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Best Spar Varnish for Exterior Door in 2024 | Top 10 Picks

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Your exterior door is the first thing people see when they come to your home. It reflects you as well.

Spar Varnish for Exterior Doors is a water-based varnish that protects wood doors from moisture damage while also providing UV protection against fading caused by sunlight exposure.

Therefore, spar varnish is the ultimate choice. It has excellent durability and resists the influence of atmospheric factors.

However, you must choose the best spar varnish for exterior door to get the expected result. It can also expand and contract based on environmental changes. If the varnish doesn’t meet these expectations, it will crack and chip off.

Today, we will talk about some of the top-rated spar varnishes in the market so that you can pick suitable ones for your outdoor wooden surfaces.

Rust-Oleum Marine Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

TotalBoat Classic Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

Epifanes Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

Top 10 Reviews on The Best Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

Having the durable spar varnish for the exterior wood door can make a huge difference in how your house looks. With so many different brands and types of varnishes out there, it might seem like an impossible task to find one that is perfect for you.

But by following these 10 reviews on the top spar varnish for exterior doors, you will be able to find the right product with ease.

1. Rust-Oleum Marine Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

If you are looking for a varnish for your exterior door that leaves surfaces shiny and smooth, marine varnish by Rust-Oleum is a great choice. It’s designed specifically for protecting doors from the harshest of outdoor elements.

The varnish will expand and contract with the changing weather conditions, ensuring a long-lasting protective coating on your exterior wood.

It is a durable coating that can provide excellent resistance to salt and mildew. It dries to the touch in just 2 hours, so it’s perfect for quick projects.

You can cover up to 150 sq. feet with just one can, making it a great option for large projects too.

This marine varnish is a crystal clear varnish that leaves a higher gloss finish with maximum protection. This product is UV rays resistant and will not yellow or streak. Use it on exterior wood doors and outdoor wooden furniture to protect them from the elements.

Rust-Oleum marine spar varnish for exterior door helps prevent corrosion and supports a marine environment. Moreover, it keeps the undersides from getting algae and barnacles. It also provides an anti-slip grip, making it safe to use in wet environments.

Using this will prevent the buildup of marine growth on exterior doors. It is designed to release copper, which provides superior fouling protection slowly. This product can be used in both fresh and saltwater bodies of water.

Considering all the features, it is the best marine spar varnish for protecting exterior doors.

Highlighted Features:

  • Protects doors from the harshest outdoor elements 
  • Designed for exterior wood doors
  • Dries to the touch in just 2 hours
  • Can cover up to 150 sq feet
  • Will Not Yellow or Streak and UV Rays Resistant
  • Durable coating and beautiful gloss finish
  • Provides superior fouling protection

2. TotalBoat Classic Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

When it comes to varnishing your exterior or entry wood door, you want a product that will give it a rich, clear amber tone while also creating a strong, waterproof finish that won’t fade.

This varnish is ideal for exterior and interior wood surfaces, brightwork on boats, and outdoor furniture. It’s easy to apply and gives your wood a beautiful luster that will last long.

It is a fast-drying varnish that can be recoated quickly and doesn’t require sanding between coats. This makes it a great choice for quickly finishing exterior doors.

The varnish has an oil based premium formula that results in a smooth, high-quality finish. You can apply light sanding before the final coat for matte and glossy shine.

When it comes time to protect your exterior wood door from the harsh weather, TotalBoat Classic Spar Varnish For Exterior Door is a great option.

It provides a flexible coating for marine and household woods. This varnish won’t crack or peel when the wood expands and contracts with changes in temperature, making it perfect for a variety of applications.

You just need one coat to cover it. With 6-8 coats, you can achieve a beautiful and durable finish. It is available in different sizes, can be used to either brush or spray with thinner, and coats an area of 360-400 sq feet per gallon.

Highlighted Features:

  • Provides rich, clear amber tone
  • Waterproof finish so won’t fade
  • Easy to apply and gives the wood a beautiful luster
  • Fast drying and no sanding needed between coats
  • Flexible coating for marine and household woods
  • No cracking or peeling when wood expands or contracts
  • Coats an area of 360-400 sq feet per gallon

3. TotalBoat Gleam Marine Exterior Door Spar Varnish

Are you looking for a high-quality marine varnish to protect your outdoor wooden surfaces? Look no further than this marine exterior varnish.

For a beautiful, lustrous, clear finish on any wood type, this product contains premium tung oil and phenolic resins. It’s also durable enough to serve as an outdoor wood protector and weather proof finish on boats, kayaks, and more.

This varnish is easy to apply, self-leveling, and quick drying. It can be recoated in one hour when the temperature is set at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. In different seasons, the varnish expands and contracts with the surface when the climate and temperature change.

