How To Apply Polyurethane To Wood

Polyurethane is a wonderful choice when it comes to accentuating the beauty of wood surfaces in the best way. Whether you go for oil based or water based polyurethane is a matter of personal preferences.

What’s important, though, is to know how to apply polyurethane to wood precisely to avoid strokes but also to increase the durability of the finish.

Below, we’re sharing the easiest steps to master the process like a pro and make sure the wood you are working with gets the stunning visual appeal you are looking for.

Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

What You Will Need To Apply Polyurethane Successfully

1) Suitable Polyurethane Variety

Are you going to opt for an oil based or water based polyurethane? Both of these have their pros and cons so it is up to you to decide which will suit you better.

As a starting point, think about the final results. Oil based polyurethane delivers an amber gold tint to the wood. On the other hand, water-based polyurethane will only make up for a natural, barely there accent on the wood surface.

Nevertheless, consider the benefits of spray-on or wipe-on polyurethane formulas. Brushing on polyurethane is the best way to cover large areas. However, small surfaces and/or tiny details can be accomplished easier with the use of spray-on and wipe-on pads of polyurethane products.

2) A quality brush

You can go for a synthetic or natural brush with the same success upon application. A foam brush is also welcome. Just make sure you stay away from low-quality brushes because this will end up causing ugly strokes on the wood surface.

3) Sandpaper/ Sander

You will need to utilize sandpaper continuously throughout the process of polyurethane application. You need both fine grits, as well as coarse-grit sandpaper.

A Quick Pro Tip

Ensure a well-ventilated environment

Don’t underestimate the importance of proper ventilation and working in a controlled, protected environment. Outdoor setups should be avoided at any cost or your polyurethane wood masterpiece can become a failure due to dust, dirt, sudden or inappropriate weather. Ventilating the working space should be done prior to applying polyurethane.

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Step By Step Tutorial On Applying Polyurethane To Wood Surfaces

Step 1: Prep the wood and start applying polyurethane with controlled, long strokes.

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Use coarse-grit sandpaper to clean the wood precisely before adding the first layer of polyurethane. It is best to opt for coarse-grit sandpaper at the start. Remove any traces of dirt, grime, sand or tiny particles left behind before you begin coating the wood with polyurethane.

Before you even dip the brush in polyurethane, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions indicating the best way to mix the concoction before getting started. Next, dip the brush and remove the excess quantity. Proceed with long strokes which follow the grain of the wood. Do not apply too much pressure.

Step 2: Let the coat of polyurethane dry out and sand once again.

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Water based and oil based polyurethane require a different amount of time to dry out. Thus, it is essential that you stick to the instructions available on the label of the polyurethane variety you have chosen.

Once the first coat has dried out completely, you can proceed with sanding the surface of the wood. Sanding the wood is a continuous practice throughout the entire application of polyurethane. It helps to avoid rough patches and makes up for a smooth, even surface.

Ultimately, you will want to keep repeating the process of layering a coat of polyurethane and sanding the surface of the wood until you achieve the results you are aiming for. You will need at least 2 basic coats of polyurethane. The more you keep layering precisely, the better finish and durability you can enjoy at the end.

When I was just getting started to work with polyurethane and wood I felt very lost. After some trials and errors, though, I realized that polyurethane is an easy material to work with as long as you don’t underestimate the process.

What are your impressions of opting for polyurethane when it comes to finishing wood? We’ll be happy to have your tips and tricks in the comment section below. By liking and sharing this content you will also help us reach out to more of our fellows DIYers.

  • August 26, 2019
  • DIY