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About Spar Varnish in Equine Facilities

We have observed widespread failure of Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane and other commonly available and heavily marketed Spar Varnish.

We feature superior alternatives to many widely used and specified wood finishes for horse barns and other livestock facilities.

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Choosing Best Wood Finish Horse Barn

Common Problem

Marine Varnish Fail

Spar Varnish has been used for years to provide a super-hard, weather and water resistant coating for exterior wood surfaces on boats. Many contractors and builders choose spar varnish because "that's what they have always used." However, this extreme hardness is not suitable for most exterior wood surfaces on barns and other wood for Horse Farms and Equine Related Facilities.

Stall Doors, walls, other exterior wood products exhibit extreme swelling and contracting due to changes in temperature and high moisture content created by the horses. Washing down the barns creates more moisture problems as well. If wood was not Back-coated before installation, problems are more pronounced. We see continued coating failure on elegant natural wood Stalls and Aisles, as well as a variety of exterior structures that many times are only 2-3 years old.

We have observed widespread preventable damage to wood surfaces poorly protected from moisture and ultraviolet damage. A hard, non-flexible coating will undoubtedly crack as the wood expands and contracts. Aisle walls exposed to UV at each open end of the barn are always problematic.

Moisture that does get into the wood becomes trapped by the hard, non -breathable varnish, causing extreme damage to the wood surface. Entrapped moisture fosters the growth of mildew and various wood decaying fungus, that cause premature release of entire coating systems.

The often-seen blackening of exterior natural wood is simply mildew growing beneath the varnish as a result of using a non-breathable coating. We rarely see good performance from conventional varnish products on any wood surface on the Horse Farms of our clients.

If you have an existing wood surface with failing varnish, your likely choice is to chemically strip the failing varnish from the surface. Our product of choice would be one of several available strippers from Back to Nature Products suited to your specific project.

Once your wood surface is prepared, you must select a finish coating that is Flexible and Breathable. Demand it for the best performance.

Better Solutions

More about Wood Coatings Horse Barn

Many Farm Managers and Owners are just discovering the benefits and long-term durability of recent break-through products for wood protection. Many of these newer products offer significantly improved durability compared to coatings most commonly used today. We encourage equine architects, builders, and contractors to contact us for information about our long-lasting product or procedure recommendations.

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Lexington Horse Capital of the World

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