Allow the marine varnish to dry for 48 hours, then lightly sand with the wood grain after applying 2-3 coats in one day. After you overcoat or before applying your final coat, sand with 320-grit sandpaper.

For a beautiful, shiny finish, apply varnish about 4-6 times. It can also be used to build a matte finish, by applying gloss varnish and then using satin varnish as final coats. This product is perfect for achieving a beautiful finish on doors, trim, and other exterior surfaces.

It can be applied by brush or spray and contains a thinner for either of these applications. This gloss varnish is an excellent product to keep your boat looking new.

TotalBoat Gleam Marine Exterior Door Spar Varnish will protect your wooden surfaces from harmful UV rays. It provides a beautiful satin finish that will look great on decks, coamings, hatches, outdoor furniture, and more.

It is available in both gloss and satin finishes and comes in pint, quart, and gallon sizes. It provides coverage for up to 250 square feet per gallon, making it a great value for the price.

Highlighted Features:

  • Easy to use, self leveling, and quick drying
  • Can be recoated in 1 hour
  • Achieve a beautiful, shiny finish on exterior surfaces
  • Provides a beautiful satin finish
  • Comes in pint, quart, and gallon sizes
  • Provides coverage for up to 250 square feet per gallon

4. Epifanes Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

If you are looking for a high-shine, durable exterior wooden door finish that stands up to all the elements, Epifanes Spar Varnish is the only way to go.

Epifanes Spar Varnish is one of the highest quality traditional marine spar varnishes. This is formulated with phenolic resin, tung oil, and alkyd resin, which results in a finish that has a superior flow.

It is a high gloss, UV filtering varnish that is perfect for exterior doors. The spar varnish offers superior UV protection so that the exterior of your door resists fading and cracking. It helps to keep the door looking new for a long time.

You can spray, roll, or tip on the Epifanes Spar Varnish For Exterior Door. It has a beautiful brushed finish.

Epifanes clear varnish is a high-quality finish that can be used on both exterior and interior doors. It can be used on new wood or old wood to restore it to a deep, clear finish. You can use it on softwood or hardwood, and it’s marine-grade, so it’s perfect for your household.

Highlighted Features:

  • Formulated with Tung Oil, Phenolic, and Alkyd Resins
  • Offers superior UV protection to resist fading and cracking
  • Can be applied with a spray, roll, or tip
  • Suitable for restoring the finish of old wood
  • Can be used on softwood or hardwood
  • Has superior flow and high gloss

5. Epifanes Spar Varnish Matte Finish for Exterior Door

If you are looking for a hard matte finish that doesn’t require sanding between coats, this is it. However, you will need to apply a new coat of varnish within 72 hours.

It is perfect for exterior doors to protect them from weathering and fading. This varnish provides a smooth, even appearance and protects the wood from UV rays if you apply a soft matte finish.

Teak and other fine hardwoods doors can be coated in this tough varnish. The Epifanes Spar Varnish Matte Finish For Exterior Door is made from phenolic-modified alkyd resin and tung oil.

This varnish is a waterproofing product that protects against rot, tear, and fungi growth. It is easy to apply. It brings out wood’s natural beauty with a satin-matte finish. Moreover, it is perfect for giving doors a rubbed effect look.

With Epifanes wood finish matte, scratches and blemishes can be hidden while still showing the wood grain. This varnish is a perfect choice for any DIY project.

Highlighted Features:

  • Protects wood from UV rays
  • Perfect for outdoors
  • Made from phenolic-modified alkyd resin and tung oil
  • It is easy to apply
  • Brings out wood’s natural beauty
  • Perfect choice for any DIY project

6. Epifanes Marine Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

Epifanes is a popular name that offers high-quality varnish for outdoor wooden surfaces. The spar varnish is a traditional marine spar varnish that has been specifically formulated.

With this varnish, you get superior flow, gloss, and longevity. It is perfect for use on exterior and interior doors and can provide a beautiful finish.

Epifanes Marine Spar Varnish For Exterior Door provides superior protection against the sun’s UV rays. It can be used on household items or marine surfaces, and it can be applied using a brush, spray gun, or roller.

You can use it on new wood or old wood to get a deep, clear finish. It is 250 ml in size. Your door will remain beautiful for a very long time! It’s easy to apply and can be used on a variety of surfaces.

You won’t be disappointed if you use it. Therefore, remember the brand name when choosing a spar varnish.

