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Have you ever had her painted family items chip, peel, get dirty, or fade? If you have, you know exactly how frustrating it can be to have to keep repainting the very same thing year after ~ year.

This is where a nice clear coat deserve to really come in handy. A clear coat will safeguard the paint and be much simpler to clean.

You are watching: Can you use polyurethane over acrylic paint


What is polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a polymer the is used in plenty of different ways and also to create many different things. Part polyurethane items you may recognize are skateboard wheels, foam sponges, spandex, gaskets, and hoses to name a few.

In this instance though, we room talking about polyurethane as a clear surface coating or sealer.

Polyurethane is a plastic material and also as such, as soon as you use a coat of liquid polyurethane come a surface, friend will end up through a clear protective plastic film as soon as it cures. That is durable, weather resistant, and corrosion resistant.

They also use it come coat bridges and also roadways.

Can you use polyurethane end paint?


You don’t necessarily have to paint a surface prior to protecting it through polyurethane, however if you would like a heavy color, then painting is the way to go.

Before friend start, see our advice on how to remove and also prevent repaint spills!

Polyurethane will adhere to and protect latex and also acrylic repaint as lengthy as you have actually prepped the surface ar properly.

Will polyurethane stick to every surfaces?

Polyurethane will stick to most well ready surfaces. The surface have to be clean, dry, and complimentary of dust, wax, and grease.

To prep her painted surface for polyurethane:Let your repaint cure completely.Lightly sand the repaint with 120 grit sandpaper to gently scuff and also flatten the paint. Make certain to remove all dust before applying your finish.If there is any kind of grease on the surface, be sure to clean the well.

What type of polyurethane have to you use?

The two main choices for polyurethane room oil-based and water-based. There space some other options, like water-based oil-modified because that example.

Oil-based polyurethane is a stronger complete than water-based and also can organize up to heat better. However, oil-based will add a slim amber/yellow hue to the surface which can change the look of your paint beneath it.

Water-based poly dries clear and will not change the illustration of your paint color.

Additionally, water-based poly dries quicker, has less odor, and lower VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) 보다 its oil-based counterpart, making it right for the residence user.

Can polyurethane be supplied outdoors?

If you space planning to use polyurethane to safeguard outdoor furniture, make certain to examine the label. Buy a polyurethane that is formulated because that exterior use and is UV resistant.

Exterior polyurethanes space formulated in a method that enables the complete to expand and also contract along with the wood throughout moisture and also temperature alters throughout the year. Furthermore the UV inhibitors will protect the finish from the harsh sun.

How to use polyurethane over paint

First, friend will need to decide where you will be act the finishing process. You want a fine ventilated area, with as tiny dust as possible.

Lay under drop cloths or newspaper (be mindful that polyurethane deserve to soak through newspaper, for this reason pay fist to what surface ar you have underneath).

Polyurethane have the right to be used in several various ways. You can use a fine bristled brush, a spray can, a lint-free rag, a foam brush, or a roller.


Be sure to undertake a respirator mask, prefer this one, and also apply the finish in a well ventilated area, specifically if you room using oil-based polyurethane or utilizing a spray can.

For the ideal protection, apply two or more coats the finish.

How to obtain the smoothest and best looking outcomes with polyurethane

While sanding in between coats isn’t always 100% necessary for adhesion, that is a good idea to take this step. Lightly sanding in between coats will knock down runs and also brush strokes, eliminate dust the may have actually stuck to the wet surface, and lightly rough up the surface ar for the following layer come adhere to.

320 grit sandpaper is perfect grit to use when sanding between coats. This will certainly sand the surface thoroughly without placing deep scratches in the finish that coarser grits can quickly cause.

Apply the final coat as smoothly as feasible if you want a really flat finish.

How to accomplish a glass-like end up with polyurethane

Wait because that the last coat come cure, then sand v progressively higher grit sandpaper. Begin at 600 grit and also work your means up, gift especially mindful not come sand through the complete on the edges.

Automotive shops carry an excellent quality high grit sandpaper that you might not discover at the hardware store. One point to keep in mind is that you will want to constantly inspect the surface ar of the sandpaper and also remove dust and also build increase so that it doesn’t finish up scratching your finish.

If your piece has detail work and also is not a level surface, you might want to avoid sanding too much so the you carry out not reduced through the finish.


If you have a perfect flat finish without dips or timber pores showing and you want a high top quality mirror finish, proceed to buff with paste wax or car polish ~ above a non-abrasive foam pad or microfiber cloth.

In the video up above, I display how ns fine sand and polish a guitar that I developed using this techniques. You have the right to see at the finish of the video how shiny and reflective the polished surface is. The brand on the bottles of polish are easily readable in the reflect surface.

How to clean up after you space done applying polyurethane

Good news if you decision to go v water-based polyurethane – you have the right to clean up any type of messes with simply soap and also water.

Brushes can also be cleaned with soap and water if you are using water-based poly.

If you use oil-based poly, soak your brush in one of two people mineral spirits or paint thinner come clean and refresh the brush because that future use.

Final Thoughts

Applying polyurethane over paint is a great way come protect and enhance her furniture and other family members items. The will protect the surface from scratches, stop water and also heat damage, be much much easier to clean, and will also include a sheen or gloss to the surface.

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