Water-based lacquers offer extra durability compared to oil-based finishes. Make sure that you clearly understand the distinctions between these two major types of finish before you dive into your latest project. However, you must be careful to apply this in a well-ventilated area. Prepare the wood. You have a completed wood project sitting in the garage, just waiting on a final topcoat. This is an excellent question as one is definitely better suited to the fluctuations of temperature that are typically seen in outdoor areas. The thickness of the polyurethane also means that it takes fewer coats to get adequate coverage and to protect the wood beneath. No matter what your unique situation is, many people find that they need to know what type of finish should go on their latest wood project. The organic solvents in oil-based products soak the wood grain, so the varnish penetrates deeply, whereas water-based products tend to remain on the surface. Both options are also available in spray cans that can make application as easy as possible. Can Odorless Polyurethane Be Used for Wood Tabletops? How to Fix Yellowing on a Furniture Finish. Best of all, applying polyurethane doesn't require spray equipment and is a job you can easily do yourself. Understanding the differences between lacquer vs. polyurethane durability can help you to make a wise choice when it comes to finishing your latest project. Should I Use Polyurethane, Shellac or Varnish for a Tabletop? It forms a hard finish that is particularly resistant to damage that stems from water and heat. First, let’s take a look at what lacquer actually is and how it is applied to your wood surfaces. This helps to give your home a sense of continuity so that the floors, stairs, and banister all match one another. The main difference between water- and oil-based products is the appearance of the finish. The second advantage is that water-based products dry quickly, allowing you to apply several coats in a single day. This option is less toxic and is virtually odorless, making it a great option for individuals who don’t have a large and well-ventilated workspace. This could include using coasters for drinks or hot pads underneath dishes that came straight out of the oven. These machines can cost upwards of $100, so be prepared to make an investment in the tools necessary to apply this type of finish. (You can use a natural bristle brush with oil-based poly, but keep an eye out for loose brush hairs.) Can You Use Polyurethane Inside or Outside? It is not brittle and is more flexible, making it resistant to both wear and scratches. You can find lacquer and polyurethane that are comparable in price, but which one is really the better bargain? This means that it absorbs water, something that is particularly important if you are talking about outdoor furniture, boats, or decks. Keep in mind that it does not typically hold up well to extreme temperatures or chemicals. Both lacquer and polyurethane are durable options, but they can play different roles in your finishing process. Polyurethane is a synthetic plastic that replaces plant alkyds. It is a preferred option for furniture because it sprays on smooth and even. Every poly has its preferred applicator, typically a … The film in traditional varnish is usually provided by plant-based alkyds combined with linseed or tung oil. Water-based polyurethane has two important advantages over the oil-based variety. How to Apply Polyurethane: Brush On, Wipe On, or Spray? This is an additional cost because you will have to supply more materials to get the job done right. Type above and press Enter to search. This will help it to show fewer fingerprints than the glossy surfaces of lacquer-finished projects. Depending on your latest project, you might be wondering which finish you should use for your exterior wood surfaces. Natural bristles are best for oil-based products, but because such bristles swell in contact with water, synthetic bristles are best for water-based products. Instead of creating an amber color on the wood, it remains clear. How to Make Pine Floors More Dent-Resistant. However, it can easily crack and peel when the wood is exposed to extreme temperature and moisture levels. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. Polyurethane is plastic in liquid form. Using a clean, damp rag, rub the surface of the wood. Applying it is simple with either a natural-bristle brush or a rag. A lower gloss level will show fewer scratches and less wear and tear over time.