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Best Polyurethane For Table Top

Best Polyurethane For Table Top : Top 12 Picks For 2024

Taste is reflected in subtle things, details. Your choice of a tabletop is one of those subtleties included in the fine art of creating an aesthetic décor.

But, without proper care, instead of increasing they will decrease the beauty of any environment.

That’s why, choosing the best polyurethane for tabletop is so crucial. Because, when it comes to not only preserving but also increasing the magnificence of a tabletop, few products can compete with a premium grade polyurethane finish.

So, throughout this guide, we've provided a structured set of info that you can use anyway like. The magic is, whether you do an in-depth reading or just glance over it, the guide is designed to take you to a singular destination: a successful purchase that lets you win on all aspects. 



Editor's Rating


Minwax 63000 Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Gloss, Quart

Minwax Polyurethane For Table Top

5 out of 5

Varathane 200141H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart, Semi-Gloss Finish

Varathane, Ultimate Polyurethane

5 out of 5

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 1 Quart, Satin

General Finishes, High Performance Polyurethane

4.5 out of 5

1 gal Minwax 15555 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish Gloss

Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish

4 out of 5

Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish Satin 1 Gallon

Bona Mega Wood Polyurethane (OCP) Finish

4.5 out of 5

Our Recommended 10 Best Polyurethane for Table Top 2021

1. Minwax Table Top Polyurethane (63000444)

Minwax 63000 Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Gloss, Quart

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If longevity is what you’re aiming for, then you can’t go wrong with Minwax’s 63000444.

The product contains 1 U.S Quart of polyurethane finish. It is produced using an oil-based formula. You can use it on both treated wood and bare wooden surfaces. So, whether you’re renovating an old tabletop or polishing a new one, this finish is equipped to handle both.

It provides a transparent finish. This allows the original texture of the surface to show through. The finish is of the glossy kind.

So, after application, your used tabletop will look as good as new. The finish is also equipped to function as a protective coating which significantly increases the durability of the applied surface.

This is a fast-drying polyurethane finish. This means it'll powerfully speed up your workflow as you'd have to spend less time waiting between applying new layers of coating.

The product has an incredible bonding strength. This creates an impenetrable protective layer. This keeps the color and texture of your bar tops, kitchen countertops looking anew for a long time. Also, your tabletop will be protected from issues like cracking, peeling, and staining.

Highlighted Features:

  • You'll get 1 U.S Quart of top-class polyurethane finish.
  • Offers a transparent finish to let the original tabletop texture show through.
  • It provides an impenetrable protective layer to shield from staining.
  • The finish safeguards against discoloration, cracking, and peeling.
  • Using this, your tabletops will look new for a long period of time.
Minwax 63000 Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Gloss, Quart
  • PROTECT WOOD SURFACES – Minwax Polyurethane Wood Finish protects interior projects like woodwork,...
  • OIL-BASED DURABLE FINISH – Clear finish provides long-lasting protection and warm beauty to both...
  • GLOSS SHEEN – Give your wood projects a sleek finish with this gloss clear varnish. It not only...
  • FAST DRYING – Get more done with this protective poly coating. It’s a fast-drying clear coat, which...

2. Varathane, Ultimate Polyurethane Table Top Finish 200141H

Varathane 200141H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart, Semi-Gloss Finish

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If you are looking for the ultimate stain and scratch protective polyurethane finish in the market, the 200141H by Varathane can be the perfect purchase.

The product comes in a metal container, holding 946.3-milliliter of liquid. It’s made from a water-based formula. As a result, it offers a faster drying time, window recoat, and simple cleanup using only a combination of lukewarm water and regular soap.

After application, the surface becomes dry enough to touch within only half an hour. However, you’ll need to wait at least 2 hours before applying a new layer of finish on the surface.

It provides a transparent, semi-gloss finish. So, the natural appearance of your tabletop is preserved. Also, the semi-gloss finish provides a medium-shiny look to the surface, that appears new and rejuvenated but not too tacky.

One container can cover up to 125-square feet of area; a standard measurement for medium to largescale projects.

You need to remember that the product is designed for interior use only. So, using it on outdoor tabletops or similar surfaces should be avoided.

However, it’s advanced formula offers superior bonding strength, UV protectors to stop colors from yellowing, grade-A level clarity of vision, and top-of-the-class cracking, peeling, scratching, and stain resistance.

We've also found the protective layer to be 30-percent more durable than regular polyurethane finishes. This means the finish will conserve the quality and brightness of your tabletop's color and texture for quite a long time.

