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How to Finish and Protect your Chalk Paint Projects

With the ease and versatility of all the chalk and refinishing paints on the market, it can be an easy choice for your next project. After painting, you might be wondering how to seal and protect your gorgeous project. Depending on what the piece will be used for, and your desired look, consider one of these chalk paint topcoat options.

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Teresa Odland

Bare or No Topcoat

Leaving your chalk-painted surface bare, or with no topcoat, is the simplest treatment with the least alteration to the finish. However, adding no protection means your piece is vulnerable to the elements, wear and tear, and natural distressing.

Pros

  • Maintains beautiful chalky, matte finish
  • Naturally patinas and distresses over time
  • Time and budget friendly

Cons

  • Does not change color or finish of paint
  • Least protection
  • Not for daily wear and tear

Did you know you can create your own Chalk Paint at home with 4 ingredients!

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polyurethanesHome Depot

Polyurethane


Polyurethane is a clear liquid oil-based topcoat. It is applied with a brush or is sprayed on, and typically provides the most durable finish, making it the best suited for high traffic, water-prone objects.

Pros

  • Finish options from satin to glossy
  • Best water-tight protection
  • Inexpensive and widely available

Cons

  • Can yellow over time
  • May need multiple coats
  • Could leave streaks or bubbles
  • Long dry/cure time

Get a smooth polyurethane finish with these tips.

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polycrylicLowes

Polycrylic


Polycrylic typically refers to a water-based version of polyurethane. It is applied with a brush or is sprayed on, and has many of the same properties as oil-based polyurethane. Many find it easier to use than traditional polyurethane.

Pros

  • Finish options from satin to glossy
  • Most durable
  • Typically does not yellow over time
  • Can be used in a paint sprayer

Cons

  • More difficult to find
  • May need multiple coats

Is chalk paint the best choice for your project? Find out here.

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pasteMinwax

Wax


Furniture wax or paste is a semi-solid product that you apply with a rag or round bristle brush, and then buff out. It typically leaves a soft, matte sheen and comes in a variety of colors to customize your end result.

Pros

  • Comes in a variety of colors to achieve antique look
  • Protects against moderate wear and tear
  • Repels water
  • Can be used over polyurethane

Cons

  • Time consuming application
  • High traffic areas may need reapplications
  • Heat sensitive

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chalked Amazon

Sprays


Clear spray topcoats can be a lifesaver in a pinch or if you need to protect a piece with lots of nooks and crannies. Typically, spray topcoats are a version of polyurethane, and though they are durable, it can be difficult to achieve an even finish.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Quick and easy
  • Very little cleanup

Cons

  • Difficult to achieve even coats
  • Aerosol application is least eco-friendly

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valspar Lowes

Glaze


Glaze is a liquid product that you apply and then wipe off excess to achieve an aged look. It is not the most durable topcoat but depending on the color chosen it can add a lot of texture and aesthetic value to your project.

Pros

  • Suited for light wear and tear
  • Can add dimension and texture to piece
  • Distressed look can hide flaws

Cons

  • Expensive and harder to obtain
  • Not water resistant

Looking for some creative painting techniques? Check out these!