Polyurethane VS Polycrylic For Dining Table

When you decide to paint your dining table, aside from paint you also need to decide which topcoat is best for the job. Two popular options are polyurethane and polycrylic. So we’re diving into the debate of polyurethane vs polycrylic for dining table to see which one is better suited for your project.

Topcoat is one of the furniture painting tools and supplies you can’t be without, especially if you want to make your dining table more durable and resistant to wear and tear. So let’s get started with this comparison!

Polyurethane vs Polycrylic for dining table with text overlay

Dining tables are a key part of any home, used for daily meals and get togethers with family and friends. With all of the use they get, it’s no surprise they can quickly become scratched, stained, or damaged.

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This is especially true when there are kids involved who may not always treat furniture with the utmost care. Or if you have pets who like to jump up on the table for a treat or two.

To keep your dining table looking its best and to make sure it lasts for years to come, it’s important to choose a topcoat that will protect the painted or stained surface from wear and tear. This is where polyurethane and polycrylic come into play – they both offer durability and protection against common issues like scratches and spills.

These topcoats can also really make a difference in how well your new paint or stain job holds up, so let’s take a closer look at each one to figure out which one you should use for your dining table project. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about polyurethane vs polycrylic for dining tables!

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Polyurethane For Dining Table

When it comes to protecting your furniture, polyurethane is a tried and true option. This oil based topcoat offers superior durability and protection. It has a longer lifespan compared to polycrylic, making it a great choice for high traffic areas like dining tables.

minwax fast-drying polyurethane in spray can

However, you have to know that polyurethane does have a longer dry time compared to other topcoats, so you’ll need to plan accordingly for your project. And let’s not forget about the strong odor – make sure to work in a well ventilated area or wear a mask or respirator when applying this topcoat.

wearing a respirator while spraying topcoat

Another thing to consider is the yellow tone that polyurethane has – this can affect the color of your paint, so it’s best to use it over dark colors or stained wood for best results. And if you’re using polyurethane over waterbased paint, you’ll need to let the paint dry for at least 48 hours before applying any oil based products like polyurethane.

Still, many DIYers and professionals swear by polyurethane for its long lasting durability and protection. Just be sure to take into account the longer dry time and strong odor when planning your project, and use it over darker colors or stained wood for best results.


  • Superior durability and protection
  • Longer lifespan compared to polycrylic
  • Best used on high traffic areas like dining tables
  • Comes in a spray or a wipe-on version


  • Longer dry time compared to other topcoats
  • Strong odor during application
  • Can affect color of paint or stain (yellow tone)
  • Long wait before applying over waterbased paint

If you want to know what’s the best polyurethane for furniture to use, then check out this post for some recommendations and reviews. And if you’re not sure how to apply polyurethane, our comparison post on spray polyurethane vs brush on polyurethane will show you the two application methods and help you decide which one you should do for your project.

Polycrylic For Dining Table

Now let’s talk about polycrylic, the waterbased alternative to polyurethane. While it may not be as durable as its oil based counterpart, it still offers a good level of protection for dining tables. Plus, it has a quick dry time and easy cleanup – no more dealing with strong odors or waiting hours for your topcoat to dry.

minwax fast-drying polycrylic in spray can

One major perk of using polycrylic is that it doesn’t have a yellow tone like polyurethane does. This makes it a great option for light colored paints or stains as there won’t be any discoloration like the wood looking orange or too warm. And since it’s waterbased, you can use it over your waterbased paint without any issues. Just make sure the paint has fully dried before applying.

So if you’re looking for a topcoat that’s quick and easy to use and offers decent protection, polycrylic may be the way to go.


  • Quick dry time and easy cleanup
  • No strong odor during application
  • Does not have a yellow tone
  • Can be used over waterbased paint without waiting for a long period of time
  • Also comes in a spray or a wipe-on version.


  • Not as durable as polyurethane
  • Best suited for low to medium traffic areas

If you’ve decided to use polycrylic for your dining table, here’s how to apply polycrylic to painted furniture to guide you with proper application.

Polycrylic vs Polyurethane For Dining Table

So what’s the difference between polyurethane and polycrylic when it comes to using them on your dining table? Let’s look into these two topcoats side by side.

If you’re looking for the most durable and long lasting protection, then polyurethane is your best bet. Especially for high traffic areas like a dining table. However, if we consider polycrylic vs polyurethane over paint, especially light colored paints, polycrylic may be the better choice as it does not have a yellow tone like polyurethane.

Additionally, if you’re using waterbased paint, you won’t have to wait for it to dry as long before applying polycrylic compared to polyurethane. And with its quick dry time and easy cleanup, polycrylic can make your dining table project a breeze.

But if you don’t mind the longer dry time and strong odor, and you prioritize getting a very durable and protected finish, polyurethane is still the top choice to make your painted or stained dining table last for years to come.

spraying polyurethane onto dining table

Both topcoats offer their own set of benefits, and it really depends on what you’re looking for and what your project needs. Here’s polycrylic vs polyurethane to learn more about these 2 topcoat options.

Whether you go with the durability of polyurethane or the ease of use with polycrylic, your newly painted or stained dining table will look amazing and be well protected at the same time.

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