Asked on Jan 23, 2015

Painting over polyurethane

Judy Garrett
by Judy Garrett
I want to repaint a piece of furniture that has a coat of polyurethane. Will the chalk paint work, or should I sand it down first?
  10 answers
  • The purpose of a poly coat finish is not only to produce a nice shiny type finish, but to help prevent the surface from being able to be cleaned. The hard shell it produces resists soils, liquids and even paint from sticking, making it easier to clean and maintain. So to answer your question, yes you do need to sand the finish. Ideally if you can remove the top coat it would be best so any new primer and paint used has a better chance to bite into the surface and hold . But at a minimum you need to remove all the gloss using a 3-M type sanding pad keeping it clean or wet during the process. Prior to any sanding, be sure to wash down the surface with a good grease and wax remover to assure that no polish remains on the surface. If you fail to do this the sanding process will work the grease and wax into the sanding surface preventing the new finish from properly adhering to it. TSP is a good product to use for this. As far as the chalk paint and its ability to stick to the surface, while I have little experience with this product like any paint your results are dependent upon the prep. So clean, sand, clean again then paint as desired.
  • Sonja O Sonja O on Jan 23, 2015
    Sand. Prime with oil based primer or a high adhesion latex primer. Give latex primer 24 hours to cure before you Paint.
  • Melanie Melanie on Jan 24, 2015
    Sand it up! A very good primer is Zinsser 123 latex base primer. I owned a paint store for 20 years. It will work. Clean your surface after sanding then apply a coat of 123.
  • Helen Helen on Jan 24, 2015
    If you are going to the trouble of sanding and priming, why chalk paint? The beauty of chalk paint is that there is very little, if any prep work. If it makes you feel better, sand lightly, then paint.
  • Lisa B. Lisa B. on Jan 24, 2015
    I would go to the chalk paint manufacturer's website. They get such questions all the time. You might even find the answer in the FAQ section of the website
  • Lesley Lesley on Jan 24, 2015
    Chalk paint goes onto anything without preparation, no sanding required. I have painted a melamine (plastic) shoe storage unit with Annie Sloan paint and it looks amazing (also, this unit was black/very dark brown and I painted it cream with no problems)
  • Debbie Dillon Debbie Dillon on Jan 24, 2015
    You can chalk paint it with no problem. I agree with Helen and Lesley, pick your color and go for it!
  • M.J. waggoner M.J. waggoner on Jan 24, 2015
    Chalk paint will cover anything!!!! No sanding!
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Jan 24, 2015
    Chalk paint will go over anything, but I have had it peel off a piece of high gloss poly furniture. If it is high gloss, I would just scuff up the surface with steel wool or sandpaper, then go ahead and paint your piece.
    • See 1 previous
    • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Feb 07, 2019

      Hi Tony-it depends on the thickness of the finish already on the piece. If it’s a pretty thin top coat then just a medium to fine grit will be ok. You only need to reduce any gloss.

  • Janice Madore Janice Madore on Jan 24, 2015
    Always sand poly finish off so that the product you're using can adhere properly. Prime, sand lightly, then paint.