Polyurethane on paint - Router Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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Default Polyurethane on paint

I'm making some furniture out of plywood for grandchildren's room - book shelf with drawers. I've painted it with hydro-enamel water-based paint. I'm thinking of putting one coat (or more) of polyurethane to protect the finish. Will this work? Will it in fact give extra protection? If so, should I use water-based or oil-based poly?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 08:23 AM
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Many years ago, I stripped and painted my kitchen cabinets with the same latex paint that I used on the walls and top-coated them with a polyurethane varnish, hoping that the finish would hold up better in that environment. It did, but the polyurethane had a slight amber tint not really noticeable at first but became much darker as time passed. If I was doing it again, I would definitely use as water-based product as they don't darken in time.

Is the paint that you used made for painting wood cabinets and furniture? Several manufacturers advertise their product as having been developed for painting cabinets, and you may find that a poly top coat is not required. If you do decide to go with the extra protection, you may want to check with the paint manufacturer to make sure that the two products are compatible.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 10:56 AM
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When in doubt, paint and then coat a test piece of the same material as the cabinet. I always use the water based poly.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 11:19 AM
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I'm not sure the poly top coat would be any harder than an enamel paint. Years ago the glossier the paint the harder it got. I don't know if that's still true or not. If you do I think water based over water based should be okay but one issue might be adhesion of the poly to the enamel. You might need to roughen up the enamel for it to stick and that would show through the poly.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 11:34 AM
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I'm going to look at it from a different point of view...future maintenance...

If you leave it painted and it develops a scratch or stain, etc... you will be able to do a quick sand and repaint and it will look fresh again.

If you poly over the paint and a scratch or stain develops on the poly, it will be much harder to repair.

If the room color changes (and kids never want that ), you will be able to change the color accordingly (if not poly'ed).

I would leave it painted only...
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the info. I will start with checking with the manufacuturer. Then probably go with water-based, if it is a go from the manufacturer. But Nick's comment on future maintaince will give me some second thoughts.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 02:49 PM
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Nick's caution is spot on. You will want to recoat or touch up at some point in time.
My experience is that the waterbourne enamels are no where near as durable as the old solvent based formulas. I don't think it has anything to do with the 'solvent' so much as the other ingredients in the mix.
The the old enamel paints from the 50's and 60's were basically armour plate.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickp View Post
I'm going to look at it from a different point of view...future maintenance...

If you leave it painted and it develops a scratch or stain, etc... you will be able to do a quick sand and repaint and it will look fresh again.

If you poly over the paint and a scratch or stain develops on the poly, it will be much harder to repair.

If the room color changes (and kids never want that ), you will be able to change the color accordingly (if not poly'ed).

I would leave it painted only...
We painted our cabinets (latex) when remodeling and regretted not using Poly over it........ until now because we have touched up a time or two without hassle and now that it is time for a color change, thank God it I'm not dealing with coats of Poly.

We will look into the "Made for cabinet paints" and go with that.

Thanks all.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 08:11 PM
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I know some 'guys' have gone with automotive enamel on cabinets before they were installed. Sprayed on of course.
Beautiful finish and bullet proof!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-29-2020, 11:24 AM
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I'm not sure if available in US but here Varathane makes paint that is bullet proof ! The colours are limited but nice, I've used on furniture, shop projects even outdoors and results are fantastic. I think the paint has Polyurethane in it !
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