Does Spray Polyurethane Work Well?

Being a professional painter, James never limits himself to his job only. He wants to utilize his decade of painting experience by helping people who...Read more

I have been in carpentry for about ten years now, and having a good finishing is a crucial part of this job. But getting a super-tough varnish formula can be a daunting experience for great finishing. Many spray paint brands claim to offer the best varnish formula for woodwork finish.

So, does spray polyurethane work well? Yes. It provides a clear, durable, and good-looking finish for a wide range of DIY projects. Besides that, it is easier to apply and allows the user to attain an even finish every time.

Getting flawless results with spray polyurethane can be challenging if you have little experience in application. But this article will teach you how to spray polyurethane and tips to remember when using the product.

What Are the Different Types of Spray Polyurethane?

Spray polyurethane is a super-tough varnish formula that provides an even finish on a wide range of surfaces. The finish surfaces become resistant to abrasion, water, organic solvent, and mechanical impacts.

What Are the Different Types of Spray Polyurethane

Some spray polyurethane formulas have oil to give wood a warm and amber tone. Other poly sprays lack oil to offer light colors where necessary. These application results bring about the different types of spray polyurethane.

Oil-Based Spray Polyurethane

The varnish formula offers an amber tone to wood surfaces and warms them up. It is a hard and durable film that takes a long time to dry.

It also has higher VOCs emission and is not available in many parts across the country. Always use mineral spirit when cleaning up the varnish finish.

Water-Based Spray Polyurethane

The varnish formula is the best option for preserving the wood’s color. It has a milky appearance while in the can and dries up to form a crystal clear surface.

The wood surface will need more coats for better results. Besides that, it dries faster than oil-based formula. It also requires good ventilation during application.

Always use soap and water when cleaning up surfaces with water-based poly. Do not use ammonia-based cleaners to remove the wood finish.

Water-Based and Oil-Modified Spray Polyurethane

The varnish formula results in a super-tough amber tone film on a wide range of surfaces. It dries up fast and is compatible with all types of woods.

Use distilled water to clean up surfaces with water-based oil-modified poly. It is readily available across the country due to the low VOC emission.

Does Spray Polyurethane Work Well?

Polyurethane is a delicate finish to apply on wood surfaces. But spray polyurethane helps the user attain more accurate results in the long run.

Does Spray Polyurethane Work Well

Spray polyurethane comes with its advantages and disadvantages after application. But the merits usually outweigh the drawbacks.

Pros of Spray Polyurethane

Maximum Protection:

A combination of spray polyurethane with epoxy primers creates a smooth protective layer on any surfaces after application.

The barrier inhibits mineral salts, moisture, and ultra-violet rays from penetrating the surfaces. Plus, the protection layer prevents any surface from rusting in the long run.


Spray polyurethane applies to any type of material in all manner of construction. The coating film offers a full spectrum of sheen, from gloss to matte.

The varnish formula does not contain harmful elements, but it is advisable to use in a good ventilation space.

Improves Durability:

Spray polyurethane film improves the durability of DIY projects because the coating offers a tight bond resin structure to extend the DIY project lifespan.

The coating layer is also less susceptible to scratches and can last for many years. Besides that, it makes surfaces reflect destructive ultra-violet rays.

Aesthetic Finish:

Spray polyurethane coating brings out the beauty and natural aesthetic of any surface. It gives wood surfaces amber tones and warms them up.

Safety and Application:

Most spray polyurethane products are made from natural molecules. These molecules are harmless to people, animals and environment.

Cons of Spray Polyurethane

Long Drying Process:

Most spray polyurethane types take much longer to dry up. The user needs to exercise ultimate patience for better results in the long run.

VOCs and Toxicity:

Some spray polyurethane brands can emit volatile organic compounds since they are made from isocyanates. These elements make the spray polyurethane toxic.

Too Expensive:

A spray poly can be too expensive due to its durability, clarity, and protection. It is ridiculous to spend a lot of money on a varnish finish.

Should You Spray Polyurethane?

Polyurethane gives a smooth and gorgeous finish on a wide range of surfaces. But each type of spray polyurethane has some unique properties that set them apart.

So, should you spray polyurethane? Yes. It helps get a smooth and streak-free finishing that is challenging to attain when using a brush or a roller.

I recommend using a paint sprayer for spraying polyurethane for better and desirable results. Otherwise, you risk getting streak marks when using a brush or a roller.

How to Spray Polyurethane?

Spraying polyurethane is the quickest and easiest way to get a fine finish surface. Below are quick steps to spray polyurethane:

Step 1: Cover your body with protective equipment since polyurethane products contain volatile organic compounds that make them toxic.

Step 2: Stir the polyurethane to flatten any solids and agents sunk at the bottom. Use a mesh filter to remove the remaining solids and thin the polyurethane to give it a smooth finish.

Step 3: Prepare your workspace since controlling spray polyurethane can be challenging. Ensure the room has adequate ventilation to avoid suffocation.

Step 4: Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the wooden surfaces after sanding. I also recommend using a damp tack cloth to clean the wooden surfaces.

Step 5: Test your paint sprayer since it can be unpredictable when using it. Testing also helps an individual to know when to use or not use the polyurethane finish.

Step 6: Apply the first coat of polyurethane by holding the canister about 10-12 inches away from the wooden surface. Keep the coating film thin by spraying in one motion.

Step 7: Allow the coating to dry for 2-4 hours and sand it. Use 220-grit sandpaper to remove dust nibs and uneven spots, and use a vacuum cleaner again to eliminate all the dust.

Step 8: Apply another coat and repeat steps 6-8 until you get the desired finish. Add 3-4 coats for a smooth finish result, and allow the polyurethane to cure before placing heavy items on it.

Tips to Remember When Spraying Polyurethane

Spraying polyurethane is a no-brainer task since it is quick and exciting. It can be painful if you do not watch out. Below are quick tips to remember when spraying polyurethane:

  • Keep an eye on the drips and runs when spraying polyurethane on vertical surfaces.
  • Always spray thin films on surfaces and wait for them to dry completely before adding.
  • Use a sharp blade to remove runs on any surface.
  • Ensure the workspace has adequate lighting and proper ventilation.
  • Wear protective gear and avail cleaning tools before spraying polyurethane

Bottom Line

Spraying polyurethane is the quickest and most exciting method to apply the poly formula. But remember to take time during preparation to get a smooth and even finish after it dries up.

So, does spray polyurethane work well? Absolutely. It gives a smooth, buttery, and good-looking finish. It also reduces the hassle of using a foam brush or roller.

I recommend sticking to the instruction guidelines mentioned above for a better result. Feel free to share this article with your friends or family.

Being a professional painter, James never limits himself to his job only. He wants to utilize his decade of painting experience by helping people who don’t have much knowledge about painting. That is why he created this site Paintersprayer, where he will share all of his experiences about painting with a broader audience. In Paintersprayer, James will share his knowledge and skill and help people select the best paint spraying and other painting tools.

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