How Many Coats of Polyurethane on Kitchen Table?

Image of a wood kitchen table, so How Many Coats of Polyurethane on Kitchen Table?In most homes, the kitchen table is a place for families to gather over meals and talk about their day. Because it is the center of the kitchen, it also experiences a lot of abuse. Just because it has a few dings or scratches does not mean it cannot be restored. With a little elbow grease and a few polyurethane coats, your kitchen table can be beautiful again. So, How Many Coats of Polyurethane on Kitchen Table?

At least 2 coats of polyurethane will work. However, for the best results, you should apply 3 coats of polyurethane to your kitchen table and more so when using an oil-based finish. Ensure that you mix the first coat with mineral spirits as it acts as a sealer and offers a barrier between the wood and the oil-based finish you are applying. The more finish you apply, the smoother your surface gets.

As much as you add more finish to the surface of your kitchen table, it would be best if you did not overdo it as too much poly would make your surface “thick” which might compromise the beauty of your structure.

What are the Benefits of Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is one of the most multifaceted plastic materials in the world. It provides a strong, yet flexible coating that protects wood and a wide array of other materials. 

Consider the following benefits of applying layers of polyurethane to your kitchen table. 

  • Protection

One of the most significant benefits of coating a table with polyurethane is protection. No one wants their classic wood furniture to become damaged. Protecting it with varnish will help to ensure it stays looking beautiful for many years to come. 

  • Safety

Polyurethane is one of the most-used coatings in the world and for a good reason. When this coating dries, it does not emit any odors. Some varnishes emit strong odors, long after the coats are dry. As always, you should make sure to use proper protection when applying polyurethane. Once it is dry and has adequately cured, you will not have to worry about your family being exposed to harmful chemicals. 

  • Improved Durability

As mentioned above, your kitchen table goes through a lot of abuse over the years, but that is what makes it special and memorable. While you know coatings of polyurethane make a kitchen table protected, they also help make it more durable. If you have children or pets, a durable kitchen table is essential. 

Pet owners genuinely love being able to protect their furniture with durable polyurethane, so they do not have to worry about their furry friends, causing any damage. 

  • Beauty

Polyurethane is available in many different colors, allowing you to custom-create your natural style. You can create a beautiful finish for your kitchen table. Whether you choose to let the natural beauty of the wood shine through or create a fantastic color combination, you will love the beauty polyurethane brings. 

How Many Coats of Polyurethane Should You Apply?

Image of a fast drying polyurethaneWhile there is no right or wrong answer for a specific number of polyurethane coats, there are some basic rules to keep in mind. Most people apply two to three coats on their kitchen table, with some applying as many as five coats. 

When finishing your kitchen table, you want it to be a beautiful centerpiece, but you also want it to be tough to stand up to many years of family eating, spills, and conversation. If you want to ensure your kitchen table will look beautiful for many years to come, you should plan on coating it with no fewer than three polyurethane coats. 

You must follow the directions on the polyurethane product you are using. It is also imperative you use the right technique. The way you apply the polyurethane is just as important as the type you use to cover your kitchen table. 

Should You Use a Brush or Spray?

There are different schools of thought on which application is best when it comes to polyurethane. If you genuinely want a remarkably smooth finish, spray applications are best. However, the fumes can spread around more with a spray application, so many people do not prefer to use it. 

If you plan on brushing the polyurethane on, make sure to use a foam brush instead of a bristle one. Bristle brushes will leave a lot of brush marks, and they can sometimes detract from the finish on your kitchen table. 

Essential Things to Do Before Applying Polyurethane

  • Sanding 

If you are looking for the perfect finish for your kitchen table, sanding is essential. The key to getting a professional-looking finish is preparation. Before you even start applying any polyurethane, you are going to need to sand your kitchen table. 

You will need a few different sandpaper grits, starting with the roughest. Use them progressively until your kitchen table surface becomes smoother and smoother. If your table has a lot of dings, and you do not like the added character, you can always fill them in with wood fillers before sanding. 

You will also need to scuff each coating of polyurethane until the final coat lightly. Allow the coat to dry for at least an hour, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. There should be no tackiness to the coat at all. If you rush this process, you will end up with a thick and matted look instead of what you hope for in a finish. 

  • Three Coats or More

It would be best to apply at least three coats of polyurethane to your kitchen table. Three coats are the bare minimum, but you could even apply more if you desire. The more you apply, in thin layers, the more beautiful and protected your kitchen table will be for years to come. 

Once your table has been treated with wood putty and sanded adequately, you can begin applying a thin layer of polyurethane. Many people choose water-based coatings because they dry quickly, but oil-based coatings are also available and tend to offer a more durable finish. 

After the first coat is dried completely, lightly sand it with #220 grit sandpaper before applying the next layer. Make sure to wipe it down with a tack cloth to remove any debris that may have been sanded loose before you apply the next coat of polyurethane. 

Although it is time-consuming, this process is what the professionals use to get their mirror finish shine. It is worth the effort because the polyurethane will stay looking beautiful and be protective for decades, as long as your kitchen table is adequately cared for over the years. 

When you apply the final coat of polyurethane, do not use the table for at least twenty-four hours. The longer you allow the layers to cure, the less likely the final coat will become marred. The curing process can take longer in areas with high humidity or low temperatures. 

Hints for Getting a Beautiful Polyurethane Finish

If you have never used polyurethane, you need not be afraid. Today’s water-based formulas are super forgiving and easy to use. Consider the following helpful tips if you are a little nervous about applying coats of polyurethane to your kitchen table. They are sure to help you create a perfect showroom shine finish. 

  • Make sure the surface is entirely smooth and level. This is where sanding helps. If you are going for a distressed look and want to keep the wood’s character, do not sand too much before coating with polyurethane. 
  • Before you begin applying the polyurethane coats, make sure to place your kitchen table in a low-dust area. Keeping foot traffic away from the piece while being coated will help prevent dust and debris from becoming trapped in the finish. 
  • If you would like to add vibrant color to your kitchen table, you can stain it before you apply the polyurethane. You can also apply this coating over a dry paint finish. 
  • If you use an oil-based polyurethane coating, you will need to add ten percent mineral spirits to thin down the poly. This is not necessary with water-based polyurethane. 
  • Those who want a truly smooth finish should spray on the final coat of polyurethane. Spraying allows for a much more seamless finish that will give you a beautiful shine. 
  • When the polyurethane layers have cured fully, make sure to buff the piece with wax to bring out the shine and offer further protection—buff off the excess wax with a clean and soft dry rag.
  • Do not rush the process. Realize it will take several days from start to finish. If you try to rush the process, you could end up with tacky layers that are not smooth and do not cure properly. 
  • Although many manufacturers are now creating polyurethane with low odor, there are still going to be some odors before the coats are cured. It is essential to have proper ventilation when working on applying polyurethane, so you are not breathing in the fumes created. 
Watch the video below for more insight on applying polyurethane:


If you are tired of your kitchen table looking banged up and drab, a little sanding and some coats of polyurethane can make a big difference. Polyurethane is a fantastic product, and it offers a high level of protection. However, 

How Many Coats of Polyurethane on Kitchen Table?

As you might already know, 2 coats of polyurethane finish will work for your kitchen table. However, for the best results possible, go for 3 layers.

Your kitchen table holds many memories. Why not bring it back to life instead of trashing it? With a little time, elbow grease, and some TLC, your kitchen table can look beautiful again. 

Please share with me any thoughts regarding this post in the comment section below.

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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.