Can You Put Paste Wax over Polyurethane on Wood Floors?

This is one of the trickiest questions that confuse many beginner artists and crafters. They become either curious or anxious about how to put paste wax over Polyurethane. Even veterans aren’t left out in the fray.

Let’s see what the quick snippet answers:

Can You Put Paste Wax over Polyurethane?

Yes, you can put paste wax over the Polyurethane floor finish. However, paste wax is not recommended to use Polyurethane on wax finishes. Although paste wax provides wear resistance and can protect polyurethane finishes, it tends to yellow over time, and you’ve got to be careful how you carry out the processes.

This article will answer whether you can put paste wax over Polyurethane. Besides, we’ll look at how to place wax over poly and poly over wax.

Other frequently asked questions get artists’ attention too. Stay connected to the end.

So, let’s jump in!

It is not necessary to wax the polyurethane surface.

Two things come to play here. One, polyurethane finish comes with natural protection and so won’t require any extra layer of protection. The consequence of adding additional protection is a slippery floor. The other reason you shouldn’t wax over poly finish is that wax turns yellow over time. As a result, you will have to peel it off the poly floor surface. Or the wax will strip itself off, thus making the surface becomes defaced and forcing sanding and a refinish.

Whether you’re working with water- or oil-based Polyurethane, you shouldn’t apply wax over a surface that already contains Polyurethane.

Will polyurethane take 6-24 hours to dry before waxing?

The 24 hours drying time is for oil-based poly, and it depends on normal conditions. Extreme conditions may make it take more than 24 hours for oil-based poly to dry. On the other hand, using water-based poly can take up to 6 hours or a little more to dry. Curing a waxed polyurethane may require that you wait for at least a month.  

How many coats of Polyurethane apply before waxing?

You’ll need to apply three coats of Polyurethane before you can wax. This is the highest number of layers of poly that expert artists and crafters recommend. You cannot go lower, especially if you’re using oil-based poly, using a spray or a brush. Anything less than this will make the entire surface of the project look poor. Typically, oil-based Polyurethane produces more hard protection than water-based when the coats are fewer. The rule of thumb is to mix the first layer of poly with mineral spirits.   

How to apply paste wax over Polyurethane?

You’ll need the following supplies:

  • Clean, soft cloth
  • Steel wool or Cloth diaper
  • Duster

Applying paste wax over Polyurethane will take approximately 10 hours to complete, from cleaning to buffing. Do not skip any step to get the best result for your paintwork. Eight hours to allow the wax to dry before buffing and 15 minutes before and after adding coats of paste wax.

Step-by-step Guide to applying paste wax over Polyurethane:

Step 1: Clean the surface

Using a soft, clean cloth, get rid of the dust, dirt, and debris on the surface of the wood. You can use a damp cloth. Oil soap will be an option if there are stains on the surface. 

Step 2: Apply the paste wax 

Apply the paste wax on the wood surface with the steel wool or cloth. You may need to exert some effort when using the cloth. Continue rubbing the cloth in circular motions until the film no longer shows on the surface. Apply the wax in light coats.

Step 3: Allow the wax to dry

Wait for about 10-15 minutes for the wax to dry.

Step 4: Buff the wax on the surface 

Once the wax is dry, you should start the process of buffing it on the furniture surface. You can use an electric buffer, a cotton diaper, or a terry towel. A floor buffer will work effectively to buff your floors. 

Step 5: Repeat steps 3&4  

Wait for about 8 hours before applying any layer of paste wax. Allow it to dry for about 10-15 minutes before buffing the wax on the wooden surface. 

Wax over Polyurethane or Polyurethane over Wax?

It has to poly first before applying wax. The rule is that wax has to be the top coat when polishing your finished wood furniture. 

What happens if you put Polyurethane over wax?

As a general rule of thumb, you should first seal the surface of your furniture with poly before waxing it. Wax should always be the topmost coat on your furniture surface. But if you reverse the process by waxing before applying poly, there is a consequence. The poly will never properly adhere to the furniture surface due to the wax buildup. As a result, both the wax and poly will be a waste.

