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Have you ever before had her painted family items chip, peel, get dirty, or fade? If girlfriend have, girlfriend 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 can really come in handy. A clear coat will defend the paint and be much easier to clean.

You are watching: Can you use polyurethane over latex paint


What is polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a polymer that is provided in countless different ways and to create numerous different things. Some polyurethane items you may recognize space skateboard wheels, foam sponges, spandex, gaskets, and hoses to name a few.

In this instance though, we space talking around polyurethane together a clear surface ar coating or sealer.

Polyurethane is a plastic material and as such, once you apply a coat of liquid polyurethane to a surface, girlfriend will end up through a clear protective plastic film once it cures. The is durable, weather resistant, and also corrosion resistant.

They even use it to coat bridges and also roadways.

Can you apply polyurethane over paint?


You don’t necessarily need to paint a surface prior to protecting it through polyurethane, yet if you would favor a heavy color, then painting is the means to go.

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

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

Will polyurethane rod to every surfaces?

Polyurethane will stick to many well ready surfaces. The surface must be clean, dry, and cost-free of dust, wax, and grease.

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

What kind of polyurethane should you use?

The 2 main choices for polyurethane are oil-based and also water-based. There room some various other options, choose water-based oil-modified for example.

Oil-based polyurethane is a stronger complete than water-based and can hold up to warm better. However, oil-based will include a slim amber/yellow hue to the surface which can readjust the look at of your repaint beneath it.

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

Additionally, water-based poly dries quicker, has actually less odor, and also lower VOC’s (volatile essential compounds) than its oil-based counterpart, make it appropriate for the home user.

Can polyurethane be offered outdoors?

If you space planning to usage polyurethane to defend outdoor furniture, make sure to examine the label. Purchase a polyurethane the is formulated because that exterior use and also is UV resistant.

Exterior polyurethanes are formulated in a way that allows the complete to expand and contract in addition to the wood during moisture and temperature changes throughout the year. Furthermore the UV inhibitors will defend the complete from the harsh sun.

How to use polyurethane over paint

First, friend will have to decide whereby you will be act the finishing process. You desire a fine ventilated area, with as small dust as possible.

Lay under drop cloths or newspaper (be mindful that polyurethane can soak v newspaper, therefore pay attention to what surface you have actually underneath).

Polyurethane can be applied in several various ways. You deserve to use a well bristled brush, a spray can, a lint-free rag, a foam brush, or a roller.


Be sure to stay a respirator mask, choose this one, and also apply the finish in a fine ventilated area, especially if you space using oil-based polyurethane or using a spray can.

For the best protection, use two or much more coats that finish.

How to gain the smoothest and best looking results with polyurethane

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

320 grit sandpaper is perfect grit to use as soon as sanding between coats. This will sand the surface thoroughly without placing deep scratches in the complete that coarser grits can conveniently cause.

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

How to achieve a glass-like complete with polyurethane

Wait for the final coat come cure, climate sand with progressively higher grit sandpaper. Begin at 600 grit and also work your method up, gift especially careful not to sand v the complete on the edges.

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

If your item has detail work and also is no a level surface, you might want to avoid sanding too lot so that you do not cut through the finish.


If you have a perfect flat end up without dips or lumber pores showing and you desire a high top quality mirror finish, continue to buff through paste wax or automobile polish ~ above a non-abrasive foam pad or microfiber cloth.

In the video clip up above, I present how i fine sand and polish a guitar that I developed using these techniques. You have the right to see in ~ the end of the video how shiny and also reflective the polished surface is. The labels on the party of polish are easily readable in the reflect surface.

How to clean increase after you room done using polyurethane

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

Brushes can additionally be cleaned with soap and water if you room using water-based poly.

If you usage oil-based poly, soak her brush in either mineral spirits or repaint thinner to clean and also refresh the brush because that future use.

Final Thoughts

Applying polyurethane over repaint is a great way come protect and enhance your furniture and also other household items. That will defend the surface from scratches, avoid water and heat damage, be much simpler to clean, and will also include a sheen or gloss come the surface.

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