If you enjoy playing Cornhole, you should have a Cornhole board. If you already have one but are tired of the design, you can refinish it with your dream color.

Polyurethane, also called poly, is the best finish for cornhole boards. Polyurethane creates a polished, smooth surface for cornhole bags to slide effortlessly.

It also provides a water-resistant finish to the cornhole board, which helps safeguard it from the elements. Use oil-based polyurethane or water-based poly to finish cornhole boards.

We’re professional woodworkers who have tried different products. We’ve curated a list of the best products that could be excellent for your project.

Our Top Picks

Best Finish for Cornhole Boards

  1. Rust-Oleum 302736 Triple Thick PolyurethaneBest for Resisting Scratches
  2. General Finishes High-Performance Water BasedBest for UV Protection
  3. 1 qt Minwax 64444 Clear PolycrylicBest Clear Coat for Cornhole Boards
  4. Aleene’s 26412 Spray Gloss FinishBest for DIY Project
  5. TotalBoat-486490 Lust Marine VarnishBest Marine Grade Finish
  6. Rust-Oleum 200241H Water-Based PolyurethaneBest Eco-friendly Option
  7. SEAL-ONCE Nano+Poly Penetrating Wood SealerBest for Marine Regions
  8. Seymour Paint 620-1525 Insulating VarnishBest Insulating Paint
  9. Roxil Wood ProtectionBest for Waterproofing Cornhole Boards for Ten years

What is a Cornhole Board Finish?

A cornhole board finish is a poly coat or clear coat that offers a sleek, smooth finish. It safeguards cornhole boards from rain, snow, UV rays, mold, etc.

Cornhole competitors regard cornhole boards as works of art. Cornhole board designs take effort, time, and cash. So, cornhole board maintenance is critical.

Which Types of Finish to Use on Cornhole Boards?

When finishing cornhole boards, you can use polyurethane or a polycrylic finish. These finishes are excellent options.

Oil-based polyurethane leaves a yellowish tint on unfinished cornhole boards, while water-based poly leaves a super clear coat.

A water-based solution dry faster than an oil-based poly coat. Polycrylic is a water-based product you can use if you need a more glossy look.

Use it on lighter wood such as maple and birch. You can also use it to conceal decals and paint. Generally, water-based coats dry faster than their oil-based counterparts.

How to Finish Cornhole Boards 

Cornhole is a popular summertime game. Friends and family gather to grill, sunbathe, and play this summer masterpiece. Purchasing cornhole boards is simple. You can find some boards personalized with your favorite sports team and style.

Remember that if you’ve bought a printed board, you don’t need to put anything on it. These cornhole boards are usually finished and designed to withstand humidity, weather, and continuous exposure to direct sunlight.

You can also improvise cornhole boards and finish them to your liking. Here’s how to finish unfinished cornhole boards like a pro.   

Step 1: Cover the floor and thoroughly clean the board surface

First, you must prepare an area suitable for finishing cornhole boards. Work in a spacious room or garage. Ensure the surface is dust free and cover the flooring with a tarp to protect it from getting stained. 

Step 2: Ensure cornhole boards are dust-free

surface preparation is critical when finishing a cornhole board. Clean the panels and ensure they are free of dirt, grime, dust, and tiny wood particles.

Small particles on the cornhole board’s surface will affect the finish application process and influence the results. 

Step 3: Apply a sanding sealer

This step is optional, but we apply multiple coats of sanding sealer before applying the cornhole board finish. 

Step 4: Avoid shaking your poly!

You can’t shake a poly as would paint. Shaking it will undoubtedly produce air bubbles, which might ruin the application. So to avoid applying poly with bubbles, do not shake it.

Step 5: Apply the poly with a foam brush

Use a foam brush to apply the cornhole board finish. Applying with a rolling brush is not a good idea as it may result in air bubbles which is not what you want.

A three-inch foam brush lets you apply your poly coat more uniformly without unwanted air bubbles. 

Step 6: Apply multiple layers of polyurethane

There are no hard and fast rules as to how many coats of polyurethane you need to apply to cornhole boards to ensure maximum durability and protection from elements.

All you need is to be patient and apply even coats. The rule of thumb is to use five to ten coats of polyurethane. 

Step 7: Wait between coats to let the poly dry completely

The type of poly you’re using, and humidity levels determine the length of time you should wait before recoating. You should wait at least two hours before applying another coat to be safe.

To tell if the initial layer is dry, run your finger across the board. If it comes without getting any poly on your skin, it’s time to apply another coat. Twenty minutes after applying poly, you can use a fan to speed up drying time.

