Categories Painting

Can You Paint Over Polyurethane

Can you paint over polyurethane?

With interior paint trends constantly evolving and changing, people often wonder if you can paint over polyurethane to update to a new look. Polyurethane is the topcoat applied to kitchen cabinets and other wooden furniture to protect it from scratches and scuffs. While you can most certainly paint over polyurethane, you won’t get the best results unless you do the prep work first. Without sanding or applying a primer, any paint applied will end up bubbling or peeling off. There isn’t much worse than putting hours into a project, only to have the paint peel and flake and having to start over from scratch. 

Painting Over Varnish 

So many people are discovering the joys found in refinishing old furniture and cabinets. It definitely requires some elbow grease and time but is a super inexpensive way to decorate or make money on the side. Adding new life and color to a piece can be extremely satisfying, especially when you put your creativity to work. The hardest part of the process is painting over varnish, and getting your new paint to stick properly. Even some furniture that says it’s unfinished, can come with a layer of clear coat on the wood that will need to be addressed. Here are some simple steps to painting over varnish successfully. 

Supplies To Have On Hand 

  • Sandpaper-fine grade 
  • Gloves 
  • Face Mask 
  • Protective Eyewear 
  • Paintbrushes 
  • Oil Based Primer 
  • Oil Based Paint 
  • Wood filler or spackle 
  • Clean, lint-free rags 
  • Trisodium phosphate solution 

How To Paint Over Polyurethane 

  1. Be Safe and Smart 

Many of the products used in this process have strong fumes. Be certain to only apply them in well-ventilated areas or outside if possible. Carefully read the labels on all products before using them. Wear gloves, a mask, and safety goggles during the entire process for your protection. Properly dispose of any rags soaked with primer, paint, or trisodium solution as they may be flammable. 

  1. Clean the Surface 

With your rag, gently clean the surface you’re working on with the trisodium phosphate solution. This will remove all residue such as dirt, grime, or stains from the wood. Let the wood completely dry before proceeding. 

  1. Fill In Any Holes 

If the wood you’re working with has any dents, holes, or cracks, use the wood filler to fill them in completely. Once fully dry, gently sand down the area until flush with the wood. Wipe away any sand particles or remaining debris with a cloth. 

  1. Sand the Surface 

Use fine-grade sandpaper to remove the polyurethane coating from your wood. You don’t need to sand away every bit of the coating, just be consistent. Try not to over sand in some areas and not enough in others. If you don’t sand thoroughly enough, your new paint won’t adhere to the surface of your wood. Sand until the varnished wood is smooth and the wood no longer has a sheen or glossy appearance. After sanding, wipe down your furniture or cabinets with trisodium until all dust is removed. 

  1. Time to Prime 

Applying a primer will give your paint a better surface to stick to. Apply a thin layer of oil-based primer to the wood. Use even strokes to avoid splotches. Allow plenty of time for this coat of primer to dry. The primer is dry when it doesn’t feel tacky to the touch. Add a second coat of primer. Allow this coat to dry overnight for best results. 

  1. Second Sanding 

Sand the primed surface to ensure no brush strokes are visible. This should be a much quicker sanding but a worthwhile step for a smooth, cohesive, finished look. 

  1. Paint the Surface

Using long, careful strokes, apply paint to the surface. Let the first coat dry overnight. We recommend applying a second coat of paint but in some cases, the primer has done such a good job that only one coat is necessary. 

What Paint Will Stick to Polyurethane? 

Both oil-based and acrylic paints are perfect when you need to paint over polyurethane. For a more durable surface, oil-based paint is a good option. One drawback is that it produces very strong-smelling fumes. You can get close to the same results with acrylic paints, minus the fumes and harsh odor. If you live in the Boise area, you can buy the paints you need from Sherwin Williams. That’s where we get all of our paints. 

Can I Paint Over Polyurethane Without Sanding?

If you’re going to attempt to paint over varnish but really don’t want to hassle with the sanding process, there is a product you can use. Deglosser, or liquid sandpaper, is a chemical that will etch the varnish, allowing the paint to stick. Remember to wear the proper eye, hand, and mouth protection anytime you’re working with chemicals. Read the labels carefully for proper instructions and use.

Painting Over Stained Wood 

You can definitely paint over stained wood. It’s basically the same process as painting over varnish or lacquer. If you’re working on an outdoor project, be sure to use paint that is an interior/exterior formula to protect it from the elements. Always take the time to put on two full coats for best results. 

Can You Put Polyurethane Over Paint? 

Because polyurethane is a topcoat that dries clear and hard, it can absolutely be used over paint. It comes in both oil-based and water-based finishes. It can however crack in the sunlight so we don’t recommend it for outdoor use. 

