Hello my friends! I’m excited to announce that today marks the 1 year anniversary of Quick-Tip-Tuesdays on the SI Blog! WOW – time flies when you’re having fun! You may have noticed I didn’t include Q-T-T in the post title. I figure we all know what Tuesdays are about around here – so from now on I’ll just get right to it. 😉One of the most common questions I get asked is “Should I wax or poly?”.
The conversations sound something like this: I’ve painted a piece of furniture and it looks amazing… now what? How do I protect my restyled piece? What’s the most durable topcoat? Will wax hold up under heavy-duty use or extreme weather conditions?
Here’s an email I recently received from Lisa. (Thanks so much for sharing Lisa!)
I JUST came across your blog like 2 days ago and it’s great. Thanks for all you do. I would love to paint this table and chairs, and I’ve been reading on your blog different ways to go about it. I have 3 small boys and there is no point in buying a nice table because they will destroy it.
I have painted dressers with chalk paint before so I’m leaning towards spraying the table and chairs with that. But I feel like the wax will not give enough protection. This kitchen table will be spilled on, banged on, and sprayed and wiped with Lysol at least once a day.
Is there a top coat that will give it the protection it needs from every single day big family use? Or is this wishful thinking? Any help is MUCH appreciated.
Hi there Lisa!
This set would look amazing painted up!…very nice. For high traffic tables and chairs I like to use a non yellowing Polycrylic or Polyurethane topcoat. Many water-based brands are easy to work with and environmentally friendly.
A few of my favorites are Varathane, Minwax and General Finishes. All of these brands come in flat, semi or gloss sheen.
Poly sealer/topcoat will ensure your high traffic furniture is protected because it cures to a super hard finish. Seals to prevent dirt, grease, scratches, stains etc. It’s also easier to clean… great for your boys. 😉
Have fun with your project and enjoy your week.
Don’t let this email to Lisa give you the impression that I don’t use wax. I DO! And I use A LOT of IT – on MANY if not the majority of my chalk painted and milk painted pieces!
But here’s MY take on using wax or poly:
With the growing popularity of chalk and milk painted furniture, wax has become a SUPER POPULAR topcoat. Why? Because both chalk and milk painted furniture is porous in nature – wax easily absorbs into the surface.
When the wax hardens, it seals the painted surface with a lovely natural looking soft sheen. The sheen can then be controlled by additional buffing. And some gorgeous effects can be created by using dark wax, white wax, or metallic wax finishes!
Having said this, my preference for HIGH TRAFFIC items such as dining sets, children’s furniture or even kitchen/bathroom cabinets is POLY.
I also prefer using poly products to seal latex/acrylic or enamel painted pieces because they are NOT porous is nature!
These polycrylics and polyurethanes cure to a super hard finish and protect against grease, dirt, and stains. Also, a poly topcoat has a more forgiving cleaning process. Once fully cured, ‘regular’ cleaning products can be used unlike waxed surfaces. For waxed pieces, a slightly damp cloth is recommended for cleaning – and depending on use, reapplication of the wax may be required a few years down the road.
With all the different brands and various opinions on wax and poly, it can be confusing on which topcoat to use on painted furniture. To keep things simple, I use wax on chalk painted and milk painted pieces (unless they are high traffic items!) and poly products on everything else!
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below! And please chime in with YOUR opinion(s) on using wax or poly? When you wax. When you poly. And why! As always, I love hearing from you and learn so much from your comments!
Enjoy your day and have fun with your next project!
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