Can You Paint Polyurethane over Polycrylic?

Can You Paint Polyurethane over Polycrylic?

Can you paint Polyurethane over Polycrylic? No. You shouldn’t paint Polyurethane over polycrylic.

This is due to the fact that each product has its own unique qualities. Polyurethane, for example, has a satin or matte finish, whereas Polycrylic has a glossy finish.

If you want to remove an old gloss finish and replace it with something new, you’ll need to sand down your surface first. It’s crucial to understand which materials go well together so you don’t get confused while painting or staining your piece in the future!

Can You Paint Polyurethane over Polycrylic?

body of water surrounded by pine trees during daytime

Here’s what you’ll discover:

  • Poly over polycrylic application tools.
  • Working with poly on desks, picture frames, tables, and other items
  • How to paint polycrylic using oil-based polyurethane.

Let’s get started.

Materials and Tools for Applying Polycrylic Over Polycrylic

If you want to apply polyurethane on polycrylic and get a smooth, blemish-free finish, you’ll need the following tools and ingredients.

  • Cleaner for vacuums
  • Polyurethane can be oil-based or water-based.
  • Sandpaper with grits of 120, 180, and 220.
  • Sandpaper with an 80-grit rating (for refinishing jobs).
  • Tack cloth is a type of tack cloth. Polishing compound for automobiles.
  • Rubbing compound for automobiles.
  • lint-free and dry
  • Block for sanding.
  • Mineral spirits are used to make oil-based poly that has a faint yellowish tinge when dry.
  • For water-based poly, use distilled water.
  • For oil-based poly, use a natural bristle brush, while for water-based poly, use a nylon bristle brush.

Which is better: polyurethane based on oil or polyurethane based on water?

This is a question that many homeowners have recently asked. While there is no clear answer to this issue, there are a few factors that can assist you in making your decision.

The type of wood you’re working with is likely to be the most essential factor, as each requires a different sealer.

It’s easy to see why water-based polyurethane is the most popular today. Water is a good solvent, which means it can go through the layers of wood.

It’s inexpensive, but it’s not ideal for workpieces that will be subjected to persistent pressure. Furthermore, after a large amount of wear and tear, such woodworks will need to be repainted.

A water-based poly finish, on the other hand, can do a fantastic job of sealing, albeit it will need more than three coats.

Read: What is the best stain for douglas fir?

green leafed trees

Which is superior, oil-based poly or water-based poly?

Because oil-based poly is denser and can withstand more pressure, this is the case.

The distinction appears during the curing process. The polymer can cure completely because the curing temperature is higher than that of water.

The water-based product has a lower curing temperature. As a result, after curing, the finished product softens at ambient temperature. When fully cured, oil, on the other hand, tends to harden.

Working with Polyurethane: Some Pointers

To obtain beautiful wood finishes, you must be aware of the fundamental techniques while dealing with polyurethane.

One of them is applying with gloves, working at various angles, and allowing air to flow beneath the hands.

It’s crucial to work outside, in a well-ventilated workshop, or in a cool environment. Some coatings, such as water-based polyurethane, shrink when exposed to severe heat and should be handled carefully to avoid shrinking.

Smooth bristle brushes are one of the greatest tools for working with polyurethane. Brush fibers can become harsh and scratchy on the coating when using soft-bristled brushes, removing some of the color and flexibility of the coat.

Furthermore, it’s critical to begin on a clean surface to avoid any built-up filth.

Finally, to prevent air bubbles from forming, never shake the polyurethane can.

Read: Can polyurethane be used over lacquer?

pine trees field near mountain under sunset

Polyurethane Over Polycrylic: How To Apply It

One of the things you’ll want to consider when looking at different types of sealants for a project is how you’ll apply polyurethane on wood.

There are certain basic procedures you can take to guarantee you’re ready to apply the material and have it sealed appropriately in the end, just like applying polyurethane over paint.

Wear respiratory protection before you begin.

Let’s get this party started.

  • The first step is to sand the surface.

When it comes to wood repair, sanding is a must. It not only aids in achieving a superior finish when sanding down rough or uneven wood, but it also aids in preventing warping.

Lightly sand the wood with 80 or 100 grit sandpaper to give it a nice smooth finish that is easy to work with. It will aid in the removal of imperfections and provide a smooth and even finish.

  • Step 2: Get Rid of the Dust

It’s critical to clean up the dust from a wood surface after gentle sanding. Using a vacuum cleaner is, once again, a piece of cake.

