Are you confused about why some pieces of chalk painted furniture are sealed with a polyurethane such as Minwax topcoat, some are sealed with wax and some are sealed with another type of polycrylic finish such as Dixie Belle’s Gator Hide?
Well there is more than one answer.
• The soft glow and luster of a waxed piece of furniture is hard to beat with other finishes. When I first began refinishing I didn’t know I could use other topcoats with chalk paint so I did a lot of pieces with wax, such as the beautiful black and red bench. It is also more labor intensive than any other finish. It is also less durable. I’m sure there are many folks who have bought beautiful pieces of used furniture without realizing they would need to rewax the piece in a few short years, or that it doesn’t hold up to a lot of use or high temperatures. I cringe every time I see someone post that they just refinished their kitchen cabinets and waxed them because I know what a mess they will have in a few years. This is the reason I very rarely use wax at all on my pieces, its just too much work and upkeep for the customer.

• Polyurethane is a very strong and durable finish. You can get polyurethane in oil or water-based forms and you can get more variety of finishes with this medium. The water based is low odor and low toxic and is transparent when you compare it to the oil-based form. The oil based is even more durable and can handle a lot more wear and tear as well as heat. However, you must use it in a very well-ventilated area due to the fumes and it takes much longer to dry. Polyurethane has been compared to melted plastic. After it dries it is an extremely strong protective covering for your piece. I used the water based polyurethane on the beautiful light and dark grey dresser because I knew it was going to get a lot of use. This furniture piece is used, but will last a lifetime with this quality finish.

• Polycrylic- Is water based, so easy to clean up after using, no oil means a nice clear finish compared to the oil-based mediums. It is runny and dries very quickly so it can be harder to use on large pieces as you will need to work faster. Also if you put it on too think it can look cloudy or white. I used a polycrylic on the yellow chair since its a little runnier, it was easier to get into the nooks and crannies of this beautiful old piece of furniture.

 

For the customer all the details above may not make a difference. All you need to know is which refinished piece of used furniture is going to last the longest, keep its beauty longer, and have the least amount of upkeep. My advice is to ask if it isn’t written on the label, so you have an idea what is in store for you after you take a piece home. I, like I said, almost never use wax on my furniture now. Even though I love the look of it, for me its all about how the piece holds up. I hope this info has been helpful to you!
See you in the market!
Sharon