Latex is a water-based paint consisting of acrylic resin in its formula. It is highly flexible, making it durable and extremely resistant to chipping and cracking.

However, latex paint tends to fade with time. But sealing it with the best clear coat for latex paint can help preserve the color.

Clear coats like polyurethane usually form a hard coat that also protects the painted surface from scratching and premature aging.

Finding such a product requires research that you may not have the time for. So we have researched the market and put together this detailed review to help you find the best product for your project.

Our Top Picks

Best Clear Coat for Latex Paint

  1. Minwax Polycrylic Water-Based Protective FinishBest overall
  2. Rust-Oleum Varathane PolyBest scratch and stain protection
  3. Minwax Helmsman Spar UrethaneBest exterior clear coat over paint
  4. Rust-Oleum 260165 PolyBest clear coat over latex paint cabinets
  5. General Finishes TopcoatBest durable consumer polyurethane
  6. Minwax Fast-Drying PolyurethaneBest oil-based clear topcoat
  7. Minwax Helmsman Spar SprayBest exterior clear coat over latex paint
  8. Minwax Water Based PolyurethaneBest water-based clear coat
  9. General Finishes Flat Out Flat TopcoatBest low-sheen clear coat

Can You Put a Clear Coat Over Latex Paint?

Absolutely. Putting a clear coat over latex paint can be an excellent way to prevent fading and protect it from scratches.

Additionally, a clear coat also makes the surface more lustrous, significantly improving its aesthetics and making it easier to maintain. 

What Kind of Clear Coat to Use Over Latex Paint?

Clear coats for latex paint come in two basic types, namely, water-based and oil-based. Of all these types, Minwax’s water-based polycrylic protective finish is the best clear coat to use over latex paint. 

It does not yellow over time, which preserves the paint color and helps maintain it without changing. This makes it ideal for projects with light-colored paints. 

Latex paint is also water-based, so a corresponding water-based option may be more compatible and provide better results than oil-based options.

Oil-based clear coats

These were originally more durable than their water-based cousins. However, advancements have seen that distinction slowly disappear as water-based clear coats constantly become more durable. 

In any case, oil-based polyurethanes may require fewer brush strokes to achieve the desired outcome; they are water-resistant, often inexpensive, and may offer more protection to the treated surface.

On the flip side, these urethanes may take longer to dry. They also tend to have a strong smell and become yellow over time. The good thing is there are some polyurethanes that don’t yellow.

Water-based clear coats

As the name suggests, these products have water as their base. As such, they are easy to clean, dry pretty quickly, have low odor, and are eco-friendly.

Thanks to technological advancements, water-based polyurethanes have also become virtually as durable as their oil-based counterparts.

On the flipside, water-based polys may cost more than oil-based options. They may also be less lustrous than their oil-based cousins and require reapplication after two to three years.

Best Clear Coat for Latex Paint Reviews

Various clear coats are available for use over latex paint. With such a variety, you can be easily spoilt for choice. So here is a detailed shortlist of the best finishes to choose from.

1. Best overall – Minwax Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish

Sale
1 qt Minwax 63333 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish Satin
20,666 Reviews
1 qt Minwax 63333 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish Satin
  • PROTECT WOOD SURFACES – Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish protects and adds beauty to your interior wood projects, including woodwork, furniture, doors and cabinets. The clear top coat protects against scratches, spills, dirt and more.
  • CRYSTAL CLEAR FINISH THAT LASTS – The crystal clear finished offered in this protective coating is ideal for use over all Minwax Oil-Based and Water-Based Stains and colors, as well as all wood species including light woods like maple, ash and birch.
  • SATIN SHEEN – Give your wood projects a sleek finish with a satin clear varnish. It not only protects the natural beauty of the wood, but offers an attractive, classic sheen for a modern and subtle look. It’s also non-yellowing, non-ambering and low odor.
  • ULTRA FAST DRYING – Get more done with this protective poly coating. It’s a fast-drying clear coat, which allows for quick recoats after 2 hours, letting you get projects done faster. Be sure to apply with a high-quality synthetic bristle brush.
  • EASY CLEAN UP – This water-based wood finish allows for easy soap and water clean-up, so you don’t have to stress about spills and big messes.