Step 8: Gently sand between coats

Use a 220- 300 sand grit paper to sand between coats and remove debris before applying a final coat. After applying the last coat, let the boards for at least three days before using them.

Best Finish for Cornhole Boards – Reviews

1. Best for Resisting Scratches – Rust-Oleum 302736 Triple Thick Polyurethane, Matte

Rust-Oleum 302736 Triple Thick Polyurethane, Matte, 32 oz, Clear
705 Reviews
Rust-Oleum 302736 Triple Thick Polyurethane, Matte, 32 oz, Clear
  • Ideal for use on all interior wood surfaces including furniture, doors, trim and more
  • One-coat coverage, water-based formula provides excellent scratch and stain resistance
  • Dries to the touch in 2 hours and covers up to 50 sq ft
  • Ultimate durability for long lasting protection
  • Matte finish provides a soft, subtle finish for surfaces

Rust-Oleum 302736 Triple Thick Polyurethane, Matte is three times thicker than standard polyurethane. A refined self-leveling formula enables you to finish your projects in a single coat.

This water-based product resists scratches and stains well.  It also has quick dry times, and it easily cleans up with soap and water. You can use it on all interior finished wood surfaces, including furniture, cornhole boards, doors, trim, etc.

It has a fantastic matte finish and not a gloss finish to give your cornhole boards optimal protection from UV rays. Lightly sand between coats to even them out.

It is so easy to identify missed spots when working with this product. This product is exceptional because it covers and fills wood grain, though not a filler. This finish works as advertised.

The more you apply, the smoother it turns out. One coat is all you need to get pro results. So, it helps you beat the repetitive process of spraying and waiting, saving you a lot of time.

This product is easy to use. Even if you have zero skills in finishing cornhole boards, you can effortlessly apply them and be satisfied. This product does not produce air bubbles even after stirring.

What We Liked Most

  • Fast drying
  • Cleans easily with soap and water
  • Scratch and stain resistance
  • Easy to use
  • Does not bubble

What Could Be Improved

  • It may turn yellow after drying



2. Best for UV Protection – General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 1 Quart, Semi-Gloss
  • 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

General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat is one of the best finishes for cornhole boards. It has all of the user-friendly properties of a polyacrylic blend. 

Furthermore, it has a UV stabilizer to keep it from degrading in sunlight and protect the underlying stains from disappearing. Due to its pure polyurethane durability, you can even use it on floors.

This product has an easy application process and is safe to use that you can even use while pregnant. It also spreads quickly and easily, leaving no vertical strokes.

Since it is water-based, it cleans with water and soap hassle-free. It has a nice hard finish that holds up well to daily damage and requires little maintenance.

If you desire to add extra coats, you can do so within an hour as the finish dries fast. If you plan to use this product, make an order in advance because you will not just find it in your local home goods store.  

This product sprays well with a small cylinder and LVLP gun. Also, it is nearly indestructible once this product has dried and cured, even if your cornhole boards are made of softwoods such as pine.

If you do not want a high gloss finish, this is just the product because it gives you a semi gloss look. It goes on quickly with a sponge brush, leaving the wood with a more natural look.

What We Liked Most

  • Super easy to apply
  • Leaves no streaks
  • Safe to use 
  • Easy clean with soap and water
  • Requires little maintenance 

What Could Be Improved

  • It is not readily available in your home store



3. Best Clear Coat for Cornhole Boards – 1 qt Minwax 64444 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish

1 qt Minwax 64444 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish Semi-Gloss
  • 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.
  • SEMI-GLOSS SHEEN – Give your wood projects a sleek finish with this semi-gloss clear varnish. It protects the natural beauty of the wood and offers a semi-shiny, sleek sheen for a bright, modern look. It’s 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.

1 qt Minwax 64444 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish is a clear protective finish that protects and beautifies woodwork, cornhole boards, furniture, and other surfaces.

This clear finish dries and remains crystal clear, making it perfect for use over all Minwax Oil-Based and Water-Based Stains.  This fast-drying protective coating allows you to do quick recoats after two hours.

The transparent wood finish is also simple to clean with soap and water. It protects the natural beauty of the wood and provides a sleek semi gloss sheen for a brilliant, modern appearance.

Aside from the low odor, this product won’t have a yellowish tint. To avoid this product from drying yellow, ensure that you apply thin coats. Apply light coats using a decent brush to prevent streaks or blemishes after drying.

This product dries hard, and it is not sticky or tacky. It is safe to use it in your studio if you are an artist because it does not have an overpowering smell.

