Can You Roll Polyurethane on Wood Furniture?

Generally, crafters and artists are used to the traditional brush method of applying Polyurethane. Not many are aware of the outweighing benefits of rolling on poly on a wood floor. The question is ‘can you roll polyurethane on wood furniture?’

Let’s dive right in:

Can you roll Polyurethane on wood?

Yes, You can roll Polyurethane on wood furniture and floor. Using a roller makes the Polyurethane dry faster and achieves a smoother, rounder finish than with a paint brush because it usually has no lines or brush marks.

In this article, we’ll look at the following topics:

  • What type of paint roller for Polyurethane
  • Is paint roller ideal for water-based or oil-based poly
  • Pros and cons of paint roller for Polyurethane
  • Steps to apply Polyurethane with a paint roller
  • Tips to know when using a paint roller
  • Best foam roller for Polyurethane 
  • Best polyurethane roller for wood floors
  • FAQs on rolling on Polyurethane  

Type of paint roller for Polyurethane

The type of poly you’re using will determine the type of paint roller to use to apply the poly. Oil-based poly allows you to use a wide range of paint rollers including lambswool, foam, mohair, or microfiber roller. On the other hand, water-based poly may work with a foam roller. 

Oil-based or Water-based Polyurethane for rolling

Both oil-based and water-based poly formulations are excellent for rolling. However, some poly makers have specific instructions. Try to check on the can label of the poly product you’re buying. Generally, no type of paint roller doesn’t work with oil-based. Not all types work with water-based poly. Rolling on your poly helps to create a sleek, smooth finish. In both polytypes, you won’t experience brush marks that characterized the use of a paintbrush. Water-based poly doesn’t contain oil lube and may not be suitable to use on a foam roller. 

Pros & Cons

Pros of using a roller for Polyurethane 

Here are some of the benefits of using a roller applicator: 

  • Saves time: With a roller, you can complete your work in good time  
  • Dries faster: polyurethane paint dries faster when applied with a roller.
  • Prevents over-application: A roller allows you to measure your poly to avoid excess application on the wood edges, center, and crevices.
  • Poly gets to every part: Using a roller helps you reach every corner of your wood floor. 
  • Doesn’t leave brush strokes: Using a roller to apply your poly means that you won’t experience the brush marks that litter the surface and your workspace.

Cons of applying Polyurethane with a roller 

Despite its amazing pros, a roller applicator also comes with its downside. They include:

  • Costly: A roller is relatively pricier than a brush. To buy a quality roller, you may have to break the bank literally. 
  • Not suitable for small sections: A roller is not a perfect option if you want to paint wood joints, curves, corners, and small sections of the wood surface. 
  • Small painting surface: A roller has a small painting surface that may not be resourceful for use.

How to apply Polyurethane with a roller? 

You’ll need about 2 hours or so to complete applying Polyurethane with a roller, depending on the size of the wood floor you’re working on.  

Supplies and tools needed:

  • Respirator
  • Protective gear: suit and goggles
  • A roller
  • Mineral spirits
  • Polyurethane: water-based or oil-based
  • 280-grit sandpaper
  • 2 Paint pan

Steps to Apply Polyurethane with a roller  

 Step 1: Prepare the Solvent

Pour two cups of mineral spirit and Polyurethane in two separate cans. Store the two containers separately in your workspace. Make sure you have your goggles and other protective kits on while preparing these chemicals. 

Step 2: Submerge the roller in the mineral spirit

Vigorously shake the container of the mineral spirit and dip the roller inside it. To avoid excess poly on the roller, shake off the roller so it doesn’t drip.

Step 3: Dip the roller inside poly

After taking the roller from the first container, dip it immediately into the poly can. The poly should mix with the mineral spirit and be ready to be applied. 

Step 4: Apply the mixture

Once the mineral spirit had mixed with poly on the roller, it’s time to apply it on the wood surface. This will form the first poly layer. Make sure you roll on the poly-coated roller as quickly as you can and cover every nook and cranny of the floor.

Step 5: Allow the coat to dry

The type and brand of poly you’re using will determine the drying time. Water-based poly will take less drying time than its oil-based counterpart. Some poly manufacturers also indicate the drying time for their products. Suffice to say that you should allow enough time to dry.

Step 6: Sand the surface

Using 280-grit sandpaper to sand the surface after the coat has completed dried out. 

Step 7: Repeat steps 4, 5, & 6

Apply the second or third layer. Make sure each layer dries out and is sanded before applying the next.

