Skip to Content

Can You Use Polycrylic Over Oil Based Paint & Stain?

Solvents are used over the paint coat to ensure that the color stays. And different solvents suit different types of colors.

Can you use Polycrylic over oil-based stain?

If the oil based satin has been properly cured, it is safe to apply Polycrylic over it. You can either brush a thin layer over it or you can lightly spray. Either way is fine as long as the satin base has dried properly. The results should be satisfactory as the combination goes well.

Oil based satin paints require a lot of curing time. But the after effect of the paint is worth it as it gives a very exquisite finish. A recent new trend is going on where Polycrylic is applied over oil based satin paints. This gives a more shiny finish and a new look to the surface.

Some decorators had their doubts initially about this new method. As satin based oil paints require a lot of curing time.

Adding Polycrylic on top of it could take more time and a lot maintenance. However that was not the case. In fact a layer of Polycrylic over oil based satin paint made the finish more worthwhile.

The only problem that can arise from this procedure is if the satin finish is not cured of set properly. The solutions can mix together and not give out the expected results. If you allow the oil based satin to set properly first and apply the Polycrylic later.

It is a safe method to follow and the results are definitely worth the hassle. It is not too much trouble though. The entire process needs a lot of time that is all. Polycrylic over oil based satin is perfectly good.

How long to let oil-based stain dry before applying Polycrylic?

The appropriate curing time for oil based satin is a day to two days. Just to be on the safe side you can wait an extra day as well.

Most decorators leave the paint to dry for three days before applying any other solvent on top. Polycrylic should also be applied very carefully. Wait two days to allow the paint to dry first

24 hours to 48 hours should be good enough for the oil based satin paint to dry. If you want to be extra careful you can wait an extra days as well. 3 days is always a good gap to let the oil based satin set. This way there is no scope for uncured paint.

Can you use Polycrylic over oil-based paint?

Though oil based paints give a good finish all by themselves, still you can apply a thin coat of Polycrylic over it. Some people worry that a water based solution will not mix well with the oil based paint. But if you let the oil based paint dry properly, then the Polycrylic will not be a problem.

Polycrylic is a water based solution that is perfect as a top coat on wooden interior and surface. An water based solvent like this should not be mixed with oil based paints, that is the popular belief. Which is true for the most part. However this theory is not always applicable.

A oil based paint takes a long time to dry and cure. And after it has completely dried you can apply a thin layer of Polycrylic over the paint. This is a good new trick to ensure better durability for the color of the paint and the surface as well.

The oil based paint should be well dried first. And you have to make sure there is no dirt over the paint, otherwise the dirt and stain will set completely with the paint. A good finish is a must before you put Polycrylic over an oil based paint surface.

Prepare the oil based paint surface before you apply the Polycrylic finish over it. Make sure the oil paint is entirely dry first. You can wax away any dent or debris on the paint finish as well. Polycrylic will set and seal everything so you should be very careful with this.

How long to let oil-based paint cure before applying Polycrylic?

Oil based paints require roughly around a day to dry properly. 24 hours is a common time to let the paint dry. The curing time of the paint is a lot compared to the other paints. While most paints take around 2 hours to dry, oil based paints take a lot more than that.

You should wait a day before you apply Polycrylic over a oil based paint. Some experts believe it is best to wait two days. You could be making a huge mistake if you put Polycrylic over uncured oil based paint. Better to not take the risk.

Is Polycrylic oil or water-based?

Polycrylic is basically a water based solvent. The solution goes on top of any wooden interior. It may seem harmful to use a water based solvent over wood but it is not a worry. Compared to the other coatings, Polycrylic is more safe and easy to clean. It is environment friendly as well.

The water based solvent has a very low level of volatile organic compound or VOC, which makes it environment friendly. On top of that the coating is easy to clean, with simply soap and water. Which is why this water based solvent, Polycrylic, is so popularly used now a days

What happens if you put water-based Poly over oil-based paint or stain?

If the oil based paint has dried and cured properly you can apply a coating of Polycrylic over it. It is a good solution to use to make sure the paint sustains. This same method can be used over oil based satin as well. If the paint has dried you can apply a coat.

Polycrylic is a water based coating, which is why some people do not prefer to apply it over any oil based paint or oil based satin. However, if the paint has dried entirely then you can easily apply it. There is no issue with it. It will ensure the paint stays solid and intact for a long time.

Is water-based Polyurethane the same as Polycrylic?

While both the solvents are water based and on pen and paper they may seem the same, but there are a lot of differences between a Polyurethane and a Polycrylic solvent.

The level of VOC is the prime difference. Polycrylic has a relatively lower level of volatile organic compound, which makes it less toxic.

Polycrylic is more environment friendly, while the higher level of volatile organic compound found in Polyurethane makes it more toxic.

Polyurethane is more odorous as well. And the solvent is sometimes oil based as well. Which is why it is very much different from Polycrylic solvents.

Which is better over oil-based paint & stain? Polycrylic or Polyurethane?

The two different solvents are usually applied over wooden surface or exterior to keep the color of the paint durable. They act as a sort of seal. You can use any of the two as the top coat over an oil based paint. But it is better to go with a Polycrylic finish


Polycrylic is odorless and will not cause any discomfort to the user. This can be a huge point if you are painting over many stuff in the same room.

Less toxic:

Polycrylic has less amount of toxin in it. The solvent contains less amount of volatile organic compound than polyurethane. Which makes the solvent more environment friendly.

Easier to use:

As you will be the one to apply it over the paint, the convenience of the solvent matters a lot. You will find that the Polycrylic solvent is easier to use compared to the Polyurethane.

Do not worry that the Polycrylic is water based so it won’t set over an oil-based paint. The combination works perfectly.

In fact, compared to a Polyurethane solvent, a Polycrylic solvent is always preferred. It is best to go for the environment friendly product rather than a relatively toxic product.

Final thoughts

Polycrylic is a water based solvent which is mostly used over wooden surface and interior. A common concern is if the solvent can be used over an oil based satin or paint. The combination of the two goes perfectly well. You just need to give the paint t dry properly first.