Highlighted Features:

  • Traditional marine spar varnish
  • Formulated with tung oil, phenolic, and alkyd resins
  • Will get a superior flow and gloss with this varnish
  • Perfect for use on exterior and interior doors
  • Provides maximum protection against the sun’s UV rays
  • Restores old wood to a clear finish

7. System Three Clear Marine Spar Urethane Varnish for Exterior Door

If you’re looking for VOC compliant exterior door varnish, look no further than System Three brand. This product is formulated to cure properly and is either glossy or satin.

This product is a high-build urethane coating that is designed for exterior surfaces that need to be durable and clear. This marine varnish has been specifically engineered for wood.

You can apply it to wood surfaces like railings and doors for a clear, durable finish. This is a high-quality product that will protect your outside door from sun damage, scratches, and marring.

It contains state-of-the-art UV rays absorbers to keep the wood looking attractive, even with constant exposure to powerful sunlight. This varnish is also resistant to cleaners and solvents, making it a great choice for doors that are frequently exposed to the elements.

The System Three Clear Marine Spar Urethane Varnish For Exterior Door offers superb protection against salt air and water. It dries to a clear, hard finish that resists fading and chipping, making it ideal for use on doors, trim, and other areas. The product comes in a 1 quart container.

Highlighted Features:

  • Formulated to cure properly
  • Available in Gloss or Satin finish
  • High build urethane coating
  • Designed to have minimal levels of VOC’s
  • Can resist scratching and marring
  • Clear, hard finish resists fading and chipping
  • Superb protection against salt air and water

8. McCloskey Valspar Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

When it comes to protection and beauty for your exterior wood surfaces, Valspar Spar Varnish is a perfect choice. It provides maximum Ultraviolet protection against the harsh sun rays and will help keep your wood looking great.

Whether you’re using it on interior or exterior surfaces, this varnish is sure to give your wood a beautiful finish that will remain for a long time.

The McCloskey Valspar Spar Varnish for exterior door not only protects against weathering but has a clear and satin finish.

It is high-built and resists salty air. This makes it perfect for use on wooden boats, outdoor furniture. You can apply it on fences and trim surfaces.

Moreover, it can be used on handrails, Interior window sills and frames, Lampposts, Planters, and more. It does not contain any CFCs which are now banned by the EPA under the Clean Air Act.

Highlighted Features:

  • Can be used on interior or exterior surfaces
  • Provides maximum UV protection from the sun
  • Gives a clear and satin finish
  • Resists salty air, so perfect for use on wooden boats
  • Suitable for fences and trim, lampposts, and Planters

9. Old Masters Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

If you’re looking for a high quality exterior varnish, look no further than Old Masters Spar Varnish. You can use this varnish inside and outside.

This clear coating is formulated with Tung oil, which provides a superior level of protection against the elements. It’s perfect for use on doors, trim, and other exterior wooden surfaces that need to stand up to constant exposure to the weather.

You can protect it from water and salt spray with this finish. For extra protection against Ultra Violet, you can even use it on interior windowsills and door frames.

It has a satin finish that will give your door a beautiful, natural look. The Old Masters Spar Varnish For Exterior Door comes in 12 oz that is enough to cover an exterior wood door.

There are many brands on the market, but Old Masters is exceptional for its great value.

Highlighted Features:

  • Clear coating is formulated with Tung oil
  • Perfect for use on trim, and other wooden surfaces
  • Stands up to constant exposure to weather
  • Provides extra protection against Ultra Violet
  • Has a satin finish that will give your door a beautiful

10. Pettit Spar Captains Varnish for Exterior Door

This is the last varnish that we include in our list of marine varnishes reviews for outdoor. Pettit Spar Varnish is actually an old brand that has been on the market for decades.

In addition to producing a higher gloss finish, this varnish produces a rich appearance. It has been the standard of marine varnish for decades.

The characteristic of the product is its exceptional flow, leveling characteristics, and superior clarity. Furthermore, it provides a smooth surface which greatly enhances the natural beauty of the wood surface.

This type of varnish also provides long-lasting protection on doors with its excellent durability to exterior conditions. It is formulated with special UV inhibitors, which protect against the elements.

It is perfect for all brightwork applications, both interior and exterior. It dries quickly. Whether you’re looking to protect your boat, Pettit Spar Captains Varnish For Exterior Door is also the ideal choice.

Highlighted Features:

  • Produces a waterbased polyurethane gloss finish
  • Creates a rich appearance
  • Provides a smooth surface to enhance the natural beauty
  • Formulated with special UV inhibitors
  • Suitable for all brightwork applications

So you completed our 10 reviews on the best spar varnish for exterior doors. If you choose a spar varnish from the list, you will surely have the foremost performance on your door.

