Monday, June 16, 2014

Using a Polycrylic Sealer with Chalk Paint®

I have another client reveal to share with you today. This is the second job I have completed for her, and again she brought me a gorgeous family heirloom. She grew up eating at this table. Now, she gets to gather around it with her own little ones and make some new memories.
painted kitchen table

Like I mentioned, this table has already lived a long life. So, the top was pretty beat up, and its finish was peeling in spots. Normally, I don't sand before painting, but I wanted the paint to go on smoothly since I was using white and it is a table top. I got my orbital sander out and used a medium sandpaper, 80 grit, to smooth it out.

The client selected Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Old White which I know you see a lot of on my site, but it truly goes with anything. It has so much more depth than your average pure white, and also really helps dark wood shine through when you are distressing.

I went back and forth for a couple of days deciding if I would wax the top of the table or use some sort of poly finish. There is a lot of debate out there on the topic, and I think I read every article I could find. After reading, this post from Jennifer Rizzo, I decided since this is a kitchen table going into a home full of toddlers, that a durable polycrylic sealer with a Satin finish would be the way to go.
Here is what I used.
I did three coats, and the key to getting a smooth finish with no streaks is a quality brush. Seriously, spend the extra $3 by only buying a brush in the "best" category or you will not be happy. 
chalk paint

The polycrylic does give a glossier look than wax would, but I was really happy with its clarity- absolutely no yellowing! I did wax the legs of the table and the combination of sealers really worked well. The piece still looks cohesive, and my anxiety level is way lower knowing my client will be using this table multiple times a day. I think I am still "Team Wax," but for really heavy traffic pieces I would promote using a polycrylic sealer.

old white

Painted kitchen table

white kitchen table

white kitchen table

My client sent me a pic of her whole family around the table enjoying a big Father's Day Breakfast yesterday. What a joy overload, seeing something like that makes all the hard work worth it. 

Are there any other Chalk Paint and Poly fans out there? I would love to know are you "Team Wax" or "Team Poly?"

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

36 comments:

  1. The table looks great! I am so glad you're happy with your finish choice!

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  2. i just redid a table top for our family of 5 two toddlers under 2 ... i took the warped top off and put new wood on it, painted it with home made chalk paint and seal it with 3 coats of poly.... it has been in use for 2 months and the top still looks as good as 1st day...poly all the way for this granny xx

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  3. I am getting ready to do my first chalk paint table and want to get away from using placemats every time we sit to eat. Would using poly on top instead of was let me get rid of the darn placemats??

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    1. Hi Sarah,

      I am sorry to tell you that I wouldn't throw away the placemats. Using a polycrylic finish will definitely give a more forgiving finish for accidents and spills, but to protect the life of your table and finish you should use placemats and trivets to protect from damage.

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  4. It is really looking much brighter. I can imagine that table in a room with almost any other color around it. I think the only thing I would do different is use a different shade. However, if that was done, you probably wouldn't get it being as versatile as it is now.

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  5. I just redid my dining room table this weekend. It was my grandparents' table, then my parents. It had seen better days and was really starting to chip. But, I love that is a family piece. Wish I'd found your site before I started! I have put two coats of wax on it already. Does that mean I can't poly it now? I think I need something else as I have four young kids and this table will get a ton of use.

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  6. Hi Maggie,

    Unfortunately, once you have waxed the polycrylic will not adhere properly. Don't fret. I waxed my dinning room table top as well and have been happy with the results since I don't use it everyday like a kitchen table. My advice is see how it holds up with the wax. If you don't like the way it wears down the road, paint one more coat on top and then finish with the polycrylic. You can paint right over the wax with no problem.

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  7. I haven't tried wax yet, but I've done several pieces now with poly and I love the finish! In fact, I just finished a distressed tray today that I finished with polycrylic. Love it!

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  8. I used the polycrylic as suggested and it dissolved my chalk paint. What did I do wrong?

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  9. I used the polycrylic as suggested and it dissolved my chalk paint. What did I do wrong?

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  10. I used the polycrylic shown on a white dresserror and it yellowed it terribly!

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  11. What's the best brush? I spent $10 and my first coat is super streaky

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  12. I used wax and it never cured for some reason so then I took it off using mineral spirits. I then went ahead and repainted and applied polycrylic about 5 times so far... Is it supposed to harden well? I did a fingernail test in one of the corners of the table and it shows where I poked it... Or is it not supposed to harden to the extent that it will prevent scratches?? It's been about 24 hours..
    Thanks you!

