Applying Polyurethane With A Roller The Right Way

Have you applied polyurethane to a wall or floor with a brush? If so, you know that it’s not the easiest task. Also, the bristles on a brush can often leave bubbles and streaks in the finish, which is why many people choose to use a roller instead.

Also, applying polyurethane with a roller will speed up the process by many folds and you will get a more even finish. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to make sure the job goes smoothly.

In this article, I’ll help you to learn how to apply polyurethane using a roller, so you can achieve the best result every time. Let’s get started…

Can you apply polyurethane with a roller?

Yes, you can apply polyurethane with a roller. In fact, this is a great way to get an even coat quickly. Make sure that you use a lambswool or foam ­­­­roller for a better result. 

So, whether you’re using polyurethane for a large and flat project like wooden floors or walls or just trying to spruce up your home furniture quickly, a T-bar applicator or a paint roller will deliver a professional outcome. Just make sure that you use a high-quality roller and follow the right process.

Now, let’s see the proper procedure of coating polyurethane with the help of a roller.

Applying Polyurethane with A Roller: A Step by Step Guide

Polyurethane is a popular finish for wood projects. It’s durable and comes in a variety of sheens. Applying it with a roller is the easiest way to get a smooth, even coat. Here are the steps for applying polyurethane with a roller.

Things Needed

  1. Polyurethane
  2. A roller
  3. Sandpaper
  4. Mineral spirits
  5. A big or medium bucket

1.  Get the area/surface ready for polyurethane application

One of the most important steps in applying polyurethane is to prepare the surface. This means removing all dirt, dust, and grease from the surface using a degreaser or other cleaner. 

If you want to use polyurethane on the wall, take all the wall photos, and decorations down and clean the wall using a cleaner that is safe for wooden walls. To use polyurethane on floors, remove all carpetings and wires before doing an initial clean with a good floor cleaner.

2.  Sanding the surface

After you have prepared and cleaned the surface, you need to sand it properly. This step is important because it will help create a smooth surface for the polyurethane to adhere to. Remember, when sanded, polyurethane spreads easily.

If you are using polyurethane on wooden floors, you should use an appropriate wood floor sanding machine or a 180-grit sandpaper. If you are going to apply polyurethane on walls, you can use a hand sander. Finally, clean the dust away and proceed to the next step.

3.  Take some polyurethane on the bucket

Generally, a roller head won’t fit inside the polyurethane container, so you’ll need to use pour the polyurethane into a bucket or tray. So, take a bucket and pour required amount of polyurethane in it. Here, if the manufacturer suggests thinning the polyurethane, do it.

You should also fill a flat container or tray with several cups of mineral spirits. When you start rolling the polyurethane, you’ll need the mineral spirits for cleaning the roller.

4. Start applying polyurethane with a roller

After you have taken some polyurethane on the bucket, now it’s time to start applying it with a roller. Before that, wet the roller with mineral spirits for a few moments. Don’t soak the roller in the mineral spirits completely, just make it damp.

Now, insert the roller into the bucket and let the roller soak up some polyurethane. When the roller takes enough polyurethane, start spreading it on the surface.

In order to avoid bubbles and streaks, do not press the roller against the surface when applying polyurethane. Start from the corner of the room and work your way out. Move the roller towards forward and backward directions until there is no polyurethane left on the roller.

Again, dip the roller in the mineral containing tray before inserting it again into the polyurethane containing bucket. Make sure to overlapping each stroke to avoid leaving any bare spots.

Following this simple technique, quickly apply the first coat and you won’t face any issue.

5. Wait for the first coat to dry

Once you have finished applying the first coat of polyurethane, wait for at least 2-3 hours for it to dry. If the temperature is below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, the drying time will be longer. In that case, you should wait for a longer period of time.

You can use a fan to speed up the drying process. Just make sure that the fan is not blowing directly on the surface.

If you intend to apply a second coat, the roller and polyurethane need to be kept wet while the polyurethane dries. It’s important to seal the polyurethane finish well and place the roller in a plastic bag before refrigerating. This will prevent it from drying out, becoming spiky or dulling your finish on second coat!

6. Apply the second coat carefully

After the first coat has dried, now it’s time to apply the second coat of polyurethane. The steps here are similar to the previous ones. Don’t forget to damp the roller with mineral spirits before applying the second coat.

Once you have finished applying the second coat of polyurethane, again wait for at least 2-3 and put the 3rd coating if you want a more glossy look.

Finally, allow the second coat to dry completely before moving furniture back into the room. With a little care and patience, you can achieve professional-looking results by applying polyurethane with a roller.

Final Words

The process of coating polyurethane with the right type of roller is easy and can be completed in just a few simple steps. The best thing is that you can apply both oil-based and water-based polyurethane using a roller. I hope, the instructions provided will ensure that your project looks stunning and lasts for years.

Have you ever applied polyurethane with a roller before? If not, what questions do you have about the process? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll answer them as best I can.

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