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Have you ever before had your painted family items chip, peel, obtain dirty, or fade? If girlfriend have, girlfriend know just how frustrating it have the right to be to have to keep repainting the very same thing year after ~ year.

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

You are watching: Can i use polyurethane over acrylic paint


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What is polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a polymer the is supplied in plenty of different ways and to create countless different things. Part polyurethane items you might recognize space skateboard wheels, foam sponges, spandex, gaskets, and hoses to surname a few.

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

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

They even use it come coat bridges and roadways.

Can you apply polyurethane end paint?


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You don’t necessarily have to paint a surface before protecting it v polyurethane, however if friend would choose a solid color, then painting is the means to go.

Before girlfriend start, see our tips on how to remove and also prevent paint spills!

Polyurethane will certainly adhere to and also protect latex and also acrylic paint as long as you have actually prepped the surface properly.

Will polyurethane stick to every surfaces?

Polyurethane will certainly stick to most well prepared surfaces. The surface have to be clean, dry, and totally free of dust, wax, and also grease.

To prep her painted surface ar for polyurethane:Let your paint cure completely.Lightly sand the repaint with 120 grit sandpaper to gently scuff and flatten the paint. Make sure to eliminate all dust before using your finish.If over there is any grease ~ above the surface, be certain to clean the well.

What sort of polyurethane must you use?

The 2 main choices for polyurethane are oil-based and also water-based. There space some various other options, favor 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 add a slight amber/yellow hue come the surface ar which can adjust the look at of your repaint beneath it.

Water-based poly dries clear and will not adjust the appearance of your paint color.

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

Can polyurethane be offered outdoors?

If you space planning to usage polyurethane to protect outdoor furniture, make certain to examine the label. To buy a polyurethane the is formulated for exterior use and is UV resistant.

Exterior polyurethanes room 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. Additionally the UV inhibitors will protect the complete from the harsh sun.

How to use polyurethane end paint

First, you will have to decide where you will be law the finishing process. You desire a fine ventilated area, with as tiny dust together possible.

Lay down drop cloths or newspaper (be conscious that polyurethane can soak through newspaper, therefore pay attention to what surface you have underneath).

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


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

For the finest protection, use two or much more coats of finish.

How to gain the smoothest and best looking results with polyurethane

While sanding in between coats isn’t always 100% crucial for adhesion, the is a an excellent idea to take it this step. Lightly sanding in between coats will tear down runs and brush strokes, eliminate dust that may have stuck come the wet surface, and lightly turbulent up the surface for the following layer come adhere to.

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

Apply the final coat together smoothly as possible if you desire a really level finish.

How to attain a glass-like end up with polyurethane

Wait for the final coat to cure, then sand with progressively higher grit sandpaper. Start at 600 grit and also work your method up, being especially careful not come sand through the finish on the edges.

Automotive shops carry great quality high grit sandpaper the you may not uncover at the hardware store. One point to keep in mind is the you will want to constantly examine the surface of the sandpaper and remove dust and build up so that it doesn’t finish up scratching her finish.

If your item has information work and is not a flat surface, you could want to avoid sanding too much so that you carry out not cut through the finish.


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If you have actually a perfect flat finish without dips or hardwood pores showing and you desire a high high quality mirror finish, continue to buff with paste wax or car polish on a non-abrasive foam pad or microfiber cloth.

In the video up above, I present how ns fine sand and also 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 refined surface is. The labels on the bottles of polishing are quickly readable in the reflect surface.


How come clean up after you room done applying polyurethane

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

Brushes can additionally be cleaned through soap and water if you are using water-based poly.

If you use oil-based poly, soak your brush in either mineral soul or paint thinner come clean and also refresh the brush for future use.

Final Thoughts

Applying polyurethane over repaint is a an excellent way to protect and enhance her furniture and also other household items. That will safeguard the surface ar from scratches, stop water and also heat damage, it is in much much easier to clean, and also will also include a sheen or gloss to the surface.

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