Can You Spray Polyurethane With An Airless Sprayer? – Comprehensive Guide

Want to know if you can spray polyurethane with an airless sprayer? Polyurethane is an amalgamation of two chemicals, polyol resin, and poly-isocyanate. Polyurethane not only protects the paint from sunlight effects, paint wrinkling, paint cracking, and chipping but also enhances the paint service life. Polyurethane can bear high temperatures of nearly 110°C.

However, airless sprayers are different from air compressor-based sprayers. Although these paint sprayers are easy to use and provide a quality job. But high speed can ruin your project. They are electric-powered and gasoline-powered. Airless sprayers possess strong motors, so they can spray any sprayable object.

Can You Spray Polyurethane With An Airless Sprayer?

Can You Spray Polyurethane With An Airless Sprayer

Yes, you can spray polyurethane with an airless sprayer. It is not hard to atomize polyurethane particles. As we have discussed above, airless paint sprayers are better than air paint sprayers. Basically, they can break down all the sprayable material into tiny particles. Before you go for coating polyurethane on the paint. There is something you must know about polyurethane. Let’s discuss this in detail.

Water-Based Polyurethane vs Oil-Based Polyurethane

Water-Based Polyurethane vs Oil-Based Polyurethane

Service Life

The oil-based polyurethane is durable and provides 10 years of service life. It eliminates all chances of paint wrinkling as well as being hard to remove. It can face harsh rain and sunlight color fade effect. On the other hand, water-based polyurethane paints are more durable as compared to oil-based polyurethane. It can provide 15 years of service life.

Dry Time

The spray dries faster than brush and roll. But when it comes to a comparison between oil and water-based polyurethane dry time. The water-based polyurethane dries faster than the oil-based polyurethane. Water-based polyurethane takes 2 hours to dry while oil-based polyurethane needs 8 to 10 hours to dry completely.

Sometimes, when you apply polyurethane coating over a fresh or wet layer. The paint starts wrinkling and crackling. Before you go to apply another polyurethane layer, check if the previous one has dried or not properly. Otherwise, all of your money and effort will be wasted.


Both water and oil-based polyurethane are used for different purposes. At times, oil-based polyurethane provides you with perfect finishing and water-based polyurethane ruins your project or vice versa. Moreover, water-based polyurethane is expensive as opposed to oil-based polyurethane. Well, they cost you more bucks but they are more durable and reliable.

Easy Steps To Spray Polyurethane

You can spray polyurethane with an airless paint sprayer. But do not consider it a child’s play. Because it takes a little longer and needs all your attention. You cannot start coating polyurethane without any plan. Coating polyurethane is a technical task.

So, follow these 5 easy to follow steps for coating polyurethane.

  1. First, prepare the surface and clean all the dust with a dry cloth.
  2. Now test your airless paint sprayer before you start working.
  3. Apply the first coat of the polyurethane. Apply multiple thin layers of the polyurethane.
  4. Keep a distance of 10 to 12 inches between you and the object. It takes 2 to 3 hours for water-based polyurethane to dry and if you are using oil-based polyurethane, it will dry within 10 to 12 hours.
  5. Apply another coat of polyurethane when the previous coat has dried properly.

Which Polyurethane Is Best?

It is quite a tricky question but water-based polyurethane seems more durable. It provides a long-lasting impact with wonderful results. It can stand against sunlight color fade effect and harsh rain. But it does not mean oil-based polyurethane is not worthy to use. Basically, oil-based polyurethane is made for indoor objects.

It provides the best performance for indoor chairs, tables, or inside walls. On the other side, water-based polyurethane is made for outdoor objects. It dries faster but is expensive. Oil-based polyurethane takes a little longer but is inexpensive. You can pick one of them according to your use.

Hazards Of Polyurethane

Hazards Of Polyurethane

Everything has some pros and cons. We have discussed the pros, now it is time to inform you about the hazards of polyurethane. Polyurethane is an extremely toxic chemical. It possesses extremely harmful chemicals such as polyol resin and poly-isocyanate. Using polyurethane incorrectly can take you to the hospital for 4 to 6 weeks.

Here are some problems people face while using polyurethane.


Polyisocyanate is an extraordinarily toxic chemical. Polyisocyanate fumes can enter your body through the nose, eyes, and in case of skin exposure. It can cause respiratory infection, cough, nausea, and breathing problems. Polyisocyanate fumes can hurt your eyes by turning them into red balls. They also cause skin infections, rashes on the skin, and damage to skin tissues.

Polyol Resin

Polyol resin is as dangerous as polyisocyanate. The polyol resin fumes hurt you through skin exposure, eyes, and nose. They cause severe irritation in the nose, increase the risks of lung damage and ruin the respiratory system.

In case of skin exposure, the polyol resin causes dermatitis, inflammation, allergy and weird red marks that can appear on the skin. The polyol resin affects the user’s eyes. The effect may last longer than 3 to 4 weeks.

General Recommendations For Handling Polyurethane

Now you are well informed about the pros and cons of polyurethane. Maybe you skip the idea of using polyurethane for finishing. But the purpose of polyurethane cons was not to discourage you but to alarm you about the risk factors. You can use polyurethane by following precautions.

Wear a face mask before you use polyurethane. Wear glasses to prevent polyurethane eye contact. Use gloves to minimize skin exposure. Do not use the object until the polyurethane coating dries. After the polyurethane coating has dried, clean it with a cloth and you can use the object now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Better To Spray Or Brush Polyurethane?

The spray is always better because it is fast, it requires less effort and it provides thin layers of polyurethane.

How Long Does Spray Polyurethane Take To Dry?

Water-based polyurethane takes 2 to 3 hours to dry. But oil-based polyurethane needs almost 10 to 12 hours.

How Many Coats Of Polyurethane Do I Need?

You can apply 4 to 5 coats but at least 2 coats. If you apply a single coat, the paint will crackle soon. Apply thin coats of the polyurethane for 3 to 4 hours.

Final Remarks

Yes, you can spray polyurethane with an airless paint sprayer. The airless paint sprayers are far better as compared to air compressor paint sprayers. As well as they are fast and provide you with thin layers of sprayable material. Polyurethane is a strong chemical, you can apply multiple thin coats of polyurethane with airless paint sprayers. But before you go for coating, follow all the safety measures.

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