Table of Contents
Polyurethane finish is one of the most popular finishes used in woodworking, furniture-making, and flooring. It provides a hard, durable and long-lasting layer of protection for your wooden surfaces. However, there are two ways to apply polyurethane – Wipe on Poly and Brush on Poly. While both methods can provide great results, they have their pros and cons. In this article, we will be discussing Wipe on Poly vs Brush on Poly, so you can make an informed decision on which one to choose.
Wipe or brush on a polyurethane finish are both applied in the same manner, although the procedure is somewhat different. Just remember to execute long, uniform strokes and work in little sections.
What Is Polyurethane Finish and What Does It Do?
Polyurethane finish is a type of protective coating that is applied to wooden surfaces. It is made up of a mixture of polymer resins and solvents that provide a tough, long-lasting layer of protection against scratches, dents, and other types of wear and tear. Polyurethane finish also helps to enhance the natural beauty of the wood, providing a glossy or satin finish that can last for years.
What’s the Difference Between Wipe on Poly and Brush on Poly?
The main difference between Wipe on Poly and Brush on Poly is the application method. Wipe on Poly is applied using a clean cloth or rag, while Brush on Poly is applied using a brush.
Another difference is the consistency of the finish. Wipe on Poly is usually thinner and has a more liquid consistency, making it easier to apply evenly. Brush on Poly, on the other hand, is thicker and has a more viscous consistency, making it easier to control and apply in a more precise manner.
What are the Pros and Cons of Wiping on Poly?
Pros of Wipe-On Poly:
Wipe on Poly has several advantages over Brush on Poly. For example,
- Wipe on Poly is usually easier to apply and provides a smoother, more even finish.
- It is also easier to clean up, as you can simply use a cloth to wipe away any excess finish.
- Wipe on Poly is usually more cost-effective, as it requires less time and materials to apply.
- Wipe on poly dries very quickly. This means that you can apply multiple coats in a single day, which is not possible with brush-on poly.
Cons of Wipe-On Poly:
- It can be more difficult to control the amount of finish that is applied, making it more prone to drips and streaks.
- Wipe on Poly is usually less durable than Brush on Poly, as it provides a thinner layer of protection. This means that it may need to be reapplied more often to maintain its protection.
What are the Pros and Cons of Brushing on Poly?
Pros of Brush-On Poly
Brush on Poly has several advantages over Wipe on Poly.
- Brush on Poly is usually more durable, as it provides a thicker layer of protection. This means that it will last longer and need to be reapplied less often.
- Brush on Poly is usually easier to control, making it less prone to drips and streaks.
- It is easier to get a uniform coat with fewer brush strokes.
- It is generally quicker to apply a finish with a brush than it is to wipe it on.
Cons of Brush-On Poly
- You need to be very careful with brushing on polyurethane. If you put on too much, it will create runs in the finish. Wiping polyurethane also gives you a little more time to work with the finish and avoid runs.
- It is also difficult to get a consistent thickness with a brush on polyurethane. Wiping gives you more control over the amount of finish that you are applying.
- Brush on polyurethane can also be difficult to apply in tight spaces. Wiping is a better option for getting into nooks and crannies and brushing on polyurethane dries more quickly than wiping polyurethane, so you have to work fast.
- Brush on polyurethane can be tricky to apply evenly. Wiping gives you a more consistent finish.
How Does Wipe-On Poly Compare to Brush-On Poly In Terms Of Durability?
Wipe on poly is very durable. It is more durable than brush-on poly. Wipe on the poly can last for years without chipping or peeling. Brush on poly, on the other hand, will only last for a few months before it starts to chip and peel. So, if you’re looking for a durable finish for your project, wipe-on poly is the way to go.
Is it Possible to use a Wipe-On Polyurethane?
Yes, it is possible to use a wipe-on polyurethane through Wipe-on polyurethane is typically thinner than brush-on polyurethane, which makes it easier to apply evenly.