The product produces a negligible amount of odor during application.

Highlighted Features:

  • You'll get a maximum of 125-square feet area coverage.
  • The product is ideal for completing medium to largescale projects.
  • With a super-fast drying time, surfaces become dry to touch within 30 minutes.
  • By producing negligible odor, it becomes comfortable to apply the product.
  • Its advanced formula offers top-of-the-class scratch and stain resistance.
Varathane 200141H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart, Semi-Gloss Finish
  • Protects indoor wood surfaces such as furniture, windows, cabinets, trim and more
  • Water based formula dries fast and cleans up with soap and water
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes with coverage up to 125 sq. ft., recoat after 2 hours
  • Durable formula provides outstanding stain and scratch resistance with excellent clarity

3. General Finishes, High Performance Polyurethane Top Coat Finish

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 1 Quart, Satin

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This polyurethane coat by General Finishes is adored by many users due to its unique formulation.

The formula applies a polyacrylic blend, which are thermoplastic fibers made from polyacrylates. This feature provides a variety of advantages over an average water-based polyurethane formulation.

The finish provides a more durable protection, quicker drying time, and simpler cleanup procedure compared to regular water-based polyurethane finishes. It also offers an ultra-transparent finish that’s free from the slight yellow tint often accompanied by water-based polyurethanes.

You’ll get 946.3-milliliters of solution, contained in a well-sealed metal container. You can use it on both artificial and natural woods.

Specifically, if you are applying it on light, natural wood tabletops (e.g. ash, birch, maple, etc.), you'll have a better result because of its highly transparent finish which has no traces of yellowish tint.

The drying time is 2 to 3 hours. You'll have a quick recoat window of 1 to 2 hours, allowing you to finish multi-layered projects faster.

It offers a satin finish. This means, you’ll have a silky finish, which’s not too dull as matte neither too glossy as a semi/full gloss finish. This, added with a brush-paint flow, makes the product perfect for revitalizing antique wooden or stone tabletops or bar tops.

Despite, a polyacrylic formulation, it provides the same powerful longevity of a sterling polyurethane coating.

It's equipped with UV ray stabilizing particles, which will protect your tabletop's texture from cracking or yellowing. The stabilizers will also preserve old staining if you apply the product over one.

Highlighted Features:

  • It offers a unique formulation using thermoplastic fibers of polyacrylates.
  • You’ll get multiple advantages over regular water-based polyurethanes.
  • With a brush-painted satin finish, it’s perfect for coating antique tabletops.
  • You can apply it on light colored woods as the finish is completely transparent.
  • You'll get a quicker drying time and simpler clean up than water-based finishes.
General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 1 Quart, Satin
  • Do not apply clear topcoats over bright white paint, as yellowing may occur due to a reaction to the...
  • The hardest, most durable consumer polyurethane top coat on the market today
  • Dry Time Between Coats is only 1 to 2 Hours
  • Interior use only

4. Minwax, Polycrylic Protective Finish For Table Tops 15555000

1 gal Minwax 15555 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish Gloss

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This product from Minwax uses the company’s iconic “Polycrylic” formulation to provide the most advanced protective coating your favorite tabletop deserves.

The water-based formula allows you to perfectly coat any tabletop, whether they are bare and untreated or used and in need of restoration.

It works particularly well on light colored woods, such as ash and maple. Many users have expressed satisfaction after using it on tabletops with subtle and cooler color tones as well.

You’ll get 1000-milliliters of liquid in this product, packed in a neat, turquoise container. The bucket is equipped with a holding wire for ease of application.

The product offers an effectively short recoating window, which measures up to only 2 hours. So, you can avoid creating uneven textures and leaving streak marks, issues that can happen due to long waits between laying down new layers. You’ll need to wait 24 hours for a full cure.

It provides a fully transparent, high-gloss finish along with an artsy, watercolor look. More importantly, the product can preserve this glossy sheen over a long period of time. It also imparts an eye-catching vibrancy to the surface’s colors.

The coating is available in multiple options, both in terms of radiance and applying method. For example, you can also get this coating with an ultra-flat, matte, satin, or semi-gloss finish.

Often considered as the best table top polyurethane finish by professionals, the protective coating can be bought in an aerosol spray form, making it easy for beginners to use the product.

