Best non-yellowing water based poly

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Forum topic by Grantman posted 03-29-2016 02:06 PM 1090 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Grantman's profile


113 posts in 4021 days

03-29-2016 02:06 PM

My sister’s friend is building a new home with exposed pine beams.  He wants to keep it as white as possible.  He’s looking at Rustoleum Ultimate Polyurethane, Deft Interior/Exterior, General Finishes EnduroClear and two flooring products,  Lenmar and Bona which I’ve never heard of.  Does anyone have any experience with which WB Poly is the ‘whitest?’  This will be a brush-on, not sprayed, application.  Thanks.

9 replies so far

View Drew's profile


350 posts in 3095 days

#1 posted 03-29-2016 02:19 PM

“Brush-on” and “waterborne” don’t really go together.
I know some people on here have brushed different WB clears and had some success, but in general it doesn’t work well.
With that said, my favorite water white WB clear coat (sprayed) is Target Coatings EmTech 9000 SC.


View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2365 days

#2 posted 03-29-2016 02:58 PM

The only clear, brushable waterborne I’ve used is MinWax PolyCrylic. While I haven’t had the best experience with some of their other products, I was pleased with the PolyCrylic. I haven’t noticed any yellowing on the piece (eastern red cedar) for the few years the finish has been on, the sapwood still looks great.

I’ve used both a foam brush and a regular brush to apply it, and prefer the foam brush, so long as your surface is smooth and it won’t snag on the wood.

Maybe you could convince your sister’s friend to help supplement the price of you buying an HVLP setup, as payment for your services. You can save a bunch of time on those beams, and get a nice finish, open up your options for finish selection…but most of all, get a new tool. There are a lot of options out there, I have an Earlex 5500 and paid about $300 for it, came with extra tip and a cleaning kit, all set to go right out of the box.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4983 posts in 2488 days

#3 posted 03-29-2016 06:22 PM

Waterborne finishes don’t yellow, in oil based it’s the oils that cause the color shift. But the pine will yellow over time, so there will likely be a color shift from that. Some waterborne finishes have a tint added to them to mimic the amber tone an oil based imparts, but that tint should be color fast over time as well. Any of the ones without the tint (check the label, it will usually say something about looking just like oil based varnish) should be quite clear. I’m partial to the GF products, but the ones I’ve used have the tint.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4127 posts in 2304 days

#4 posted 03-29-2016 06:42 PM

I work for the Anchorage school district in the carpenter shop. We build tons of cabinets, bookcases, shelves and cubbies and other stuff. Our paint shop has brushed on gallons and gallons and gallons of WB clear coats in the last 18 years. So I have a different view than Drew.

I don’t know all the different brands of product they have used over this 18 year period but the latest one they have use for several years now I “wood Pride 1800”.

I also hear “CrystaLac” sprays and brushes very nice.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View builtinbkyn's profile


2273 posts in 936 days

#5 posted 03-29-2016 07:39 PM

I had a gallon of Basic Coatings Emulsion Pro, in satin remaining from doing my floors. Used it on my shop cabinets and really couldn’t be happier with the results. Being a water/oil mixture and a floor finish, it’s very durable. It stays clear and drys quickly.

I mixed it 50/50 for the first few coats and sanded between. The last coat was thinned about 10%. It flows and levels really well. It’s offered in 5 gal containers for large jobs.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3159 posts in 3104 days

#6 posted 03-30-2016 02:37 AM

If you can stand the fumes and have a way to vent them, an automotive clear coat will not yellow. I have some left over from a repaint I did on a car (ever see a clear-coated vehicle with a yellowed finish? Thought not. And it lasts like crazy in the UV environment). :) Otherwise, water based finish, as has been noted.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Grantman's profile


113 posts in 4021 days

#7 posted 03-30-2016 02:52 PM

A hearty thanks to all who replied. I gave my sister the link to the forum and they’ll be making a decision soon. Dark Lightning, I love the idea of an auto clear coat. Great thinking outside the box.


View MalcolmLaurel's profile


298 posts in 1618 days

#8 posted 03-30-2016 04:57 PM

Why does it need to be poly? How about clear shellac?

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View TTF's profile


154 posts in 3173 days

#9 posted 04-02-2016 03:52 AM

I’ve had great results with minwax polycylic. No yellowing.

-- Troy | | The more I see nature, the more I am amazed at the Creator. - Louis Pasteur

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