Clean the dust off the surface with suction or warm water. When you’re done, empty the vacuum cleaner bag, clean the piece of wood with a clean wet tack cloth, and dry it before using it.

  • Step 3: Apply a Sealant to the Surface

Sealing furniture with polyurethane is a low-cost and quick way to preserve it against the elements, such as water and termites.

You may build a barrier that keeps water and moisture out while also keeping insects out by applying a thick layer of the substance.

There are many various types of sealers, so do your homework and select one that works best for your furniture and your budget. Sprays, liquid or gels, and blocks are all polyurethane-based products that can be used.

If you’ve never used a sealer before, it might be scary to use and much more difficult to comprehend how it works.

Using a specialist spray or gel, apply poly in small layers over your furniture, then wipe with a moist cloth or sponge once dry. Learn how to use wipes on poly.

Even though it’s a fairly simple operation, you must understand how and why your specific sealer works because if you don’t, applying another sealer could cause more harm than benefit.

Read: Lacquer vs Polyurethane durability

  • Step 4: Paint the First Polyurethane Coat

It’s time to apply the first coat after sealing it with poly. To apply a thin coat of poly, use a natural bristle brush for oil-based poly and a nylon bristle brush for water-based poly.

Maintain a moist edge by spreading the poly in long and equal strokes. For a uniform coat, make sure the strokes overlap.

Make sure there are no drips or bumps on the workpiece when applying the poly. If you obtain any, use a razor blade, chisel, or sandpaper to shave them off.

  • Step 5: Sand the First Coat with a wet sandpaper

Wet sand the workpiece once the first coat has dried.

Polyurethane wet sanding is a widespread practice. The operation is usually carried out on either a horizontal or vertical grain.

It gives a finer texture, and when the initial layer dries, you can get a finer texture. If you’re working with light woods, you can skip this step.

Most finishing processes for polyurethane coatings necessitate a smooth, even application between coats. Wet sanding is utilized for this reason. When compared to using a roller or drum sander, wet sanding gives more equal coverage and a smoother application.

  • Step 6: Before Using, Apply a Second Coat

If you’re worried about creating a smooth, glossy finish with the initial application of wood stain, apply a second or third coat.

Since the workpiece was sanded in step 5 above, you’re applying your second coat for a uniform finish.

This phase should be completed after 24 to 48 hours, and long brush strokes are required.

Article: Poplar vs Pine vs Oak

  • Step 7: If necessary, repeat steps 5 and 6.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 for a third layer if you started with bare wood or didn’t get the best finish you wanted by now. Then, if necessary, add a fifth coat. Remember to sand the surface lightly or use a steel wool 00 pad.

  • Step 8: If you wet-sanded the second coat, polish the surface.

Using an automotive rubbing compound to polish wood is a straightforward operation that many do-it-yourselfers can complete.

This is done to ensure a beautiful shine on all surfaces prior to mild handling.

Use an automotive rubbing compound intended to handle with a high degree of wood finish to produce the best possible result. When wiping off the polish on the last coat, use a foam brush and avoid applying too much pressure (ensure not to sand this last coat).

To achieve maximum excellence, regardless of the type of cleaning compound used, it’s critical to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Read: Is varnish the same as oil?

What’s the Difference Between the Two? Polyurethane vs. Polycrylic

So, what’s the difference between polyurethane based on oil and polycrylic based on oil?

If your workpiece will be exposed to high temperatures and high humidity, polyurethane will outperform polycrylic.

If you wish to add a sealer, however, polycrylic paint will give you the greatest high-gloss finish because oil-based poly can become yellow. Satin finishes are also available for polycrylic.

However, I would recommend using Minwax polyurethane instead of polycrylic on wooden floors or red mahogany stain. This is due to polyurethane’s weather resistance, durability, and smoothness. It’s also noted for its ability to withstand the ravages of the elements. It’s also heat, moisture, chemical, and acid resistant, with a long shelf life when properly stored.

For wood projects that require swift finishing, I choose polycrylic and other water-based dyes since they dry faster. I’ll also use it if I’m compelled to work in a room with insufficient ventilation or in locations where temperatures are really low.

Another distinction is that poly or oil-based stains aren’t as runny and drippy as satin-finish stains (polycrylic). As a result, I’d utilize poly on vertical surfaces like walls. It’s also suitable for use on high-traffic wooden flooring.