Highlighted Features:

  • Offers a clear and high-gloss finish, complemented with a watercolor look.
  • You can buy it in an aerosol spray form if you want to avoid brushwork.
  • The finish can provide as well as preserve a quality shine.
  • It can impart an eye-catching vibrancy to the colors of your tabletop.
  • Uses the iconic “Polycrylic” formulation to offer the most advanced protection.
1 gal Minwax 15555 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish Gloss
  • Protects and adds beauty to interior wood surfaces including woodwork, furniture, doors and cabinets
  • Crystal clear finish is ideal for use over light woods like maple, ash and birch as well as over Minwax...
  • Dries quickly
  • Cleans up easily with warm water

5. Bona Mega, Wood Polyurethane (OCP) Finish CECOMINOD098254

Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish Satin 1 Gallon

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If you are looking for an environment-friendly Polyurethane finish that can also get the job done, the CECOMINOD098254 by Bona Mega can be an appropriate choice.

The product uses an advanced water-based formula, which uses OCPs (oxygen crosslinking polyurethanes) to function. The finish uses oxygen molecules of your environment as crosslinkers to create a protective finish while producing multiple innovative features as a side-effect.

This formulation allows the finish to perform without the help of any additives. It also offers you unlimited shelf life. Thus, none of the product goes to waste, no matter how later in time you choose to use it.

You get 3,790-milliliters of usable liquid, contained in a reusable, well-sealed plastic container. The container comes with a handle for ease of pouring. The coating can cover up to 600-square feet of area. However, the number may fluctuate depending on the material of your tabletop.

As we alluded to in the beginning, the coating is conscious of the environment and your health. It complies with the VOC regulations set by the US government and comes with a "Greenguard" certification. It also provides protection against stain spots and streak marks.

It provides a satin finish. So, it can be a great choice for those who are looking for a silky smooth finish and medium radiance.

Highlighted Features:

  • It can be an optimum choice for creating a silky finish with medium radiance.
  • Offers a water-based formula using OCPs & atmospheric oxygen as crosslinkers.
  • The product offers you a massive area coverage of 600-square feet.
  • It’s safe for your health, as the product has a “Greenguard” certification.
  • The coating has an unlimited shelf life, eliminating the possibility of wastage.
Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish Satin 1 Gallon
  • An oxygen-crosslinking polyurethane (OCP) waterborne formula
  • One-component; No limited pot life and no wasted finish
  • Exceptional flow, leveling and build
  • Also available in semi-gloss or gloss

6. Minwax, Helmsman Spar Urethane 63200444

Minwax Helmsman Indoor/Outdoor Spar Urethane, Quart, Gloss

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It’s rare to find a polyurethane coating that scores high on every aspect. However, with Minwax’s “Helmsman Spar Urethane” we have found that jackpot.

The product contains 946-milliliters of liquid. It is able to cover a  125-square feet area per container.

It's an oil-based polyurethane. That means, it'll provide superior crack and scratch resistance by creating a stronger protective coating. It'll also add extra radiance to the color and texture of your tabletop that's hard to achieve through water-based polyurethane.

The water-repellent finish will provide protection against mold, mildew, moisture, and dampening. It’s equipped with UV blockers, which blocks UV rays emitted by sunlight and other sources.

So, you can safely use the product on outdoor tabletops without any fear of yellowing, discoloration, or fading. 

Its formulation includes the addition of "special oils". This provides the coating with temperature flexibility, meaning it can expand and contract in synchronization with temperature fluctuations. Thus, it'll save your tabletop's texture from cracking, peeling, and deforming through high-temperature settings and during extreme hot weathers.

The transparent gloss finish can be used both for indoor and outdoor tabletops. The ultra-clear gloss will further enhance the luminosity of colors and texture.

The product has a slightly long recoat window, measuring at 4 hours. You’ll have to wait a full day (24 hours) before you can start to interact with the applied surface.

Highlighted Features:

  • The water-repellent coating will protect against mold, mildew, and dampening.
  • The product can be used both for indoor and outdoor tabletops.
  • Using “special oils”, the coating can provide temperature flexibility.
  • The oil-based, clear gloss coating adds strong radiance to your tabletop’s colors.
  • Equipped with UV blockers, it can protect outdoor tabletops from yellowing.
Minwax Helmsman Indoor/Outdoor Spar Urethane, Quart, Gloss
  • PROTECTIVE CLEAR FINISH – Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane is specially formulated as a protective varnish...
  • EFFECTIVE YEAR ROUND – This wood varnish forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture to...
  • VERSATILE – Ideal for use on doors, windows, trim, bathroom cabinets, bar tops, kitchen countertops,...
  • GLOSS FINISH – Give your wood projects a sleek finish with this gloss varnish. It not only protects the...