If you are looking for a clear coat that will retain its clarity over time, Minwax’s Polycrylic is your best bet. This water-based product is crystal clear, allowing your latex paint to shine.

More importantly, it is non-yellowing and remains clear over time, so you can be you’re your painted wood surface will not lose its color. The water-based formula means the product dries pretty fast, helping you complete the project sooner.

When working with this protective finish, you can recoat within two hours, so you can apply as many coats as you want and complete the project the same day.

It dries to form a nice satin finish that instantly lifts the appearance of your latex paint job. This quality can make an ordinary interior wood project such as furniture, cabinets, and doors look more aesthetically appealing.

What We Liked Most

  • The product is nontoxic, so it is safe to use in spaces where people and pets live
  • The water-based formula is low VOC. This means you can apply it without wearing a sophisticated respirator
  • Thanks to the water-based formulation, it is easy to clean with soap and water
  • This polycrylic offers impressive coverage. Just one quart is enough to cover more than 600 square feet
  • The ultra-fast drying formula makes it easy to get away with thicker coats and avoid brush marks

What Could Be Improved

  • Some users find that thinner coats tend to show brush marks, so you need to apply slightly thick coats



2. Best scratch and stain protection – Rust-Oleum Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane

Rust-Oleum 200241H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart, Satin Finish
1,025 Reviews
Rust-Oleum 200241H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart, Satin Finish
  • Protects indoor wood surfaces such as furniture, windows, cabinets, trim and more
  • Water based formula dries fast and cleans up with soap and water
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes with coverage up to 125 sq. ft., recoat after 2 hours
  • Durable formula provides outstanding stain and scratch resistance with excellent clarity
  • Satin finish provides a classic and natural look

Here is another ultra-fast drying product that dries to the touch in just 30 minutes and allows you to recoat after 2 hours. The product is called the ultimate polyurethane for a reason.

It offers the best scratch and stain protection of all the tested products. This urethane is highly versatile and can work for a wide range of surfaces and create beautiful finishes to suit your taste.

You can use this product on painted trims, doors, cabinets, and other wooden surfaces. The water-based formula gives this poly a low-VOC, low-odor profile.

You do not need to buy a respirator at additional costs to use the product. The formulation also helps make the urethane easy to clean with mere soap and water.

What We Liked Most

  • The polyurethane dries to form a scratch-proof coat, making it ideal for homes with playful pets. 
  • It is highly resistant to common household stains. This quality makes the surfaces easier to clean and maintain, which can be extremely helpful in homes with kids and pets. 
  • It is a non-yellowing product, so it helps preserve the paint color on your projects. 
  • It is easy to clean due to its water base.  

What Could Be Improved

  • Since this is an indoor product, you cannot repurpose any leftover poly and use it on your exterior projects. 



3. Best exterior clear coat over paint – Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane

Sale
Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane, Quart, Semi-Gloss
6,730 Reviews
Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane, Quart, Semi-Gloss
  • PROTECTIVE CLEAR FINISH – Minwax Helmsman Water Based Spar Urethane is a crystal clear wood finish that is specially formulated to protect against nature’s toughest conditions.
  • EFFECTIVE YEAR ROUND – This wood varnish forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture to protect your projects and keep them looking their best. Special oils allow the finish to expand & contract with the wood as seasons and temperatures change.
  • VERSATILE – Ideal for use on doors, windows, trim, bathroom cabinets, bar tops, kitchen countertops, outdoor furniture and more. It’s a versatile water-based spar urethane that dries quickly and cleans up easily with warm water.
  • SEMI-GLOSS FINISH – Give your wood projects a sleek finish with this semi-gloss clear varnish. It protects the natural beauty of the wood and offers a long-lasting, semi-shiny sheen for a modern look. It’s ideal for use over light colored woods & stains.
  • A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST – Minwax is America’s leading brand of wood finishing and wood care products. Since 1904, we have been inspiring consumers to Keep on Finishing. We offer consumers a complete line of products to meet every wood finishing need.

If your project is based outdoors, the Helmsman Spar Urethane by Minwax may come in handy. It is formulated for use indoors and outdoors, making it a one-stop solution for your paint sealing needs. 