You can use polyurethane to go on top of latex or oil-based paints. It’s important to note that water-based polyurethane dries clear. So if you’re wanting to display the painted surface, it’s your best choice. Oil-based polyurethane tends to yellow over time but dries harder, offering a more protective coating. You’ll have to decide whether you want a more protected surface or a more aesthetically pleasing finish.

Helpful Tips 

  • Before you open your can of polyurethane, don’t shake the can as you might with regular paint. Instead, use a stir stick to mix it thoroughly. This technique keeps the polyurethane free of bubbles that could prove troublesome down the road. 
  • Don’t use a cheap, foam paintbrush. A bristle brush will make your job a whole lot easier and will distribute the paint more evenly across the surface. 
  • Before your final coat dries, run your brush over the surface of the wood to smooth out any bubbles. 
  • You can use a spray gun instead of a brush for a more professional finish. 

Polyurethane Paint Conclusion 

If you still have questions involving any painting projects you’re working on or just simply need an excellent professional painter, give Boise Home Painting a call. When it comes to professional house painters in Boise, we understand the importance of quality and attention to detail. We use only high-quality materials and work tirelessly to ensure you’re happy once the project is complete. Plus, we paint exteriors, kitchen cabinets, interiors, and more! We serve the entire Treasure Valley including Boise, Meridian, Middleton, and Nampa

Categories Painting

Matte Finish vs Satin and Gloss Finish

Satin vs Matte vs Gloss Paint

When it comes time to purchase paint, it can seem an overwhelming task because of the different paint finishes that are available. Satin vs. matte, semi-gloss, or flat? How do you know which finish is the more appropriate choice for your project? Paint sheen, or finish, refers to the amount of light the paint reflects from its surface. Paints with no sheen absorb lights and paints with sheen reflect it. Before choosing a paint finish, be sure to consider the type of room you are painting and the durability needed for that space. 

Paint finishes can be divided into two main groups: Flat or matte finish paint vs. semi-gloss and high gloss paints. Flat or matte paints have no sheen because they absorb light. Glossy finishes reflect light and give off a shiny, and also protective sheen. So, let’s do an overview of all the most popular paint finishes to help you know what sheen will work best for you.

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Matte vs. Flat Paint 

Matte and flat paint finishes are the same things. They show little to no sheen when dry. Because they are non-reflective, they are superior when it comes to hiding surface blemishes. If you have nail holes or minor dents you want to conceal, choose a flat paint finish. Matte paints require fewer coats than higher gloss paints and are perfect for areas that require less durability such as dining rooms, bedrooms, and ceilings. Flat paints tend to hold onto dirt and are difficult to clean. Cleaning can actually remove the finish. Avoid using it in kitchens, bathrooms, playrooms, or kids’ rooms.

Eggshell Paint Finish 

When in doubt, eggshell is usually a safe way to go. It fits somewhere between matte and satin when it comes to its finish and reflects more light than matte paint. Extremely popular among homeowners, it’s perfect for your low traffic areas like family rooms, dining rooms, hallways, and entryways. Eggshell provides a low sheen and a smooth texture, just like a real eggshell. 

What is a Satin Finish Paint? 

Satin paint is often known as the most versatile paint for indoor and outdoor walls. It lends a soft, elegant sheen that reflects just the right amount of light. It’s durable enough to withstand mildew while also being more fade-resistant and easier to clean than its more flat counterparts. The difference between matte and satin is that matte offers a more natural appearance with less luster and sheen.

Semi-Gloss Paint 

Semi-gloss paint is more resistant to moisture than other finishes and has a bit more sheen than satin. Semi-gloss is an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and trim pieces. Its delicate sheen creates a bold and pleasing contrast against a more flat finish. Semi-gloss is easy to keep clean and wipes down more effortlessly than matte paints. While easier to clean, its sheen level makes blemishes and wall imperfections more visible.

High Gloss Paint 

High gloss paint is the shiniest finish and offers the most reflection of all the finishes. They are also the toughest, most durable, and stain-resistant as well. High gloss paint is the easiest to clean which is why they are typically used for doors and cabinets where hands expose them to dirt and grime. High gloss is also often used for trim and molding. 

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How a Paint Finish is Determined 

Paints with glossier finishes, like satin or semi-gloss, are produced using higher levels of resin and lower levels of pigmentation. Paints with a matte or flat finish contain higher levels of pigmentation and lower amounts of resin, making them less shiny. Latex and oil paints alike are available in a variety of sheens. Nearly every sheen and finish can be used in your home, some are just suited for certain spaces better than others. Below are some basic rules to go by when choosing the best paint finish for each room in your home. 

