Well done, you finally got around to painting that little table that you found by the rubbish dump and it looks lovely! It took you a bit longer than you thought it would, the cat kept her distance and did not jump up onto your freshly painted table and you are feeling very proud of yourself but now what do you do? How do you protect your hard work? The paint that you used will help you determine which protective finish you will use and you should also take into account how the table will be used.
So let me give you some information gained from years of experience painting furniture!
For interior use you have the choice of sealing your item with a water based varnish (polyacrylic), an oil based varnish (polyurethane) or clear wax.
Chalk paint or water-based enamel paints are the most popular paints for painting furniture at the moment and water-based polyacrylic varnishes adhere well to these types of paint.
For exterior use you should seal your item with an oil based varnish (polyurethane).
• What is Polyacrylic?
Polyacrylic is a water-based varnish that can be applied to any surface painted with water–based paints. It is available in mat, satin and high gloss finishes. It dries clear and brushes, rollers etc and any spills can be cleaned easily with water. A polyacrylic varnish is perfect for your little table if you plan to use it for a coffee table. The finish will hold up well to cleaning. Apply 2 - 4 light coats of varnish with a brush or a roller. Let each coat dry completely and then sand with fine grit sandpaper in between each coat.
- Fast drying
- Mat, satin and high gloss finish
- To be used on surfaces painted with water-based paints
• How to apply polyacrylic varnish:
Most items will be ready for normal use in 24 hours. Be sure to follow the directions on the label for the product you are using.
Stir the varnish well before and during use. Never shake the can, shaking will cause bubbles.
Apply the varnish with a brush or a roller, working in the direction of the grain of the wood. Always apply thin coats. Thick coats take longer to dry and are more likely to be uneven and attract dust.
After the varnish has dried, sand lightly then wipe of any dust and apply a second coat. For added durability, a third and fourth coat can be applied.
• What is Polyurethane?
Polyurethane is a varnish that provides exceptional durability on painted surfaces and is available as both a water-based varnish and an oil-based varnish. Polyurethane is much more durable than polyacrylic.
- Water-based or oil-based
- Slow drying
- Mat, satin and high gloss finish
- Very strong varnish
• When to Use Polyurethane?
- Best for indoor surfaces
- Indoor or outdoor surfaces
- High use items
- Areas that get wet a lot
- · How to apply oil-based Polyurethane:
Stir the varnish well before and during use. Never shake the can, shaking will cause bubbles. While stirring, if the polyurethane has an overly thick consistency, thin it out with white spirit.
Using a bristle brush, apply the first coat of polyurethane in long, broad strokes. Keep the application thin, so it goes on evenly and doesn’t pool or drip. Coat the entire surface and allow the polyurethane to dry completely (allow 24 hours for oil-based polyurethane).
Before applying the second coat check that the first coat is completely dry and remove any dust or debris that may have stuck to the surface during the drying process.
Apply the second coat just as you did the first and let it dry completely.
When the second coat has dried again remove any imperfections. With most oil-based polyurethanes, two coats are enough.
You can read my previous article here How to paint your furniture in the best possible way!