The product is loaded with powerful UV blockers to keep the sun’s ultraviolet radiation from discoloring your project. 

Once you apply it on a surface, it offers superior protection from the most adverse weather elements, ensuring your painted items are safe outdoors. 

The Helmsman is a highly versatile product. It works perfectly on windows, doors, trim, bar tops, bathroom cabinets, outdoor furniture, kitchen countertops, etc.

Thanks to its unique formula, this product performs well in any environment. Its superior waterproofing quality offers dependable protection against precipitation and moisture damage.

What We Liked Most

  • The product has a fast-drying water-based formulation
  • It cleans up easily with warm water.
  • The crystal clear wood finish is specially formulated to protect surfaces against the toughest conditions in nature.
  • It is resilient against UV radiation, rain, and snow, making it offer year-round protection.
  • It forms a semi-gloss finish that makes your paint job look sleek and classy.
  • The product is non-yellowing and does not change color with time. This means it helps preserve your latex paint color while keeping it from fading through UV protection.
  • The fast-drying formula means you can recoat in less than an hour.

What Could Be Improved

  • The product emits some fumes during application, so you need to work with it in a well-ventilated environment and wear a mask while using it.



4. Best clear coat over latex paint cabinets – Rust-Oleum 260165 Ultimate Polyurethane

Rust-Oleum 260164 Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart, Semi-Gloss
585 Reviews
Rust-Oleum 260164 Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart, Semi-Gloss
  • Protects interior wood surfaces such as cabinets, doors, trim and more
  • Water based acrylic formula dries fast and cleans up with soap and water
  • Dries to the touch in 1-2 hours with coverage up to 125 sq. ft. per quart, recoat after 2 hours
  • Apply 3 coats of durable poly for excellent scratch resistance and long lasting protection
  • Semi-gloss finish creates a smooth and classy look

If you have cabinets with latex paint on them, here is some paint you can use to protect the color from fading over time. Rust-Oleum offers some of the most reliable products on the market, and this is no exception.

It does an excellent job of protecting your wood from scratches and discoloration. Its matte finish helps minimize room for fingerprints and annoying smudges appearing on the finished surface.

This Rust-Oleum polyurethane comes in a thick consistency that minimizes dripping. It is easy to use and forms a nice, even coat even for someone with no professional background.

This makes it ideal for new DIY enthusiasts that are yet to get the hang of it.

What We Liked Most

  • This polyurethane is high-coverage. Just one quart is enough to cover up to 150 square feet.
  • It dries to form a scratch-proof finish.
  • The smooth finish reduces the appearance of fingerprints and smudges.
  • It is highly durable, offering robust and long-lasting protection to surfaces with latex paint. 
  • It cleans easily with soap and water solution due to the water-based formula.
  • Each coat of this polyurethane is even and neat. 

What Could Be Improved

  • This product requires multiple coats to form the desired coverage and protection. You must also sand between coats to create a smooth finish. 



5. Best durable consumer polyurethane – General Finishes High-Performance Topcoat

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 1 Quart, Satin
6,011 Reviews
General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 1 Quart, Satin
  • Do not apply clear topcoats over bright white paint, as yellowing may occur due to a reaction to the substrate. Light color paints may also experience yellowing due to topcoat application, but it will less noticeable.
  • The hardest, most durable consumer polyurethane top coat on the market today
  • Dry Time Between Coats is only 1 to 2 Hours
  • Interior use only

This water-based topcoat from General Finishes is one of the most durable in the market today. It dries to form a robust coat that protects your interior projects for years. 

The robust coat resists all kinds of scratches, dings, and chips. This ensures the surface remains to look pristine for a long time. And its water-based formula is non-yellowing, so your projects will retain their aesthetics for many years.

You will be happy to know the product is low VOC and practically odorless, making it a breeze to use. In addition, it will not emit any irksome fumes to bother your peace or affect your health during application. 

It is easy to apply, thanks to a smooth consistency that makes it glide through evenly on the surface. This quality makes it effortless to apply, regardless of your skill level.

What We Liked Most

  • This product forms a hard and highly durable topcoat. 
  • It is quick-drying, allowing you to recoat within 1 to 2 hours. 
  • It is easy to apply and easy to clean with water and soap.
  • It dries to a low-sheen finish that is amazing if you prefer satin surfaces.

