Can You Put Polyurethane Over Wax For Your Wooden Surface? Best Tips For You!

When using both polyurethane and wax to restyle your furniture, can you put polyurethane over wax? Combination polyurethane and wax depend on the style you want, and the time you spend maintaining your furniture. 

Finished your surface with polyurethane and wax will always be satisfactory. Wax helps various polish surfaces and gives furniture a lovely sheen. But polyurethane will add much-needed longevity, as well as reinforce and beautify the hardwood surface.  

Polyurethane vs. Wax: What Are They?

What Is Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is one of the most durable topcoats currently available, with a lifespan of several years. Polyurethane is resistant to water as well as solvents, abrasions, impact, chemicals, and other forms of damage. 

Polyurethane is usually available in water-based and oil-based formulas. Water-based polyurethanes are also referred to as polyacrylics. However, for the purposes of this post, we will focus on oil-based polyurethanes.

Can You Put Polyurethane Over Wax For Your Wooden Surface

Oil-based polyurethanes are easier to work with and less volatile than water-based polyurethanes. They are also a little thicker and have more solids, necessitating 2 or 3 coats. In color, oil-based polyurethane gives the wood a warm amber glow, significantly lighter wood species.

What Is Wax?

Wax is a 24 hour-curing oil-based paste. Although wax protects furniture, it is easy as polyurethane. Wax softens in direct sunshine or next to the heat. So it would be best if you exercise caution when placing furniture near radiators or in natural daylight.

Wax has a buttery-smooth texture and a sheer gloss. It wears over time and needs to be applied every few years again. Dining tables can need application again after only three to five years, whereas coffee tables and dressers may need application again just after a decade or more.

Sometimes, people desire both polyurethane’s protection and wax’s buttery feel and soft sheen. So how should apply both wax and polyurethane correctly?

Can You Put Polyurethane Over Wax?

You shouldn’t put polyurethane over wax. The general norm is to apply polyurethane first, then wax. Never the opposite way. The final finish applied to the furniture must always be wax. Like when waxing a car, wax is the last step in achieving a beautiful finish and protection.

Even when applying polyurethane to a wooden surface, thin layers must be used to cures first and adhere properly to the surface. Furthermore, thin layers aid in preventing bubbles in the finish. 

Wipe On The Polyurethanes With A Clean, Lint-free Rag 

You can use wipe-on and spray polyurethanes to do this. Both can apply extremely thin coats, resulting in reduced accumulation in crannies and nooks, as long as you don’t use too much. Wipe on the polyurethanes with a lint-free rag, clean. Spray poly is similar to spray paint. 

How Long Your Polyurethane To Dry To Ready Apply Wax?

Typically, the drying time for oil-based polyurethane is 24 hours. In general, your polyurethane finished surface must wait for a month to cure. As a result, you’ll have to wait for the polyurethane finish to cure before applying the wax if you want to wax the surface.

What Factors Affects The Drying Of Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a one-of-a-kind finish that takes a long time to dry. And when it comes to the curing and drying times of polyurethane, you might talk about weeks and days.

Here are several elements that will affect how quickly or slowly your polyurethane finishes dry and cures:

  • The Type of Wood: Some wood kinds will take longer to cure and may not even be sufficiently cured. Because they may produce chemicals that could interfere with the crosslinking process. Rosewoods and aromatic cedars are examples of such wood.
  • The Polyurethane Formula Type: Different manufacturers employ various methods in the production of oil-based or water-based polyurethane. Some people prefer to use oils, while others prefer to use drying agents. 

Many Factors Affects the Drying of Polyurethane

Because these formulas contain various components, they influence the curing and drying times of polyurethane finishes. Overall, products of water-based poly take less time to dry and cure than products of an oil-based poly.

  • Humidity and Temperature: Time drying is determined by a day with a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) and a humidity of 70 percent. 

If it’s hot and dry outside, your polyurethane will dry faster than the timeframe mentioned above, and vice versa.

  • The Surface’s State: If the wood is sanded and raw, you’ll find that the polyurethane dries faster. What is the reason for this? Because your wood quickly absorbs the first coat, it shortens the drying time.  

Well, the initial coat wets and seals the wood surface, allowing it to dry more quickly. For successive coats, they apply on top of an existing polyurethane layer; as a result, it’ll take more time to cure and dry.

How Many Polyurethane Coatings To Apply?

Knowing the number of Polyurethane coatings to apply is critical to getting an excellent result. Is one polyurethane coat sufficient? Multiple layers are required to protect wood adequately. Oil-based finishes typically necessitate fewer coats than water-based counterparts.

The thick consistency of oil-based polyurethane offers significant results following three or four coats. The number of coatings of polyurethane you apply is mostly determined by the amount of wear the surface will receive, and what protection level it needs.

Multiple Polyurethane Coatings Will Properly Protect The Wood

You can use methods like wiping, brushing on, or spraying when using polyurethane varnish. Spraying it on is the most commonly used method. However, this generates more fumes. As a result, anyone who is sensitive to this should avoid it. 

The spraying polyurethane finish works best on irregularly shaped surfaces. Because it enables you to apply a smooth, even coat to any shape. This way is easier to use and creates a thinner layer. You should apply for five or six coats. The application needs to be with extreme caution to make sure no drips or irregular finishes.

How To Work Safely With Polyurethane?

So, is polyurethane hazardous to one’s health? Overall, polyurethane is a poisonous substance. However, in this case, it will be dependent on the polyurethane brand you are using. When working with a formula of polyurethane, what precautions should you take?

  • Foremost, read the directions carefully and pay great attention to the safety precautions!  
  • While the polyurethane formula dries and cures, Oil-based formulas frequently produce foul-smelling poisonous vapors. It may cause respiratory complications. As a result, use a nose mask, make sure your room is sufficiently aired, or avoid the area altogether.

Pay Attention To Some Safety Measures When Applying Polyurethane

  • Avoid prolonged exposure during the application of polyurethane, especially when it begins to dry and cures. 
  • When the oil-based polyurethane is still wet, it is combustible. It dries because the oils and solvents in it produce flammable vapors that catch fire quickly. As a result, keep your polyurethane items away from sources of fire.


In this article, Polyurethane and wax have both been discussed as excellent finishes for wooden surfaces. Look after your wooden surfaces is fun work. If you want to use both on a single surface, remember that It is best not to apply polyurethane over wax. Instead, use wax as the final finish after the application of polyurethane on the surface. That’s all for wonder: Can you put polyurethane over wax?  Stay inspired and keep painting!

Reference Source: Can You Apply Wax Over Polyurethane or Polycrylic Sealant?


Leave a Comment