn fully grey. Air pollution, fungi and bacteria may form stains in teak decks.

For the maintenance of teak decks, railings, grips and all other teak on board, Epifanes offers various products.

Epifanes Teak-O-Clean & Bright

Cleans and restores original teak colour

Epifanes Teak-O-Clean & Bright is a water based cleaner and brightener for teak and other tropical woods. This cleaner is fast, easy to apply and restores weathered, grey teak to its original colour. Unlike many other teak cleaners it will not affect the caulking in teak decks, e.g., polysulfide, polyurethane, etc. Shake at least one minute before use. Store frost free and away from direct sunlight. Suitable for fresh and saltwater. For prolonged protection from weathering allow to fully dry and treat the surface with Epifanes Teak-O-Bello


Epifanes Teak-O-Bello

Prevents renewed weathering

Epifanes Teak-O-Bello is a water based coating for teak and other hardwoods. The unique, environmentally friendly formulation prevents the wood from weathering for an extended period of time. Fast and easy to apply. Lasts longer than solvent-based teak oils and teak sealers and resists the formation of mould. It will not affect the caulking in teak decks, e.g. polysulfide, polyurethane, etc. Contains no
 VOCs, no toxic fumes and is solvent free.


Teak Oil Sealer

Epifanes Teak Oil Sealer may also be used to maintain and protect teak decks, railings, etc. Epifanes Teak Oil is a linseed oil and alkyd resin based impregnating oil that accentuates natural wood beauty and provides non-slippery protection for teak. Apply wet-on-wet coats with a wide brush or lint-free cloth to clean, dry wood until surface is saturated. Remove excess. Two coats are usually sufficient,
unless teak is very dry.


Treatment of new teak

New teak must be exposed to UV and weather for at least two weeks in order to release the natural oils in its outer wood fibers.

Existing weathered, grey teak Original colour can be restored to grey, weathered teak using Epifanes Teak-O-Clean& Bright. First, moisten the wood with fresh water. Shake the bottle thoroughly before use. Apply liberally with a soft cloth or sponge and allow to soak for five minutes while keeping the surface moist. Scrub the surface with a stiff brush or scrubbing pad with the wood grain. Immediately rinse well with fresh water and allow to fully dry.

To prevent further discoloration, follow by treating the surface with Epifanes Teak-O-Bello. Prior to use shake well for at least one minute. Apply a very thin coat of Teak-O-Bello on the surface with a dust free cloth. After 30 minutes drying time, apply a second thin coat. Remove surplus material from caulking seams in teak decks. Maintain a fresh coat at least once annually.

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