Can You Put Polyurethane Over Polycrylic (4 Simple Steps)

You are making wooden furniture. After painting it, you applied polycrylic to finish the wooden furniture. To your disappointment, it didn’t turn out as you thought it would.

It looks more matte than you’d wanted it to be. Applying polyurethane can make your furniture look glossier. 

So now you’re wondering, can you put polyurethane over polycrylic? 

Yes, you can put both water-based and oil-based polyurethane over polycrylic. You can directly apply it over the polycrylic finish. Or you can sand the polycrylic first and then apply the polyurethane to the furniture. Scraping the polycrylic is also an option.

Here, we show you the way you can apply polyurethane over polycrylic furniture. So for your benefit, keep on reading the article!

Types Of Polyurethane 

Polyurethane has both an oil and a water basis, whereas polycrylic does not. Polycrylic is just water-based furnish. It is considerably less odorous and poisonous than any polyurethane kind.

It dries rapidly, but it takes a long time to fully cure. You might wanna know more about polycrylic vs polyurethane. It’s easy to get confused between these two finishes. 

Oil-based polyurethane

Oil-based polyurethane is extremely durable, making it ideal for refinishing hardwood floors or heavily used furniture.

Water-based polyurethane and polycrylic both suffer from high heat, but oil-based polyurethane excels at it. 

Here are some oil-based polyurethane we’re suggesting- 

It’s also more water-resistant. Makes it ideal for outdoor furniture and other wooden products that are likely to be exposed to moisture.

Water-Based Polyurethane 

Water based polyurethane has fewer pungent aggressive organic compounds (VOCs) than oil-based polyurethane. This makes it easier on your lungs and nose. It also dries quicker. It is, however, less resistant to high heat and water.

Here are some water-based polyurethane you can use- 

Can You Apply Polyurethane Over Polycrylic?

can you put polyurethane over polycrylic

Yes, you can apply polyurethane over polycrylic even though the base is different. In fact, both polyurethane and polycrylic may be put over water-based and oil-based paints and finishes. 

That means oil-based polyurethane can be applied over water-based polyurethane and polycrylic. However, there are some conditions you have to maintain. 

The water-based polycrylic needs to be dried and cured first before you can apply polyurethane over it. Due to additives in the paint, polycrylic may take longer to cure than matte latex paint. 

If the table hasn’t been used, sand the polycrylic until it’s no longer shiny. And then cover it with polyurethane. If the furniture has been heavily used or handled, it needs to be cleaned.

You can clean it using alcohol to remove any skin oils or waxes. 

There’s another way to apply polyurethane over polycrylic. You can remove the polycrylic off the furniture then apply polyurethane over polycrylic. 

How to Apply Polyurethane over Polycrylic (4 Simple Steps)

You need to take preparation before you apply oil based-polyurethane. Oil-based polyurethane might cure overnight but the odor will remain in your house over 30 days. 

So let’s see how to do this the right way- 

Step 1: Prep the Surface

Check to see if the water-based polycrylic coating is completely dry. After 30 minutes, polycrylic is dry to the touch and may be handled. 

Allow 24 hours after the final coat before returning to usual use.

Step 2: Sand the Polycrylic Finish

Choose something with a grit of approximately 150. You may use sandpaper or a power buffer for this. Buff with a delicate touch.

Avoid unintentionally cutting through the water-based finish. That way, the polyurethane can grip on to the finish. 

In case you’re looking for sandpapers, here are the sandpapers we suggest you buy- 

Step 3: Prepare to Apply the Oil or Water Based Polyurethane

First, clean the dust off your workplace. Make sure the room is well ventilated before you apply polyurethane.  

Buy polyurethane cans, choose whether you want to go with water or oil-based. 

Oil-based polyurethane will be more like a wiping varnish if you use it at half strength. It dries faster and sands more easily. You’ll need to dilute it with paint thinner if you wish to use it at half strength.  

You can get your oil-based polyurethane from our suggestion below. These will definitely be worthwhile-

Step 4: Apply Polyurethane 

First, apply one coat of polyurethane. Cure the finish and dry it out.  After drying it out, apply two more coats over it in the same way.

After the coatings are dried, buff the finish lightly. If you need more shine for your furniture, polish the finish. 

The oil in an oil-based polyurethane enhances the appearance of wood at first. As a result, you might start with an oil-based polyurethane and then finish with a water-based polyurethane. 

Alternatively, start with an oil-based polyurethane and finish with a water-based polyurethane.  

Here are our top picked water-based polyurethane-

So, that’s how you can apply a water-based or oil-based polyurethane over a polycrylic finish.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can I put polyurethane over paint? 

Answer:  Yes you can. Applying one or two coats of polyurethane to a painted surface to protect it is a good idea. Polyurethane may be applied over any sort of paint as long as it is clean and properly prepared.

Question: Why did my polyurethane application turn yellow? 

Answer: Polyurethanes based on oil make the flooring yellow and as time passes, they turn yellow sometimes, a tinge of orange. The sun’s UV rays make them a deeper yellow or amber color, and the longer they are exposed to the light, the yellower they get.

Question: Is polyurethane better than polycrylic? 

Answer: The foundation of the recipe is acrylic, with polyurethane added for improved adherence and durability. Polycrylic is a less durable alternative to polyurethane that should only be used on interior surfaces such as cabinets, furniture, and trim.


I hope your confusion is cleared out now about can you put polyurethane over polycrylic. When applying the polyurethane, take all essential measures.

After applying the polyurethane, make sure your house is well ventilated. Because this product’s fumes can be toxic and the smell can last over 30 days. 

Let us know how your experience was. Take care!

Kevin Smith

1 thought on “Can You Put Polyurethane Over Polycrylic (4 Simple Steps)”

  1. I have a can of Minwax Fast-drying Polyurethane clear satin spray, but it does NOT say whether it’s oil or water based?? It does finally say ‘for easy clean-up, use laquer cleaner’. Iwas hoping to just use soap & water.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *