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Polyurethane paint

polyurethane paint

Polyurethane paint can be modified to suit your project

Polyurethane coating (PU coating) is essentially liquid plastic which dries to form a paint-like film on the substrate. As a result, it is hard-wearing and resistant to damage, thus it is particularly applicable as industrial and architectural coatings.

Polyurethane paint and other PU coatings are protective coatings known for providing an extremely durable, hard, and glossy finish. This is one of the few coatings that offer protection, durability and looks in one system. Better yet, PU paint can be modified to suit your needs: next to the standard properties, it can be made for example more flexible, chemical- or UV- resistant.

If finding the right coatings seems difficult, it is worth considering polyurethane paint to discover the possibilities. Polyurethane is also often applied on top of another coating: for example epoxies are extremely wear resistant but lack UV-resistance which PU paint offers.

6 reasons to use polyurethane paint

Polyurethane coating has many benefits, including:

a glimpse of a car coated with polyurethane paint and protective lacquer

Polyurethane paint is used on many surfaces, such as car bodies, due to the numerous benefits.

  1. Extreme durability
    Protection from mechanical abrasion, stains and scratches
  2. Corrosion resistance
    Protects metal surfaces from erosion and oxidation
  3. Brilliant looks
    A flawless glossy finish which resists colour fade
  4. Water- and chemical proof
    Resistance to water, steam, moisture, and most chemicals
  5. Self cleaning 
    Dust and dirt wash off during rain
  6. Temperature resistance
    Suitable across a wide range of temperatures (up to 110°C)

Industrial polyurethane coatings for pipes and tanks

Polyurethane paint is a versatile coating which can be made ideal for several industrial applications: most commonly it is applied as a topcoat on pipelines or tanks. It is also suitable as a lining for water tanks and secondary containment containers. The PU tank and pipe coatings are most present in wastewater management plants.

The industrial polyurethane coatings come in two types:

  1. Thermosetting polyurethanes
    Once they crosslink, they form a hard-wearing layer which is not affected by heat. Coating failures are difficult to fix.
  2. Thermoplastics
    Remain vulnerable to heat even after crosslinking. They melt in high temperatures, which small coating defects easy to fix.

The choice between the two types of industrial polyurethane coatings should be made based on the operating environment and coating requirements. If there is a slightest chance that the temperature rises, thermoplastics are a no-go.

PU coatings for architectural applications as topcoats

preparing for applying PU varnish

Getting ready for applying Polyurethane floor paint.

When it comes to architectural uses, PU paint can be applied as a clear top coat, as a vibrant colour, or as varnishes and finishes for wood, metal, concrete, plastics, and even fabrics.

A particularly popular application for polyurethane coatings is flooring. PU paint is used as a finish on wood flooring, as well as concrete in garages, apartments, or schools. Its resistance to abrasion and chemicals makes it an ideal coating for laboratory floors either alone, or as a topcoat on epoxy.

Choose the right polyurethane paint

When the plan is to apply PU paint in an exterior setting, the safest option is to go for spar urethane. It is namely, more UV-resistant and offers better protection against weathering.

The interior PU paints come in water-based, oil-based and oil modified water-based varieties, each of which is suitable for different substrates.

Here below you’ll get some guidance on deciding which PU paint suits you the best.



  • Easy to apply, clear finish
  • Faster drying than oil-based
  • Low toxicity, less odour

  • May require up to 10 coats
  • Not suitable for exposure to heat and chemicals
  • More expensive than oil-based

Rust-Oleum 6711 System, water-based clear PU concrete sealer


  • Easy to apply
  • Requires fewer layers than water-based
  • More durable than water-based
  • Suitable for exposure to heat or chemicals

  • Adds a yellowish tint
  • Toxicity: use in a well-ventilated area, wear a mask.

Olympic Polyurethane, oil-based finish for interiors

Oil modified water-based

  • Hybrid mix of oil- and water-based polyurethane
  • More durable than water-based
  • Low odour
  • Fast drying

  • More expensive than the other options

Minwax, water-based oil modified polyurethane

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