Best Paint Brushes For Polyurethane

Are you looking for a tool to apply polyurethane to painted or stained surfaces? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best paint brushes for polyurethane and give tips on how to choose and care for them.

With a few simple tricks and by using the right furniture painting tools and supplies, you can get lasting results that will make your project look professional every time. So read on to learn more about finding the perfect brush for your next project!

photo of brush and polyurethane with text overlay

Using the right paint brush for polyurethane can make a huge difference in the success of your project. When you use the appropriate brush, you won’t have to worry about any unsightly brush marks or bristles left behind in your finish.

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This is your last product to apply! You don’t want to have to sand it down and fix mistakes because of a cheap paint brush!

You also won’t need to worry about any uneven texture – as long as you follow proper painting techniques and use the correct type of brush for your application, you should be able to achieve a smooth, professional-looking surface with minimal effort.

With this knowledge in hand, let’s take a look at some of the best brushes available today!

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Zibra Topcoat Brush

The Zibra Topcoat Brush is a great choice for applying polyurethane to painted or stained surfaces. This brush is designed specifically for topcoats, and its smooth filament technology provides maximum pick up and release of paint. The result is an even, streak free finish that looks professional with minimal effort.

brushing topcoat onto drawer with Zibra topcoat brush

When using the Zibra Topcoat Brush, it is important to use the right techniques. For best results, make sure to apply even, smooth strokes and avoid over-brushing.

Don’t push the brush too hard or go over the same spot more than once when working with waterbased polyurethane. Waterbased polyurethane dries very quickly, and over brushing can make the poly look streaky.

If you are looking for the very best finish, try applying multiple thin coats instead of one thick coat. For the final coat, apply the polyurethane in a slightly thicker coat to avoid any streaks in the final finish.

You can also lightly sand in between coats with a very fine sandpaper to remove any raised grain or bumps in the finish. Here’s how to paint furniture without brush marks for additional tips on getting a smooth finish with a brush.

Finally, don’t forget to clean your brush after each use to keep it working well for future projects! Remove as much polyurethane as possible and then wash the brush and let it dry before using again or storing away.

If you used waterbased polyurethane, use warm soapy water to clean the brush. If you used oil based polyurethane, use mineral spirits to clean the brush. Learn more on how to clean paint brushes here to keep them in top shape.

We used the topcoat brush to apply polyurethane on these makeovers:

Foam Sponge Brush Wrapped in a Pantyhose

One of the best tools for applying polyurethane is a foam sponge wrapped in pantyhose. This technique is great for those who want to achieve a topnotch finish on a budget. It also eliminates the need for expensive brushes as all you need is a tile sponge and some pantyhose!

applying topcoat with foam wrapped in pantyhose

To use this method, simply cut the sponge to a small size suitable for your project and then wrap it in pantyhose. The pantyhose will prevent any foam from shedding into your finish while still giving you a soft feel when applying the polyurethane.

You might not think that the pantyhose will make much difference, but it does actually make a difference. If you don’t have pantyhose around, you can forgo it and just use the tile sponge.

photo of tile grout sponge

To get the best results, make sure to apply several thin coats in order to avoid puddles and drips. When finished, let the polyurethane dry completely before using or touching the surface.

When using a foam sponge to apply polyurethane, keep a few tips and tricks in mind. First, make sure that you evenly press down, very lightly on the sponge. You don’t want to press too hard or it will leave lines in the finish.

Also, try to work in one direction only and avoid going over the same place more than once. Check out our post on how to apply polycrylic to painted furniture to learn more about applying waterbased polyurethane by hand.

Finally, make sure to wash your sponge after each use to remove any residue and keep it working like new.

We used the foam sponge to apply polyurethane to these projects:

Tips for Applying Polyurethane

Whichever brush you decide to use on your project, remember to have patience as you learn and perfect your new skill. Darker paint colors are harder to topcoat with a brush and waterbased polyurethane.

Consider using oil based polyurethane for darker colors to avoid the streaks that you may see. Or, consider spraying the waterbased polyurethane on with a paint sprayer or a spray can. Check out this spray polyurethane vs brush on polyurethane comparison to help you decide which is best for you.

Here’s how to spray polyurethane with a paint sprayer, and we’ve also listed the best sprayers for polyurethane here.

You can also go for a spray can instead of applying with a paint sprayer – here’s the best spray can waterbased polyurethane you can use. We also feature this product as the best spray polyurethane and the best clear polyurethane spray for wood.

If you still aren’t sure what polyurethane to use, here’s our post on what’s the best polyurethane for furniture, to help guide your decision. And if you’re curious about using wax instead, here’s our post on wax vs polyurethane with helpful information to help you decide between the two.

How many coats of polyurethane should I apply?

If you’re curious about how many coats of polyurethane to use on your project, it can depend on a few things. Typically, we recommend at least 2 coats for good protection and durability. However, 3 coats of polyurethane are the best for optimal protection.

Each coat should be allowed to fully dry before applying the next one, which can take anywhere from 2-24 hours depending on the type of polyurethane used.

The number of coats you apply depends on your personal preference and the level of protection you want for your project. Feel free to add an extra coat or two for high traffic areas or a more polished finish. Just remember to use proper application techniques, like using a good brush or sprayer and giving enough drying time between coats, for the best results.

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  1. Your site has such useful info! I am very new to this and just invested in a Staalmeester Essential Paints Kit which has a few different size brushes, but I wasn’t sure what to use for the topcoat (I’ll be using Minwax Polycrylic Clear Matte). Do you still recommend the Zibra Topcoat Brush, or will using a Staalmeester brush be ok for the topcoat?

    1. I’, so glad to hear you invested in Staalmeester brushes! They are truly amazing! I personally haven’t tried the Staalmeester brushes for topcoating. I bet it would work, and you can certainly try it on a large sample to see if you like it or not. But I do know for sure that I love the Zibra topcoat brush for topcoats.

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