How to Fix Polyurethane Mistakes?

Polyurethane is widely used as it makes wood surfaces transparent and offers a natural shiny look. You can apply polyurethane on almost all wood surfaces as it is a good practice in woodworking. However, have you ever fallen into such a situation that you stained your wood material, but suddenly noticed there are bubbles on the surface? It’s a common sight to get bubbles on the wood project if they are not probably stained. Perhaps, now you may want to know how to fix polyurethane mistakes? Then stay tuned cause I will explain to you how to fix or get rid of polyurethane mistakes.

Types of Polyurethane

Types of Polyurethane

To choose the perfect polyurethane for your wood project, then firstly, you have to know about its types and specifications.

There are two types of polyurethane. They are:

  • Oil-Based Polyurethane.
  • Water-Based Polyurethane.

Oil-Based Polyurethane

Once the oil-based polyurethane is converted to an amber or yellow finish, these form a hard, dense coating on a few coats but dry out slowly, which means you have to wait with patience between each coat to dry before applying the other. Oil-based polyurethane takes about 24 hours to dry, then you have to work gently on it when dealing with the surface.

Before applying polyurethane, keep your pets and furniture away from there, as they can interfere with the polyurethane drying time.

Water-Based Polyurethane

Water-based polyurethane dries faster than oil-based formulas, but it is always more water-based. It means you will need to apply more coatings, conceivably up to three, however, an oil-based polyurethane finish needs fewer coatings than water-based polyurethane.

Water-based polyurethane usually takes 6 hours to become dry. Then, the surface is dry enough and capable to work on it. However, it’s not completely cured, it means you have to work gently on it with care.

You Will Need the Below Material to Fix Polyurethane Mistakes

You Will Need the Below Material to Fix Polyurethane Mistakes

Don’t be afraid of polyurethane mistakes that appear on the surface where you have applied it, it’s a common mistake while applying polyurethane when you are new to this work. Don’t be worry, there are some steps that you can follow to get rid of polyurethane mistakes, but before that, let’s have a look at what things you will need to fix polyurethane mistakes:

  • Polyurethane.
  • Vacuum or Cloth.
  • Brush.
  • Fine-grit Sandpaper.

How to fix polyurethane mistakes

Polyurethane makes your wood projects look shiny and protects them from scratches for a long time, as well as polyurethane mistakes are popular, too. And the usual polyurethane mistake is to find traces of bubbles on the surface.

Here is the step-by-step guide to getting rid of polyurethane mistakes:

  • Step 1: At first, you need to find or identify the uneven area or the area where the bubbles are formed. However, if you pop the bubbles while applying polyurethane, and let it dry naturally, then you won’t need to face the mistake after applying polyurethane. Use fine-grit sandpaper and gently try to remove the bubbles with care and make the surface even, do not sand harshly unless you want to remove the full coating.
  • Step 2: Now, the second step is to clean the area where you have sanded. Here, you can use a vacuum to clean easily. However, if you don’t have a vacuum then you can use a cloth first, to remove dust materials before cleaning with a broom. After that, mop the surface to double cleanse it will help the area to clean more neatly. It’s an important step to get a clean and satisfying finishing.
  • Step 3: The third or last step is re-applying a polyurethane coat again on the sanded area. Apply a thin layer of coatings by using a brush. The bush must be lint-free unless you want to ruin the coatings again. Now, let the polyurethane become dry properly, do not use any fan to dry it faster.

Be sure if the floor or furniture is even or not. If the layer is too thick, then re-sand the area again, and if the layer is too thin then do not hesitate to apply another coat to it. Keep in mind that the wood surface must be even and perfect.

How to Avoid Polyurethane Mistakes – Our Tips

We know that polyurethane mistakes are common, but if you are conscious about it and follow the polyurethane using rules properly, then maybe you don’t need to face it after applying polyurethane. However, there are some tips mentioned below that can help you to avoid polyurethane mistakes:

  1. Don’t forget to sand the floor before applying polyurethane and sand the floor again in the middle of each coating.
  2. Mix the polyurethane properly by using a stirring stick to remove bubbles from the liquid. Don’t shake the polyurethane bottle to mix it unless you want to make more bubbles.
  3. To get a perfect finish, keep your wood surface neat and clean before applying each coat.
  4. Give your wood surface enough time to dry, you can also give it more time than the label says to dry the surface after applying the coatings if you want. But don’t give the coats less time to dry than the label’s recommendation.
  5. Do not use any inappropriate products and use enough coats to get a smooth, even, and perfect finish.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you touch up polyurethane?

Yes, you can touch up polyurethane before it dries. Generally, water-based polyurethane needs much more touch-up than oil-based polyurethane. Smear the area lightly and let the surface completely dry to make the surface even. After it dries, if you still have some unevenness, then you can use 0000 steel wool to get rid of this patch, then re-apply the second coat to it.

Can you apply to recoat polyurethane over old polyurethane?

Yes, surely you can apply to recoat polyurethane over old polyurethane. But there are some conditions for it. Firstly- you can do it only if your old polyurethane coating is completely smooth and even. Another condition- is your wood surface’s current condition is good, if it is not, then you have to remove the old layers of polyurethane.

How to remove spray polyurethane bubbles?

Among these two applications, spraying is a great option to get a smooth finish without getting any bubbles. Spraying can create a more appropriate coat than a brush. Polyurethane is also available in that comes in spray bottles.

Why is my polyurethane rough?

If you apply polyurethane on the rough area, then your polyurethane coatings will be rough, too. So, before applying polyurethane on any surface, be sure if that surface is clean or not; if it is not, then clean the surface properly with a damp cloth, and it will help you to get a neat and clean surface without any dust materials.


So, here was the solution to get rid of polyurethane mistakes. Though it needs a lot of time, surely you will be able to get a satisfying result if you follow the rules properly. However, don’t go harshly while doing this process unless you want to create an uneven finishing. So, do this job gently with care and patience.

You can also start working with polyurethane in your desired area when you have time if you want. You can also do this process by applying each coat each day. However, it will take much time o to finish the process, but it will be easier. I hope the steps to get rid of polyurethane mistakes were helpful enough to get a successful result.

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