What Could Be Improved

  • This polyurethane is designed for use on interior projects only. 



6. Best oil-based clear topcoat – Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Protective

Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Protective Wood Finish, Clear Satin, 1 Quart
8,496 Reviews
Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Protective Wood Finish, Clear Satin, 1 Quart
  • PROTECT WOOD SURFACES – Minwax Polyurethane Wood Finish protects interior projects like woodwork, furniture, floors and cabinets. The oil-based, clear top coat is one of the most durable coatings for wood protection against scratches, spills and more.
  • OIL-BASED DURABLE FINISH – Clear finish provides long-lasting protection and warm beauty to both finished and unfinished wood projects. Protective coating is ideal for woodwork, furniture, doors, cabinets & floors, and is available in a variety of sheens.
  • SATIN SHEEN – Give your wood projects a sleek finish with this satin clear varnish. It not only protects the natural beauty of the wood, but offers a soft, unique sheen for a modern, cozy and on-trend look.
  • FAST DRYING – Get more done with this protective poly coating. It’s a fast-drying clear coat, which allows for quick recoats after 4-6 hours, letting you get projects done faster. Be sure to apply with a high-quality natural or foam brush.
  • A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST – Minwax is America’s leading brand of wood finishing and wood care projects. Since 1904, we have been inspiring consumers to Keep on Finishing. We offer consumers a complete line of products to meet every wood finishing need.

This product is among the fastest-drying oil-based polyurethane on the market. It combines this fast-drying quality with the uncompromising durability of an oil-based formulation.

The result is a robust coat that saves you application time and protects your surfaces for years. This Minwax topcoat offers great protection against scratches and chipping, making it ideal for busy indoor spaces.

You can use it on kitchen cabinets, countertops, tables, doors, etc. It dries into a smooth, glossy finish, making it easy to maintain. Since it is designed for finished and unfinished wood surfaces, it will work perfectly over latex paint. 

You could also opt for a low sheen option if you are not a fan of glossy finishes. This allows you to choose your most preferred finish. 

The product is versatile. You can use it across different surfaces, including floors, furniture, and other woodwork.

What We Liked Most

  • A fast-drying oil-based formula that allows you to complete the project in less time. You can recoat in 4 to 6 hours, completing your project within the same day.   
  • Its manufacturer, Minwax, is an established brand with a reputation for offering quality products. 
  • The durable coat provides lasting protection against moisture damage and discoloration. 
  • The sleek surface is easy to maintain. 

What Could Be Improved

  • The oil-based formula produces a strong smell that some people may find unpleasant. 



7. Best exterior clear coat over latex paint – Minwax Helmsman Spar Aerosol Spray

Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane Aerosol Spray, 11.5 ounce, Gloss
6,728 Reviews
Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane Aerosol Spray, 11.5 ounce, Gloss
  • PROTECTIVE CLEAR FINISH – Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane Spray is a specially formulated protective varnish for wood for interior and exterior projects. It contains special UV blockers that reduce the sun’s graying and fading effects.
  • EFFECTIVE YEAR ROUND – This wood varnish forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture to protect your projects and keep them looking their best. Special oils allow the finish to expand & contract with the wood as seasons and temperatures change.
  • VERSATILE – Ideal for use on doors, windows, trim, bathroom cabinets, bar tops, kitchen countertops, outdoor furniture and more.
  • GLOSS FINISH – Give your wood projects a sleek finish with this gloss varnish. It not only protects the natural beauty of the wood, but offers a shiny, sleek sheen for a modern look.
  • A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST – Minwax is America’s leading brand of wood finishing and wood care products. Since 1904, we have been inspiring consumers to Keep on Finishing. We offer consumers a complete line of products to meet every wood finishing need.

This aerosol spray is specifically formulated to simplify your project. The aerosol packaging doubles up as a super convenient applicator that ensures even coverage by regulating how much of the product comes out. 

This aerosol is a specially formulated protective varnish that works for both interior and exterior projects. You can use it to seal outdoor furniture, protecting them from the sun’s UV radiation and other weather elements, including rain and snow. 

