Can You Paint Over Polyurethane? Find out the Answer Here!


Painting is significant in maintaining the interior design of a house. It is the easiest and cost-effective way to keep them up. But sometimes there are things painted with polyurethane. The question is, can you paint over polyurethane? 

Can You Paint Over Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a paint composition that has a durable and hard property. Thus, it is an ideal topcoat for kitchen cabinets to protect from scuffing and scratches. You can also use it as a topcoat on wood furniture, doors, and wood floors. 

If you are planning to paint over polyurethane, the first thing to do is to sand the surface. It is the tedious part, but it is a must to prepare the surface, especially the wood. This way you can ensure the paint will not peel off easily.

What are the composition of polyurethane?

Polyurethane is the product of chemical reaction between a polyol and diisocyanate. These linear polymers are common in athletic apparel, solid plastics, adhesives, surface coatings, and building insulations.

Polyurethane coatings protect the surface from abrasions. That’s why commonly used in wood floorings and other surfaces. It is the reason why polyurethane is popular to use even on walls and furniture. 

What are the steps to cover polyurethane?

Painting over polyurethane is not an easy task. You need to prepare the surface before proceeding the project. It is a must to sand the surface until it becomes smooth, thus achieve the best result. You will need the following supplies and tools.

  • Fine-grade sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Mineral spirits
  • Paintbrushes
  • Oil-based paint
  • Oil-based primer
  • Protective eyewear
  • Gloves

To clean the surface of the kitchen cabinet, using mineral spirits can help. The chemical can get rid of stains, grime, and dirt. Make sure to sand the surface to remove the polyurethane. It will help for the new coat of paint to stick to the surface. 

Can You Paint Over Polyurethane?

Apply primer to the surface to prevent possible stains to come up through the paint. Let the primer dries up overnight before applying another coat. Once the primer is dry, you can apply the paint of your choice.

What paint will stick to polyurethane?

If you’re done cleaning and removing the polyurethane coating on the object you want to repaint, the next step is to find the right paint to use.

As long as you properly sanded and cleaned the surface, you can use any paint suitable to any surface previously treated with polyurethane.

Improper preparation of the surface will lead to immediate peeling and chipping of the paint. You can use acrylic latex paint, oil-based enamel, or acrylic enamel. Ask help from an expert to identify the best product to use. 

Can you apply a second coat of polyurethane without sanding?

Yes, it is possible. But do not expect for the best result.

If you want to achieve a smoother finish the best thing to do is to sand after each coat of polyurethane. Use 220 grit sand paper after every coat and wipe with cloth.

Let every coat dry at least 24 hours before applying another coat. The drying time varies depending on the humidity and temperature.

If you don’t have idea how to do it, let anyone who knows the job do it for you.

Can you seal paint with polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a good paint sealer, especially the oil-based. It is available in different finishes, such as gloss, semi-gloss, and satin.

You can apply it with a foam brush, a brush, or with a cloth. It yields the best finish you would ever want. But make sure to apply it properly to prevent bubbly or streaky finish. 

It is best to use the polyurethane if you want to seal wood furniture with stain. It is available in many local stores and is cost-effective.

But do not use polyurethane over a painted furniture because it will affect the original color. The good thing is you can paint over polyurethane and give a new look to your furniture or surface.

Read more: Can You Paint Stainless Steel?

What happens if you paint over polyurethane?

Can You Paint Over Polyurethane?

As mentioned above, it is possible to paint over a surface treated with polyurethane. But keep in mind to follow the necessary actions to prepare the surface.

Otherwise, if you will immediately paint over the surface, expect that it will peel off the surface. It means that the paint would not adhere to the surface that is not properly sanded, cleaned, and primed. 

Painting over a surface treated with polyurethane is a good idea. It will help the paint to absorb deeply into the surface. It guarantees the best and smooth finish.

Chipping off and cracking of paint is also impossible. It is a good investment if you want to improve the appearance of your wood furniture. 

What happens if you don’t sand between coats of polyurethane?

Like painting any other surfaces, it is essential to ensure that the surface is clean and smooth. It is possible by sanding the surface using the right sand paper.

If you think of applying a new paint to wood works, make sure to sand first the polyurethane covering the surface. It will guarantee increase adhesion of the new coat of paint. It will also yield a better finish.

Thus, even if you’re working on a short duration, it is a must to take time sanding the surface. 

Painting walls or furniture is different. It is essential to choose the right paint suitable to the surface and project. Make sure the paint will adhere firmly and would not peel off easily.

Another thing is painting furniture. The paint hardly absorbs to hard woods. It is also difficult to paint over old finishes. 

With this, it is necessary to seal painted wall or furniture to avoid possible issues. A polyurethane is a good sealer ideal to protect the finish of the furniture. 

Read more: Can You Paint Over Powder Coat?


Some people say it is possible to paint over polyurethane. Yes, you can. But considering all the ideas discussed above, it shows that preparing the surface is essential to achieve the best results.

As long as the surface is well sanded and cleaned, you can expect painting the surface a lot easier.