Polycrylic over White Paint – Will It Work Well? Our Research

There is little point in having luxuriously elegant white furniture if it is not adequately cared for.

Unfortunately, getting white paint right is notoriously difficult. You are right to fret over the perfect finish for your white paint. Making the wrong choice could result in a disastrous effect that forces you to sand off the paint and restart the entire process. The last you want is an ugly white paint job calling attention to itself.

If you are eager to avoid mistreating your white wooden furniture by applying the wrong finish, this article is just what the doctor ordered. We will discuss everything you need to know about using a polycrylic finish over your paint. Look out for:

  • Why is white paint much harder to apply and finish than other colors?
  • Why polycrylic is the best finish for white paint
  • Why polyurethane is a terrible choice for finishing white paint
  • Why white paint may yellow even when finished with polycrylic
  • How to apply polycrylic on your white paint for a perfect finish

Why White Paint Is Much Harder to Apply and Finish Than Other Colors.

Everyone knows that white paint is more demanding to perfect than other colors. Not only does the stark color make it easier to notice imperfections, but white also requires more coats than the average color. These additional coats of paint are necessary for a solid and neat finish, but they make it more complicated for beginners to create a flawless white coat.

Finishing white paint is a headache for green DIYers, seasoned contractors, and everyone in between. Using the wrong finishing for white paint will cause all your hard work to grow down the drain. Many DIYers have fought despair when their pristine white paint developed yellow patches and splotches as soon as they applied the finishing. The yellowing gets so bad that over time, there will be hardly any proof that the paint was once white.

Why Polycrylic is the Best Finish for White Paint

All finishes, including polycrylic, are designed to seal your coat of paint and extend its longevity. The finishing serves to protect the white-colored coat from light, moisture, and other elements. This protection ensures your white-colored paint remains intact and vibrant for as long as possible.

Polycrylic has made a name for itself as one of the best finishes for wood in general. This water-based protective coating also does well on wooden surfaces that have been painted white. Polycrylic is available in a wide range of finishes including high gloss, which looks spectacular on white furniture.

Why Polyurethane Is a Poor Choice for Finishing White Paint

Do not pay attention to the bogus claims made in advertisements. Any polyurethane finish is much more likely to stain your white paint yellow than a polycrylic alternative. Polyurethane stains much faster than polycyrlic because UV rays break it down faster, thus causing the yellowing.

Another cause of yellow staining after using polyurethane is the improper application of the finish. Even when using high-quality polyurethane that is less susceptible to UV rays, you will need to use a professional skill level to apply it in a correct manner that prevents yellowing. The best way is to apply very thin layers and sand lightly before the next layer.

Which Type of Polycrylic Should You Use on Your White Paint

Now that you know better than you to use polyurethane to finish your pristine white furniture, let us discuss the most suitable type of polycrylic for your project. You can choose between

  • Aerosol/spray on polycrylic and
  • Roll on polycrylic

Aerosol Can Polycrylic

Aerosol polycrylic comes in a pressurized spray can. It is perfect for touching up or repairing a polycrylic painting. This spray helps professionals and DIYers apply uniformly thin layers quite fast.

One of the downsides of polycrylic is how easily the finish gets damaged. As such, some people have found that their polyacrylic finishes require constant touching up. This type of pressurized spray on polycrylic is designed for repairing or touching up damaged polycrylic finishes.

The spray has few benefits beyond its ease of use. Most beginners find it difficult to achieve an even finish. The thin layer of polycrylic sprayed out dries very fast; adding another layer without creating air pressure marks is very challenging.

Further, the aerosol is very expensive for its limited quantity and is also harmful to the environment. Polycrylic aerosols are impractical for large projects and are only fit for small projects on pieces of wood that are not flat.

Roll-On Polycrylic

Roll-on polycrylic is sold in the can and applied using a brush or roller – just like paint. The good news is that roll-on polycrylic is cheaper, better for the environment, and available in a wider range of varieties.

The only downside to rolling on polycrylic is that newbies may not have enough time to get the look before a layer dries off because it dries very fast. You may be better off using the aerosol version if you do not trust yourself to use roll-on polycrylic without creating noticeable paint strokes on your white furniture.

Whichever type of polycrylic you select, the proper application will ensure it creates a film over your white furniture, thus protecting it from the elements.

Why White Paint May Yellow Even When Finished With Polycrylic

If you go through the review section of various polycrylic products, you will likely find customers decrying broken promises. Manufacturers go to great lengths to prevent their polycrylic finishes from yellowing white furniture, but at times, it happens nonetheless.

Here are the two main reasons polycrylic may yellow your white paint despite your best efforts:

1. Bleed through

Whenever wood is painted, the moisture in the paint opens the wood grain and causes it to release natural oils called tannins into the wood. These tannins will linger under the surface of your white paint coat and eventually create a splotchy yellow color.

Preventing Bleed Through

Bleed through of tannins into your white paint and subsequent yellowing are quite easy to prevent. You must use a high-quality oil-based printer to seal away the tannins from your white coats of paint.

Using a water-based primer when using white paint on wooden furniture is not recommended because it does not block the tannins from seeping into the top coats. If you are on a tight budget, it is better to splurge on the oil-based primer and save on chalk or water-based white paint.

2. Type of sealer

Ensure you select a sealer that is formulated to prevent the yellowing of white paint. Polycrylic is your best bet because polyurethane causes hideous yellowing. All oil-based sealers are extremely prone to yellowing.

Choosing the right brand of polycrylic sealer is much tougher than you would expect. Even worse, if you select the right sealer and apply it incorrectly, your white furniture may still yellow. Ensure you do not lay on the polyacrylic sealer too thickly because this makes it more likely to yellow.

If you are unsure of your best choice, you can always consult a professional painter or qualified staff at your local hardware store.

Here are tips to ensure your polycrylic finish is less likely to yellow:

  • Repair and clean any dents and cracks in your wooden surface before applying the primer, paint, and polycrylic. This reduces the chances of tannins bleeding over into the paint.
  • Tint your polycrylic sealer with white paint. In the first coat, use fifteen parts of white paint to eighty-five parts of sealer. Use a pure sealer for the second and third coats to make the finish more durable.
  • Do some research on proper application techniques depending on your tool of choice. Applying polycrylic by spray can, roller, brush, or cloth requires attention to different details. Doing your homework will ensure you do not encounter any unexpected challenges.
  • Apply the sealer small amounts of the sealer at a time to ensure your coats are evenly thin.
  • Allow enough drying time between coats. A well-applied coat of polycrylic finish should be dry to the touch within 30 minutes of application. Allow two hours between the application of the three recommended coats.
  • Allow enough time for the polycrylic to cure. After application of the third coat, polycrylic should be left undisturbed to cure for at least twenty-four hours.

Final Thoughts

When looking to avoid the yellowing of your white furniture, polycrylic is your best bet. If you choose the right type of polycrylic sealer, prepare and prime your wood before painting, there is no reason for it to be yellow. Be sure to tint your first layer to polycrylic and apply thin layers to get the best results possible.

If you are concerned that all this may be too much, consider consulting a professional painter to get the job done. Alternatively, you can test the polycrylic on a small patch before applying it to the entire surface.