Can You Spray Polyurethane? (Yes! Here’s How To Do It)

Are you disappointed seeing roller fibers or brush marks on the final polyurethane coat after a flawless finish?

That makes you wonder: since spray paint provides a smooth finish, wouldn't the same apply for polyurethane? So, the natural question to ask is can you spray polyurethane? Read on to find out!

Before we answer questions like can you spray polyurethane or how to spray polyurethane, let us first understand what it is and its uses.

Technically speaking, polyurethane is a plastic that can exist in multiple forms [1]. It can be customized to be either flexible or rigid and is also the material of choice for a wide variety of end-user applications like: 

  • Freezers and refrigerators insulation 
  • Furniture cushioning 
  • Insulation building 
  • Coatings 
  • Mattresses 
  • Adhesives 
  • Car parts 
  • Composite wood panels 
  • Sportswear 
  • Shoe soles 
  • Tires and rollers 

Polyurethanes are modern, safe, and versatile. They are used in various applications to create all kinds of industrial and consumer products, which play a critical role in making our lives more comfortable, environmentally friendly, and convenient.  

Polyurethane Spray

It is better to spray polyurethane because it needs no specific technique.

Moreover, using paint sprayers for polyurethane spraying provides a stunning finish coat which further enhances anything from furniture to floors and cabinets.

Furthermore, it improves the durability of wooden surfaces.  

Another popular question that people looking to spray paint polyurethane ask is whether you can spray polyurethane with an airless sprayer, a traditional spray gun, or an HVLP sprayer. You can.

Airless sprayers are the best choice for the highest yield.

Furthermore, HVLP sprayer guns will also be cost-efficient and help you apply polyurethane and other thin coatings exceptionally well. This also holds true for traditional spray guns.  

Now that we have understood the answer to the question, can you spray polyurethane?

The next thing that acts as a dilemma for multiple individuals is can you spray water-based polyurethane and can you spray oil-based polyurethane? So, here's the difference between the two and whether you can spray both coating variations.  

There is no doubt that water-based polyurethane is much more transparent than its oil-based counterpart.

It forms fewer inflammable organic compounds and toxic fumes than oil-based polyurethane, and it is a much better and eco-friendly alternative. Unfortunately, though, one disadvantage of using water-based coating is lower durability [2].  

On the other hand, using oil-based polyurethane to coat DIY furniture brings out a great look, a feat that water-based polyurethane cannot achieve.

Furthermore, you can also spray polyurethane on wood; the oil-based polyurethanes typically increase the darker woods' color, whereas the water-based ones are greater for lighter woods. To learn more about how to spray polyurethane on wood, watch this video guide.  

Another question that arises most is, can MINWAX polyurethane be sprayed? Well, having polyurethane in a spray can in aerosol does provide great convenience.

This product can spray over wood finishings and furniture, making home renovation and DIY projects management relatively easier.  

You will get an extremely robust protective coating when you spray MINWAX polyurethane over wood. It can also be sprayed over paint, unfinished or finished wood surfaces, and is predominantly used over various types of wood.

It is a multipurpose polyurethane spray since it adds long-lasting protection, but it also increases the underneath wood's natural beauty due to its shiny and precise finish.  

You can spray all kinds of wooden surfaces and paint them with polyurethane spray. This finish's product is attractive, long-lasting, and durable.  

How To Spray Polyurethane Step By Step

Now that we have agreed that you can use a spray to apply polyurethane, you must know the required steps to follow to ensure you know how to use spray polyurethane and its process. These are the following steps you must abide by: 

  • 1
    Prepare The Working Area 
    To prepare to spray or brush polyurethane formula, the initial thing you must do is to set up the work area. Typically, polyurethane has low levels of toxins, and the chemicals, when exposed to things such as vegetation, can be harmful.

    That is why when you are preparing your working area, make sure to cover all the plants within the vicinity, and if you are working indoors in a room, ensure proper air circulation so you do not inhale toxic fumes from the polyurethane compounds.  
  • 2
    Surface Preparation 
    Once you have prepared the working area, it is better to shift your attention to preparing the surface you wish to apply the polyurethane finish. First, clear the surface to remove any dirt and grease.

    Your formula will easily stick to clean surfaces, making sure that you get the best possible finish. You can also use water and soap to clean the wood surface, particularly if it is bare wood.  
  • 3
    Polyurethane Spraying  
    Now you are ready to spray, but before starting with the procedure, make sure the materials you will employ for this task are ready as needed. Polyurethane application, especially when you use a sprayer, requires you to thin it.

    However, there are some formulas of polyurethane that do not require thinning. That is why we recommend that you initially spray the formula without thinning and observe the finish you get during this process. 

    Once you are confident that the formula is correct and ready for application on a wooden surface, go through with the application. Apply in thin coats to provide an excellent finish and a smoother feel.

    You can also apply two to three additional thinner coats until you get the finish you desire.  
  • 4
    Cleaning And Drying Of The Finish 
    Once you have successfully applied the polyurethane formula, you must allow it to dry. According to the formula used, the drying time of your polyurethane varies.

    For example, an oil-based polyurethane can take around twenty-four hours to dry, whereas its water-based counterpart only requires four hours to dry to touch or even walk over in case you were applying it to the floor.  

Tips For Spraying Polyurethane

When you are looking for the best ways to spray polyurethane, here are some tips and essential things you must remember while employing spray or brush polyurethane:  

  • If you can, always make sure that you are wearing a fume or chemical resistant mask to avoid fume inhalation
  • In the case of you spraying the polyurethane formula to the vertical surface, make sure that you are careful to steer clear of drips and runs
  • Make sure that you always apply a thin coat on the application surface for a quicker drying to give it a best possible finish
  • If you experience some runs in the polyurethane application process, ensure that you have taken additional precautions, so it does not affect your coating work
  • To get a clean finish, use a razor blade; it can remove runs more efficiently
  • Put all the safety measures in order before starting the whole process of polyurethane spraying
  • Eagerly stay on application angles, so you get the best possible finish on the surfaces, like wooden floors 
Room Painted with Polyurethane

Frequently Asked Spraying Polyurethane Questions

Can you spray paint and lacquer over polyurethane? 

No, you cannot spray polyurethane over lacquer since it will most possibly not bond to it. The polyurethane coat will flake and peel over time if you do it nonetheless.  

How long does spray polyurethane take to dry? 

Within the two hours of the application process, the spray polyurethane will be dry to touch. At this moment, you can add a second coat easily.

However, it would be best if you waited overnight before it is finally ready for light use and a minimum of three days before it has cured completely.  

Can you buy polyurethane in A spray can? 

Yes, there are multiple spray polyurethanes on the market. They can either come in an accessible spray can form, or they can be loaded inside a paint sprayer.

Polyurethane spray will give an excellent finish to various types of wooden surfaces, and this finish is long-lasting, attractive, and durable.  

Is it better to spray or brush polyurethane? 

Every kind of polyurethane formula has its preferred applicator, usually cloth or brush. Certain polys are also available in aerosol spray cans.

The brush-on polyurethanes work the best on flatter surfaces, where it is essential to create a durable film. Sprays hold a good finish, so you can cover a more extensive area every time you load them. 


Hopefully, this guide was able to help answer various questions such as can you spray polyurethane, how to spray oil-based polyurethane, and the best way to spray polyurethane.

Using a spray polyurethane provides a much better finish, and you can also apply multiple coats to get an excellent finish.