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You watching: Can you put polyurethane over latex paint

Have you ever before had actually your painted household items chip, peel, gain dirty, or fade? If you have actually, you recognize exactly how frustrating it have the right to be to need to store repaint the exact same point year after year.

This is where a nice clear coat have the right to really come in handy. A clear coat will certainly protect the paint and also be much less complicated to clean.


What is polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a polymer that is supplied in many various ways and also to develop many different points. Some polyurethane items you might identify are skateboard wheels, foam sponges, spandex, gaskets, and hoses to name a couple of.

In this instance though, we are talking around polyurethane as a clear surconfront coating or sealer.

Polyurethane is a plastic product and as such, when you use a coat of liquid polyurethane to a surface, you will certainly finish up through a clear protective plastic film once it cures. It is long lasting, weather resistant, and also corrosion resistant.

They even use it to coat bridges and roadmeans.

Can you apply polyurethane over paint?


You don’t necessarily should paint a surconfront before protecting it with polyurethane, however if you would certainly favor a solid shade, then paint is the means to go.

Before you start, view our tips on exactly how to remove and proccasion paint spills!

Polyurethane will certainly adbelow to and safeguard latex and also acrylic paint as long as you have prepped the surface properly.

Will polyurethane stick to all surfaces?

Polyurethane will certainly stick to most well prepared surencounters. The surchallenge must be clean, dry, and also totally free of dust, wax, and also grease.

To prep your painted surconfront for polyurethane:Let your paint cure completely.Lightly sand also the paint through 120 grit sandpaper to gently scuff and also flatten the paint. Make certain to rerelocate all dust before applying your finish. If there is any kind of grease on the surchallenge, be certain to clean it well.

What sort of polyurethane should you use?

The two main alternatives for polyurethane are oil-based and water-based. Tbelow are some various other alternatives, favor water-based oil-modified for instance.

Oil-based polyurethane is a more powerful end up than water-based and have the right to organize as much as heat better. However, oil-based will certainly include a slight amber/yellow hue to the surface which can adjust the look of your paint beneath it.

Water-based poly dries clear and also will certainly not readjust the appearance of your paint shade.

In addition, water-based poly dries quicker, has much less odor, and also reduced VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) than its oil-based counterpart, making it right for the residence user.

Can polyurethane be supplied outdoors?

If you are planning to usage polyurethane to protect outdoor furniture, make sure to check the label. Buy a polyurethane that is formulated for exterior usage and also is UV resistant.

Exterior polyurethanes are formulated in a means that permits the end up to expand also and also contract along with the hardwood during moisture and also temperature changes throughout the year. Additionally the UV inhibitors will safeguard the complete from the harsh sunlight.

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How to apply polyurethane over paint

First, you will must decide where you will certainly be doing the finishing procedure. You want a well ventilated area, via as little dust as possible.

Lay dvery own drop cloths or newspaper (be conscious that polyurethane have the right to soak through newspaper, so pay attention to what surconfront you have underneath).

Polyurethane can be used in several various methods. You deserve to use a fine bristled brush, a spray can, a lint-totally free rag, a foam brush, or a roller.


Be certain to wear a respirator mask, like this one, and apply the complete in a well ventilated area, specifically if you are using oil-based polyurethane or making use of a spray can.

For the ideal protection, use two or even more coats of complete.

How to get the smoothest and also best looking results with polyurethane

While sanding between coats isn’t constantly 100% vital for adhesion, it is a good idea to take this step. Lightly sanding between coats will certainly tear down runs and brush strokes, remove dust that might have actually stuck to the wet surface, and also lightly unstable up the surconfront for the following layer to adbelow to.

320 grit sandpaper is a perfect grit to use when sanding between coats. This will sand the surface thoroughly without putting deep scratches in the end up that coarser grits can quickly reason.

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

How to attain a glass-favor complete with polyurethane

Wait for the last coat to cure, then sand also via increasingly greater grit sandpaper. Start at 600 grit and work your means up, being especially cautious not to sand also via the finish on the edges.

Automotive shops carry great quality high grit sandpaper that you may not uncover at the hardware save. One thing to note is that you will desire to constantly examine the surface of the sandpaper and rerelocate dust and develop up so that it doesn’t end up scratching your end up.

If your piece has detail work-related and is not a level surconfront, you can desire to avoid sanding as well much so that you carry out not reduced through the finish.


If you have a perfectly flat end up without dips or wood pores showing and also you want a high quality mirror complete, proceed to buff with paste wax or car polish on a non-abrasive foam pad or microfiber towel. 

In the video up over, I present how I fine sand also and polish a guitar that I developed making use of these techniques. You have the right to check out at the end of the video exactly how shiny and also reflective the poliburned surconfront is. The labels on the bottles of polish are conveniently readable in the reflected surconfront.

How to clean up after you are done using polyurethane

Good news if you decide to go via water-based polyurethane – you deserve to clean up any kind of messes with just soap and also water.

Brushes have the right to additionally be cleaned via soap and water if you are using water-based poly.

If you usage oil-based poly, soak your brush in either mineral spirits or paint thinner to clean and refresh the brush for future usage.

Final Thoughts

Applying polyurethane over paint is an excellent way to defend and enhance your furniture and various other household items. It will protect the surconfront from scratches, proccasion water and warmth damages, be much simpler to clean, and will also add a sheen or gloss to the surchallenge.

Wondering what to execute with old lumber that has actually gone untreated for as well lengthy to be saved? Here are some concepts.