  • Bedrooms 

Adult or spare bedrooms are generally low traffic areas so a flat or matte finish works perfectly well. When painting a child’s bedroom, a satin sheen is typically the best choice because the walls are more likely to be scuffed or need to be cleaned more often. 

  • Bathrooms 

Bathrooms require a stronger finish that is easy to wipe down and keep clean. Satin is more durable than eggshell and is an excellent choice for ceilings and walls. We recommend semi-gloss for any trim work or moldings as it is more moisture resistant.

  • Kitchens 

Kitchens are always in use and in need of constant cleaning. A satin or semi-gloss finish is the best option, standing up to mildew, stains, and dirt. 

  • Ceilings 

Don’t waste your money on expensive paint for your ceilings. Flat or matte paint covers nicely and hides imperfections well. 

  • Hallways 

One of the most popular and widely used paints for hallway walls is eggshell. It provides a low sheen and a smooth finish. Eggshell is easier to clean than a matte finish. 

  • Living Rooms and Family Rooms 

For high-traffic family rooms and living rooms, the best paint finish to use is eggshell or satin. Satin, being a bit more durable, is perfect for family rooms while eggshell is a great fit for living and dining rooms.

  •  Interior Trim 

There is no question that high gloss paint is the best finish to use for interior trim. You definitely want to be using the most durable finish on areas that are easily scuffed, dented and dinged. 

Satin vs Matte and Gloss Finish Conclusion 

When it comes to determining a paint finish, there really is no right or wrong, just better or best. If you’re going to be starting a home painting project soon or have any questions regarding paint sheen and finish, call Boise Home Painting today. We have years of experience in the Treasure Valley with both exterior and interior painting. Painting is our passion and we want to share that passion with you. We serve the entire Boise area including Nampa, Meridian, Middleton, Eagle, and Caldwell. If you live near one of these cities, we can help you with your painting needs. 

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Categories Painting

How to Dispose of Paint in Idaho 

How to Dispose of Old Paint

Many people in the Boise area wonder how to dispose of paint. Most homeowners have a stash of partially used paint cans that have been collecting dust for years in their garage or basement. They may be holding onto them if they need to patch up a wall someday, but most simply don’t know how to properly dispose of them. Some paint is hazardous while others can be recycled or disposed of safely in a landfill. There are several different options when it comes to disposing of paint and we can help you know the proper protocol to keep us as well as our environment safe.

How To Dispose of Old Paint 

There are two main categories of paint: water-based latex paints and oil-based paints. Water-based latex paints aren’t considered Hazardous Household Wastes and can typically be dried up and allowed to be taken away with the trash. Oil-based paints along with paint thinners and other solvents are considered Hazardous Household Wastes and aren’t allowed to be poured down drains or simply taken out with the trash. 

Disposing of Water-Based Latex Paint 

While there are some local governments that will allow water-based latex paint to be thrown away with the trash, the paint always needs to be in solid form before throwing it out. You can do this by allowing the paint to dry out completely by leaving the lid off and allowing proper drying time before discarding. Be sure to leave open paint cans out of reach of children and pets for safety purposes. If only a small amount of paint remains in the can, leave the lid off in a well-ventilated area until it solidifies. Try adding kitty litter, shredded newspaper, or waste paint hardener to partially full cans of paint to assist in the clumping process and help the drying along. 

Disposing of Oil-Based Paint 

It is never a good idea to leave numerous cans of oil-based paint to dry out because it can create a build-up of harmful fumes. Also, never pour oil-based paint down the drain or into the trash. In the Boise, Treasure Valley area, there are collection sites where you can drop-off

Household Hazardous Waste once a month in several different locations across the valley. Visit for collection site locations, calendars, and maps of local recycling centers. 

Household Hazardous Waste comes from products used for cleaning, car maintenance, lawn and garden care, and home improvements that can harm the environment and human health. Taking time to properly dispose of these products will help keep our community safe and clean. 

How to Dispose of Paint Cans 

Empty metal paint cans are accepted for recycling at most household waste recycling centers. Boise’s recycling program is very sophisticated, going through dozens of steps and sorting as part of their process. Western Recycling as well as Republic Trash and Recycle Services are both options to consider for all your recycling needs throughout Idaho. 

How to Dispose of Paint Conclusion 

If you have any questions about properly disposing of old paint in the Boise, ID area or regarding painting projects of any kind, contact Boise Home Painting today. Our team members are skilled professionals who take great pride in their work. We take the time to find out exactly what you want and we promise to deliver. We guarantee our work and will treat your home like it’s our own. If you have any questions or need help with a home painting project, we can help! We do exterior, interior, cabinets, baseboards, and more. 

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