Can You Paint on Polyurethane?

Can you paint on polyurethane? The short answer is yes, you can. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want the best results.

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Polyurethane is a type of synthetic resin that is commonly used as a finish for wood surfaces. It is durable and easy to care for, but it can be difficult to paint over because it does not adhere well to most types of paint. If you want to paint over polyurethane, you must first remove the glossy finish with sandpaper and then apply a primer before painting.

What is Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a hard, durable finish that is applied to wood floors, furniture, and other wood surfaces. It is available in both oil-based and water-based formulas. Polyurethane finishes provide a long-lasting, protective coating that can be cleaned and repaired easily.

Water-based polyurethane finishes are less toxic and have less of an odor than oil-based finishes. They are also faster to dry and cure. However, they are not as durable as oil-based polyurethanes and may require more frequent reapplication.

Polyurethane finishes can be applied with a brush, roller, or sprayer. For best results, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

The Different Types of Polyurethane

There are two different types of polyurethane, oil-based and water-based. Oil-based polyurethane is more durable than water-based, but both types will protect your floors.

Oil-based polyurethane has a thicker coat that will take longer to dry, so it’s important to be patient while waiting for it to cure. Water-based polyurethane is thinner and dries more quickly, but may not be as durable in the long run.

When choosing a type of polyurethane, consider how much traffic your floors get. If you have pets or kids who are hard on your floors, oil-based polyurethane might be the best choice. If you’re looking for a quicker drying time or want to avoid the fumes from oil-based polyurethane, choose water-based.

Which Type of Polyurethane Should You Use?

There are two main types of polyurethane available on the market: oil-based and water-based. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your project.

Oil-based polyurethane is more durable and long-lasting than water-based polyurethane, but it takes longer to dry and can be a bit messier to work with. If you’re doing a project that requires a lot of sanding between coats, oil-based polyurethane is a good choice. It’s also a good choice for floors and other surfaces that will see a lot of wear and tear.

Water-based polyurethane is less durable than oil-based polyurethane, but it dries more quickly and is easier to clean up after. If you’re doing a project that doesn’t require a lot of sanding between coats, water-based polyurethane is a good choice. It’s also a good choice for furniture and other surfaces that won’t see a lot of wear and tear.

How to Paint on Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a protective finish applied to wood floors, furniture, trim, and other objects that see a lot of wear and tear. It is available in both oil-based and water-based formulas. While polyurethane is durable, it can be scratched or cracked, and it will discolor over time. You can revive the finish on polyurethane by painting it.

Tips for Painting on Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a clear or tinted plastic resin used for creating hard, durable surfaces. It is often used as a protective coating on wood floors, furniture, and concrete. Polyurethane can yellow over time, so it is commonly used as a top coat over paint to protect the paint from yellowing and wear. Polyurethane is a difficult surface to paint due to its slick, non-porous surface. However, with the proper preparation and technique, you can successfully paint on polyurethane.

Before painting on polyurethane, you need to clean and sand the surface. Start by cleaning the surface with a degreaser or trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner to remove any grease or oil. Next, sand the surface with 120-grit sandpaper to create a rougher surface for the paint to adhere to. Be sure to wipe away any dust after sanding.

Once the surface is prepared, you can begin painting. For best results, use an oil-based primer and paint specifically designed for painting on polyurethane surfaces. These products will help the paint adhere better and provide a more durable finish. Apply primer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then let it dry completely before painting. Once the primer is dry, apply your topcoat of paint using a brush or roller designed for use with oil-based paints. Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Once the paint is applied, allow it to dry completely before using the area or applying a topcoat of polyurethane (if desired). Painting on polyurethane is not an easy task, but with proper preparation and technique you can achieve professional-looking results!


After trying out a few different methods, we’ve come to the conclusion that painting on polyurethane is definitely possible. However, it’s not as simple as just painting over it like you would with regular paint. You need to take some extra steps to make sure that the paint adheres properly and doesn’t just peel off.

Here’s a quick recap of what you need to do:
-Start by sanding down the surface of the polyurethane so that the paint has something to grip onto.
-Apply a primer specifically designed for painting on polyurethane.
-Once the primer is dry, you can start painting with your chosen paint. Make sure to use thin coats and let each one dry completely before adding another.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to paint on polyurethane without any problems. Just remember that it takes a bit more effort than regular painting, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t go perfectly the first time. With a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time!