Best budget friendly water based poly?

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Forum topic by Scott C. posted 12-03-2013 08:32 PM 1564 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Scott C.

147 posts in 1472 days

12-03-2013 08:32 PM

I’m looking for a the best bang for your buck water based poly for spray finishing. I’m currently using General Finishes Enduro-Var on my kitchen cabinets which I really like, but at almost $100 gallon it’s really pricey. I used some minwax oil modified/water based poly on the drawer boxes which I really didn’t like, really thin compared to the enduro-var, lots of runs.

What do you guys like? Whats a good water based poly that won’t break the bank?

-- measure twice, cut once, swear and start over.

7 replies so far

View Earlextech's profile


1157 posts in 2111 days

#1 posted 12-03-2013 08:42 PM

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View SuperCubber's profile


834 posts in 1705 days

#2 posted 12-03-2013 08:55 PM

A few times a month, Sherwin Williams has 30% off sales. The Minwax Polycrylic that they sell is included in that sale. I’ve used it with success, especially at that price! I think it comes to about $32/gal it so.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View brtech's profile


882 posts in 2343 days

#3 posted 12-03-2013 11:11 PM

Took a look at the Aquacoat site. They have a cross linker for the basic Aquathane topcoat. Anyone who wants a really tough surface should consider that combo. I used a two part poly on a floor a couple years ago, and it seems much tougher than the basic floor poly I got at the big box store.

View Lifesaver2000's profile


541 posts in 2533 days

#4 posted 12-03-2013 11:36 PM

Another option at Sherwin-Williams is the S-W Wood Classiscs Waterborne Polyurethane. With the sale it is about $45 a gallon.

I have a table at my front door where we throw our keys or anything else in hand as we come in the door. It has been in use two years and the finish has no visible scratches, so the durability seems to be pretty good.

Sherwin-Williams owns Minwax I believe, so the two products may be related, but from what I have read on-line and been told by the folks at my local store, the Wood Classics is the premium (supposedly better quality) product. I know I have heard a lot of bad comments on the Polycrylic, and in my experience none of that applies to the Wood Classics product I have been using.

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Scott C.

147 posts in 1472 days

#5 posted 12-04-2013 12:32 AM

Anyone know how much cross linker you should add to the aqua thane? Seems there MSDS isn’t available on their website yet.

-- measure twice, cut once, swear and start over.

View JAAune's profile


1614 posts in 1737 days

#6 posted 12-04-2013 02:08 AM

I’ve used Polycrylic and it’s okay. After using AquaKem Plus from Sherwin Williams I would never use Polycrylic again. The AquaKem is much easier to apply with a spray gun. I think it’s around $50 a gallon or $35 a gallon if purchased in 5 gallon pails. It’s been awhile since I’ve bought any.

I don’t know if you brush or spray so your experience may be different.

I’ve been told that Varathane has a water-based polyurethane that is pretty nice but haven’t used any myself.

-- See my work at and

View Earlextech's profile


1157 posts in 2111 days

#7 posted 12-05-2013 07:49 PM

Interesting article by Greg Williams in the Dec 2013 Woodshop News magazine and I quote – “In the end, the price per gallon is not the metric you need to use, but the cost of the film deposited on the work or the cost of the applied solids. Often a higher cost per gallon, for the right material, can contribute to a lower-cost finished product.”

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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