This product has excellent packaging, allowing you to safely store it for future use. It is fast drying, making your project’s last step pretty easy.

What We Liked Most

  • Easy to use
  • Last long
  • Cleans easily
  • It doesn’t have a yellow tint
  • Produces no strong odor
  • Protects natural features of the wood

What Could Be Improved

  • Flakes off when used outside



4. Best for DIY Project – Aleene’s 26412 Spray Gloss Finish

Sale
Aleene's 26412 Spray Gloss Finish, 6 Oz Acrylic Sealer, Original Version
  • Acrylic sealer spray provide a protective, clear finish
  • Give a glossy luster to virtually any indoor or outdoor project
  • A durable protective finish
  • Applies clear and dries gloss
  • Spray-on formula goes ono simply and evenly.

This spray-on acrylic sealer is long-lasting and versatile and leaves a clear gloss finish cornhole boards and other surfaces. It is easy to apply and dries quickly with no drips or runs.

So, you to finish your project in record time. It provides reliable, weatherproof protection on both exterior and interior wood surfaces. This product is an all-weather sealer coat.

It goes on easy and does not require a brush to apply; just spray straight. Allow at least an hour in-between coats and 24 hours to cure fully. Please note that this product has a short lifespan.

As a result, you may have to reapply every three years. For best results, ensure you work in a clean and debris-free environment.

That’s so because floating hair, dirt particles, and dust settling on your cornhole board during the topcoat application process will be sealed permanently.

It preserves the surface of your cornhole board while also adding a little smooth feeling to it. This spray-on sealer protects paints, decals, artwork, and unfinished wooden surfaces.

What We Liked Most

  • Easy to apply
  • Fast-drying
  • It leaves a smooth finish
  • Ideal for both exterior and interior use
  • Provides weatherproof protection

What Could Be Improved

  • It has a short lifespan



5. Best Marine Grade Finish – TotalBoat-486490 Lust Marine Varnish, High Gloss, and Matte Finish for Wood

TotalBoat-486490 Lust Marine Varnish, High Gloss and Matte Finish for Wood, Boats, Outdoor Furniture (High Gloss, Gallon)
  • MARINE GRADE VARNISH imparts a rich, clear amber tone that enhances wood grain; creates a durable, uv resistant, waterproof finish that won't fade; ideal for interior and exterior wood, brightwork on boats & outdoor furniture
  • CLASSIC SPAR VARNISH WITH A MODERN TWIST: High-build, fast-drying formula allows rapid recoating, multiple coats per day and no sanding between coats; sand lightly before the final coat - be done in a little over 1 day
  • FLEXIBLE COATING WON'T CRACK OR PEEL: Premium, oil-based marine polyurethane finish is not damaged when wood expands and contracts with changes in temperature; perfect for all types of wood
  • EASY TO APPLY by brushing, rolling or spraying; For a high gloss varnish finish apply 6-8 coats of Lust Gloss; for a smooth satin finish, build with coats of Lust gloss varnish; use Lust Matte for the finish coats
  • AVAILABLE IN HIGH GLOSS OR MATTE FINISH in Pint, Quart and Gallon sizes; Thinner: TotalBoat Special Brushing Thinner 100 (brushing/rolling) or TotalBoat Spray Thinner 101 (spraying); Coverage: 360-400 sq. ft./gallon

TotalBoat Lust marine varnish is a wood finish that allows quick recoating without coating sand. Its exceptional durability makes it an excellent choice for brightwork, trim, cornhole boards, and other applications.

This product dries quickly, hard, and shiny. The finish is slick and long-lasting, with a gloss level so high that it appears wet even when dry, making it perfect for paintwork.

The more layers you apply, the more glossy it looks. Six to eight coats will give you excellent protection and gloss. This product now comes in a lovely satin matte for a more subtle, lustrous finish that allows the wood to appear naturally beautiful.

It holds up well against the rain, snow, and sun beating, making it excellent for outdoor use. The finish is thick, but you can easily apply it using a natural bristle brush.

Do not apply it too thick because it will run and take too long to dry. If you do not have a massive project to work on, avoid buying a whole gallon because it will dry up if not used within a few weeks.

There are smaller cans available. If you use it in lighter colors, it might leave a yellow tint. It is also pricey.

What We Liked Most

  • It leaves a smooth glossy finish
  • It holds well under harsh weather
  • Easy to use 
  • Cleans easy 
  • It is fast drying

What Could Be Improved

  • It is pricey



6. Best Eco-friendly Option – Rust-Oleum 200241H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane

Rust-Oleum 200241H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart, Satin Finish, 31 Fl Oz
5,789 Reviews
Rust-Oleum 200241H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart, Satin Finish, 31 Fl Oz
  • 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

Cleaning up after applying oil-based poly on a cornhole board is no laughing matter, and you may have had your fair share of frustrations. This is the poly for you if you are looking for a clear water-based polyurethane that will blow your mind away in performance.