The special UV blockers in its formula make it ideal for coating exterior latex paint. The blockers reduce the sun’s fading effects and keep the paint radiant for longer. 

The special formula ensures the protective coat expands and contracts as the temperature changes to guarantee lasting protection. 

You could also use the aerosol to seal wooden accent pieces indoors. The special formula will create a durable coat that guarantees the longevity of these valuable pieces.

What We Liked Most

  • The product is effective indoors and outdoors, making it a one-stop solution.
  • It is versatile; you can use it on trim, doors, bathroom cabinets, kitchen countertops, and more. 
  • It dries to form a glossy finish that gives your wood projects an upscale look.  
  • The product forms a coat that is highly resistant to checking, chipping, and cracking.
  • The aerosol is easy to apply 

What Could Be Improved

  • It is more suitable for small projects. Larger projects may be costly as they require several spray cans. 



8. Best water-based clear coat – Minwax Water Based, Oil-Modified Polyurethane

Minwax Water Based, Oil-Modified Polyurethane Protective Wood Finish, Clear Satin, Quart
734 Reviews
Minwax Water Based, Oil-Modified Polyurethane Protective Wood Finish, Clear Satin, Quart
  • PROTECT WOOD SURFACES – Minwax Oil-Modified Polyurethane Wood Finish protects and adds beauty to interior projects, including woodwork, floors & more. The water-based clear top coat combines superior durability with the beauty of traditional polyurethane.
  • OIL-BASED DURABLE FINISH – Clear finish provides long-lasting protection and warm beauty to both finished and unfinished wood projects. Protective coating is ideal for woodwork, furniture, doors, cabinets & floors, and is available in a variety of sheens.
  • SATIN SHEEN – Give your wood projects a sleek finish with this satin clear varnish. It not only protects the natural beauty of the wood, but offers a soft, unique sheen for a modern, cozy and on-trend look.
  • EASY CLEANUP – Get more done with this protective poly coating. It’s an ultra fast-drying clear coat, and because it’s water-based, it has a low odor and easy cleanup with warm water.
  • A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST – Minwax is America’s leading brand of wood finishing and wood care projects. Since 1904, we have been inspiring consumers to Keep on Finishing. We offer consumers a complete line of products to meet every wood finishing need.

This special product combines the beauty of traditional polyurethane with the superior durability of a modified formula. This unique feature helps keep your finished wood surfaces looking beautiful for a long time. 

The combination of water and oil bases creates a versatile protective coating that is ideal for various interior surfaces. You can use this poly to seal painted woodwork, furniture, floors, cabinets, doors, and more. 

You can also choose from a variety of sheens available; you can be sure to find the finish that you find most appealing. 

The satin and high gloss finishes help bring out the beauty of the painted surface. The sleek finish creates a soft, unique sheen that looks modern and cozy.

What We Liked Most

  • The polyurethane is ultra-fast drying, speeding up your project completion. You can recoat in 2 hours or less. 
  • The water-based formulation ensures a low odor and low VOC profile.
  • It is easy to clean up with warm water 
  • This water-based finish is easy to apply
  • The low VOC property means you do not have to spend money buying a respirator to use this product. You can use it safely without a respirator. You just need to keep the place well-ventilated to ensure good air circulation. 

What Could Be Improved

  • The product is relatively expensive.  



9. Best low-sheen clear coat – General Finishes Flat Out Flat Topcoat

General Finishes Flat Out Flat Topcoat, Quart
1,029 Reviews
General Finishes Flat Out Flat Topcoat, Quart
  • Do not apply clear topcoats over bright white paint, as yellowing may occur due to a reaction to the substrate. Light color paints may also experience yellowing due to topcoat application, but it will less noticeable
  • Preserves the look, feel and color of chalk paint and milk paint
  • Vastly improves durability
  • Water-based, easy to use, warm soapy water cleanup

Flat Out Flat is one of the latest innovations from General Finishes. As such, it comes with some essential improvements that make it stick better to finished wood surfaces, including chalk paint and milk paint. 

It is a clear, flat, water-based topcoat that dries into a beautiful matte finish. If you love low-sheen finishes, this topcoat from General finishes is perfect for you. 

