Best Polyurethane for Kitchen Cabinets for a Glittering Look

Polyurethane is used to protect wood from water, weather, stains, and scratches. Our best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets for a glittering look is a comprehensive list that will help you to determine what type of polyurethane is best for your wooden kitchen cabinets.   

There are oil- and water-based polyurethane available on the market. Both of them are there to satisfy your requirements. The oil-based polyurethane shines more and requires fewer number coatings. The main problem of the oil-based polyurethane is it has a high level of Volatile organic compounds or VOC, so it is less environmentally friendly and in some countries, it is not allowed. The water-based polyurethane is, on the other hand, environmentally friendly with less VOC and good to preserve wood color. It is more watery than the oil-based polyurethane, so more coatings are required.

There are oil-based and water-based polyurethane available on the market, both of which have advantages and disadvantages. Oil-based polyurethane has more shine and requires fewer coatings. However, oil-based polyurethane typically contains high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) which are harmful to the environment and banned in some countries. Water-based polyurethane has lower amounts of VOC and is excellent in preserving wood but requires more coatings when compared to oil-based polyurethane.

If you’re looking to repaint your cabinets, try checking out our article on 6 best kitchen cabinet degreasers before painting.


Our selection of the Best Polyurethane for Kitchen Cabinets

Our best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets for glittering look articles will help you to navigate the vast market of polyurethane, removing all the confusion and answering all the requirements based on comprehensive research on the items on the market. We made sure the research was done without any prejudice and we carefully considered the users’ reviews. Happy cooking!

Most Versatile Polyurethane

Most Versatile Polyurethane - Minwax 61490444 PolyShades

Minwax 61490444 PolyShades

The first item on our best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets for a glittering look is the Minwax’s PolyShades. The item has an impressive 22 color finishes. There are various sizes available starting from 0.5 pints to meet your different furniture size requirements. Since the item is oil-based, applying two coatings is a must.

Minnwax’s PolyShade polyurethane enriches the wood grain by mixing the color and polyurethane protection. You can use polyurethane finishes, so you can change the color of your finished wood, without removing the existing finish.

The PolyShade is very easy to use. Sand the wood at first, then paint the cabinets with your preferred color. After the color dries apply the polyurethane finish. Let the coating dry. The advantage is you don’t need to wipe if you over-apply. Remember, more than 2 coatings are required and each coating requires 6 hours to dry. Happy brushing!

Features:

  • Vast collection
  • Many styles are available
  • Size starts from 0.5 pint
  • Easy to use
  • Minimum 2 coatings required
  • 6 hours to dry 
  • Oil-based
What we liked
  • No wipe required.
  • By applying over the polyurethane you can change the existing color
What we disliked
  • Don’t use a polyester brush

Most Attractive Finish Polyurethane

Rust-Oleum 287722 Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint - Most Attractive Finish Polyurethane

Rust-Oleum 287722 Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint

The next line of the item on our best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets for a glittering look list is Ultra Matte Chalked Paint from the Rust-Oleum. The item will give you a simple yet elegant finish look. The item has 12 different colors of finishes with Watercolor style. Since it is water-based, the top coating will dry fast.

The most convenient feature of the topcoat is you can use it on multiple surfaces including wood, metal, ceramic, and canvas. It has a low odor and very low VOC, thus providing you with a health-friendly polyurethane. The polyurethane dries fast in just 30 minutes. 

The Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint is very easy to apply. Clean the surface and remove any leftover paint. You don’t have to sand or need to use any primer on most of the surfaces. Remember, if the primer is applied, wait 2 hours before applying the polyurethane. One 30 ounces can is enough to cover 150 sq. feet of the surface. Most of the time, 1 coating is enough. You can apply as many as 5 coats depending on the look you prefer. Use a synthetic or foam brush while applying the polyurethane. Happy painting!

Features:

  • 12 colors finishes
  • Watercolor style
  • Low odor and VOC
  • Multi-surfaces
  • One 30 ounces can for 150 sq, feet
  • 30 minutes to dry before touch
  • Water-based
What we liked
  • Primer not required on most of the surfaces
  • 1 coating is enough on most of the surfaces
What we disliked
  • Indoor apply only.

