Are you planning a project that you want to finish with a protective coat of polyurethane but were hoping for some color? How can you get the color you want with the durability of polyurethane? You've come to the right place; we've done the research to bring you all the answers with this article.
Yes, polyurethane can be found tinted in different shades.
Tinted polyurethanes can be applied over a primer or on natural wood. The effect you get with a tinted polyurethane is not quite the same as its uncolored counterpart. Keep reading to learn more about finishing with colored polyurethane.
In What Colors are Polyurethane Available?
You can get polyurethane tinted in just about any color you would like. There are a variety of pre-mixed colors and shades readily available on the market.
If you can't find exactly what you're looking for, you can have a custom shade mixed at your local paint store. This can be especially beneficial if you are trying to match an exact color or shade.
What Does a Colored Polyurethane Finish Look Like?
When used over wood, a colored polyurethane looks a lot like a stain with a polyurethane clear coat on top of it. When a tinted polyurethane is used over a solid color, it increases the vibrancy of the shade and creates a durable topcoat.
Using colored polyurethane over natural wood will have transparency, allowing the natural grain of the wood to show through. Using polyurethane in either way will create a layer of protection for your project.
Minwax Polyshades Stain
This tinted polyurethane is like a stain and poly all in one. Click here to see it on Amazon.
Can You Use Tinted Polyurethane Over Paint?
Yes, you can use tinted polyurethane over acrylic or latex paint and primer for a long-lasting protective coating. When planning to use it over paint, make sure you check the instructions and cross-reference your paint with your polyurethane to ensure they will work together properly. Some tinted polyurethane products should only be used over primer, so be aware of what you are purchasing.
Can You Use Tinted Polyurethane Over Finished Wood?
Yes, tinted polyurethane can be used over finished wood to provide an extra layer of protection. You can even apply it over an existing coat of polyurethane as long as you sand it first. As long as the existing finish isn't darker than the tint of the polyurethane, it will be visible, adding the shade of the tint to your project.
How To Use a Colored Polyurethane?
You should always follow the product's instructions to ensure the best final appearance. If you are working with natural wood, you can usually apply the polyurethane finish after sanding.
If you are using polyurethane over paint or primer, follow the paint instructions and allow it to dry completely before applying your polyurethane coating.
General Finishes White Poly
This white-tinted polyurethane finish is recommended for use over primer. Click here to see it on Amazon.
How Many Coats of Polyurethane Should I Use?
Most polyurethane finishes call for the application of 3-4 coats. You will need to allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next. It is also recommended to gently sand the finish between coats to create an appropriate surface for the finish to stick to.
What Kind of Brush Should You Use to Apply Polyurethane?
High-quality natural bristle brushes are the best brushes to use when applying polyurethane, ensuring a smooth application with minimal streaking. Synthetic bristle brushes provide the next most even application and tend to be less costly than natural brushes. Foam brushes are the most economical option, but they're best for small projects and become tedious to use on larger jobs.
These 2-inch brushes will work great for polyurethane, as well as many other paints and varnishes. Click here to take a look at this set on Amazon.
Can You Use Polyurethane in a Paint Sprayer?
Yes, a paint sprayer is a great way to coat your project in polyurethane, leaving you with a nearly perfect finish lacking any visible brushstrokes. Some thicker oil-based polyurethanes may need to be thinned with mineral spirits before they will spray properly.
Make sure you clean your sprayer very well after spraying polyurethane; allowing it to dry inside the sprayer can damage the machine.
What is the Least Shiny Polyurethane?
The least shiny finish that polyurethane is available in is matte. Satin has a slightly shinier finish than matte. In semi-gloss finishes, you can see the shine intensify, but glossy is the shiniest finish of polyurethane.
Matte and satin finishes are less noticeable than semi-gloss and glossy finishes, which grab attention.
Can You Reduce the Gloss of Polyurethane?
If you have furniture with a high-gloss finish that you would like to tone down, there are some measures you can take to create a more matte look. Try using a furniture wax or polish that creates a matte finish; this is a great solution because it doesn't do any damage to the finish of your piece and can easily be removed.
Is Polyurethane OK for Exterior Use?
For exterior applications, spar urethane is a better option than polyurethane. Spar urethane is designed for interior and exterior applications and offers UV protection and weather resistance, unlike polyurethane. Spar varnish can also be tinted to meet your needs and will provide a very similar look to a polyurethane finish.
Does Spar Urethane Come in Different Colors?
Spar urethane is not typically available in premixed colors, but you can add your tint to it or request it tinted at your paint shop. Tints can be found in a variety of colors and can be mixed to create the color you need.
Like tinted polyurethane, colored spar urethanes will have a transparent quality and are available in matte, satin, semi-gloss and glossy.
Mixol Tint Set
This set of tints works with most paints, varnishes, and resins. Click here to see them on Amazon.
Can You Purchase Tinted Polyurethane Spray Paint?
Yes, tinted and untinted polyurethanes are available in spray cans for quick and easy applications. The colors available are very limited, and customization is impossible.
These are great for small or medium-sized projects, but large projects will probably be easier with a can of polyurethane and a paintbrush or paint sprayer.
Minwax Polyurethane Spray
This spray polyurethane will make short work of small projects, leaving you with a streak-free finish. Click here to see it on Amazon.
Can You Tint Polyurethane With Paint?
Yes, polyurethane can be tinted using paint however, the results are not exact. This should only be attempted by combining oil-based polyurethane with oil-based paint. Trying this method is not recommended since it's very difficult to get a specific color and shade.
Can You Tint Polyurethane With Stain?
Yes, you can try to tint polyurethane with a stain, but you would get a better-looking result from using the stain first and the polyurethane as a topcoat. Premixed tinted polyurethanes will also produce a much nicer result than attempting to mix your own. This is another method that is difficult to control, resulting in a lot of guesswork and an unpredictable outcome.
What are Tints and Dyes?
The most effective way to tint your own paint, polyurethane, or varnish is to use tints designed for this purpose. Several companies make dyes that allow you to mix and create your own color, then add them to your can of finish for a perfect color.
These tints come with instructions and are far more accurate than trying to guess how much paint or stain to add to your polyurethane.
These dyes are available in a variety of colors that will allow you to achieve the shade you need. Click here to see it on Amazon.
A Perfect Finish
Now that you know all about tinted polyurethanes and their capabilities, you're ready to choose the most appropriate finish for your project. Use care when applying polyurethane finishes, they have a very noxious chemical odor so make sure to use it in a well-ventilated area. Have fun completing your project!
If you're looking for more information on finishing natural wood projects, you should take a look at our article "Should You Oil Wood Before Staining Or Varnishing?"
For more help with painting, you should check out our article "How To Use Wood Filler Before Painting?"