Johnson Paste Wax vs. Minwax Wax

Although the two products are made for the same purpose, they work differently, and their effect on wood finish differs. Johnson Paste is known to turn liquid when the weather is hot. It means it doesn’t work effectively under extremely hot conditions. When you add your varnish and wait to buff, Johnson paste wax can become tacky. You won’t get the luster and sheen that you desire.

On the other side of the coin, Minwax Wax stays solid under any condition. It doesn’t turn tacky. You won’t have to wait the entire drying time before applying the Minwax because it won’t spill or drill, as you will see in Johnson Paste wax. Overall, Minwax Wax is better.

 Wax or Polyurethane over Chalk Paint?

Poly coats have been considered better than wax coats over chalk paint. The reason is that Polyurethane offers more durability and will protect your painted furniture project more than wax will do. Besides, wax needs buffing, but poly doesn’t have to. You can apply wax using a brush or rag. However, you can brush on poly topcoats before drying and then curing them. 

Best wax for Polyurethane wood floors- Minwax 785004444 paste finishing wax

Do you have any finished wood surface, including table saw top, band saw top, or woodworking tools to wax? This fantastic product from Minwax Store does the magic. Minwax soft wax will protect and add hand-rubber sheen to your finished wood, which works for doors, cabinets, antiques, and paneling.

If you have accessories that won’t need the hard coating and protection that poly offers, this amazing kit is your right pick. Interestingly, it neither spills nor messes your workspace. 

Moreover, Minwax 785004444 comes as natural color past wax that will leave a bright and glossy look to your wood surface. It’s pretty smooth to touch and will work on many aluminum frames, swimming pool ladders, and chrome to prevent rusting and corrosion.


  • Easy to use
  • Doesn’t mess, spill, or drip
  • Smooth to the touch
  • Produces a nice sheen when buffed
  • Natural color with a paste material


Can you apply white wax over Polyurethane?

Yes, it is a good thing to apply white wax over poly. White wax is used for a wide range of things, prominent among which is to prepare ointments. Your project deserves quality aesthetics and a good look. One thing the wax will do is to add beauty to your polyurethane varnish. Adding white wax will ensure polyurethane don a smooth and excellent finish.  

Can you use paste wax over varnish?

Yes, paste wax is a great product to use on varnish. Not even varnish alone, wax can also be applied over any finished wood surface. You can spray it on paint, varnish, oil, and stain. It will work perfectly and without any spillage or dripping. In this case, the wax adds an extra layer of protection to the wood finish. In addition, the paste wax will also polish the wood to confer a fine sheen. As a rule, you must ensure you carry out some tests to know if you’re cool with what your project will turn out to be. 

Can you lime wax over Polyurethane?

As great as lime wax is, it is not significant over Polyurethane. Research shows that lime wax can lend an incredibly durable finish to many surfaces, especially wood. But applying it over Polyurethane or polyacrylic won’t be the best idea. Wax, generally, and regardless of its type, don’t’ bond well with Polyurethane.  

Should you wet sand Polyurethane before applying wax?

Yes, it would help if you wet sand poly before waxing it. The reason is that wetting the surface will help remove any particles, nibs, or brush marks. The process will also help smoothen the surface and prepare it for waxing. 

Final Words

Now you have detailed information about the relationship between paste wax and Polyurethane. Answering the question ‘can you paste wax over Polyurethane‘ shouldn’t be difficult. We’ve already said that you cannot apply paste wax over Polyurethane to maintain the durable look of your project. 

Both polyurethane and wax produce extraordinary visual effects and finishes to any surface. However, their relationship and combining them to work together significantly differ. Regardless of what you need, wax cannot place on Polyurethane. Each will work well on a suitable surface, depending on your needs.

You shouldn’t wax over a polyurethane-coated floor. It will make the floor slippery. Indeed, it is not a dangerously slippery floor you would love to see after your effort. Again, once the wax starts to wear down after a short time, it will deface the permanent brightness of the floor. Even if the floor has scratches or is damaged, you should use Polyurethane to fix the damaged section and not wax. The rule is ‘wax for wax and poly for poly .’It’s that simple!  

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