Most Economical Polyurethane

Most Economical Polyurethane - INSL-X CC560109A-01 Cabinet Coat Enamel

INSL-X CC560109A-01 Cabinet Coat Enamel

The Cabinet Coat Enamel from well-known INSL-X from our best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets for a glittering look will deliver a mesmerizing look to your kitchen cabinets. The item has a satin style with a semi-gloss finish. You can use it on any wooden surface and most of the time you don’t need any primer to apply before using the polyurethane. The item is water-based, so it takes less time to dry.

The Cabinet Coat Enamel protects your wooden furniture, cabinets, etc from laceration, dirt, heat, color distortion, food stains, grease, and water for many years. This Polyurethane has low VOC, thus you don’t need to worry about your health and the environment. To make things easy, the item package comes with a paint jar, stir stick, and a can opener.

The Cabinet Coat Enamel polyurethane is very economical to use. 1 gallon of the item is enough to cover 350-450 sq. feet of any wooden surface. The best way to apply the polyurethane is to remove the cabinets and then apply the polyurethane. If the surface is rough, sand the surface and then apply your desired primer. After the primer dries, apply the Cabinet Coat Enamel. Remember, don’t apply the item on any wooden surface when wind, product, or surface temperature is below 50° F (10° C) or above 90° F (32° C). You have to be careful not to spill the polyurethane on the surfaces where water comes into contact like sinks and on surfaces of stoves. 

Features:

  • Satin style
  • Smooth finish
  • Protection from scratch, dirt, heat, color distortion, food stains, grease, and water 
  • Item package includes a paint jar, stir stick, and a can opener.
  • Low VOC
  • Primer not needed for most of the surfaces
  • Water-based
What we liked
  • Mesmerizing look
  • Very economical (1 gallon for 350-450 sq. feet
What we disliked
  • Can’t apply when wind, product, or surface temperature is below 50° F (10° C) or above 90° F (32° C).

Most Durable Polyurethane

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat - Most Durable Polyurethane

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat is the next item on our best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets for a glittering look list. The item comes with semigloss, Gloss, Stin, and Flat finishes. It is water-based and comes with. The item helps the wooden furniture to have a smooth and glittering look for many years.

The General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat has a High-performance Poly, which is a mix of urethane and acrylic technology. This helps to protect your wooden furniture from water, dirt, heat, scratch, and stains for years. The item has no odor, so it is health- and environmentally friendly. The High Poly is fast dry, nonflammable and it is applicable to interior wooden works. The item may come in a plastic gallon jug due to the metal shortage.

To get the optimal results with this polyurethane, you will need to remove the cabinets and scrub off any dirt or grease. If you are applying on a rough surface, use sandpaper to smoothen it and then apply the primer. After that, apply a primer and then the polyurethane. Each coat takes about 1-2 hours to dry.

Features:

  • Semi-gloss, Gloss, Stin, and Flat finishes
  • Water-based
  • 5-gallon, 1 pint, and 1-quart sizes
  • No odor
  • Low VOC
  • 1-2 hours to dry
What we liked
  • Nonflammable
  • High performance poly is a hybrid of urethane and acrylic technology for enhanced furniture protection
What we disliked
  • Can lead to yellowing if applied to the milky white paint.

Editor’s Choice

Editor’s Choice - Varathane 200061H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane

Varathane 200061H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane

The Varathane polyurethane is an outstanding topcoat that is included on our best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets for a glittering look list. The item gives your interior furniture a clear finish with a Gloss look. The item comes in half-pint size. 

The Varathane polyurethane topcoat helps protect your wooden furniture from dirt, scratch, water, and stains by its protective layer. The item is water-based, thus it dries fast. You can touch the wooden surface 30 minutes after applying the polyurethane. Furthermore, the Varathan polyurethane will never develop a yellow hue or stain. The item has a low odor which makes it safe to use. The Varathane polyurethane gives a crystal clear finish to the wooden furniture and the loom will be available for many years.

The Varathane polyurethane can cover 31.25 sq. feet with the half-pint jar it comes with. For the best result remove the kitchen cabinets, then remove the dirt and grease from the surface, and apply the polyurethane. If the surface is rough, sand the surface to smooth, then apply a primer, and then apply the Varathane polyurethane. If you want to apply more than one coating, apply after 2 hours of the former coating. The unique feature of the item is when it dries, you can clean the surface with water or soap.