7. Deft Inc., Interior and Exterior Table Top Polyurethane Finish 037125257040

Deft Interior Exterior Water-Based Polyurethane Finish Gloss, Quart

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3 distinct features caught our eyes about this product: an innovative formulation, a multi-optional application method, and a protection strategy that covers all bases.

The product contains 946.3-milliliters of liquid. It’s a protective top coating, which is formulated using WB OMU (water-borne oil modified urethane) resins. The formulation takes the best bits from two previous formulation methods to provide a more effective result with less pollution and a lower VOC count.

The topcoat offers a quick recoating window of only 2 hours. It's also manufactured with a quick-dry feature. It provides a fully transparent, gloss finish.

The product can be applied through multiple mediums. These include HVLP (high volume low pressure) spray guns, airless paint sprayers, painting brushes, and rubbing pads.

Thus, the finish can be applied with equal comfort by both professionals and beginners. Being a water-based polyurethane, it also provides a simple soap water cleanup during application.

Using WB OMU resins in the formulation, the product is able to provide top class protection while complying and even surpassing the U.S VOC regulations.  The water-repellent coating has weatherproofing features, uses UV blockers to protect against yellowing, and offers superior longevity than oil-based polyurethanes.

It produces minimal odor during installation. The coating becomes completely non-toxic after a full-cure, making it the best polyurethane for kitchen table and countertop maintenance.

The coating is equipped with a self-priming feature and doesn’t require any additional sealing during installation.

Highlighted Features:

  • The product is equipped with a self-priming feature.
  • It is formulated using WB OMU (water-borne oil modified urethane) resins.
  • The protective coating offers superior longevity to oil-based polyurethanes.
  • It doesn’t require any additional sealing during installation.
  • You can apply it using multiple mediums, which increases ease of application.
Deft Interior Exterior Water-Based Polyurethane Finish Gloss, Quart
  • Interior/Exterior Multi Use Focus
  • Greater Durability Than Oil Based Poly
  • 2 Hour Recoat
  • Water based polyurethane provides ideal protection for interior and exterior wood surfaces

8. Minwax, PolyShades Antique Walnut Single Step Polyurethane

Minwax 617404444 PolyShades - Stain & Polyurethane in 1 Step, quart, Antique Walnut, Gloss

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If you are looking for a polyurethane that'll enhance the color of your tabletop and provide a faster application system, you can't go wrong with the 617404444.

This product comes from Minwax’s PolyShades series. It provides you 946.3-milliliters of usable coating. One container can cover a 120 to 150-square feet area, depending on the material.

It’s an oil-based, ultra-clear, and high gloss finish. The product is particularly effective for wooden tabletops. Its ultra-clear finish will put the spotlight on your original wood grain, letting its genuine texture come out in full glory. Being oil-based, it'll not only magnify the luminance of the wood's color but also increase the table top's longevity.

It’s specialty also lies in combining wood staining and protective coating into a single application.  Thus, by applying a single element, you can get that gracious stained wood look, protected by an advanced topcoat.

This also considerably increases the speed of your workflow. Because, instead of running two separate application processes, you can kill two birds with one stone. The coating is also equipped with a "dry-while-you-apply" feature, which makes the application process even faster and simpler.

The product can be used on untreated as well as treated/colored wood. You can also use it over old polyurethane finishes with ease.

It provides an ultra-fast drying time of 1 hour. The recoating window is 6 hours. The product can contain a maximum VOC count of 275 per liter.

Highlighted Features:

  • It lets you stain the wood and apply protective coating in a single application.
  • With an ultra-clear finish, it lets your tabletop’s genuine texture flourish fully.
  • By combining staining and coating as one job, it speeds up your workflow.
  • The product offers an ultra-fast drying time of only 1 hour.
  • The “dry-while-you-apply” feature makes the application faster and simpler.
Minwax 617404444 PolyShades - Stain & Polyurethane in 1 Step, quart, Antique Walnut, Gloss
  • You just Wipe it on, Wipe off the Excess and let it dry for an hour
  • Water-based and soap and water cleanup
  • For additional shine and protection, apply minwax express clear on top of minwax express Color
  • Recommended uses: furniture, woodwork, cabinets, and accessories

9. ZAR, POLY Premium Finishes Polyurethane 33912

ZAR 33912 Oil Based Polyurethane Wood Finish, QT, Clear

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If we are talking classic, oil-based polyurethane coatings, few can beat the 33912 by ZAR. It’s an oil-based finish and specifically recommended for interior use by the manufacturer.