Factors to Consider When Buying Spar Varnish for Exterior Door

epiphanes marine varnish

Whether you’re refinishing an old door or painting a new one, choosing the best spar varnish for use is important. There are many different types of spar varnish on the market, so it can be tricky to decide which one is right for your needs.

Here, we will discuss the factors you need to consider when choosing a spar varnish for your exterior door.

Types of Spar Varnish:

There are two main types of varnish available in the market. You can select any of them based on your own choice and price range. These varnishes are:

  • Oil-Based Varnish: Oil-based varnishes dry quickly and provide a high level of protection. These varnishes have a glossy appearance. The best part about oil-based varnishes is that they can be easily recoated, so you can apply additional coats without much hassle. However, oil-based varnishes are more expensive than water-based varnishes or clear coatings.
  • Water-Based Varnish: Water-based varnishes tend to dry quickly, too. These varnishes are great for protecting exterior wood surfaces, but they do not offer the same level of protection as oil-based varnishes.

Gloss or Sleek Satin Sheen:

Before buying spar varnish for exterior doors, choose whether you want a glossy or sleek satin sheen. If you prefer a matte finish over shine, go for a sleek satin option while adding more coats to get that perfect matte sheen to your door.

However, if you like an elegant and shiny surface on the exterior of your home, go for a glossy finish.

Coverage Area:

wood left outdoors

Before you buy any marine varnish, you must know about its coverage area. The best spar varnish can cover a large area with a single coat. If you’re trying to cover an entire door without spending too much time and money on varnishing, then you need to choose a varnish that has a large coverage area.

Dry Time:

The next most important factor to consider is its dry time. The longer it takes to dry, the more time you have to work with it, and that makes it easier for you to apply multiple coats if needed. Also, a marine varnish will take a lot less time drying than paint or stain, so that gives you a little more flexibility when applying coats.

Cure Time:

Consider its cure time when selecting the best marine spar varnish for doors. A good quality marine varnish will cure quickly, but if it does not cure for too long, it may lead to peeling and cracking.


The best spar varnish is made with high-quality ingredients which do not cause yellowing of the surface on which they are used. Modern varnishes come in various colors, so you can always choose a color that matches your door perfectly. However, most people prefer white or clear finishes, as they work well over any existing paint color.

Salt and Mildew Resistant:

Spar varnishes are very resistant to saltwater, mildews, and other harmful elements that cause deterioration of wood surfaces. This is particularly useful in coastal regions, where the humidity can damage surfaces.

Corrosion Resistant:

garage doors

The best spar varnish must be resistant to corrosion. They are also very stable and hard to break down when exposed to pollution, water, heat or humidity. That means you don’t need to remove it every few years for reapplication like you would with paint or stain.

Ultraviolet Light Protection:

Spar varnishes protect your door from harmful UV rays that make wood materials fade over time. Not only do they provide protection against these elements, but they also help preserve the natural color of wood grains without compromising its natural luster.


Choose a varnish that protects wood from the rain after applying it on your exterior door. The weather will play a pivotal role in the look of your door, so choose something suitable for outdoor use.

Dirt and Insect Protection:

This factor is also important to consider. Dirt and other elements can damage wood over time, so your exterior should provide protection against dirt and any critters that may attack it.

Leveling Properties:

Another great feature to look for when buying the best marine varnish is leveling properties. Look for something that will not leave any brush marks on the surface of your door or outdoor furniture. You don’t want a varnish that will run or drip because this could leave your door looking messy and uneven.

Odor Free:

horizontal surfaces

Your choice of varnish can also depend on whether it has an odor to it. Some varnish’s contain a strong smell, which can make working inside difficult for you and corrosive for the surface of your door.

Look for one that does not produce too much odor when it dries, as this can help eliminate problems with both conditions.

Environment Safe:

Another factor to consider is whether the door varnish you choose is environmentally safe. You should look for something that won’t release toxic fumes into the air or harm your health in any way. If possible, choose something that doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals.

Sanding or Without Sanding:

If possible, select a varnish with no sanding required. This will save you lots of time and money because you won’t have to spend extra hours sanding the door to prep it for your finish.

You also don’t want an exterior wood door finish that requires extensive sanding, as this can damage the integrity of your door over time.

Coats Recommended:

The number of coats recommended is another factor to consider when choosing your finish. If possible, look for something that only needs one coat applied for best results.

Most brands suggest two or three coats at most. The more coats you need to apply, the longer it will take to finish your door, and you also increase the chance of your exterior door looking uneven.

Ease of Application:

subsequent coats

Another important factor to consider when choosing a spar varnish for an exterior door is its ease of application. It should not be too thin, so it’s easy to apply without any mess or fuss.

