find here best polyurethane for table top

Best Polyurethane for Table Top

The beautiful finish of our tabletop often starts to fade away without us even noticing. It takes time, but the damage is there, and it only gets worse over time. We have to be ready to act quickly, otherwise, what was once an incredible table will no longer be appealing for us nor the visit.

Fortunately, there are products to keep wood surfaces looking as beautiful as they can be. Such is the case of the polyurethane for table top, which is why today we’re discussing the top offers available.

So, are you ready to recover the beauty of your beloved table finish? Then let’s get to work!

Best 7 Polyurethane Finishes for Table Top in 2021

Either of the next seven products could be your ideal polyurethane for tabletops. Take a look at what these products can do!

1. General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Oil-Based Topcoat

This topcoat is available in gallon, pint, and quart, one of each to satisfy your needs. They feature high-quality urethane resin, which makes the substance highly long-lasting.

To use this topcoat, you’ll need nothing more than a piece of cloth or foam brush. With either of those tools, you can wipe the substance over the surfaces to eliminate drips and sags.

The oil-based properties of the Arm-R Seal topcoat penetrate deeply over the surfaces, resulting in more protection and a natural look afterward. Once you complete the task, the result is a beautiful, glossy finish that is quite pleasing to the eye.

For better compatibility, the product offers variations such as gloss, satin, and semi-gloss versions.

Special Features
  • Made with high-quality urethane resin
  • Once applied, it’s durable
  • Leaves a beautiful, glossy finish over surfaces
  • Easy to apply, using either cloth or foam brush
  • Gloss, semi-gloss, and satin colors available

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2. Grizzly Industrial H2372 1-Quart Good Stuff Wood Finish For Maple Tops

This urethane gel from Grizzly Industrial is easy to use, and it works on raw or unfinished surfaces alike. By featuring synthetic oils, the formula is fast-drying, offering beautiful results with enough protection to last a long time.

After applying it, the finish is resistant to moisture, stains, and many solvents too. That’s why this product is great for surfaces such as countertops and cabinetry, to name a few.

Also, the urethane gel is safe for food contact as well, which means that you can use it on wood cocking utensils and bowls.

With one quart of volume, this product will be enough for the maintenance tasks mentioned above and for many more too.

Special Features
  • Highly resistant to water, alcohol, moisture, and more
  • Dries quickly after applying it
  • Safe for food contact
  • Works on raw or unfinished surfaces
  • Delivers a beautiful finish and protective coating

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3. Minwax 63010444 Polyurethane Clear Finish

The following product is quite versatile, as it provides incredible results over woodwork, furniture, floors, cabinets, and doors, among other surfaces. It’s one of the most long-lasting coatings if you’re looking to recover the beauty and protection of either finished or unfinished wood.

Three versions are available for you to choose: satin, gloss, and semi-gloss. You could also get the polyurethane in different modalities, such as cans or aerosol.

If you go for cans, the product comes in amounts of half pint, quart, gallon, and 2.5 gallons. The aerosol, on the other hand, offers 11.5 ounces.

Be it can or aerosol, the product works satisfactorily. Applying the polyurethane is easy, and since it dries fast, you won’t have to wait a lot to enjoy the results.

Special Features
  • Available in cans and aerosol containers
  • Satin, gloss, and semi-gloss colors
  • Works over finished and unfinished wood surfaces
  • Long-lasting finish after applying it
  • Dries quickly

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4. Rust-Oleum 260357 Ultimate Polyurethane

Besides offering the traditional gloss, semi-gloss, and satin colors, this polyurethane can is also available in matte. You have the option to pick half pint, quart, or two-pack per purchase. The purpose of this product is to enhance the quality of wood surfaces like cabinets, doors, and more.

Furthermore, the water-based acrylic formula used to create the polyurethane dries quickly. Another benefit is that you can clean it up with soap and water, making this product convenient for many people.

With a long-lasting protective coating, the finish left behind by this product resists unpleasant occurrences like fingerprints or smudges. For a low price, the results provided by this polyurethane meet the expectations satisfactorily.

Special Features
  • Available in gloss, semi-gloss, satin, and matte
  • Suitable for cabinets, doors, and more
  • The water-based acrylic formula is quick-drying
  • Poly topcoat resists scratches, fingerprints, and more
  • Leaves a soft, smooth finish over wood surfaces

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5. Waterlox TB 6044 Original Quart Satin Finish

Most of the resin used for this formula comes from natural, renewable resources. This procedure is standard for Waterlox, and one of the reasons why many people prefer the brand’s Tung oil finishes.

The original satin finish comes in a single quart can. When applied correctly, the formula penetrates the surfaces, creating a beautiful and protective coat. Common issues like spills, moisture, or shoe marks shouldn’t worry you anymore after using this product.

Before using the formula, make sure to have proper ventilation. The satin finish has a strong smell that may be very unpleasant for some people. Other than this small inconvenience, you should expect nothing but great results from this product of Waterlox.

Special Features
  • Penetrates surfaces for a better and protective finish
  • Prevents marks left by spills, moisture, and more
  • 90% of the resin used for the formula comes from natural resources
  • Leaves a satin sheen look afterward

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6. General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat

This product offers UV stabilizer attributes that protect the coating from deteriorating quickly. So, even if the surface is in direct contact with sunlight, the finish will remain perfectly, hardly fading at all.

You can acquire this product in different versions, like gloss, semi-gloss, satin, and flat. As with most other products, we’re reviewing the satin, and so far, the results have been great. The pure polyurethane delivers outstanding durability to use it over floors if needed.

