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Can You Put Polyurethane Over Polycrylic? (Quick Answers)

If you have a wooden piece that has polycrylic layer that you wish to top with polyurethane, you should know that there are ways to do that flawlessly. Using polyurethane coating is a wonderful way of achieving seamless projects that are resistant to weather and waterproof.

Can you put polyurethane over polycrylic?

You can put polyurethane over polycrylic. If you want to put polyurethane over an old coating of polycrylic, you should sand down the surface first. For new coating, make sure that the polycrylic layer dries well before you start applying the polyurethane layers.

The best way to achieve a seamless polyurethane topcoat is to make sure that the surface is smooth and free of any unevenness. The right way to go is to sand down the surface and then apply the polyurethane.

You must ensure that the area is well ventilated where you apply the polyurethane over your object. This is to make sure that the toxic fumes find their way out. Or else, the smell of polyurethane can last around one month or more.

Oil-based polyurethane over polycrylic:

You can put oil-based polyurethane over polycrylic. It is heavier than water-based polyurethane and can withstand pressure well. Oil-based polyurethane has a higher curing temperature meaning it handles high heat very well and can harden fully.

Water-based polyurethane over polycrylic:

You can put water-based polyurethane over polycrylic. Water is a great solvent hence water-based polyurethane works amazingly well for top coating. It penetrates well and it is also quite inexpensive.

It’s not the best option for objects that are exposed to too much pressure. It requires multiple coating of water-based polyurethane to seal a workpiece perfectly.

Oil-based polyurethane over water-based polycrylic:

You can put oil-based polyurethane over water-based polycrylic. You can opt for this directly. Or you can sand the surface to make it smooth enough for applying the oil-based polyurethane.

Minwax polyurethane over Minwax polycrylic:

Minwax oil-based polyurethane is faster to dry than most other oil-based polyurethane. As oil-based polyurethane can be applied over any polycrylic, you can put Minwax polyurethane over Minwax polycrylic. 

Or you can scrape the polycrylic away before the application.

Minwax also has two different wipe on poly. You should not apply wipe on poly over polycrylic directly. It is better to sand off the piece first. You can do this by applying the wipe on alone, or you can combine brush on and wipe on together to get a flawless finishing.

What happens if you apply polyurethane over polycrylic?

You can apply polyurethane over polycrylic directly, or you may sand down the polycrylic completely before applying the polyurethane. Let’s find out what happens when you put polyurethane over polycrylic.

Durable finishing:

Polyurethane is an amazing sealing agent. Both oil-based and water-based polyurethane can work as a durable topcoat over your wooden furniture. Polycrylic has a light texture. When you apply the thick polyurethane over polycrylic, it creates a durable finishing.

Waterproof sealing:

Both polycrylic and polyurethane are sealing agents. When you apply polyurethane over water-based polycrylic, they provide a sturdy waterproof sealing that can protect the workpiece from water, moisture, and liquid in any other form.

Damage protection:

Since polyurethane is a heavy material, it works as a protective barrier and secures your furniture from damage. The heavy layer of polyurethane is hard to take off with sanding or cleaning. 

When you apply polyurethane over polycrylic, the finished product offers great damage protection from the climate, water, moisture, and even insects.

Yellow tint:

There’s a possibility of yellow tinting when you apply polyurethane over polycrylic. It depends on the type of polyurethane and polycrylic and how you are applying one over another. 

Polycrylic coating usually has a milky finishing while polyurethane often turns yellow when applied over a white surface.

How to apply polyurethane over polycrylic?

Let’s Walk through the following steps, that might help you to apply polyurethane over polycrylic –

Prepare the surface:

If you are applying polycrylic first and then going in with polyurethane, you need to let the polycrylic coating dry completely first. Once you apply the polycrylic coating, wait the required amount of time so that the coating feels fully dry to touch. 

If the polycrylic was applied a long time ago, you can immediately start with the second step.

Sand the polycrylic coating:

It is better to lightly sand the polycrylic coating. This way, the polyurethane will get a firmer grip and sit well over the polycrylic layer. Try to get sandpaper of around 150 grits for the best result. 

If you intend to use a power buffer, make sure that you buff the surface very lightly.

Clean the area where you are working:

When you sand down the polycrylic layer there will be a lot of dust. In this step, you need to clean the area where you are working very well to get rid of any dust and debris.

This is to make sure that the area is free so that when you apply polyurethane, no dust can interfere with the coating. You can use a vacuum cleaner to make cleaning easier.

Apply polyurethane coating:

Now you can start with the application of polyurethane. Make sure that the room or area where you’re doing this has proper ventilation. If you use oil-based polyurethane you may want to mix it with paint thinner if you want a lighter texture.

Apply the first coating and let it dry. Then go on with the second and third coating. Make sure to let each coating dry before applying the next one. Lightly buff the finish to smoothen the surface.

Polish the surface if needed:

Polishing the surface is a choice. If you want to get that extra shine and polished feel to the furniture, you can apply an automotive rub to polish the surface. Don’t sand the latest coating before applying the rubbing compound. 

Once everything dries perfectly, your furniture is ready to use.

Can you put polycrylic over polyurethane?

Polyurethane has a heavier finishing than polycrylic. It is used as a topcoat hence it is not ideal to put polycrylic over polyurethane. Some manufacturers may suggest that it is okay to apply polycrylic over polyurethane, but it may not be an ideal thing to do.

Polyurethane takes a long time to dry completely, once it dries it forms a durable outer layer. To go over it with polycrylic may not give you the result you’re looking for. 

You can try to remove the layer of polyurethane by sanding it down, but since it is a hard finish, it will be tough to sand it down fully.

Can you mix polyurethane with Polycrylic?

You should not mix polyurethane and polycrylic. First of all, if you are working with oil-based polyurethane and water-based polycrylic, oil and water can’t mix uniformly. Then again, both come with different textures and consistency.

They are unlikely to create the perfect mix that you can apply to your furniture. The right way to use polyurethane and polycrylic together in a project is by letting the polycrylic dry completely first and then going on with the needed number of coatings of polyurethane.

Is polyacrylic the same as polyurethane? What’s the difference?

Polycrylic is not the same as polyurethane. While there are a lot of similarities, you will find some differences when it comes to performance.


Polycrylic is quite lightweight and dries very fast. It is runny and drippy that making it hard to apply evenly over a workpiece. On the other hand, polyurethane has a heavier texture and takes a long time to dry completely.

Both oil-based and water-based polyurethane offer great textures. Since polyurethane is heavy and thick, it is less likely to drip when you work saving you from the extra task of scraping the unwanted drips away.


Polyurethane as a topcoat offers a very hard finish. Once it dries fully, it is hard to take it off or clean it off the surface. Even if you sand down the polyurethane coating, it is tough to remove completely.


The adhesive power of polyurethane is unmatched. This is exactly why it is often considered a topcoat. The same reason encourages people to use polyurethane in various projects without any concern.


Both polyurethane and polycrylic are great for different projects. However, if you must compare, polyurethane shows better durability compared to polycrylic. 

Hence, polyurethane is a better option for outdoor projects while polycrylic performs amazingly for indoor projects.

Budget friendliness:

As far as budget is concerned, polycrylic is more budget-friendly. Both are readily available and quite easy to use, but if you have a tight budget but still want to establish a good project, you should go for polycrylic.

Final thoughts

You can put polyurethane over polycrylic. There are several methods to do this but the best result comes when you sand down the polycrylic lightly before putting the polyurethane coating. Both oil-based and water-based polyurethane can be applied over polycrylic to achieve a durable finishing.