Protect your wood pieces with a coating of polyurethane. Whether you’re making furniture, sculpting wood, retouching a boat, or constructing cabinetry, you’re going to want a layer of polyurethane sealant. An oil- or water-based plastic resin used for coating wood or as a wood finish, polyurethane keeps your work waterproof, weather-resistant, and polished-looking. They are available in a multitude of volumes, tints, and effects, so make sure you choose the right product for your project. Browse our roundup of the best options below.
1. Varathane Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane
Available in an eight-fluid-ounce volume, glossy-finish polyurethane provides superior scratch resistance and dries to the touch in up to thirty minutes. Intended for interior use, the water-based solution makes for an easy cleanup with soap and water and protects your pieces from wear and tear. Able to cover up to 32 square feet per half pint, this product offers good bang for your buck.
2. Minwax Water Based Protective Finish
Another glossy polyurethane varnish, this option has a crystal-clear finish that does well for light-colored woods like maple, ash, and birch. The fast-drying formula allows quick recoats in just two hours, and the low-odor composition prevents headaches while you work. Easy to remove with soap and water, the water-based solution makes for a fast cleanup while maintaining its scratch-proof, non-yellowing, and ultra-protective qualities.
3. Rust-Oleum Triple Thick Polyurethane
The beauty of this heavy-duty, matte-finish solution is that it only requires one coat: saving you both time and money. Intended for interior use and available in a 32-ounce can, this formula dries to the touch in just two hours and is able to cover up to 50 square feet. The self-leveling formula ensures an even coat, and the water-based formula is ideal for a quick cleanup.
4. TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish
A perfect choice for finishing everything from boats to outdoor furniture to garage doors, this transparent amber-tinted polyurethane is ideal for outdoor use. A high-performing sealant, this solution renders surfaces both waterproof and UV resistant. The cured varnish is flexible, which means it expands and contracts with wood during seasonal humidity and temperature changes, which eliminates the risk of a cracked surface. The solution dries fast and allows you to recoat in just one hour.
5. Deft Interior Exterior Water-Based Polyurethane
This versatile, ultra-protective formula can be used in interior, exterior, and marine settings. Available in a quart container, this solution possesses superior UV protection, which is perfect for both outdoor and indoor projects that require weather-resistant properties. Fast-drying and water-based, this finish allows for a two-hour recoat and has a satin finish that’s not too glossy nor too flat.