If cost is an issue, polycrylic is a better option than polyurethane.

Woodworking Best Practices

You must consider the following factors for your specific project before deciding on the type of sealer you will use.

Temperatures or moisture: Will the workpiece be subjected to extremes of heat or moisture? If that’s the case, oil-based polyurethane is the way to go.

Are you sealing a white or light-colored painted item or using a light-colored wood? If this is the case, polycrylic should be used because oil-based polyurethane might develop a yellow hue after drying and forming a strong protective shell.

Is this a hardwood floor project? If that’s the case, oil-based polyurethane is the most durable flooring treatment, whether it’s raw wood or not.

Do you require a quick-drying sealer? Polycrylic is preferable since it dries faster.

Are you working in a space that isn’t well ventilated? Because polycrylic is less hazardous than polyurethane, it should be used. However, enough ventilation is usually a good idea.

Are you going to seal a massive wooden object? Because polycrylic dries quickly, apply polyurethane. If you use polycrylic, getting a smooth finish over a broad area will be difficult.

Are you attempting to seal a vertical surface? Because polyurethane is thicker and less prone to leaking, it is easier to apply to vertical woodwork.

Do you have gloves on when you’re working? Because you’ll need soap and water to wash your hands, use polycrylic.

Do you have a limited budget? Polyurethane is more expensive than polycrylic. It also looks great on white-painted wood.

Never sand the stained wood too deeply.

Note that polycrylic has a fluid consistency that makes application difficult.

Read: Do you need primer for old wood?

FAQs: Can You Paint Polyurethane over Polycrylic?

Is applying polycrylic evenly more difficult than applying polyurethane?

Because polycrylic is drippy and runny, it is more difficult to apply uniformly than polyurethane. Apply thin coatings, keeping an eye out for drips before moving on to the next step.

Is Polycrylic Far Less Toxic And Dangerous?

Yes, polycrylic is a safer alternative to polyurethane. Polyurethane is flammable, so it must be stored carefully to avoid a fire. It also has a high VOC content, which may irritate your lungs. It’s not recommended for white paint because, even though it dries fully clear, it leaves an amber tint on light hues.

Can You Paint Polycrylic With Oil-Based Polyurethane?

Yes, oil-based polyurethane can be used over polycrylic on a wood surface since it is more damage resistant, waterproof, and durable than other sealers. Water-based polyurethane, on the other hand, is ideal.

Is Polyurethane or Polycrylic Better?

Although both of these coatings are good and suitable for your applications, polyurethane outperforms polycrylic. This is because polyurethane is superior for indoor and outdoor DIY projects because it has better adherence and durability. On the other hand, polycrylic isn’t as long-lasting as polyurethane. It’s only for use on interior surfaces, and when used on dark-colored paints, it can leave a milky sheen.

How is Polycrylic different from oil-based polyurethane?

Polyurethane is based on oil and water and has the same qualities as melted plastic, whereas polycrylic is based only on water. Both coatings are excellent; nevertheless, polyurethane is more durable than polycrylic.

Final thoughts

As previously stated, applying polyurethane over polycrylic is acceptable and recommended. When you’re ready to start applying polyurethane on wood, though, start with small coats.

A cake-like look and significant swelling of the area where the polyurethane was sprayed can come from using too much polyurethane.

In around 45 minutes, the first layer of polyurethane finish should be entirely dry. When you’re ready to apply extra polyurethane coats to the entire surface, the polyurethane should have cured. Each layer of polyurethane will result in a thicker, more glossy finish. Each coat will have a different texture and color combination.

With this protective finish, have fun completing.

Shirley B. Leavitt

Shirley graduated with a Carpentry Technology Certificate Program at Northwestern Michigan College. Her study focuses on art criticism in its various forms, the history of Canadian and American art after 1940, and the psychology of creative thought. Sixty of her pieces have been published in periodicals such as Art International, Arts, Vie des arts, Studio International, The Canadian Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Art. The Caro Connection: Sculpture by Sir Anthony Caro from Toronto Collections, The Heritage of Jack Bush, A Tribute (Robert McLaughlin Gallery), and Caricature and Conscience: The Sculpture of Dora Wechsler (with Carolyn Robinson) are among the exhibitions she has produced. Shirley has served as a guest critic and speaker at various universities in Canada and the United States, including the Emma Lake Artists' Workshop and the University of Toronto. The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations honored her with their award for teaching excellence.

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