The Best Polyurethane for Countertops [Reviews/Buy Guide]

What is Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a synthetic resin that is made up of two components: polyester and isocyanate. It can be used to create many different products, including countertops, flooring, furniture, and car parts. It is also a popular finish for wood countertops, providing a durable and long-lasting protection for your wood surfaces. But one of the most common questions when it comes to finishing with polyurethane is, how many coats are necessary? In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to determine the right number of coats for your wood countertops.

Types of Polyurethane for Table Tops

There are two main types of polyurethane that you can use to finish your wood countertops: water-based polyurethane and oil-based polyurethane. Both types have their pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that works best for your specific project.

1. Water-based polyurethane

It is a more environmentally friendly option and dries faster than oil-based polyurethane. It also tends to be less yellowing over time and is easy to clean up with soap and water. However, water-based polyurethane may not be as durable as oil-based polyurethane and may not provide as much protection against scratches and stains.

2. Oil-based polyurethane

Provides a strong and durable finish, but it can be more difficult to work with and can take longer to dry. It also has a strong odor and is not as environmentally friendly as water-based polyurethane.

Best Polyurethane for Countertops

  1. General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat, 1 Quart, Satin
  2. General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Quart, Black
  3. Water-Base Wipe-On Polyurethane 16fl oz
  4. Minwax 618514444 Water-Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, quart
  5. Tuff Duck Concrete Countertop Sealer 750ml (24 oz) Counter-top
  6. Eco Advance Wood Siloxane Waterproofer – 1 Gallon – Transparent

Eco Advance Wood Siloxane Waterproofer - 1 Gallon
Tuff Duck Concrete Countertop Sealer 750ml
Minwax 618514444 Water-Based Pre- Stain
Minwax 60900000 Wipe-On Poly,
General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain
General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 5 Gallon,
Eco Advance Exterior Wood Siloxane Odorless Spray-On Application Waterproofer Water Repellent, Safe for Use Around Plants, Pets, and People, 1 Gallon
Tuff Duck Concrete Countertop Sealer 750ml (24 oz) Counter-top
Minwax 618514444 Water-Based Pre- Stain Wood Conditioner, 1 Quart, Clear
Minwax 60900000 Wipe-On Poly, Quart, Gloss, 32 Fl Oz
General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Gallon, Antique Brown
General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 5 Gallon, Gloss
$24.97
$34.95
$17.98
$27.88
$99.95
$400.00
Eco Advance Wood Siloxane Waterproofer - 1 Gallon
Eco Advance Exterior Wood Siloxane Odorless Spray-On Application Waterproofer Water Repellent, Safe for Use Around Plants, Pets, and People, 1 Gallon
$24.97
Tuff Duck Concrete Countertop Sealer 750ml
Tuff Duck Concrete Countertop Sealer 750ml (24 oz) Counter-top
$34.95
Minwax 618514444 Water-Based Pre- Stain
Minwax 618514444 Water-Based Pre- Stain Wood Conditioner, 1 Quart, Clear
$17.98
Minwax 60900000 Wipe-On Poly,
Minwax 60900000 Wipe-On Poly, Quart, Gloss, 32 Fl Oz
$27.88
General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain
General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Gallon, Antique Brown
$99.95
General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 5 Gallon,
General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 5 Gallon, Gloss
$400.00

How To Finish A Table Top With A Polyurethane In Easy Steps

To finish a table top with polyurethane, there are a few steps you need to follow to ensure a smooth and successful project. Firstly, you’ll need to gather the tools you need, which typically include a brush, roller, or sprayer, sandpaper, and a clean cloth.

Once you have your tools, you’ll need to prepare the surface of your table top by sanding it smooth and removing any dust or debris. Next, you’ll apply the first coat of polyurethane using your chosen tool. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application, including the recommended drying time.

After the first coat has dried, you’ll need to sand the surface lightly to remove any bumps or rough spots. You’ll then clean the surface and apply a second coat of polyurethane. The process of sanding and cleaning after each coat will ensure that your final finish is smooth and even.

Tools to Apply Polyurethane

When it comes to applying polyurethane to your table top, there are several tools that you can use. Each tool has its pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that works best for your specific project.

1. Brushes are a popular option for applying polyurethane, as they are easy to use and can provide a smooth and even finish. However, brushes can be messy and difficult to clean, so they may not be the best choice if you’re looking for a quick and easy solution.

2. Rollers are another option for applying polyurethane, and they can be a good choice if you’re looking for a quick and easy solution. Rollers are also a good option if you’re looking for a smooth and even finish, but they can be difficult to control and may not provide the level of detail that you’re looking for.

3. Sprayers are a third option for applying polyurethane, and they can provide a quick and easy solution for covering large areas. Sprayers are also a good choice for achieving a smooth and even finish, but they can be messy and difficult to control, so it’s important to practice using them before applying polyurethane to your table top.

The Steps

  1. Gather your tools: You’ll need a brush, roller, or sprayer, sandpaper, and a clean cloth.
  2. Prepare the surface: Sand the surface of your table top to make it smooth and remove any dust or debris.
  3. Apply the first coat: Use your chosen tool to apply the first coat of polyurethane, following the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying time.
  4. Sand and clean the surface: After the first coat has dried, sand the surface lightly to remove any bumps or rough spots. Clean the surface and remove any dust or debris.
  5. Apply the second coat: Apply a second coat of polyurethane, following the same process as the first coat.
  6. Sand and clean the surface: After the second coat has dried, sand the surface lightly to remove any bumps or rough spots. Clean the surface and remove any dust or debris.
  7. Apply additional coats (if necessary): Repeat the process of sanding, cleaning, and applying additional coats until you have achieved the desired number of coats.