Part of the "Poly Premium Finishes" line, the coating is equipped with a self-leveling feature and protects against unintentional streak marks and brush scars left during installation. As a result, even with minimal experience, you can get a smooth texture every time.

It’s often considered as the best polyurethane for table top care because of the product’s state-of-the-art scratch resistance, the level of which is tough to find among even A-grade oil-based finishes.

The product contains 946-milliliters of solution, which provides you an area coverage of 125 to 150-square feet.

It offers a matte style finish, which is perfect for both giving bare wooden tabletops an antique look and restoring actual antique tabletops. The coating is praised by many professionals for its performance on hardwood tabletops, such as beech, oak, and walnut.

The coating is ranked at 57th place in the MPI (Master Painters Institute) standard chart.

It also provides a remarkably fast drying time, particularly on untreated wood, measuring at only 2 hours. At a 70 to 72-degree Fahrenheit atmosphere, it takes about 72-hours for a full cure.

Highlighted Features:

  • It offers a remarkably fast drying time, particularly on untreated wood.
  • This self-leveling finish also defends against brush and streak marks.
  • The finish is ranked at 57th place in the MPI standard chart.
  • It provides an area coverage of 125 to 150-square feet per 1 U.S quart.
  • The product is equipped with state-of-the-art scratch resistance.
ZAR 33912 Oil Based Polyurethane Wood Finish, QT, Clear
  • For interior use only
  • Included in MPI Category #57
  • Tough abrasion resistant finish
  • Smooth, self-leveling formula

10. EcoProCote Polyurethane for Kitchen Table

EcoProCote Eco-Tuff Clear Coat Polyurethane Wood Sealer - Chemical & UV Resistant & Non Toxic Clear...

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The "Eco-Tuff 1901" by EcoProCote is currently the most advanced and environment-friendly polyurethane coating available. The product contains 3790-milliliters of liquid and provides a 400-square feet surface coverage.

It's produced using the company's patented POE (Plant Oil Emulsion) technology, which combines bio-emulsion resin with bio-based polyurethane polymer. Thus, you get to enjoy the similar efficacy of industrial coatings without any harmful chemical emission.

The coating's bottom-to-top green production is unique. It has earned the product a sterling reputation, as many users consider it as the best poly for table top coating.

The product also offers one of the fastest recoating windows, which can be as short as 30 minutes.

The finish strengthens applied surfaces and increases their ability to handle impact. Thus, you can apply it on heavily used areas, such as dining tabletops to increase their durability.

The finish offers excellent resistance against water and chemical solvents. Its SCP (solids content percentage) ranges between 30 to 34-percent, providing you a superior barrier protection.

The self-leveling coating creates zero odor and no fumes during installation. It’s also a popular choice for coating difficult surfaces, such as primed metal, steel, and concrete tabletops.

By using “Bio-Acrylic Chemistry” and a plant based production, it’s able to stay non-toxic while reducing issues like gassing. It even replaces toxic particles for lessening carbon footprints.

The product has USGBC LEED v4 and HPD certification. It also has a “zero VOC emission” certification, which can be detected from the green leaf logo on the container.

Highlighted Features:

  • It’s designed to replace toxic particles for lessening carbon footprints.
  • It uses the company’s patented POE technology for a quality production.
  • “Bio-Acrylic Chemistry” and a plant based production is used to stay green.
  • It’s SCP ranges is 34-percent, to provide you a superior barrier protection.
  • The self-leveling coating offers a zero odor and fume-free installation.
EcoProCote Eco-Tuff Clear Coat Polyurethane Wood Sealer - Chemical & UV Resistant & Non Toxic Clear...
  • Durable & Multi-Surface Protection - Eco-Tuff polyurethane wood sealer indoor and outdoor high gloss...
  • Superior Resistance - Our polyurethane clear gloss sealer for home improvement is a bio or plant based...
  • Easy Application - Whether you prefer airless sprayers, HVLP sprayers, rollers, or brushes, using this...
  • Fast-Drying Convenience - Enjoy the convenience of a fast-drying clear wood sealer that allows faster...