The drying time is surprisingly good too. Between each coat, you’d have to wait an estimated time of 1 to 2 hours.

Thanks to the water-based properties of the polyacrylic blend, this topcoat sure does deliver pleasant results. The only downside would be its relatively high price, but considering the great finish the polyurethane leaves, it’s a worthy purchase.

Special Features
  • Gloss, semi-gloss, satin, and flat available
  • Available in different volumes
  • UV stabilizer for sunlight protection
  • Quick-drying between each coat

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7. OLD MASTERS CLEAR 1-Quart Satin Finish

Although this product doesn’t work well for floors, you can still use it for a variety of surfaces. For example, it’d deliver a protective finish over cabinets, furniture, and most wood surfaces.

Applying the coats isn’t difficult, to the point that even inexperienced homeowners will be able to do it. While most polyurethane requires several coats, this one needs only a couple to start showing results. Of course, if you apply more coats, the results definitely get better.

This product is not as quick-drying as the others, but the time needed to dry is worth it once it does.

Special Features
  • Easy to use, even for inexperienced homeowners
  • Results start to show after two coats
  • Suitable for cabinets, doors, furniture, and more
  • Protective finish
  • Resistant against scratches and fingerprints
  • Beautiful satin to semi-gloss look

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Types of Wood Finishes for Table Top:

You can choose several different types of wood finishes for your tables, doors, and cabinets, among other surfaces. The most common are four, which we’ll discuss next.

• Water-Based

This type of finish is among the most popular, with many brands using it to produce their polyurethane. Normally, these finishes are fast to dry, leaving a glossy look as a result.

• Oil Finishes

These finishes provide more depth and color to surfaces with unfinished wood. Besides making them look great, oil-based polyurethane also offers more protection to the surfaces, allowing the finish to withstand moisture and many other external conditions that would normally mess it up.

For a lot of people, this alternative is the best finish for table top.

• Varnish

A varnish finish does guarantee great results, but you should be aware of its flaws too. For instance, the varnish dries very slowly, which could be frustrating for a lot of people. Not only that, but applying this type of product is harder too.
Most homeowners choose to apply varnish with other finishes such as dye for better results.

• Shellac

This product features wax and solvents as the main ingredients. Applying it won’t be hard, but it won’t last long over kitchen tables with lots of use. Ideally, you’d want to use Shellac over surfaces with no much traffic.

Oil-Based or Water-based? What Kind of Polyurethane is Good for Table Tops?

Although it may sound like a convenient answer to this question, the reality is that both are actually good choices. However, oil-based polyurethane does indeed have more advantages than water-based counterparts.

• Durability

Oil-based finishes tend to last longer due to the quality of its formula. These finishes penetrate deeply into the surface, and it remains over the surface for a long time after applying it.

Also, issues like moisture, fingerprints, or shoe marks won’t leave permanent damage over surfaces with oil-based polyurethane.

• Better Look

Oil-based polyurethane looks far better than the water-based, there’s no denying that. Both color and shine look superior after applying oil-based products, while water-based leaves duller finishes instead.

Applying oil-based polyurethane guarantees the wood surfaces look exactly how they should look.

• Smell

One of the disadvantages of using oil-based products is the smell, which is quite strong in comparison. The chemical odor and fumes could be dangerous, requiring people to leave the area for some time.

• Thickness and Hardness

Oil-based poly is thicker and softer. On the other hand, water-based poly is thinner and acts as a harder coating. While the first one may suffer damage from dents, the latter is more susceptible to scratches.

Factors Need to Consider to Find the Best Polyurethane for Table Top:

Keep the next information in mind before purchasing your preferred polyurethane.

The Wood Finish Type

Do you want oil-based, water-based, or another type of polyurethane? We covered this matter before, so there’s no need to go over it once again. However, make sure to pick the right one for your tabletop.

Also, consider whether you need satin, gloss, or semi-gloss to avoid any issue.

Application Method

If you have no experience doing wood finishing, you may want to pick a finish that wipes on. It’s easier, and there are almost zero risks to make mistakes.

For people with some level of experience, the spray-on or brush-on finishes are perfect. If you go for the first one, the spray-on, make sure to read the instructions before use, since not all of them are compatible with spray guns.


Some products offer an outstanding amount of protection that makes them worth the money. A clear example would be the product listed as number six, which features a UV stabilizer for more protection against sunlight.


Choosing between quart or gallon cans depends on how much polyurethane you’ll need. Naturally, one is more expensive than the other, so make sure you know exactly how much you’ll need to avoid wasting money.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which Finish to Use for a Wood Table?

Ideally, you’d want to go for a smooth and glossy finish for your table. Nonetheless, it’s up to you to decide which one you like the most.

2. How to Apply Polyurethane to a Wood Table?

You could brush it on using a paintbrush. The recommended tool would be a soft foam brush since it’s less likely to leave streaks. If that’s not your cup of tea, get a spray-on polyurethane instead. No doubt it’s a bit more expensive, but it’s also more convenient for smaller tasks.

3. Is Finishing a Wood Kitchen Table a Good Idea?

Yes, you should. Coated wood surfaces last longer, not to mention they look better too.

4. What can You Do with Polyurethane?

You can use it to leave a beautiful finish over wood surfaces, be it tables, doors, cabinets, and even floors.

5. Is Polyurethane Expensive?

Not really. Although there are some expensive brands, you could get some of these products at a considerably low price.


With the best finish for table top, you can rest assured those wood surfaces will regain the beauty they once had. Pick your preferred choice, and let’s get to work!