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  13. I found a clear coating ( Rustoleum brand) sold by Home depot. I got 2 quart cans on sale for $28.00. It is made to go over chalk paint. It did not yellow and I used a cheap art and craft brush to apply. No streaks. I was amazed. I have Finished 3 projects with it and it is very durable. Applied two coats

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  14. I found a clear coating ( Rustoleum brand) sold by Home depot. I got 2 quart cans on sale for $28.00. It is made to go over chalk paint. It did not yellow and I used a cheap art and craft brush to apply. No streaks. I was amazed. I have Finished 3 projects with it and it is very durable. Applied two coats

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  15. The polycrylic can says to sand between applications. Do you have to do that?

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    1. I have a couple of times, but I didn't like it. So normally I don't. I don't know what Minwax would think about that. ;)

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  16. I know this is an old post, but would love some help!! How do you get an even coat of polycrylic on a long table such as this? I'm running into an issue where if I do long brushstrokes, the poly fades in the middle and creates splotches. However, if I dip my brush and keep applying, it creates a different splotchy look and sometimes pulls at the last brush stroke creating unevenness. What's the best technique for LONG, full coverage brushing? Thanks!

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    1. It is a little tricky getting the hang of it. When it dries, the streaks tend to go away. Try not to over work it. Get a healthy amount on the brush and keep spreading it in long strokes. My last tip, is make sure you are using a brush in the "best" category. A cheap brush will give you a headache. And try not to be too hard on yourself, you are working right on top of it. Take a step back and try to few it like an outsider. Handprinted furniture will not be as smooth as a "factory finish," but it really adds character to the piece.

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  17. Colored timber is the craze right now in both furnishings and units. Actually, chalk color has become all the anger.

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  18. I was old to wax my chalk painted kitchen cabinets, then 30 days later, apply the polyurethane. But, why do I need to apply the wax at all??

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    1. I don't have any experience with painting kitchens. My advice to you would be to check with your local Annie Sloan stockist. They should have some great tips for you. It was my understanding that once you wax, you should not put another sealant on top of it.

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  19. How long after chalk painting do I need to wait before using a poly?

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    1. Your paint just needs to be dry to the touch, so probably a couple of hours.

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  21. I just used Annie Sloan Old White on my black kitchen table. I put three coats on the top to make sure it was well covered. I used polyurethane on the top only. The next day I found bubbles and it looks cracked in some places like the paint was being pulled up. What should I do now? Sand then apply second coat of poly or repaint?

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    1. Polyurethane will yellow your white paint job...hope you meant to say Polycrylic! Good luck ☺

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  22. I don't think there's really a 'right' answer. I use both depending on the application. Daily use kitchen table? Absolutely polycrilic or polyurethane and at least 4 coats. I took the advice of a woodworker and used a clear gloss for the first three coats - lightly sanding between each - and used a satin for the top coat. Numerous satin coats tend to make the finish a little cloudy. I really love the finish on this table. I am hoping to find a table like this, it's really a classic beauty.

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  24. the information you provide to create a lot of work
    I liked a lot of interesting content. check my blog

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  25. How did you sand after the coats of Polycrylic? I tried putting on a Chateau Grey and when I tried to sand after 1st coat with 220 grit sand paper it scratched the paint.

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    1. I just chalk painted my dining room table (and I've never chalk painted anything previously) and while everyone on every post said to use the 220 grit, while I was at HD buying sandpaper, I noticed that 320 grit is the one they market as the in between coats sandpaper. So I purchased that one instead. I love the paint color and have no interest in distressing the piece either so I hope it works. It's also supposed to be sanded with a light hand. Good luck☺

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    2. I am so upset! I put two coats of grey chalk paint on my bathroom cabinet's and loved the color. Once I put the Polycrylic on there was lots of brush strokes. It helped a little by sanding it. I am wondering if I should but a second coat of Polycrylic or could I put calk paint on again and try the Polycrylic again?

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    3. Polycrylic will always show some brush strokes. Try stepping back and looking at it to see if you can live with it. Sometimes when you are working on a piece it's hard to take a step back and look at it with a normal human eye. The polycryclic gives you better protection, but wax will give a smoother finish.

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  26. Polyurethane also comes in a spray can that's the easiest way to not get brushstrokes

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