Features:

  • Gloss finish
  • Water-based
  • Half-pint size covers 31.25 sq. feet
  • 30 minutes to dry
  • Anxiety-free long-lasting
What we liked
  • Crystal clear finish that never turns yellowish
  • Can use water or soap to clean the surfaces
What we disliked
  • For some people, the can is hard to open and close.

Buyers guide on how to choose the best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets

Before selecting a polyurethane, first, you have to know what polyurethane is used for. Polyurethane is used to protect the wooden furniture from water, stains, and scratches. Some polyurethanes give protection from high heat. Many polyurethanes are not viable to use outdoors. So, before selecting a polyurethane, be sure of what furniture you want to use and whether indoor or outdoor usage.

Why a polyurethane topcoat is necessary

With some kind of protective coat, your furniture will lose the color brightness, the dirt will stick to the surface which will lead to the creation of grease, and you can’t clean the dirt and grease without distorting the color and harming the wood surface.

Oil-based VS water-based

Remember, the water-based polyurethane top coating dries fast. You can give as many layers as you want. In contrast, the oil-based polyurethane is prone to chipping and scratches after a few layers. Check out this article that outlines the Pros and Cons of each Water-Based vs. Oil-Based Polyurethane Floor Finish by Family Handyman.

Time to dry

Some polyurethane dries fast, around 2 hours, others take up to 6 hours. You have to select the top coating based on how fast you want to finish your job.

Health and environment

Try to use low or odorless polyurethane. That will make your work pleasant. There is a lot of low-VOC polyurethane on the market. Low VOC ensures health safety and environmental protection. Many countries have banned high-VOC polyurethane.

Preparation

If you are applying on an already colored surface, use a degreaser to remove dirt and grease and apply the top coating. Many polyurethane top coatings don’t require any primer. Before applying the top coating, check whether any primer is required.

If you will have to apply the polyurethane on an unprepared wooden surface, use good grain sandpaper to smooth the wooden surface. Then apply a primer, and finally the polyurethane top coating. Go through this article if you want to find the perfect primer for your kitchen Best Bonding Primer for Kitchen Cabinets Within Reasonable Price. 

The best way to apply to the kitchen cabinets is you have to remove the kitchen cabinets, clean them, and apply the polyurethane top coating.

Number of coatings

At least, two layers of coating are required if you use water-based polyurethane top coating. If the polyurethane is oil-based, you must give, at least, two coatings.   

Pre-finish checking

After you applied a layer of polyurethane, place the wooden furniture under light and see if there is any missed spot. If there is any, apply on the spot.


FAQs regarding the best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets

Should you use polyurethane on kitchen cabinets?

Yes! This will protect your kitchen cabinets from water, stains, scratches, and the color of your kitchen cabinets will last a very long time.

What is the best finish for kitchen cabinets?

Gloss, Semi-gloss, and satin are the typically best finishes for your kitchen cabinets.

Is water-based polyurethane good for kitchen cabinets?

Yes, it is. It dries fast. You can give as many layers as you want.

How many coats of polyurethane should you put on kitchen cabinets?

It is better to give at least two coats. But, if you use oil-based polyurethane. you must apply two coatings.

Which is better: polyurethane or Polycrylic?

Polycrylic is not as durable as polyurethane finishes. Polyurethane is added for better adhesion and durability.

Do I need a top coat for kitchen cabinets?

Yes, you must apply a topcoat. This will protect your kitchen cabinets from heat, water, stains, and scratches. The color of the kitchen cabinets will not distort for many years.


Final thoughts

Our best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets for a glittering look article will help you not only to navigate the complexity of the top coating market but will also help you to easily understand the relation between wooden furniture and polyurethane. Our list creation process is transparent, based on independent market research, taking the review of the users, and your health & environment into consideration. Read our best polyurethane for kitchen cabinets list and become an expert and help to give a new look to your kitchen cabinets. Happy cooking!

James is a plumber and handyman hailing from the southwest with over 20+ years of experience in his field. He has incredible knowledge on all the brands in the market and how to perform installation, maintenance and repairs of anything you need in the kitchen.

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