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polyurethane is cloudy

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Forum topic by mitch48093 posted 369 days ago 3593 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mitch48093

13 posts in 923 days


369 days ago

Hi all,

My wife has a buffet she refinished and is having a problem with it. any help would be greatly appreciated… My wife wrote:
I painted a buffet with Rustoleum Painters Touch in the spray can. The color is Satin Black. I also hand painted designs with latex acrylic paint over the black. The paint job came out great.. no streaks, etc. After one week I used Minwax fast drying polyurethane in the spray can, in the clear satin finish. I chose this rather than the polycrylic because I wasn’t worried about it turning amber since the paint is black, considering the cost of the polycrylic.. I followed the directions about shaking and applying thin coats every two hours. When I checked on the item the next day I saw the entire buffet looks like it’s extremely dusty, or a dull cloudy gray color over the paint. The “cloudiness” is uniform all over except the top has a couple areas that look streaked, not cloudy, but clear black. Now I’m panicking; I have no idea what to do. Is it ruined? If I spray over the satin poly with semi-gloss will it turn black again or will I just have a shiny cloudy gray finish then? Should I use the satin again but put the can closer? I’m thinking maybe that’s how I got the black parts on top. Must I sand the whole buffet? Because of the delicate hand painting, which took 2 weeks, I think sanding would be impossible.

Would Minwax poly in a can fix this? If so, what do I do, brush or wipe on? I’ve never done that before either. Please help me!!


36 replies so far

View mrjinx007's profile

mrjinx007

1322 posts in 372 days


#1 posted 369 days ago

Poly is a beautiful finish but hard to work with. All I can think of is that either the humidity was so high that perhaps you had some moisture over the project when you applied the poly. Or perhaps there was some moisture in the line of your compressor that worked itself into the poly spray container. Here is what I would do: Get a scrap board and paint it black as you did your table and apply the poly on it and let it dry. Hopefully you get the same result. If applying can poly does not clear it up, try sanding it with 400 wet sand paper; just a few rubs to turn the water milky white. Then go to 600 and do the same. Try applying can poly using sponge brush (maybe a 4” one). Dip the brush 1-1/2” into the poly and evenly and slowly go along the grain of your work. If there is not enough poly on your brush and you see dry spots, give it another dip and finish your first stroke. then go back and run your brush evenly over the whole thing with one slow movement over the entire row. The next row should overlap the first one slightly. The process has to be done fairly quick but not too fast as it might create bubbles.

Best of luck

-- earthartandfoods.com

View mitch48093's profile

mitch48093

13 posts in 923 days


#2 posted 369 days ago

Thank you so much for replying, I really appreciate it. I did wait until there was a day with no humidity in the air, since I did it in my garage. My husband also set up a large fan to draw out. What I used though was the poly in the aerosol can, not a compressor. Could it be that I just didn’t apply enough coats of the aerosol? As I said, there was a couple of areas that did come out clear black on the top, which I thought occurred because I accidently held the aerosol can closer, so the poly was thicker in those swipes across. Yesterday my hubby very lightly scuffed the back of the door of the buffet that had the same cloudiness result but the paint was immediately scuffed too. So I don’t want to take a chance with any light sanding at all for fear of ruining the decorative designs I painted over the black paint. I have read that many people said going with the satin finish can cause these problems. I am willing to change the sheen if it would help in any way.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15671 posts in 2823 days


#3 posted 369 days ago

Without photos or a face-to-face look, this one is hard to diagnose. My first instinct would be to rub the current finish smooth with 0000 steel wool, then try a coat of gloss wipe-on poly to see what happens.

My initial thought reading the post was that the poly had partially dissolved the paint, creating a muddy look. If that is the case, the finish is toast. But I don’t really know if that’s the case. At any rate, smoothing the surface and wiping on another coat couldn’t hurt. If a coat of gloss brings the clarity back, she can tone down the glass level (if she desires) with another coat of satin.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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CharlieM1958

15671 posts in 2823 days


#4 posted 369 days ago

After reading what you just posted…. another thought I had was that the surface was just not adequately coated. Since you say a light scuffing immediately scuffed the paint, maybe there is something to that. Spraying finish is a triicky business. The surface needs to be uniformly wet, without being wet enough to run. That’s not always easy. Wipe-on poly takes a little more work, but it’s pretty foolproof.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1117 posts in 2475 days


#5 posted 369 days ago

I suspect your “thin” coats are perhaps too thin, which what is refered to as dry , this can cause a dusty clowdy look, because the coats were not heavy enough to “flow” smooth , I agree a good photo would be a huge help

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2938 posts in 891 days


#6 posted 369 days ago

Poly and acrylic don’t mix. I have a beautiful spalted maple bowl that I sprayed with acrylic, then decided to poly. It all went cloudy and basically ruined the bowl.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1117 posts in 2475 days


#7 posted 369 days ago

Russell what did you use, I would like to experiment with this some if you would tell me please sir ?

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2938 posts in 891 days


#8 posted 369 days ago

Charles, after turning the shop upside down, I found the can. It was a lacquer, not an acrylic. Watco clear lacquer spray can. I forgot I used it on my bowl and later used a poly. The whole thing turned milky.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1117 posts in 2475 days


#9 posted 369 days ago

Russell just as an experiment try wiping it with some lacquer thinner , just a quick wet wipe ,not alot, often it will pull the blush out ,or you can spray it with a quick wet coat of lacquer. Lacquer is not very compatable with poly unless its water base, then its a little more tolerant, thus the fast wet spray, again often it will clear it .

View mitch48093's profile

mitch48093

13 posts in 923 days


#10 posted 369 days ago




these are the pics….my wife sprayed 3 or 4 coats (thin coats) and held the can about 12” from
table…The can said to do it that way so she did…...
As you can see the red paint is on texture wall paper….

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1763 days


#11 posted 369 days ago

When you wipe that with a dry towel, does stuff come off on the towel?

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1117 posts in 2475 days


#12 posted 369 days ago

It looks “DRY” , meaning the coats were not applied wet enough.

View mitch48093's profile

mitch48093

13 posts in 923 days


#13 posted 369 days ago

no nothing comes off if you wipe it….I know that it looks like it would but it dosent…

If it is the point that she did not put on coats wet enough can we go back and apply more coats ???

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1117 posts in 2475 days


#14 posted 369 days ago

yes , get some 600 grit sand paper, (lowes, Autobody supply) give it a light sand go easy just to smooth, do not cut thru the paint, ( nice work BTW) and apply a wet coat, here is a video I did, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lugNoCD8bg some where in it, I show applying a lacquer with a spray can, note the “wet ” coat , basically a gloss has to follow the gun, ( in your case the can) , PM sent with email will help if I can

Note: the lacquer cannot be used over the poly, this is just to show you how to “wet the finish” , I am assuming the poly is an oil base,

View mitch48093's profile

mitch48093

13 posts in 923 days


#15 posted 369 days ago

Boy, you sure make it look easy, Mr. Neil. Now I see what you mean about a wet coat; I think my spray was dry immediately after each swipe across. Here’s what is probably a really dumb question….what is lacquer? I used the Minwax fast drying poly in the gold can, satin. I liked how the Deft you used seemed to spray out more “solid” or “strong”. Can I switch to the Deft, spray it over the Minwax? If so, is it stinkier than the Minwax? Will it dry as fast, so I can recoat pretty fast? May I have your opinion of the Minwax one? (thank you for your compliment, the floral is actually a dark maroon color). Chrys

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