Poly over latex paint

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Forum topic by rfusca posted 300 days ago 3138 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rfusca's profile


155 posts in 446 days

300 days ago

So, I’m finishing a small kids table and I was trying to use products I had on hand. I covered the top with a blue latex paint, did three coats, 24 hours between each coat. At the end, the blue looked good, but I knew I needed something over the latex for a kids table top. (I would have used an oil based paint, but I really needed to use up the blue latex.) I waited 5 days after the last coat of latex before starting to cover with poly. So, I had some water based clear polyurethane – the directions say to do at least 4 coats and at least 2 hours between each coat. I did two coats last night (2 hours between each coat) and woke up this morning…and it turned it yellow! I didn’t think water based would do that?

What went wrong? Do I have to strip and start all over?

-- Chris S., North Atlanta, GA - woodworker,DBA, cook, photographer

9 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1390 posts in 963 days

#1 posted 300 days ago

Obviously, a reaction of some sort, any explanation of which would be pure speculation. For colored work, I prefer flat acrylic wall paint (Behr) topped with waterborne poly floor finish (Varathane). Never had a problem.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View ZacD's profile


34 posts in 361 days

#2 posted 300 days ago

Did you recently purchase the poly or have you used it in the past with good results? I’ve recently seen some cans of polyurethane labeled clear and then in smaller print somewhere, they’ll slap an ‘antique’ on there too which looks pretty colorless in the can, barely noticeably yellow when going over white paint but then looks like someone threw honey all over your cabinets when it dries. Otherwise, it could be a bunch of things. What type of latex paint did you use? Poly should usually be fine over latex in any regard.

View rfusca's profile


155 posts in 446 days

#3 posted 300 days ago

The poly I’ve used over stain in the past without yellowing and its label ‘crystal clear’. I’ve tried sanding it off, but it looks like I’d have to strip the paint off too. At this point, I’m considering rough sanding, tsp, primer, and repainting with Ben Moore Advanced alkyd paint and then polycrylic spray. I’d have to buy some stuff, but I’d be more sure of the results.

-- Chris S., North Atlanta, GA - woodworker,DBA, cook, photographer

View Don W's profile

Don W

14656 posts in 1170 days

#4 posted 300 days ago

I’ve never had luck putting poly over paint. I’m not sure if it’s doable or not, but I never did it successfully. If I want clear over paint, I use lacquer, but I don’t have the need very often. I think shellac would work as well but I’ve never tried.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View rfusca's profile


155 posts in 446 days

#5 posted 300 days ago

@DonW – Lacquer sounds like a good idea – I’ll give that a try.

-- Chris S., North Atlanta, GA - woodworker,DBA, cook, photographer

View oldretiredjim's profile


178 posts in 987 days

#6 posted 300 days ago

basketball floors is some kind of poly over paint

View DaleM's profile


902 posts in 1986 days

#7 posted 296 days ago

I just used some Minwax water based polycrylic clear gloss from a rattle can over white latex paint (Behr paint and primer all-in-one) and had no yellowing at all. It looked very good and went from a fairly flat look to a glossy look and feel after only two coats. I’m not sure what you used, but just sharing what worked for me.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View gfadvm's profile


10593 posts in 1292 days

#8 posted 295 days ago

I rolled Polycrylic over Behr latex on my shop shelves and got no yellowing at all. And it has held up well.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View baileyst's profile


46 posts in 375 days

#9 posted 295 days ago

When I finish corn hole boards I use varathane poly over valspar paint from Lowes and I have never had any discoloration. I’m certainly not an expert but I’ve had pretty good results with this combo.

-- Bailey Indiana

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