Can Wipe on Poly be Used Over Brush on Poly?
Yes, you can use wipe on poly over brush. However, you should be aware that the brush on poly will act as a barrier and the wipe on poly may not adhere as well.
Is it Safe to Use a Cleaning Solution Made of Poly on Tabletops?
Yes, it is safe to use a cleaning solution made of poly on tabletops. However, you should always test the solution in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it does not damage the finish.
What Kind of Rag do you Use to Wipe on Poly?
You can use a lint-free cloth, such as an old T-shirt, or a synthetic chamois. Cotton rags can leave behind fibers.
Do you Sand Between Coats of Wipe on Poly?
You don’t have to sand between coats of wipe on poly, but you can if you want to. If you do sand, use fine-grit sandpaper (at least 220) and lightly sand the surface in the same direction as the grain. Wipe off any dust with a clean cloth before applying the next coat.
How to Apply & Wipe-On Polyurethane
Applying a wipe-on polyurethane finish is easy and doesn’t require any fancy equipment. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by stirring the can of polyurethane thoroughly, then pour some into a bowl. Next, dip a rag into the polyurethane and wipe it onto the surface you’re treating. Work in small sections, using long, even strokes. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
- Once you’ve covered the entire surface, go over it again with a clean rag to remove any excess polyurethane. Allow the finish to dry for at least four hours before handling or using the item. If you’re working on something that will get a lot of wear and tear, like a tabletop, it’s best to wait 24 hours before putting it to use.
- Applying a brush on polyurethane is pretty similar to wiping on poly, but there are a few key differences. First, you’ll need to invest in a good-quality natural bristle brush. (I like Purdue brushes.) Pour some polyurethane into a bowl and dip your brush into it, then brush it onto the surface you’re working on. Again, work in small sections and use long, even strokes.
- When you’re finished, clean your brush with mineral spirits and allow the finish to dry. As with wipe-on poly, it’s best to wait 24 hours before using the item if it’s going to see a lot of wear and tear.
How Many Coats of Wipe-On Poly Should you Use?
The amount of coats you will need to apply depends on the surface you’re working with, the type of polyurethane finish you’re using, and your personal preferences.
Some people like to apply multiple thin coats of wipe on poly, while others prefer to apply a single thicker coat. There is no right or wrong answer here, and it comes down to what you’re most comfortable with.
When you’re working with a particularly porous surface, or if you’re using a water-based polyurethane finish, you may need to apply more coats to get the desired level of protection. On the other hand, if you’re working with a non-porous surface or an oil-based polyurethane finish, you may be able to get away with fewer coats.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and apply more coats rather than less. You can always sand down the finish if it’s too thick, but you can’t do anything if the finish isn’t thick enough to protect your project.
Use as many coats as you feel comfortable with. Start with one or two coats, and see how it goes from there. You can always add more if you feel like it’s necessary.
How can you Apply a Wipe on Poly Without Getting Streaks?
Getting streaks in your wipe-on polyurethane is a common problem, but it’s also one that can be easily avoided. To avoid streaks, make sure to use a clean and lint-free rag. Avoid using rags that have any fibers or rough spots that can leave marks on the surface. Also, be sure to pour enough wipe-on polyurethane onto the rag to cover a small section at a time. This will help you avoid over-applying the polyurethane, which can lead to drips and runs.
Another tip is to make sure to apply the wipe-on polyurethane in the same direction each time. This will help to ensure a uniform and consistent finish. Additionally, be sure to wipe off any excess polyurethane after each pass, as this can also lead to streaks. By following these tips, you can avoid streaks and achieve a smooth and beautiful finish with your wipe-on polyurethane.
Wipe-on polyurethane and brush-on polyurethane are two great options for protecting and finishing your wood surfaces. Wipe-on polyurethane is easy to apply and dries quickly, making it a great option for small projects and those who don’t have a lot of experience with polyurethane. On the other hand, brush-on polyurethane is ideal for larger projects and those who want a thicker, more durable finish.