Can You Put Polyurethane Over Chalk Paint?

Image of Polyurethane floor, but, Can You Put Polyurethane Over Chalk Paint?

Polyurethane is one of the most lustrous finish that you can add to your wooden surfaces. Other than beauty, they also protect wood against scratch and other forms of impact. What if your surface has chalk paint, and you are looking to replace it with a different finish? Can you put polyurethane over chalk paint

Yes, you can put polyurethane over chalk paint. However, for the best results, ensure that you use a water based formula such as Minwax; otherwise, you will have your surface starting to yellow a little sooner. 

If you are thinking of applying a poly product on such a surface, it would be great if you apply thin coats and allow it time to dry as per the manufacturer’s recommendation before applying subsequent coats.

How Long Does Water Based Polyurethane Take To Dry

Considering that the water based poly product is the most appropriate for the application here, you must be aware of the wait time before applying subsequent coats.

Water based polyurethane dries faster compared to their oil based counterpart. It takes about 4-6 hrs after which you can walk on the surface, such as the floor.

In about 6-24 hours, you can walk on the floors finished with polyurethane wearing with socks. At this point, you must avoid wearing shoes and walking on the surface with bare feet. Also, ensure that your pets stay away from the floors during this time.

After 48 hours, feel free to move the furniture back. In about a week, you could let in your dogs. 

Overall, it takes 30 days for the polyurethane finished floors to cure, after which you can now start putting area rugs over the surface. If, by chance, you’d love to put the mats soon, give it two weeks.

How Long Does Oil Based Polyurethane Take To Dry?

It takes oil based polyurethane about 24 hours to dry. After this duration, you can walk over the floors. However, you need to keep the pets away from the floors.  

It still early to wear shoes and walking over the surface with bare feet.  

Once your surface dries, you can go ahead and add another coat if need be.

After 48 hours, you can freely walk over the surface with shoes and wait for up to 4 days before you can gently move furniture back.

How Long Does Polyurethane Take to Cure?

Oil-based polyurethane cures 2 phases. The first thing that happens is the evaporation of the thinners, where the finish becomes tack free. Afterward, the oxygen in the air starts to combine with the varnish to begin the curing process commences. 

The curing makes the finish hard, lasting, and forms the adhesion with the floor. The process of curing of polyurethane finish on floors takes 30 days or so, depending on the prevailing environmental conditions such as the temperatures. Another factor that affects how fast your polyurethane finish dries is the thickness of the film and the number of coats of polyurethane formula. 

Note: If you feel that your poly finish is emitting an odor, it means that it is still under the curing process.

Can You Speed up Polyurethane Drying Time?

Yes, you can do that by opening up the windows and doors. Additionally, you can choose to put a fan or two in the room to help improve the air circulation in your working area. Proper ventilation of the room does a lot when it comes to speeding up the evaporation process. More so, it improves safety by controlling fumes, especially if you are continuing the work in the adjacent room.

How Many Coats of Chalk Paint do You Need?

In case you are painting something white or off white on a dark piece, then I advise that you apply up to three coats for fantastic coverage. Considering that this paint dries in no minutes, you might not have a very long wait in between layers. Two coats of chalk paint also do look great on the surfaces.

How Long Should You Let Chalk Paint Dry Before Applying the Second Coat?

You will notice that most of the manufacturers of chalk paints recommend that you wait for the entire 24 hours between coats of paint. The duration allows for adequate dry time and enhances product performance. Therefore, if you apply this formula to your wooden structure, ensure that you let it a full day of dry time before you add a second coat.

How Do You Get a Smooth Finish With Chalk Paint?

Most people think that chalk paint is only suitable for creating a distressed finish, that’s not entirely true. With a few simple steps, as shown below, you can give your surfaces a smooth and contemporary finish.

  • First, sand the surface using a medium-grit paper to smooth out any possible prominent textures.
  • Water down your paint then and apply it smoothly and evenly using a brush in the same direction as the wood grain.
  • The one “optional” step once the surface dries would be sanding using fine sandpaper of at least 600-grit to buff the finished surface.
  • Apply Clear Chalk Paint Wax using a lint-free cloth or brush after waxing the surface. Remove any excess in the process.

Can I use a Roller for Chalk Paint?

Yes, you can apply chalk paint using a roller. However, that depends on your project; you can even use a spray gun, especially when you are working on large areas.

If you choose a paint roller, ensure that you are rolling a thin layer of paint in a long, unidirectional stroke, pull it back, and make another stroke in the original direction. Repeat the process until you have completed the entire project.

Tips on How to Prevent Brush Marks on Your Paint Finish

Brush marks are one problem that most people encounter each time they paint their surfaces, and it frustrating and compromises your hard work. Here are some tips that can help you end up with a finish that has no marks.

  • Ensure that you are using a high-quality brush
  • Use the right paint thinners with your projects
  • Always use a filter so that your paint is always flowing
  • Allow it to dry uninterrupted
Watch the video below on how to get a smooth paint finish:


Having a polyurethane finish over your chalk-painted surface is one of the many ways you can add beauty and protection to your surfaces. Even as you look to take such a step, it would help if you can follow the right procedures and use the right products to get the best finish possible. So, 

Can You Put Polyurethane Over Chalk Paint?

Yes, you can. For the best results, I advise that you use a water based polyurethane formula like Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane to minimize the chances of having your formula turning yellow.

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Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.

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