You also do not want something that dries fast because you need a little time to work it into the surface of your door.

Ease of Removal:

Another important factor that you need to consider is whether the varnish can be easily removed. It’s best to go with something that is not too difficult to remove, especially if your door requires refurbishing every now and then. 

You just need to use a natural bristle brush to remove varnish.


You should consider the reputation of the brand that manufactures your chosen varnish. A reputable brand will ensure that its products deliver excellent results. You can go with an unknown brand, but it would be better to consider buying one that has a reputation for making quality products.


Consider the value for money that your chosen exterior wood door finish is offering. You can go with something affordable, of course, but it shouldn’t be too cheap either.

If you choose a cheap varnish, it’s likely that you will need to repaint your door all over again in a few months. Look for a varnish that offers good value for money to improve the durability and efficiency of your door.

How to Use Spar Varnish on The Wood Door?

warm golden glow

According to industry guidelines, you should maintain a distance between workpieces if you’re using exterior varnishes. This is because these varnishes take a long time to dry, and they tend to drop off if there isn’t enough space in between them.

Also, make sure that your work area is well-ventilated because the fumes from varnishes can be harmful if inhaled for too long.

Step 01: Clean the surface:

When applying varnishes on wood surfaces like doors, it is necessary to clean them thoroughly before starting the process. You can use light sandpaper to remove any dirt or grime on the surface of your door before you apply the varnish. This is necessary to ensure that your door isn’t damaged or discolored in any way.

Step 02: Shake Varnish:

Make sure that you shake the door varnish well before you apply it to your door. You don’t have to deal with clumps of varnish when you go to apply it on your door.

Step 03: Apply First Coat:

Apply First Coat

After shaking the varnish well, you should apply a thin initial coat all over your door. If you have a long and complex door, starting on its top sections is advisable before moving down to the lower sections. You can use a brush or a roller for applying door varnish.

Step 04: Let Dry:

Let the door dry so you can check if there are any spots or areas that need another layer of varnish. It usually takes a few hours for door varnish to dry completely.

Step 05: Apply Second Coat:

Once your varnish looks evenly applied, and there aren’t any clumps or drips, you should apply another thin coat on your door. If there are any areas that need touching up, you should not hesitate to do so before the varnish dries completely.

Step 06: Sand down Strokes:

You can use fine sandpaper (220 grit) to remove streaks and other unwanted marks from your door. It’s important to sand down the door varnish before it dries completely so you can have a smooth and even surface across your door.

Step 07: Buff out Excess Spar Varnish:

After sanding down the excess varnish, you should use a clean cloth or towel to wipe away the door finish. A clean cloth should be enough to remove the excess varnish and leave your door looking even and smooth.

Step 08: Apply Last Coat:

After you’ve removed the excess varnish, you can apply final finish coats on your door before leaving it alone for a few hours so it can dry completely.

Step 09: Let It Cure:

You should let it cure for a few days before using your door. The curing process usually takes days to a week or so for exteriors, but you can open and use your front door after 24 hours.


Can Spar Varnish Be Used Outdoors?

Can Spar Varnish Be Used Outdoors

You can apply varnish outdoors. The type of varnish you choose depends on where you plan to use it. It can be used to create a natural look on maple, oak, walnut, teak, and mahogany door.

If you plan to use your door indoors, you can opt for a low-luster or flat finish. However, a high-gloss finish is a better option for outdoor doors that are exposed to direct sunlight and water.

How Many Coats Spar Varnish Exterior Door?

You should only apply three coats of door finish for the best results. It will take longer to apply multiple coats, of course, but you will get durable surfaces that can protect your door from moisture, water damage, chipping, and peeling.

Is Spar Varnish for Exterior Door Safe?

Most varnishes are safe to use, but you should choose a low- or no-VOC variety if possible. You also need to make sure that your chosen door varnish doesn’t contain lead acetate because this can be harmful when ingested.

How to Remove Spar Varnish from Wood?

You can remove excess door finish using a clean piece of cloth. You can also go with mineral spirits or paint thinner if you want to wipe away the varnish quickly.


Spar varnish is a durable and tough outdoor wood finish. It can protect your door from chipping and peeling caused by moisture, water, and sunlight. You should apply multiple coats of varnish to prevent moisture damage.

When choosing the best spar varnish for exterior door, it will provide better durability and a good finish. An attractive finish on a door can dramatically impact your home’s overall quality, feel, and appearance. Never go with typical varnish, as it might damage the door you are using.

If you read our reviews and follow our buying guides, you will be able to choose a good door varnish quickly. We have researched countless varnishes and compiled our findings into buying guides that can help you make an informed decision.

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