Its water-based formulation means it is easy to apply. You can have fun using this product regardless of your skill level. 

And since it is a low odor, you can handle it even if you have smell sensitivities. It will not trigger any allergic reactions even if you do not wear a mask.

What We Liked Most

  • This clear topcoat delivers superior performance.
  • It is easy to use and clean up with warm soapy water 
  • It helps preserve the look of your latex painted surface 
  • It is non-yellowing 
  • It makes the paint more durable by preventing scratches and dents from forming on it. 
  • The product is high coverage, boasting about 600 square feet per gallon in terms of coverage. 

What Could Be Improved

  • This sealant lacks sun protection, so you may not use it on exterior projects. 



Best Clear Coat for Latex Paint Comparison Table

Education: Benefits of Using a Clear Coat Over Latex Paint 

Latex paint does not primarily require a sealer. However, applying one over it anyway has some essential benefits you need to tap into. Here are some of the reasons to use a clear coat on a painted surface.

A sealer makes the paint more durable

Latex paint may not be subject to chipping and peeling. Nonetheless, it never hurts to err on the side of caution.

The clear coat adds an additional hard-wearing layer of protection, keeping the paint coat safely underneath it. This can go a long way in prolonging the lifespan of that painted surface.

Sealing often creates a scratch-proof layer

While latex paint dries hard, it is typically not as hard as polyurethane or varnishes. Applying one of these clear coats over it creates a scratch-proof layer that acts as a protective barrier against physical objects and impacts that could mar it.

This added layer of scratch protection can help keep the painted surface looking pristine for longer. It can also help save you money and time in the long run.

By making the painted surface more resistant to physical damage, you will not have to refinish the item for a long time. 

The sealer can make the surface easier to maintain 

Varnishes and polyurethanes typically create a sleek surface that resists fingerprints and smudges better. The surface is also likely to trap less dust compared to unsealed surfaces. This means you have less cleaning work to do. 

Overall, you can remove regular stains from a varnished or polyurethane surface by simply wiping it with a damp rag. This makes maintenance a breeze, thanks to a sleek, scratch-resistant surface. 

Adding a clear coat over latex paint can make it waterproof 

Latex paint is generally water-resistant but not waterproof. This means it will not hold up too well against constant moisture, and that vulnerability can give way to water damage to your painted wood. 

In such cases, you can always mix the latex paint with a waterproof sealant before applying it to make it resilient against constant moisture exposure. 

However, after painting, your options are limited to sealing the painted surface to make it waterproof. The sealant helps create a waterproof coat over the paint, keeping water and moisture from reaching it and damaging the substrate. 

A clear coat prevents fading

Latex paint may be flexible and highly resistant t fading, but the paint latex often fades with time. It can lose its vibrant color and become unattractive over time. Faded paint can look timeworn prematurely. 

However, applying a clear coat on the painted surface often helps prevent fading and preserve the paint’s beautiful color. This can keep the surface looking fresh for many years. Your surface will have a sleek finish that accentuates the color. 

How to Apply a Clear Coat Over Latex Paint

Applying a protective clear coat over latex paint requires following a few simple steps to get the desired results. This section outlines the step-by-step procedure for sealing a coat of latex paint on a surface. 

For starters, ensure you have everything you will need for the task. These should include the following: 

  • Your chosen clear coat 
  • Sandpapers
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Drop cloth 
  • Applicator (high-quality synthetic-bristled paintbrush)
  • Hand gloves 
  • Dust mask 

Applying a clear coat over latex paint step by step 

Step 1: Prepare the workspace 

If you are applying the sealant on a wooden paneling or wall, you should begin by removing anything hanging on the wall, such as murals, pictures, and other trappings. 

You may also need to open the windows to ensure better air circulation if you have an oil-based clear coat. Some products may not require that much air circulation, so ensure you read the label for instructions and cautions before doing anything. 

Step 2: Cover the floor and anything nearby 

Sanding produces sanding dust that may dirty the floor and any other surfaces nearby. So, use a drop cloth to cover the floor beneath your project to collect any dust and the products you will be using. 

You also need to cover any nearby surfaces, including furniture that you do not want to ruin with the dust and the sealant. 