Polyurethane for Table Top Comparison Chart




Formulaic Base


Minwax, 63000444

Minwax, 63000444



Transparent Gloss

Varathane, 200141H

Varathane, 200141H




General Finishes, QTHS

General Finishes, QTHS


Polyacrylic Blend


Minwax, 15555000

Minwax, 15555000




Bona Mega, CECOMINOD098254

Bona Mega, CECOMINOD098254


Water-based (OCP)


Minwax, 63200444

Minwax, 63200444




Deft Inc., 037125257040

Deft Inc., 037125257040


Water-based (Oil Modified Urethane Technology)

Clear Gloss

Minwax, 6174044449

Minwax, 6174044449




ZAR, 33912

ZAR, 33912




EcoProCote, 1901

EcoProCote, 1901


Bio-base (Proprietary Plant Oil Emulsion Technology)


Table Top Polyurethane Buyer's Guide

Polyurethane for Table Top Buying Guide

Advanced Formulaic Basis

This is always a good strategy while buying any chemical products. The more advanced the formula, the better benefits we tend to get out of it. And polyurethane table top coatings are no different. That’s why we recommend it.

For example, you can go for EcoProCote's “Eco-Tuff 1901". It uses a patented "Plant Oil Emulsion Technology" to create an environment-friendly polyurethane finish, which mixes bio-based polyurethane and bio-emulsion resins.

In terms of oil-based VS water-based formulas, each has its own merits. Oil-based finishes provide increased durability, stain and scratch resistance, and improve color radiance.

On the other hand, water-based polyurethanes are easier to apply, provide quicker drying and cure time, as well as a simpler cleanup method.

Thus, it comes to a matter of your preference. But, whichever one you choose, make sure it uses an upgraded formula that provides you the maximum benefits your chosen finish can offer.

Syncing Amount, Area Coverage, And Type Of The Material

This is a crucial aspect that you must consider if you want to purchase the best polyurethane for table top finishes available in the market.

The area coverage provided by a particular amount of finish depends largely on the material of your tabletop. For example, the standard amount of solution sold in the market, which is usually 1 U.S quart or 946-milliliter, can usually cover anywhere from 125 to 600-square feet.

But, this coverage can drastically change in relation to the nature and state of your tabletop’s material. So, whether your tabletop is wooden or made of stone, if it’s pre-painted or pre-stained, or if it’s bare, unpainted, and untreated can make a significant difference.

So, you’ll need to calculate how much liquid you’ll need based on the “area coverage fluctuation” in relation to the state and type of your chosen material.

Fastest Dry, Recoat, And Cure Time

The drying time means the amount of time you’ll need to wait before touching the applied surface without damaging it. The recoat window is related to the drying time. It simply means the amount of time you’ll need to wait before applying a new layer. And a full cure time is the period you need to let pass before using the coated surface.

We recommend choosing a polyurethane finish that provides the quickest dry, recoat, and cure time. However, you must not do so at the price of sacrificing quality. That is if you can maintain the proper thickness, a leveled texture without streak marks, etc. while maintaining the abovementioned qualities.

As a result, you'll achieve a faster workflow as it'll allow applying layers quickly by shortening the recoating window as well as reducing drying and cure time. It'll help you to achieve a finish with a consistently leveled texture.

Also, areas that deal with heavy traffic and can't be closed off for too long (e.g. dining tabletop, kitchen countertop) will benefit from a quick-dry, recoat, and cure time.

Existing Setting Friendly

We recommend purchasing polyurethane finishes that match your existing setting in terms of color, sheen, and viscosity. This technique is often referred to as color matching.

Though, most polyurethane finishes are semi-transparent or transparent, as they mostly work as a protective layer that also rejuvenates the applied surface. Thus, there isn’t much to choose in terms of solid color.

However, they come in a variety of sheens, such as matte, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss.

A matte finish is the opposite of a shiny or glossy finish. Most people use a matte finish if it goes with the tabletop’s existing color scheme.

Satin is the middle point between a matte and a gloss finish. Thus, if you want your finish to look not too dull yet not too shiny then a satin finish is the one to go for. It’s also quite popular for restoring antique tabletops or giving tabletops an antique look.

While painting bare or untreated tabletops, most users prefer a semi or full-gloss finish. This type of finish truly brings out the colors and texture of your tabletop, gives them a shiny look, and can keep them looking fresh and new for a long period of time.

Also, make sure that the viscosity of your purchased finish (which simply means the thickness of the solution/liquid) is compatible with your tabletop’s original material.


