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What Is The Best Top Coat For Painted Furniture

Wouter Wargerink

Posted on May 17 2018

  Are you looking for the best way to protect your painted furniture with a top coat but are not sure which one to choose? Continue reading to find out all about using the different types of coatings that will help you protect your newly painted furniture from scratches and stains. After finishing this article, you'll know what is the best top coat for painted furniture.  If you’re a DIY enthusiast like me who loves to renovate and redecorate old pieces of wood furniture, you probably know the importance of applying the right layer of topcoat. But, let’s face it. We are not professionals and little do we know about all the ins-and-outs of the different types of coatings available. So, how do we know what is the best top coat for painted furniture? And what top coat do we apply on different types of paints? And, in general, how do I protect my painted furniture? Throughout this article, LANGRIA will cover the most important details on the different topcoats available that help you protect your newly painted furniture. [caption id="attachment_745" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Furniture Coating Source: ldcarnevalli[/caption]

When to add an extra top coat to painted furniture

Top coats are used to protect your painted furniture from stains, scratches, and other small impacts. If you’re living in a lively household with kids and pets, it is smart to use a coating to protect your furniture from the daily activities in and around your home. Feet on the furniture, toys on the cabinet, loud bangs - you name it. If these occurrences are common to you, you might want to consider protecting your painted home decor with an extra layer of topcoat. Although not a single topcoat is bulletproof, they sure do add some extra protection to your beloved furniture pieces. There are many different types of protective coatings available, each of which has its own benefits. Luckily for us, it is a simple task to apply these topcoats. Whether you simply wish to protect an old piece of furniture or are working on a new DIY project - below you’ll find all the information needed to choose the right type of top coat.  

Different types of topcoats for furniture

As you probably have noticed before, there are many different types of topcoats available to protect your painted furniture. Each of these top coatings is a little bit different. Below, we’ll have a closer look at the most common types.  

Polyurethane:

One of the most commonly used top coats for painted furniture is Polyurethane. This coating is oil-based and is mainly applied on stained surfaces. It furthermore works best on oil-based paints. Polyurethane offers great durability and protection to your painted furniture over a long period of time. Although very durable, people have mixed experiences with using Polyurethane as a top coat for painted furniture. The most common complaint from people who have used this material to coat their painted furniture relates to the fact that, over time, it tends to yellow your paint. As a result, the color of your paint-job may fade or change over time which naturally has an effect on the appearance of your decor. [caption id="attachment_740" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Top Coating Furniture Source: Nooga[/caption] Applying Polyurethane as a top coat onto your painted furniture is easy. Simply use a high-quality paintbrush to apply a thin layer of coating onto your furniture. Then, apply a light sanding, another light coat, light sanding, and at last the final light layer of coating. Personally, I like to work with a satin Polyurethane because the glossy ones are, in my opinion, way too shiny. Keep in mind that, when you do not use a fast-drying Polyurethane, it will take a couple of days for your piece to fully cure and dry.  

Polycrylic:

Unlike the oil-based Polyurethane coating that we covered above, Polycrylic is a water-based. This topcoat works fine with any type of wood or painted furniture. Just like Polyurethane, this topcoat offers great durability and protection over time for your newly painted decor. [caption id="attachment_741" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Wood Coatings - Langria Source: Beautiful Matters[/caption] Applying a Polycrylic topcoat onto your wood furniture can be done in the same way as you apply your regular Polyurethane coating. Additionally, this type of coating can also be sprayed on with a regular paint spray. The second method is much easier and takes less time as you only need to apply one layer of coating. Once in place, this type of topcoat will protect your wood furniture from scratches and stains for years to come.  

Furniture Wax:

Another widely-used and highly popular type of topcoat for painted furniture is furniture wax. Furniture wax is highly popular among a large group of people. Generally speaking, this topcoat offers a flat finish to your decor. Furniture wax is very easy to apply by rubbing it onto your wood using a cloth. [caption id="attachment_742" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Furniture Wax - Langria Source: Bric-a-Brac[/caption] After it has been applied, simply let it sit to harden and, once done, buff it. Waxing furniture is easy but relatively time-consuming. Once in place, however, it treats you to great protection that will keep your furniture clear of stains and scratches for years to come. If you’re looking for a flat finish, this topcoat is the perfect choice for you.  

Clear Topcoat Sprays

Spray topcoats are commonly applied to pieces that have been spray painted. In most cases, spray-painted furniture or decor does not need an extra layer of coating. Spray paint is usually applied to decorative pieces that are not going to be handled a lot. In such case, no coating is needed at all. If, however, you still wish to apply an extra layer of protection, a clear topcoat spray is the way to go. Furniture Spray Top Coating Clear topcoat spray does not only give your decor an extra layer of protection, it also add more shine and gloss. Just remember to apply the spray coating in light layers. Applying this coating is easy as all you need to do is spray it on. There is one tricky part, however. If you are trying to apply a semi-gloss or full-gloss to a large piece of furniture, it may be difficult to get the same level of gloss all over your piece. This is why we recommend you to apply multiple thin layers. After applying each layer of coat, check if the gloss is equal all over your decor piece. In this way, you make sure that you won’t end up with streaks.  

2-in-1 Top-Coated Paint

Why not save yourself some time by combining your paint-job and coating-job together? Nowadays, there are several top-coat paints available. These paints already have a topcoat built into them that will add extra protection to your furniture. If, however, you are painting a piece that will be used a lot such as a chair or tabletop, we would still advise you to apply an extra layer of top coating [caption id="attachment_744" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Top Coating Furniture - Langria Source: Erin Spain[/caption] The best part about these top-coated paints is that they normally are water-based. Once applied, they will offer great protection over a long period of time. It is furthermore worth mentioning that these type of paints generally do not change color over time. You can simply apply a light layer of paint, let it dry, and you’re ready to go. It can’t get any easier than that, can it?  

Do I really need a top coating?

Although a topcoat offers great protection to your newly painted decor piece, you do not always need to apply an extra layer of topcoat. These cases include scenarios such as:
  • High-gloss and semi-gloss paints are quite durable on themselves and are easy to clean when they get dirty. Because of this, you do not necessarily have to apply an extra layer of topcoat on pieces that have been finished off with a glossy paint.
  • Spray painted decor pieces that are not handled a lot on daily bases such as lamps, wall decor, or photo frames do not need an extra topcoat layer.
  • Any piece of accent/decorative furniture in your home such as old chairs or cabinets that do not see a lot of usage really do not need an extra layer of coating.
Please keep in mind that the scenarios listed above are only applicable if you live in a quiet household without young children or pets running around. If you have a lively home, it is highly recommended to apply an extra layer of topcoat to any piece of furniture you believe is necessary. If you have any more questions about the best top coat for painted furniture or if you have any tips or tricks yourself, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog or to like us on social media for more weekly post on furniture and fun DIY projects.

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