You’ll appreciate how simple it is to clean up the product without messing. It goes on a little thinner than the oil-based polyurethane. The outcomes could pleasantly surprise you.

It outshines ordinary polys because it does not yellow or crack when you use it on your cornhole boards. This cornhole board finish has a foamy consistency but dries clear.

Because it is a Low VOC formula (volatile organic compounds), it is pet and kids safe. It is also safe for both the user and the environment.

It dries quickly, allowing you to complete your cornhole finishing project sooner than expected. It gives the boards a satin finish, not a semi gloss poly.

What We Liked Most

  • Very easy to use 
  • produces no upsetting odors when used
  • dries quickly
  • provides durable results

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s not crystal clear



7. Best for Marine Regions – SEAL-ONCE Nano+Poly Penetrating Wood Sealer with Polyurethane

Sale
Seal-Once Nano+Poly Penetrating Wood Sealer with Polyurethane - Premium Waterproof Sealant -1 Gallon & Clear
  • WATER-BASED POLYURETHANE WOOD FINISH: Our sealant provides top-notch protection against wear and tear in high traffic areas. It's odorless and ideal for use on wood siding, log homes, swing sets, outdoor furniture, wooden deck and fence, and more.
  • WOOD SEALANT: Unlike many sealers that only form a topcoat, our protector penetrates below the surface to create a long-lasting, water-resistant shield around the wood.
  • FLOOR SEALER APPLICATOR: Our premium gloss is ultra-low VOC and great for enhancing the extended life of your exterior flooring. The sealant can be safely applied around your home, landscaping, vegetation, or over any water area.
  • WATERPROOF SEALER: Ditch the oil-based sealers and choose a UV-stable coating option. Our fast-drying liquid creates a flexible, breathable barrier and provides a no-fuss, easy clean-up with soap and water, as it allows the wood to grey naturally.
  • SEAL-ONCE: Our user-friendly wood sealers and stains are an effective way to protect your lumber or concrete against water damage. When you use Seal-Once, you have the satisfaction of knowing our products will not harm pets, plants, or people.

Seal-Once Marine Penetrating Wood Sealer is a waterproof cornhole board finish that offers natural aesthetics plus protection from harsh outdoor conditions, particularly in marine settings.

This poly is guaranteed to keep cornhole boards protected from unforgiving elements for decades. It lives up to its name by providing unparalleled relief to coastal residents who enjoy the game and are keen to maintain the boards.

The most intriguing feature of this finish is its use of nanotechnology. Wood is more susceptible to mildew growth, rotting, and water and UV damage in high moisture locations.

The best way to stay ahead of the elements is to use a poly specially formulated with advanced technology such as this one. It engages an exclusive nanotechnology formula to offer superior protection against these elements.

It deeply penetrates the wood and defends it down to the cellular level. Thanks to peculiar nanotechnology, water vapor can easily escape rather than be trapped.

The breathable barrier it produces allows the wood to expand and shrink as the weather changes.

What We Liked Most

  • Durable
  • Eco-friendly
  • It resists mildew and protects cornhole boards from premature aging
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces

What Could Be Improved

  • Wood glue may not work well with this finishing in place



8. Best Insulating Paint – Seymour Paint 620-1525 Insulating Varnish

Seymour Paint 620-1525 Insulating Varnish , Red
  • Protects and insulates surfaces from deterioration caused by exposure to oil, moisture, acid and alkali
  • Use as a finish coat to Class F winding or electrical apparatus
  • Dries quickly, resists cracking, and reduces current leakage
  • Designed to withstand the harshest conditions
  • High gloss enamel coating

Suppose you need to shield a cornhole board from deterioration brought about by moisture, oil, alkali, and acid exposure. In that case, this could be a superb fit.

You can also use it as a Class F winding or electrical equipment coat. It dries quickly, is resistant to cracking, and has a low current leakage. It dries quickly, is resistant to cracking, and has a low current leakage.

It is a professional-grade formula invented to withstand the most extreme conditions. This product is unbeatable in terms of price, quantity, and quality of this fantastic insulating winding finish.

You can easily afford it even if you are low on cash, and it will probably work better than other high-end painting products that leave huge dents in your wallet.

You’ll be pleased with the result, and you may never want to buy another insulating paint once you lay your hands on this item. It has superb coverage since a little goes a long way.

