Do You Have to Seal Furniture After Painting?

Painting furniture is a great way to give it a new look and add some personality to your home. But do you have to seal furniture after painting? The answer depends on the type of paint and the finish you want to achieve.

The short answer is: yes, you should seal furniture after painting, unless you are using a paint that already has a built-in sealer, such as chalk paint or milk paint. Sealing furniture after painting will protect it from scratches, stains, moisture, and fading. It will also enhance the color and shine of the paint and make it easier to clean.

Why You Should Seal Furniture After Painting

There are many benefits to sealing furniture after painting, such as:

  • Durability: Sealing furniture after painting will make it more durable and resistant to wear and tear. It will prevent the paint from chipping, peeling, cracking, or flaking off. It will also protect the paint from water damage, mold, and mildew.
  • Appearance: Sealing furniture after painting will improve its appearance and make it look more professional. It will bring out the depth and richness of the color and add some gloss or matte effect, depending on the type of sealer you use. It will also smooth out any brush strokes or imperfections in the paint job.
  • Maintenance: Sealing furniture after painting will make it easier to maintain and clean. It will create a barrier between the paint and the dirt, dust, grease, and spills that can accumulate on furniture. It will also make the furniture more resistant to fading from sunlight or other sources of UV rays.
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How to Seal Furniture After Painting

Sealing furniture after painting is not a difficult task, but it does require some preparation and patience. Here are the basic steps to follow:

Choose the right sealer: There are different types of sealers available for furniture, such as wax, polyurethane, polycrylic, lacquer, and varnish. Each one has its own pros and cons, depending on the type of paint, the finish you want, and the durability you need. For example, wax is easy to apply and gives a soft, matte finish, but it is not very durable and needs to be reapplied regularly. Polyurethane is very durable and gives a hard, glossy finish, but it can yellow over time and is not suitable for white or light-colored paint. Polycrylic is a water-based sealer that is durable and gives a clear, satin finish, but it can be tricky to apply and may leave brush marks. Lacquer is a spray sealer that is durable and gives a smooth, glossy finish, but it is toxic and requires good ventilation. Varnish is a solvent-based sealer that is durable and gives a warm, amber finish, but it can be difficult to apply and may darken the paint color. You should do some research and test the sealer on a small area of the furniture before applying it to the whole piece.

Prepare the furniture: Before sealing the furniture, you should make sure that the paint is completely dry and cured. This may take from a few hours to a few days, depending on the type of paint and the weather conditions. You should also lightly sand the furniture with a fine-grit sandpaper to remove any bumps or dust and wipe it clean with a damp cloth. You should also cover any areas that you don’t want to seal, such as hardware, glass, or fabric, with painter’s tape or plastic wrap.

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Apply the sealer: You should follow the instructions on the sealer’s label and use the appropriate tools, such as a brush, a roller, a sponge, or a spray can. You should work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear, such as gloves, goggles, and a mask. You should apply the sealer in thin, even coats, following the direction of the wood grain. You should let each coat dry completely before applying the next one, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. You should also lightly sand between coats with a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any bubbles or brush marks and wipe off the dust with a damp cloth. You should apply as many coats as needed to achieve the desired level of protection and finish.

Enjoy your furniture: After applying the final coat of sealer, you should let the furniture cure for at least 24 hours before using it or placing anything on it. You should also avoid exposing the furniture to direct sunlight, heat, or moisture for at least a week. You should clean the furniture with a soft cloth and mild soap and water, and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives. You should also reapply the sealer as needed, depending on the type of sealer and the amount of wear and tear.


Sealing furniture after painting is a smart and easy way to make your furniture last longer and look better. It will protect the paint from damage and enhance its color and shine. It will also make the furniture easier to clean and maintain. You should choose the right sealer for your furniture, prepare the furniture properly, apply the sealer carefully, and enjoy your furniture for years to come.