Step 8: Clean up

With water-based poly, a mixture of soap and water will do the cleaning. Oil-based poly will require some solvent, including mineral spirit or denatured alcohol, to clean up. 

How do I get a smooth finish with Polyurethane?

To get a smooth finish with your poly coat, you’ll have to start by sanding the surface with 220-grit sandpaper. Next is to apply a coat of sealer in thin layers. Make the sealer covers the surface area of the wood. Allow the coat to dry for about an hour or so. Apply the second thin coat of sealer. You can add one layer of sealer before applying two or three coats of Polyurethane on the wood. Do this successively without allowing any drying time in between. You can touch the surface up by mixing alcohol with water and poly before spraying. The last step will be to sand again with 150-grit sandpaper to achieve a super-smooth finish

How to get a smooth surface with polyurethane?

Tips for Roll Polyurethane on Wood

After getting all your tools and supplies, now it’s time to start to apply your poly on wood using a paint roller. You must take note of things before you roll out the drum.

  • Remove every dust and debris on the wood floor
  • Never apply the poly product without wiping the place with a mixture of water and vinegar
  • Start applying poly from the wood edges using a 5” brush
  • Use a paint roller for the center of the wood
  • Wear you a protective kit to avoid inhaling hazardous poly fumes 

Best Roller for Polyurethane

Best Roller for Polyurethane Wood Floors – RollingDog 3pc Paint Roller

If you’re in search of the best foam paint roller for poly wood floors, RollingDog will be the right pick. Its ergonomic synthetic handle makes painting quite comfy and easy. Affordable, the RollingDog roller will neither shed lines nor leave any mark on your wood surface. That’s not all. The roller boasts a high paint retention power. As a result, you can rest assured you’ll have a beautiful coating. It’s pretty easy to poly on crafts and artworks. What’s more, the roller on a wide range of surfaces, including the wood floor. 

Best foam roller for Polyurethane -Mister Rui-Paint 6” Foam Paint Roller  

This foam roller will leave a sleek, smooth, and even finish on your wood floor and any surface. It’s suitable for both oil-based and water-based poly. The icing on the cake is that this vintage foam roller won’t slip off. Thanks to the strong adhesion between the foam and its inner tube. It features a spring that ensures you can apply for poly faster and complete the job on time. The paint is designed to hold a lot of paint at the same time. It will spread the paint nicely and decently, leaving no lines behind on the surface.   

Best way to apply Polyurethane to wood floors

You’ll need a few supplies, including a soft-bristle sweeping brush, vinegar, water, mop pad, and tack cloth. Start by mixing water with vinegar. Put the mixture by the side and start to sweep the floor. Use the mixture to damp-mop the wood floor and a tack cloth to rid the floor of dust and debris. Go over it again to be sure no deposit is left. Apply your poly to the wood floor edges using a 5-inch or 3-inch brush. Then pick up your foam roller to put the poly on the center of the floor. 

Read More >> How to Apply Polyurethane for Floors – Best Polyurethane for Floors [Ultimate Guide of 2022]


Can you apply Polyurethane with a foam roller?

Yes, you can apply Polyurethane with all forms of a roller, including a foam roller, lambswool roller, mohair roller, and microfiber roller. A foam roller may not work well on water-based poly. It’ll produce the desired result only with oil-based poly. The foam roller helps you apply your poly modestly without going overboard.  

Can you apply oil-based Polyurethane with a roller?

Yes, it’s perfect for applying Polyurethane with a roller. If you’re pressed for time, using a roller helps you achieve more within a short time. Rollers don’t leave you with brush strokes. Besides, you can avoid applying excess poly on your wood surface.  

Can you apply water-based Polyurethane with a roller?

Yes, you can apply water-based poly with a roller. Your water-based poly will produce a smooth finish on wood floors and multi-direction with a roller. But the thing with a roller is that you may not be able to cover all the crevices. 

Final words

Indeed, the next time someone asks you, can you roll Polyurethane on wood furniture?’, you won’t hesitate in saying ‘YES.’ Rolling polyurethane finish on wood furniture comes with a lot of benefits. It means you won’t have to follow the traditional use of a paintbrush. This way, you can work on your poly without the glitches that brush strokes bring. In addition, rolling poly on wood furniture also helps you complete your job in good time, thereby saving more time for other things. That’s not all. You can also avoid over-applicating poly finish if you roll rather than paint with the brush.

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