What We Liked Most

  • Works as marketed
  • Friendly to environment
  • Unmatched quality
  • Affordable even on a stringed budget

What Could Be Improved

  • Ideal for just a specific purpose.



9. Best for Waterproofing Cornhole Boards for Ten years – Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Treatment

Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Sealer, Weatherproofs: Fences, Decking, Furniture, Sheds (1 Quart)
310 Reviews
Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Sealer, Weatherproofs: Fences, Decking, Furniture, Sheds (1 Quart)
  • ✅ Weatherproofs wood for 10 years - Shower-proof application - Instantly Waterproofs
  • ✅ Reduces water uptake for improved resistance to warping and cracking
  • ✅ Breathable, Colourless Protection - Creates an invisible waterproof barrier that protects the wood.
  • ✅ One coat application by brush or roller, no drip formulation. Effective on softwoods and weathered hardwoods.
  • ✅ Roxil Wood Protection Cream will cover approximately 130 to 200 sq. ft. per gallon

It is a brilliant idea to make the best effort to waterproof your cornhole boards since they’re continually exposed to moisture and intense UV rays.

You could give your boards an upper hand against the elements with this finish. The fascinating aspect of this product is that one coat is all you need to keep the boards protected for a decade.

The cream formulation also enables quick and accurate application with minimal splashback or runoff on vertical and horizontal surfaces.

For best results, thoroughly clean the untreated board with biocidal wood cleaner before applying this cornhole board finish. It’s incredibly creamy and straightforward to apply.

I applied it with a waterproofing synthetic bristle brush. You can use it on a redwood fence and other surfaces, and you’ll love how it looks in the rain. The rainwater beads right off.

It won’t dry with a semigloss or shine, making it more resistant to powerful UV rays. It makes the color of the wood more profound and richer and produces no odor.

What We Liked Most

  • Ease of use 
  • Applicable on various surfaces
  • Completely waterproofs the wood
  • Odorless

What Could Be Improved

  • Very thick but works just fine



Best Finish for Cornhole Boards Comparison Table

FAQs

How to make bean bag boards slippery?

Devote a significant amount of time maintaining your cornhole boards by modifying the slipperiness levels. The most popular method for improving the slickness of the cornhole board is to paint it with high gloss latex paint and then polish it.

Can you put polycrylic over vinyl decals?

Yes. Ensure you are using polycrylic and not polyurethane. Though polyurethane is a crystal clear protective coating, it will eventually be yellow. Apply several thin layers of polycrylic and allow the product to dry completely between coats. Be keen to remove air bubbles from the adhesive before application. 

Related: Will vinyl stick to wood?

What finish is on ACL boards?

ACL Boards are coated with polycrylic or polyurethane. Polycrylic is a fast-drying, water-based clear coating that protects the surface of your boards while also adding different levels of slipperiness. It makes the surfaces glossy and takes two hours to dry. Polycrylic finishes are excellent for preserving decals, paint, or other artwork.

How to get polyurethane slick?

You can make cornhole boards more slippery by eliminating the roughness. Smooth the boards with 320grit or higher Sand over the decals. Then remove the wood dust. Check for any foreign material on your board before applying the final coat of poly. Allow the poly to dry undisturbed for 72 hours.

How to make polycrylic slippery?

Wet sand the board surface with a 1500 grit fine sandpaper and remove the sanding dust. Polish the boards with wax. Apply the polycrylic finish. Polycrylic is fast drying and may appear sticky. Apply corn starch , and it’ll effortlessly make the bean bags slide on the board.

How to make cornhole boards slick?

Cornhole boards need to be slippery to reduce friction and make the game more exciting. If you bought the boards, they’re already nice and slippery enough. If you made the boards yourself, make them slick by sanding them with a 320 or higher grit sandpaper and applying multiple polyurethane or polycyric finish coats. 

How to seal cornhole boards

You seal cornhole boards to protect them from moisture and UV rays. Seal them with either polyurethane or polycyric finish. Polyurethane will have a yellow tint with time, but it’s more durable. Polycrylic finish, on the other hand, is fast drying and more affordable but is less stable.

Conclusion

A cornhole board is a prized possession among cornhole aficionados. Cornhole players devote loads of time to their boards, modifying them with stains, paints, and preferred decals.

The best finish for cornhole boards should protect them from elements and make the boards slick enough to make the game challenging but exciting.

Our top pick cornhole board finish is Rust-Oleum 302736 Triple Thick Polyurethane. It’s easy to use, works as per the advertising, is affordable, and makes the boards super slick.

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