Step 3: Sand the painted surface 

Use fine-grit sandpaper to scuff up the painted furniture to improve adhesion. Once done, wipe the sanded surface with a damp, lint-free cloth to clean it and remove the dust.  

Step 4: Apply the sealant 

Dip a synthetic-bristled paintbrush into the can of clear coat and use it to apply an even coat over the painted surface. Using a foam brush or natural-bristled brush is not recommended with polyurethane and varnish.

But you want to ensure the synthetic bristled brush you choose is of high quality to avoid messes. Cheap bristled brushes can leave lint all over your project, messing it up. Investing in a good-quality brush will help you avoid such a mess. 

That said, ensure you read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the product label. This will help you determine how best to apply the product to achieve the desired coverage. 

Once done, let the polyurethane or varnish dry for the recommended time on the label, often one to two hours, depending on the product you chose. 

If you have an aerosol, your work is easier. You simply use the spray can to apply the product as directed in the application instructions. 

Step 5: Sand the dry surface again lightly

Proper coverage requires applying multiple coats of the product, whether it is a polyurethane, varnish, or some other clear coat. Sanding is necessary between coats to promote adhesion and a smoother finish. 

So use ultra-fine sandpaper for sanding the surface lightly after it has sufficiently dried. This should be after two hours of drying time for most water-based clear coats and four to six hours for fast-drying oil-based products. 

After sanding, do not forget to wipe it thoroughly with a clean damp rag to remove the sanding debris. 

Step 6: Recoat it

Let the surface dry for a moment after wiping, then apply a second coat following the instructions on the manual. After that, leave it to dry for another two hours before scuff sanding and adding a third, and often the final coat.

Step 7: Apply the final coat

After sanding and wiping the surface, apply the third final coat following the same procedure as before. Then leave it to dry for at least two hours or as the manual directs to ensure it cures properly. 

The complete drying process should take about 24 hours before you can use the item. 

How to Apply Polycrylic Without Bubbles?

Polycrylic is a water-based clear coat that dries pretty fast. So if you want to apply it without issues such as bubbles and brush marks, you need to avoid going back and forth with your brush strokes.

Keep the brush strokes to a minimum, in one direction along the wood grain. Over-brushing will lead to the brush starting to stick on the surface instead of gliding smoothly. This often leads to brush marks and bubbles as the coat dries.

It is best to keep moving along as you apply the product and not go back over your strokes. Then, allow the coat to dry for approximately 2 hours, and then give it a quick once-over with fine 220-grit sandpaper to smoothen it. 

Sanding also helps improve the adhesion of subsequent coats. And while at it, do not apply too many coats. Two to three coats usually provide enough coverage.

FAQs

What kind of clear coat can you put over latex paint?

You can put both water-based and oil-based polyurethane over latex paint. However, oil-based poly tends to yellow as it ages, while most water-based polyurethanes remain transparent over time. So you may want to go with a water-based poly if you want something that will not age faster.

What can I put over latex paint to protect?

You can use water-based or oil-based polyurethane or varnish over latex paint. Both products should offer the required protection from scratches, moisture damage, and fading. 

Can you seal latex paint?

Yes. Even though latex paint does not typically require an additional sealer, you can still apply one to protect it from fading and losing its color over time. All you need to do is scuff sand the painted furniture with fine-grain sandpaper after letting the paint cure to improve adhesion before applying the sealer. 

Can Polycrylic be used over latex paint?

Yes. Polycrylic is one of the best clear-colored, heard-wearing products to use over latex paints and oil-based paints. However, you may want to spot test the product in an inconspicuous area of your project beforehand to ensure it gives the look you want for satisfactory results.

Conclusion 

Applying the best clear coat over latex paint can have numerous benefits, especially if you choose the right product and use it correctly. 

The clear coats reviewed above are excellent, but the best among them is Miniwax’s Polycrylic water-based finish.

It offers the best protection against fading and is completely non-yellowing, so it will preserve the color of your latex or oil-based paint and keep the surface looking great for many years. 

If you are working on an outdoor project, choose Minwax’s Helmsman spar urethane instead. It is uniquely formulated for both interior and exterior projects and is the best of its kind. 

We hope this review and user guide helps make your next project a success. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

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