Always purchase a finish that’s equipped with necessary protective features. We suggest purchasing a polyurethane finish that:

a) Offers Water-resistance
b) Provides protection against mold, moisture, and dampening
c) Prevents the texture from cracking, creasing, peeling, fading, and discoloration
d) Stops yellowing (caused by UV rays)
e) Is weatherproof (meaning it fights off dust, debris, etc.) for outdoor use
f) Renders protection from stains, spills, and streak marks while applying
g) Can stretch and retract in harmony with temperature fluctuation to avoid a deformed texture

Environment Safe

To ensure this, we suggest purchasing a low VOC polyurethane finish. You should always check whether the finish complies with your state’s/area’s VOC regulation to keep yourself healthy and away from legal troubles.

You can also look for certain certifications, such as Greenguard, LEED, HPD (health product declaration). If the finish has a "Member of U.S Green Building Council" and a "No Red List Chemical" label, you can be further assured that it can be used on food processing areas like your dining tabletop or home bar top.

Installation Facilities

We advise buying tabletop polyurethane finish products that provide features to make applying them as easy as possible. You can look for a finish with these features to ensure this:

a) A quick-dry feature
b) A self-leveling feature
c) Resistance against streak marks
d) Single element application that doesn’t require any pre-mixing
e) A multi optional application method in terms of instruments (e.g. a finish that can be applied with both a paintbrush and an HVLP Sprayer)
f) A multipurpose finish that works with a wide range of materials, such as stone, wood, cement, etc.

Benefits of Using Polyurethane Table Top

Benefits of Using Polyurethane  Table Top

1. Temperature Tolerance

A polyurethane finish is a chemical compound that’s essentially made of thermosetting polymers or thermoset. Thus, they have a naturally strong tolerance to high temperatures. As a result, they don't get deformed when exposed to reasonable amounts of heat. 

Their chemical structure also makes them flexible to a wide range of temperatures. That means, they can expand and contract with the present temperature within a certain limit.

This is another way a polyurethane finish can help you to avoid a deformed tabletop texture in a high-temperature setting or really hot weather.

The normal range for polyurethane finishes is 80 to 200-degree Fahrenheit. However, some products can stay functional up to 300-degree Fahrenheit.

2. Level and Streak-Free Textures

Polyurethane finishes are often equipped with a self-leveling feature and can be applied using an HVLP spray gun or a sprayer that uses an aerosol container. So, you can easily apply them without the experience of using a paintbrush and the risk of leaving streak marks.

These products also have a faster recoating window as well as a dry and cure time compared to varnishes, lacquers, or shellacs. This significantly reduces the risk of producing an uneven surface because of ill-timed layering.

3. Single Step Application And Easy Cleanup

Polyurethane finishes are a single element application, which means they don’t demand any hassling pre-mixing procedure before application.

These products, specifically water-based polyurethane coatings, let you clean up excess material using a simple combination of lukewarm water and regular soap during application.

You can also scrub off old finishes using a paint thinner or mineral spirit soaked sponge to apply new layers with ease.

4. Superior Adaptability

A tabletop polyurethane finish provides far superior adaptability in terms of compatible materials compared to its competitors like varnish or lacquer.

You can use it on tabletops made from a variety of elements, such as metal, concrete, stone, artificial wood, or natural wood tabletops.

5. Weatherproof

When it comes to weatherproofing, polyurethane table top finishes are on top of their game. Their chemical structure makes them water-resistant as it has a strong bonding strength. Thus, they can provide you strong protection against mold buildup, moisture, dampening caused damages, salt caused corrosion, etc.

6. Advanced Color Preservation

A thick polyurethane tabletop finish provides vivid transparency, which allows the natural color scheme of your tabletops to shine through.

It is also armed with fading and discoloration preventive features, which keep your dining table and kitchen countertops look as new as the day they were installed.

Furthermore, these products are designed with UV stabilizers that block UV rays which cause yellowing and distort the fine look of your bar top or porcelain drawing-room tabletop.

7. Versatile Finish Options

Let's talk a bit more about versatility because polyurethane finishes provide them in many aspects.

Take the sheen of your finish for example. They usually offer you four different options to choose from: gloss, semi-gloss, matte, and ultra-clear. So, you’re free to make a pick that goes perfectly with your intended use.

8. A Healthier Option Than Epoxies

Compared to other protective finishes like epoxies, a polyurethane finish presents a much healthier option. Many of them follow a top-to-bottom green production process, such as EcoProCote’s "Eco-Tuff" polyurethane sealers.

