How Many Coats Of Polyurethane On Table: Tips For A Perfect Finish

After a long time of use, the tables in your house become old, due to a few scratches or dings. But don’t worry, with just a brush and a few polyurethane layers, you can renew your tables. But, how many coats of polyurethane on table are suitable?

Before getting closer to the answer, let’s discover what a polyurethane coat is.

How Many Coats Of Polyurethane On Table

Two coats of polyurethane are the minimum to complete the finishing. Even so, most people paint three coats of polyurethane and more, especially when using an oil-based finish. 

The more layers you add, the smoother your finnish gets. But, also keep an eye on over-coating problems so that the tabletop is not too thick and worsens the beauty of the furniture.

What Is A Polyurethane Coating?

Polyurethane is a polymer material belonging to carbamates, a chemical compound group. This type of polymer is thermosetting, which means it can burn in high-temperature conditions. Another feature of this substance is customizability. These layers can be formulated to be shiny, opaque, or transparent.

A polyurethane coating is a layer of polyurethane that is coated to the furniture’s surface for protection purposes. This layer helps restrain your stuff from plenty of defects, such as abrasion, scratches, and other weather conditions.

There are two types of polyurethane solutions: oil-based and water-based. In these types, the polymer is combined with either water or oil-based medium. Each type has different pros and cons that can be applied for different purposes.

How Many Coats Of Polyurethane On Table

When you go for the oil-based polyurethane, it helps the product be tough and hard-wearing. This type of substance also provides you with strong waterproof and thermal resistance.

Water-based polyurethane coatings are made by adding an acrylic resin to polyurethane. Compared to oil-based solutions, these finishes seem less durable, but they give you the best of both worlds. They are easy to clean, take a brief time to dry, use fewer chemicals, and still offer the strength of an oil-based product.

How Many Coats of Polyurethane On Table Should You Apply?

There is no fixed rule about how many polyurethane layers you have to apply to the wood furniture. The number of coats can range from two to five to get a completed finishing. However, we suggest at least three coatings to have a more beautiful finishing.

Besides, depending on the type of polyurethane solution you want to add, the water-based or the oil-based, the coats can be fewer or more. Generally, water-based varnishes require more layers than oil-based ones.

Luckily, the water-based type is thinner and quicker to dry. You won’t have to worry about putting too many layers on the table. In contrast, the oil-based finishes need quite a while between applying the layers.

It is also essential to use the appropriate method. Read the instructions on the package of the polyurethane product thoroughly. How you paint the furnishings is as important as the finishing you choose to cover them. 

Tips For A Perfect Polyurethane Finish

The following are the best tips for beginners when applying coats of polyurethane to furniture pieces for the first time. 

First, it is necessary to carefully read the product’s package instructions before you begin the work. Each type of polyurethane substance has different features and different ways to apply.

Don’t be afraid if you haven’t used polyurethane before. Just take your time and do it in the right way.

Second, if you do not have much experience in coating wood furniture, it is better to start with water-based varnish. Since it is more forgiving and easier to apply, you will get a seamless finish without making a mess.

How Many Coats Of Polyurethane On Table

Third, for oil-based varnish, you should mix it with white spirits to make the poly thinner. The water-based version is much simpler, and it does not require doing this task.

Fourth, if you plan to repaint the table with a different color, do it before coating. You can also apply the poly after the paint has dried.

Fifth, painting two coats of polymer material with a brush then spraying the final one is the experts’ tip. By doing this, your table will have a truly shiny and smooth finish.

Sixth, though polysubstance today is odorless, you still can feel  the unpleasant scent during the work. So make sure you wear a mask and stay in a well-ventilated room or an open space.

Seventh, if you desire a showroom shine finish, the wax can help you with that. After the final coat is completely cured, putting some wax on the table will make the table look more shiny and solid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Next is the common problems you face when applying polyurethane coats and how to deal with them.

How Can I Thin Water-Based Polyurethane?

The dense consistency of the polymer substance will make the finish not smooth or shiny, so you need to dilute the liquid. You can thin the water-based polyurethane by adding a reasonable amount of water.

Remember not to overdo it if you don’t want the solution to be so dilute that you can’t apply it to the table surface. Also, you have to brush many coats to get a professional look for the finish.

How Long Should I Wait Between Coats of Polyurethane?

It depends on the type of polyurethane solutions you use; the waiting time will be longer if you use the oil-based version and vice versa.

The average waiting time between each coat is two to three hours. Don’t rush to shorten the time. Otherwise, you will make the coats bubble and look gloomy.

As for the final coat, it is better to wait 24 hours or more for the table to dry, and then you can use it.

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How To Eliminate Air Bubbles In Polyurethane?

Bubbles’ appearance in the polyurethane coating is a normal phenomenon. All you need to do is wipe them away.

When removing bubbles, be careful and avoid scratching the polyurethane coats. You can only do it after the coating has dried. There are two solutions for bubble form, including sanding or using white spirits.

About sanding out, use the fine sandpaper to wipe away the bubbles. When scrubbing, apply force evenly all over the table and clean the table again to remove dust.

If you use white spirits, take a wet cloth dipped in white spirits and wipe the table for about 15 minutes or until the bubbles have gone. As mentioned above, thinning the polyurethane by using water or mineral spirits also helps to eliminate the bubble appearance.

How Many Coats Of Polyurethane On Table

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, one coat of polyurethane is not enough to achieve a shiny finish. Instead, you should apply from two to five coatings, depending on the material you choose. Picking up the right form of polyurethane and a suitable method to apply them are also centerpieces.

Hopefully, this article provides useful information to decide how many coats of polyurethane on table so that you can have a showroom shine and durable finish.

Reference source: How to Finish a Wood Table



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