What should I use for refurbishing a coffee table: Polyurethane or Lacquer?

What should I use for refurbishing a coffee table: Polyurethane or Lacquer?

You can check the answer of the people under the question at Quora “how to repaint a coffee table

0 thoughts on “What should I use for refurbishing a coffee table: Polyurethane or Lacquer?”

  1. Both polyurethane and lacquer will provide a durable, protective finish for your wood surfaces like coffee table.
    However, the type of finish you choose should be based on your specific needs and preferences.
    If you are looking for a durable finish that is resistant to scratches and stains, polyurethane may be the better option.
    If you prefer a thinner finish that dries quickly and is easier to apply evenly, lacquer may be the better choice.

  2. The terminology is indeed funny here. The distinction between “varnish” and “lacquer” can get so fuzzy that you really just ought to specify (1) what resin is in it and (2) what solvent it’s dissolved in and be done with it.
    Anyway, for your particular purpose, I’d get a polyurethane varnish, because it is the hardest of the commonly available and affordable varnishes (i.e. excluding exotic things like UV-cured finishes and epoxies). Water-based or oil-based are both fine; water-based smells less, and you really won’t see the difference on your nearly-black furniture. Given what I know of IKEA furniture, you’ll probably match the original best if you get “satin” rather than high gloss, which has some additives to prevent it from getting too shiny.
    Most of the other options you’ll find at a typical hardware store work fine too. I’d stay away from shellac, though, because it’s not very chemical-resistant and dissolves in some chemicals found in common household cleaners, including regular grain alcohol. Shellac is great if you’re going to cover it with some other, more modern kind of varnish, because it’s cheap and easy to work and dries fast and doesn’t smell too bad. But I see no reason to use it as a topcoat in the 21st century.

  3. In my opinion, the polys are easier to apply and have as much durability as a lacquer. Since they are water borne finishes, they are also less toxic (although they take slightly longer to dry).

  4. Either of the two is possible. If your coffee table has an existing finish coat – presumably clear coat – you need to sand it down to remove it completely. Else you may have compatibility problem such as lifting or wrinkling.
    PUs are commonly 2 pack systems so you have to buy small pack sizes ( 1 liter when mixed). I would say they are more durable and that would justify its rather higher cost compared to lacquers.
    Lacquers are single pack systems and so easier to use. They dry faster so you have to be on the watch as occurrence of brush marks is high – that is if you are to use brush. I am not sure if they are supplied in aerosol cans but if they do, this will be a better choice of application. The advantage of lacquers in general is in maintenance as it does not really require sanding or roughening. The new coat will adhere to the existing one just fine provided of course it is clean.
    Irrespective, to get a quality finish you need to sandpaper in between coats (finer grain as you get to your last coat).


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