NEW! Faster Search Option


Polyurethane Over Lacquer - OK?

WoodLess's picture

I just purchased an inexpensive dining table for a small kitchen. The table has a lacquer finish with all of the warnings about not putting anything hot directly on the surface, being careful about scratching it, and wiping up spills quickly. My question is can I put a few coats of a satin polyurethane over the factory lacquer finish to make it not so fussy to use and care for? Any feedback you can provide is very much appreciated.


Westchester's picture

No - leave the original (post #146781, reply #1 of 5)

No - leave the original finish -
It will hold up to general wear -

hammer1's picture

The same use warnings go with (post #146781, reply #2 of 5)

The same use warnings go with just about every film finish. Polyurethane wouldn't be any different and, likely, much less attractive.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

SteveSchoene's picture

You can put an oil based (post #146781, reply #3 of 5)

You can put an oil based varnish over the lacquer. It will add resistance to spills, and a bit of resistance to scratching. But, I wouldn't use a polyurethane varnish due to concerns about how well it will adhere. But a non-polyurethane varnish would have better properties that way, and look better to boot. You do have to first thoroughly clean the table--first with a soap solution (or TSP) to get rid of water soluble dirt. Remember with lacquer not to keep it wet for long. Then thoroughly wipe it down with naphtha or mineral spirits to remove oily dirt. Only AFTER cleaning should you sand it with 320 grit paper to give a good tooth for the varnish to grip.

You still shouldn't place hot objects on it. That's what trivits and hot pads are for. And, consistant use of coasters would eliminate the problem to begin with.

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

floormeister's picture

when in doubt about (post #146781, reply #4 of 5)

when in doubt about compatibility or possible contamination,i go with unwaxed shellac or 'universal sealer' by parks,after that i go with poly if i choose is advertised as compatible with water and oil poly,you may have to call to see if alcohol reacts with lacquer.I've used it in your situation just fine,but is it ok'd by parks..thats important..hope this helps rob

prcrlc's picture

You can put oil-based poly (post #146781, reply #5 of 5)

You can put oil-based poly over lacquer if you lightly sand first. Adhesion is okay but not great and heat might compromise adhesion.  You might consider sanding off the lacquer and using industrial strength poly. In any case, use trivets.

I often have glass cut for side tables that see a lot of use since I find coasters a PITA.