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Can You Put Satin Polyurethane Over Gloss? (Answered)

Satin polyurethane gives a matte finish that would not highlight your material. Instead, a matte finish is soothing to the eyes and gives a classy texture. Meanwhile, gloss finishes are shiny and highlight the wooden material. Even reflects light which would easily light up the room.

Following the below tips and information regarding polyurethane and if it can be applied over gloss or not would help you to get the desired outcome.

Can you put satin polyurethane over gloss?

You can put polyurethane over gloss. Gloss gives a shiny finish that might not be liked by many. In that case, you can apply polyurethane over it. You need to sand the surface before applying the satin polyurethane. Semi-gloss paint might not need sanding while applying polyurethane over it.

Finishes over the wood will give protection to the wood. Not just that, the appearance would improve as well. But using paint or finishes is not suitable as long as the material is already painted or finished. You need to give the time to cure the paint or finish. 

Satin polyurethane is applicable over almost all paint or finish. 

Satin polyurethane over semi-gloss: 

Satin polyurethane works effectively over the semi-gloss. Satin polyurethane and semi-gloss have different properties. Some might confuse them as the appearance may seem the same when the application is done. 

Well, semi-gloss is not as glossier as gloss. It has a shiny finish but with less sheen than gloss paints. In the case of satin, only a matte finish is found. The finish indeed protects the surface better. If you want, you can apply semi-gloss over the satin polyurethane.

You need to sand the semi-gloss first. Or scrape it off if it is a finish. Finishes would be removed that were applied before. You can sand the semi-gloss or leave it as it is and later apply satin polyurethane. 

You need to apply 2 coats at least to get a perfect surface.

Satin polyurethane over high gloss: 

High gloss is shiny and attracts the eye of the viewer. Even sunlight would reflect them. The materials would look more lit up. The glossy finish also protects the wood from moisture. And makes the wood protection against sunlight as well.

Meanwhile, polyurethane satin is a matte finish that has less sheen than gloss paints. Well, you can still apply satin polyurethane over the high gloss even though they are completely opposite to each other. 

You should sand the high gloss surface completely to apply satin polyurethane. 

More like scraping off the gloss finish. If the gloss finish stays there, the satin polyurethane will not be able to adhere to the wooden surface. As a result, the finish would not sit properly. A curved surface is suitable for polyurethane. 

It would reduce the shine of the gloss. 

What happens if you put satin polyurethane over gloss?

The glossy finish gives a shiny and strong appearance to the wooden surface. The shiny appearance might not be preferable by all. If all your house furniture has a matte look, shiny furniture would not fit into the room. 

Sometimes, the outcome of the gloss is not the desired one as well. 

Putting satin polyurethane over a glossy finish would give a less shiny appearance. As satin polyurethane is a matte finish, the outcome would also be a bit matte but not completely as you have already used a glossy finish before. 

The shine would be reduced once you apply satin polyurethane over gloss.

Moreover, as there is already a finish of a gloss, the adhesion between the satin polyurethane and the surface might not be too strong. Well, to solve that, you need to apply the polyurethane properly. Especially after sanding the glossy finish off. 

However, scrapping the glossy finish is a must here.

Later after cleaning, you can proceed to apply satin polyurethane. As a result, the surface can adhere to the satin polyurethane coat more smoothly. And it would protect the surface of the wood from damage by water or even prevent leaving marks and scratches. 

How to put satin polyurethane over gloss polyurethane?

Satin polyurethane can be absolutely applied over gloss polyurethane. The satin polyurethane and the gloss polyurethane serve different purposes. One gives a shiny finish to the wood surface. Meanwhile the other gives a matte finish. Well, both are beautiful in their own way.

As the surface already has gloss polyurethane, you must be careful while putting the satin polyurethane. You should apply the satin polyurethane in a proper way to prevent any damage to the finished surface. 

The following tips will help you to put satin polyurethane over gloss polyurethane.

Prepare the surface and apply:

The glossy finish usually adheres to the surface strongly and protects the wood surface. As it stays strong, you need to scrape it off. You can use smaller grit sandpaper to sand the surface with gloss. Manually doing the sanding is better. After sanding the surface, clean it up. 

Make sure there are no residues left of dirt or wood on the surface. You should also sand the surface to make the surface ready. After cleaning, dry the surface. Finally, you can put the satin polyurethane over the gloss. You need to apply it with a brush. 

Well, the Brussel brush smoothly spreads the polyurethane all over evenly.

After applying one coat, let the finish dry. After drying the coat, you can put another coat of satin polyurethane. You should at least apply 2 coats of satin polyurethane over the gloss. Let the polyurethane dry and finally, the wooden surface would be completed. 

What is the difference between satin finish and gloss finish polyurethane?

Satin finish polyurethane and gloss finish polyurethane work differently. They do not serve similarly. You can choose any depending on your preferences. Certain differences between the satin finish polyurethane and gloss polyurethane are given below. 


The shine of the satin polyurethane and gloss polyurethane is different. The satin polyurethane gives a smooth matte finish. It is thicker and gives a flat application to the coats. On the other hand, gloss polyurethane does not give a matte finish rather it gives a shiny finish.

The surface would look shinier when you apply gloss polyurethane which is different from the satin polyurethane. 


Gloss polyurethane is of high maintenance in comparison to satin polyurethane. Gloss polyurethane gives a shiny finish and dirt is more visible in it. Even it draws more attention. 

On the other hand, satin polyurethane has a matte finish which does not highlight the dirt or marks as much as gloss. 

You need to keep the gloss polyurethane properly cleaned. Moreover, with time, the shine will get reduced. It will not be the same as before. Even dirt would make the surface dull.

Light reflection:

The gloss reflects the light more than the satin polyurethane. Well, the gloss usually shines and works as a reflector. Sunlight can be also reflected, making the whole room lit up. Meanwhile, the satin polyurethane gives no reflection. It would not give a shiny look. 

As a result, only a flat and dull view is provided by the satin polyurethane. Not exactly dull, a flat and matte finish it is. 

Can I put gloss over satin polyurethane?

You can absolutely apply the gloss over the satin polyurethane. Satin polyurethane gives a matte finish and the gloss has a shinier one. It might seem like they are not compatible with each other. You need to follow proper methods in that case. 

Semi-gloss polyurethane over satin: 

Applying the semi-gloss polyurethane over the satin is possible. It would increase the shine of the surface slightly. But not to an excessive extent. You need to sand the surface before applying the satin polyurethane and remove imperfections. 

High gloss polyurethane over satin: 

High gloss usually gives a shiny finish. But satin polyurethane gives a matte finish. High gloss over the satin polyurethane would make the surface shiner. You can also do it reversely. In any case, you should prepare the surface in a proper way.

You need to remove the satin polyurethane coats from the surface to apply gloss polyurethane by sanding. 

Final thoughts

Overall, putting satin polyurethane over the gloss is possible. You can apply the coats of the polyurethane over the gloss after sanding the gloss finish surface. Well, it would reduce the shine of the surface and would not be as glossy. It still provides safe protection over the wood surface.