Hardwax v Varnish: Pros & Cons

Unlike hardwax, waterborne varnished cannot be patch repaired, without sanding off the entire board and making good the entire board or block, very time consuming and usually re-sanding the entire area is the best option.

From a contractor point of view, Hardwax is easier to apply and eliminates grain raise and a lot of buffing between coats on application, the down point being drying times, Osmo hardwax oil is a two coat system which has between 8-12 hrs (depending on relative humidity) drying time, meaning you can never finish a room in one day. There is a rapid hardwax which basically has a little bit of spirit added, which stops it being organic but cuts the drying time in half. However 4-6 hrs is still not sufficient to finish a room in a day and to add to down time, Hardwax should really be left for 3 days before putting back in to use.


Most waterborne varnish are 3 coat systems which dry in approximately 1 hour between coats (depending on relative humidity) meaning a room prepared by 230pm can be finished by 530pm that evening and be put back in to full use the following day.

Hardwax is available in Matt or Satin whereas Waterborne varnishes are available in extra matt, matt, satin & gloss.

Any questions leave a comment or contact me

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