Can I Mix Different Brands of water-based Polyurethane?

By thewoodmeter •  Updated: 06/17/23 •  3 min read

Polyurethane is a popular finishing material used to protect wooden surfaces, giving them a smooth, glossy, and durable finish. Water-based polyurethane is one of the most commonly used types, as it has a low odor, dries quickly, and is easy to clean up. However, many people wonder if it’s okay to mix different brands of water-based polyurethane. In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question.

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Why People Want to Mix Brands of Water-Based Polyurethane

Mixing two different Brands of Water-Based Polyurethane

Before we get into the answer, let’s first examine why someone might want to mix different brands of water-based polyurethane.

The most common reason is that they may have a partial can of one brand of polyurethane and want to use it up, but they also need more polyurethane and only have a different brand available. Alternatively, they may have heard that mixing brands can create a better finish or make polyurethane more durable.

Why You Should Not Mix Brands of Water-Based Polyurethane

Unfortunately, mixing different brands of water-based polyurethane is not recommended, and there are several reasons why.

Firstly, different brands have varying drying and curing times. Mixing different brands can cause uneven drying and curing, which can result in an uneven finish or even cause the coating to peel off entirely.

Secondly, mixing brands can cause incompatibility issues, which can lead to bubbling, cracking, or other defects in the finish.

Lastly, mixing brands can result in color inconsistencies, causing one area of the surface to be darker or lighter than the rest.

Also check: Can you use oil-based poly over water-based poly?

Testing a Sample Piece

testing a sample piece before using mixed poly on full project

If you’re still determined to mix brands of water-based polyurethane, we recommend that you try a sample piece first. Apply the mixed polyurethane to a small area of wood and observe how it dries and cures. If it dries and cures evenly and without any issues, you may be able to use it for your project.

However, keep in mind that the sample piece may not be a perfect representation of the entire surface, and issues may still arise when applying the polyurethane to a larger area.

I would also recommend that you apply on the surface and let it dry and apply the other brand either as a final coat or to finish the unapplied areas. This way it is much safer however there may be some notable differences either in sheen or tone.

Conclusion: Can I Mix Different Brands of water-based Polyurethane?

In conclusion, we do not recommend mixing different brands of water-based polyurethane. It can lead to uneven drying and curing, incompatibility issues, and color inconsistencies. If you have partial cans of different brands, we recommend using them for separate projects or finding a way to use up the remaining polyurethane without mixing it with another brand.


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