Can You Paint Over Polyurethane?

Can You Paint Over Polyurethane?Polyurethane is a protective topcoat that you’ll have to deal with sometimes. Commonly found on furniture, wooden floors, and cabinets, it’s only natural to wonder… can you paint over polyurethane? As it turns out, you can as long as you take a few simple steps that I’ll outline today. Mostly it’s going to be a matter of making the surface receptive to painting but we’ll elaborate on that more shortly.

Let’s review the steps for safely painting over polyurethane.

Always practice safety first

For the process you will need to do a bit of sanding, utilize mineral spirits, and other things that will mean you will want to have your protective gear handy. You’ll want to be sure that you are using your facemask, gloves, and some protective goggles to make sure that your exposure is minimal.

While the process is safe, you always want to ‘gear up’ first just in case. Better safe than sorry!

Remove any metal and other removable parts before you start working

If you are working on something like a cabinet then you will want to make sure to remove any metal parts before you get started. This saves you a lot of cleanup and any potential interactions during this process that might prove unpleasant.

This also includes taking things out like drawers before you start of your work.

Preparing the surface for paintingpainting polyurethane

Preparing the surface for painting is going to be the most involved part of this process.  Mineral spirits should be used so that you can get it nice and clean and be sure to wipe it out with a dry cloth as well.

Next it is time to do a little sanding. You don’t have to remove all of the polyurethane but you are going to need to remove some of it. Basically, this will be a process of sanding, cleaning with mineral spirits, and wiping it down with a dry cloth as you go.

After this, you’ll want to apply a nice oil-based primer for best results. You’ll need to let this dry out based on the product recommendations (this is typically overnight) and then you should be ready to start painting.

Note, if you are seeing any wood grain after your primer application, you should give it another coat or your paint is not going to stick properly.

Now, I have gotten asked a lot if there is any way to skip the sanding process and that is actually possible. Normally this is a step that you shouldn’t skip, because you don’t want your paint to end up applying improperly and ended up with chips and cracks.

There is a product called ‘Oil-Bond’ that is specifically designed for allowing your latex paint to bond to an oil-based surface. This means that you’ll be able to paint over polyurethane, shellac, lacquer, and more, so Oil-Bond is definitely some great stuff to hand.

“This is great stuff, so check it out”

If you decide to use it, what you need to do is take a clean cloth so that you can apply a small amount of the product to the surface that you want to paint. After this, then you will need to mix some Oil-Bond into your paint.

The initial application will give you a layer that your paint can stick to and adding it to your paint finalizes the process. This is great stuff, so check it out if you’ve never used it and you can save yourself a few hours of sanding.

Paint it and let it dry

Finally, give your newly prepared surface it’s first coat of paint and be sure to wait overnight before adding a second coat. You’ll also want to give it a period of 72 hours before you start putting back in any pieces which we removed in preparation.

Some final words on painting over polyurethane

Well, there you have it folks! Whether you’ll be using Oil-Bond or breaking out the sandpaper, painting over polyurethane is easy to do as long as follow the simple steps that I’ve outlined today. Once the surface is prepared, the rest is a piece of cake, so this is project you can now approach with confidence!


Can You Paint Over Polyurethane?

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