In general, they produce a considerably low amount of disturbing smell and fumes during installation. They also emit significantly reduced harmful chemicals than epoxies.

Bonus fact, they’re compliant with the VOC regulations in most US states.

9. A Longevity Enhancer And Rejuvenating Agent

As a protective coating, a polyurethane finish does much more. Its chemical build supplies the product with an exceptionally strong bonding structure. As a result, you get an increased bonding strength that can increase the durability of your tabletop by 30 to 45-percent.

This feature also allows it to provide advanced protection against scratches, cracks, and stain spots made by accidental spills. A tabletop protected by a polyurethane sealer can easily handle heavy traffic and rough use. It can help the surface to avoid stretch marks caused by these factors, heat, and pressure.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Using Polyurethane For Table Tops Safe?

Is Using Polyurethane For Table Tops Safe

Answer: Definitely.

In fact, Polyurethane finishes are considered among the safest protective coating available in the market.

In general, they have a much lower VOC count, produce minimal odor and irritable fumes during installation, and emit a negligible amount of toxins that can be injurious to your health compared to their competitors like epoxy or varnish.

2. What’s The Difference Between A Polyurethane And An Epoxy Finish?

Answer: In layman’s terms, a polyurethane finish is made of thermosetting polymers, also known as thermosets. On the other hand, an epoxy coating is generally produced by mixing epoxy resins and a hardener.

Though epoxies can be more durable in terms of hardness and impact resistance, they are less flexible and more chemically notorious than polyurethanes.

Epoxy coatings are mostly used as an industrial flooring solution (except for food processing).

But, for directly health-related surfaces, such as coating dining tabletops or kitchen countertops, polyurethane finishes are much popular. It's because they are significantly more "green" and less injurious to your health, taking into account the two components' chemistry-related aspects.

3. Should I Choose An Oil-Based or Water-Based Finish?

Answer: This is purely a matter of personal preference.

We can’t bias you towards one particular type as each has unique advantages and disadvantages.

According to experts in the field, oil-based polyurethanes provide more longevity, make the color pallet of the applied surface more vibrant, and have stronger bonding strength.

On the other hand, water-based polyurethane is easier to apply, making it a more appropriate choice for beginners. They can be cleaned up during installation using only regular soap water. Moreover, their superior transparency can help to show through your tabletop's original texture and keep it that way.

4. As A Beginner, Can I Apply A Polyurethane Finish Successfully?

Answer: Yes.

Veterans of this field recommend using a polyurethane finish if you have minimal experience. Because it doesn't require any mixing before application, is often equipped with a self-leveling feature, and offers a user-friendly cleanup. 

This line of product can be applied using multiple mediums, such as aerosol spray cans or HVLP spray guns or polyurethane brush. It also provides protection against streak-marks and has a fast recoating window. So, if you're not handy with a paintbrush, this is your ideal choice for applying a protective layer.

5. Can I Apply Polyurethane Over Older Polyurethane Or Epoxy Coated Surfaces?

Answer: Yes.

Polyurethane coatings are generally transparent with varying degrees of sheen (from matte to high-gloss), which makes them naturally easy to apply over older coatings.

If you are coating over an older polyurethane, you can make a quick scrubbing using paint thinners or mineral spirits, followed by a light sanding, to prepare the surface for applying a new finish.

6. How Does Using A Polyurethane Finish Increase The Overall Longevity Of My Table top?

Answer: The chemical architecture of polyurethane provides it with a high-strength bonding structure and water-resistance. Thus, it can protect your tabletop’s surface from cracks, stains, scratches, and deformation caused by fluctuating temperatures.

It also preserves the vibrancy of your tabletop’s color form. As a result, your tabletop becomes safe from several quality degraders and the longevity increases by almost 40%.

Final Word

Tabletops are not only confined to your living space or home. They also exist in waiting rooms, office rooms, conference halls, etc. Thus, they play a powerful role in communicating your taste in a variety of places.

However, without guidance, you may end up buying a mediocre product. Contemplating this perspective, we’ve made this ultimate guide. Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you’ll be able to acquire the best polyurethane for tabletop that is available in the market.

Also Read:

  1. Simple Tricks to Clean Polyurethane Brush
  2. Which Stain is Suitable for Exterior Use On Cedar Siding?
  3. How to Select Stain Remover for Wood?
  4. 2 Methods to Wipe off Oil Stains from Your Wood
  5. How Experts Choose Deck Stain for Their Weathered Wood?
  6. Looking for a Teak sealers for indoor furniture?

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