Why It’s A Good Idea To Finish Your Table Top With A Polyurethane

Finishing your table top with a polyurethane provides several benefits, including protection against scratches and stains, a smooth and even finish, and increased durability. Polyurethane can also help to enhance the natural beauty of your wood countertops, making them a beautiful addition to your home.

The Caveats Of Using A Polyurethane On Your Table Top

While there are many benefits to using a polyurethane finish on your table top, there are also a few drawbacks to consider. For example, polyurethane can be messy and difficult to work with, and it can take several coats to achieve the desired level of protection. Additionally, some types of polyurethane can yellow over time, so it’s important to choose the right type for your specific project.

Related Post: The Best Brush For Applying Polyurethane [Reviews/Buy Guide]

7 Most Relevant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many coats of polyurethane should I use on my table top?

The number of coats you use will depend on the type of polyurethane you choose, the specific use of the table top, and your personal preference. Generally, 2-3 coats are recommended, but additional coats may be necessary for increased durability and protection.

How long should I wait between coats of polyurethane?

It is recommended to wait at least 24 hours between coats of polyurethane. However, the specific drying time will depend on the type of polyurethane you use, as well as the temperature and humidity in your workspace.

Can I apply polyurethane with a roller or brush?

Yes, you can apply polyurethane with a roller or brush, but the specific tool you use will depend on your personal preference and the type of finish you want to achieve.

Do I need to sand between coats of polyurethane?

Yes, it is recommended to sand between coats of polyurethane to ensure a smooth and even finish. This will also help to remove any bumps or rough spots that may have developed during the drying process.

Can I apply polyurethane over an already finished surface?

Yes, you can apply polyurethane over an already finished surface, but it’s important to first sand the surface to ensure the new coat will adhere properly. You may also need to clean the surface and remove any oils or debris to ensure a smooth and even application.

Can I use polyurethane on outdoor wood countertops?

Yes, you can use polyurethane on outdoor wood countertops, but it’s important to choose a type of polyurethane that is specifically designed for outdoor use. This will help to ensure that the finish will withstand the elements and maintain its protection and durability.

How long does polyurethane take to dry?

The drying time for polyurethane will depend on the type of polyurethane you use, as well as the temperature and humidity in your workspace. Generally, it can take anywhere from 2-6 hours for each coat to dry, but it’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific drying times.

 

Factors To Consider Choosing the Best Polyurethane for Countertops

how many coats of polyurethane on wood countertops

When choosing a polyurethane for countertops, you’ll need to consider the following factors:

1. Durability

The polyurethane you choose should be durable enough to withstand the everyday wear and tear of a busy kitchen. Look for one that is scratch-resistant, heat-resistant, and stain-resistant.

If you’re looking for a particularly tough polyurethane, consider an oil-based product. These products are more durable than water-based polyurethanes, but they are also more difficult to apply.

2. Appearance

Oil-based polyurethane products typically have a higher sheen than water-based products.

If you prefer a matte or satin finish, choose a water-based polyurethane. These products are less likely to show scratches and fingerprints than their high-gloss counterparts.

3. Protection

Polyurethane for countertops will protect the surface from scratches, chips, and other wear and tear. It is also resistant to heat and moisture, making it a great option for kitchens and bathrooms. With proper care, your polyurethane countertop will last for years.

4. Fast Drying

Water-based polyurethane is fast drying. It can be recoated in two hours, which is great if you’re impatient like me.

It will be dry to the touch within minutes and fully cured within a few hours. This means that you don’t have to worry about it getting on your clothes or furniture.

You can also apply it in layers, so you can get the perfect finish.

5. Eco-Friendly

Unlike Oil-based Polyurethane, water-based Polyurethane is eco-friendly. It does not contain any harmful solvents and emits very low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

So, if you are looking for an environmentally friendly option, then water-based Polyurethane is the best choice.

6. Waterproof

Oil-based polyurethane is the best type of polyurethane to use for countertops because it is waterproof. It will also resist staining and fading, making it a great choice for high-traffic areas.

7. Food Safe

If you are looking for a polyurethane that is food-friendly, you should consider using the water-based option. This type of sealant will not affect you if swallowed in food. It is also non-toxic.

Related Post: Polyurethane Waterproofing; How to Get It Right the First Time

Conclusion

Finishing your wood countertops with a polyurethane is a great way to protect and enhance the natural beauty of your wood. With the right tools and a bit of patience, it’s easy to achieve a smooth and even finish that will stand the test of time. Whether you’re using a brush, roller, or sprayer, it’s important to take your time and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the best results. By following these simple steps and considering the tips and recommendations outlined in this article, you can ensure a beautiful and long-lasting finish for your wood countertops.

It’s also important to keep in mind the specific needs of your wood countertops, such as if it will be used for food preparation or if it will be exposed to moisture or heat. This will help you to choose the right type of polyurethane and to take the necessary precautions to protect your investment. With a little bit of time and effort, you can easily enjoy beautiful, durable, and protected wood countertops for years to come. So don’t hesitate to get started on your finishing project today.