Can You Apply Varnish With a Roller?

The last part of building a piece of furniture or wooden object is finishing the surface of the wood. When it comes to finishing wooden surfaces, the varnish is a popular finish, but can you apply varnish with a paint roller? Here is the answer to that.

You can apply varnish with a roller, but it’s best to apply varnish with a non-foam roller. Then you should brush out the finish with bristled paintbrush or foam brush to get quality results.

But that’s not all. There is more to know about applying varnish with a roller, and this post digs right into the topic. So let’s dive in.

What Type Of Roller Is Best For Varnish?

The best type of roller to use for applying varnish is a non-foam roller. Non-foam rollers prevent bubbles and marks on the finished surface, making them the best roller for applying varnish.

The varnish finish by design is thick and usually sticky. Using a foam roller to apply the varnish will cause uneven layers and thick application.

The varnish layer will also have tiny holes. Not to mention the fact that it will take longer for the layers of varnish to dry. The varnish finish you will get from using a foam roller to apply varnish will be riddled with uneven films and stroke marks.

When you apply varnish with a non-foam roller, the layers will be even, fine, and smooth. After application, varnish as a finish should be applied using a flat item to avoid rough layers and bubble formation.

A flat metal, a rag, and even your palm can all be used to apply varnish – though I wouldn’t advise you to use your palm. As long as you use a tool that allows even application of the varnish, then you are good to go.

So how should you apply varnish with a roller? Let’s find out below.

How To Apply Varnish With A Roller (Made Easy)

Applying varnish with a roller isn’t difficult. It’s a task that requires caution and a bit of prep work.

The application of the varnish isn’t the task. It’s the work required before and after applying the varnish that matters.

That being said, let’s check out how to apply varnish with a roller in detail.

Ensure The Time Is Right To Apply Varnish

The first step before applying varnish is to ensure you can apply the varnish at that time. Like every other paint and finish, Varnish requires the right weather and room temperature to cure properly.

The right temperature should be between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit, then the varnish will take longer to dry. Varnish already by design takes time to dry.

If the weather is cooler than 65 degrees, the varnish will take longer to dry, which means a longer curing time and a very moist finish.

If the weather is higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit, then the solvent in the varnish will evaporate too quickly. This will also cause the varnish to dry too quickly, causing a flaky-like finish that will begin to crack prematurely.

The best time to also apply finish is during the day when the varnish can dry properly. When all of these factors are in order, then it’s time to apply the varnish.

Related Read: Should You Use a Roller For Latex Paint?

Prep The Workspace

You also need to prep your workspace. Painting can get messy, even with varnish. You need to cover any nearby furniture or object before applying the varnish. You should also cover the floors with a plastic drop cloth to prevent stains and drips on the floor.

Varnish is also a finish that stays well on a well-sanded surface. So light sanding might be required on the surface before applying the finish.

All of these is part of the prep work required before applying varnish with a roller.

Cleaning, wiping, mopping, and even washing night also be required before you paint.

Related Read: Can You Apply Varnish over Old Varnish?

Apply The Varnish With The Roller

The next step after prep work is to apply the varnish with a roller. The best type of roller for this task is a non-foam roller for the best result.

You usually will need about 2-3 layers of varnish to get the best result. The varnish should be applied by moving the roller in single strokes. This means you should finish a roll before overlapping with another.

Since you will most likely need multiple layers, you need to allow the first layer or base coat to dry well before applying another.

This might take a few hours, depending on the brand of varnish that you are using. While applying, ensure to keep a straight roll and apply the coats evenly.

After applying the varnish with the roller, you can use a bristled or foam brush to brush out the finish for an even better result.

Varnish is a finish that allows you to tune the finish to your liking, so adjustments and additional touches can be made, but only after the varnish has dried.

Related Read: Can Stain Be Applied With a Roller?

Apply A Sealer Coat

The next step is to apply a sealer coat. The sealer coat helps to seal the wood surface. Some varnish finishes are even designed to also seal, so this is an optional step. To apply the sealer coat, you can use a paintbrush or a roller.

If you don’t have a sealer, you can mix the varnish itself with equal parts of turpentine or mineral spirits in a container. The solution, after being mixed properly, can be used to seal the wooden surface.

Most painters prefer to sand the varnish after it has dried, but this should be done lightly and with fine-grit sandpaper.

The varnish finish should be smooth, even, and fine. If you have this type of finish, you have successfully finished the wooden surface with varnish paint.

But can you apply water-based varnish with a roller? The answer to that is below.

Can You Apply Water-Based Varnish With A Roller?

You shouldn’t apply water-based varnish using a paint roller to avoid foaming and bubble-formation after the varnish has dried.

The best way to apply water-based varnish is by using a paintbrush with synthetic bristles or a paintbrush with pointed foam edges. The pointed or bristled brush helps to increase the spread of the water-based varnish.

Water-based varnish uses water as its solvent, which means it dries quicker than a regular varnish finish. The water-based varnish has different chemical properties from other varnish finishes that use chemicals like solvents.

To apply water-based varnish, use a quality paintbrush with a synthetic bristled or pointed foam edges to apply the varnish.

You should also apply the layers in thin coats to prevent pooling and bubble formation.

Related Read: Can You Use A Roller With Chalk Paint?

Final Words

Overall, applying varnish with a roller is possible. You just need to ensure that the wooden surface is well-prepped before painting. You should also use a non-foam roller for the best painting results.

So there you have it. If you liked this post, ensure to check out others like it on this website. Have a nice day.

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