How To Seal Chalk Paint (Step-By-Step Process)

No one can deny the appeal of chalk paint. There is a good chance you’ve used a can of paint to achieve a vintage, aged look on your DIY project.

But now that you’ve completed your project, are you wondering how to maintain your favorite chalk paint from regular and noticeable wear and tear?

More and more individuals are asking about the process of sealing chalk paint, so you’re not alone in your quest. Everything from the basics of the best sealants for your project will be covered in this article.

In addition, we’ll discuss the much more fundamental topic of whether or not you should seal chalk paint. Now is the time to prepare your tools: brushes, sandpaper, and paint.

You’ll be an expert at sealing chalk paint by the time you’re done reading this article.

Should I Seal My Chalk Paint?

This is a common question asked by many people. Not all projects necessitate waxing. Every rule has an exception, of course.

You can omit the wax if you know your paintwork must not be subjected to regular wear and tear. The chalky, matt finish on your walls may be something you’d like to keep after painting them.

Or maybe you’ve painted a wooden frame or some other home décor item. The wax doesn’t need to be applied if it’s not going to be touched very often.

Make sure to keep an eye out for any blemishes or streaks that may appear on your paint. The item’s paint may come off during cleaning.

Reasons That Can Say Otherwise

Sealing chalk paint with poly, wax, or any other high-performance topcoat is recommended and even encouraged.

As we noted before, chalk paint is notorious for chipping rapidly when it comes into contact with high-traffic areas. Then again, you’ll need to perform some research before you put some random sealants on your project.

There are a few things to keep in mind when applying a top coat to your project, depending on the style of finish you choose.

It’s not always the most fantastic decision to use poly as a sealant, even if it is a common sealant. Before heading to the store to pick up some polyurethane, keep these points in mind.

Chalk paint’s porous nature is the most compelling argument against sealing it. When you apply a top coat, you may be able to remove tannins from the wood.

Light discoloration spots may emerge as a result of this. Polyurethane paints are the only ones to suffer from this problem, but it’s still worth mentioning.

If you have a color problem after putting on a top coat, you don’t want to have your chalk paint removed. What about wax, then? Waxing, on the other hand, has some disadvantages.

Of all the finishes, wax takes the most time to cure. It’s also the least long-lasting in some high-traffic areas. Re-waxing parts of your creation may be necessary at some point.

Waxes have several drawbacks, including the fact that they are more challenging to get rid of than chalk paints. Your project piece of furniture will require some work to remove all the wax before you can begin staining or repainting it later.

Chalk paint loses part of its luster when it is sealed with a topcoat. The matte surface and color are two of the most appealing aspects of chalk paint.

If you want to keep the matte finish, avoid using a top coat, which can add an unwanted sheen and remove the product’s tactile appeal.

The Two Popular Items To Seal Chalk Paint

Wax: Chalk Paint®Wax and Chalk Paint were developed jointly. This couple was designed for one another! This dynamic duo is a force to be reckoned with.

Chalk Paint will take on a richer color and a more matte appearance when the wax is applied over it. Fingerprints and stains won’t be able to get through.

In addition, it is water-repellent, making it easy to clean with a moist towel. The longer you let Chalk Paint® Wax cure before you use it, the more durable it will become.

If you’d like a glossier finish the next day, you can use a soft cloth to buff the wax to a shimmering sheen. It might take anywhere from five days to two weeks for a product to fully cure.

When properly cared for, waxed finishes can survive for many years under typical use. Re-wax and allow to cure if any sections of wax begin to thin over time.

Varnish

Sometimes Chalk Paint Wax just isn’t cutting it. You may be painting garden furniture. A high-traffic area can benefit from a coat of paint on the floors or another surface.

We recommend choosing a Chalk Paint Lacquer if your painted finish is often touched and cleaned, such as on a dining table or a kitchen cabinet.

Specifically designed for use with Chalk Paint, Lacquer is an acrylic lacquer. It’s durable and dries quickly so it won’t become yellow over time.

In addition, because of the included UV protection, your paint will maintain its fresh appearance even when exposed to the elements.

Matt Lacquer is an excellent option if you prefer the matte finish of Chalk Paint®. Like Chalk Paint Wax, it will deepen the paint slightly, but with the added benefit of further protection.

Choose Gloss Lacquer for a more durable finish. It has a soft sheen without being overly glossy, making it ideal for use on surfaces like skirting boards and kitchen cabinets, where a gloss paint would be more appropriate.

Other Sealants You Can Use To Seal Chalk Paint

Finishing your job matters most when it comes to choosing the best topcoat for chalk paint. It’s a lot of fun to come up with a new DIY project that’s unique.

In this list, we’ve compiled a list of the other paint sealants for each occasion.

No Sealant

Applying a top coat to projects painted using chalk paint is not necessary. Do-it-yourselfers often cite chalk paint’s matte finish and textured appearance as an advantage. Chips and flaking can occur due to this, so be mindful of this.

Polyurethane

You can’t go wrong with this one. In addition, it’s a straightforward tool to use. Even so, your finished product may turn yellow in the future.

Polycrylic

Polycrylic and polyurethane are very close cousins. Sanding is required between coats. Polyurethane, on the other hand, has the risk of yellowing.

Glaze

Adding a layer of glaze will give your jewelry a unique look and a layer of protection. It’s a good idea to use glaze on decorative items that won’t get much use.

How To Seal Chalk Paint – Complete Process

As was just said, there are a couple of distinct approaches one can use to seal chalk paint. We will review each of these with you so that you can make an informed decision about which option suits you best.

Polyurethane

When it comes to protecting your chalk paint efforts, polyurethane is an excellent choice. This is due to the fact that it’s simple to use and provides a really lasting cover for everything.

You can use oil-based polyurethane on everything from furniture to the exterior of your home. Since polyurethane can potentially have significant downsides, a test sample should always be performed before applying any finishing coats to a project.

Polyurethane sealer should be applied in three coats. Allow two hours between each application of paint to dry. No sanding is required between polyurethane layers.

To prevent bubbles in the polyurethane finish, be sure to apply moderate, smooth strokes with your brush. Polyurethane dries in about two hours, but it must cure for at least 72 hours.

For this reason, you can transfer it back within two hours, but you should not use it for 72 hours to allow the topcoat to cure before doing so correctly.

Polyacrylic

Polyurethane-like polyacrylic topcoats are available. Polycrylic is still commonly referred to as “new polyurethane” by some. Polycrylic, on the other hand, is a water-based substance.

Polycrylic sealers are also more user-friendly for many people. It’s much the same process for applying them. However, you need to keep in mind that there are two significant differences.

You’ll first need to sand between coats of paint. This necessitates the purchase of 220 grit sandpaper and a tack cloth for cleanup.

In between polycrylic applications, it is essential to sand the surface so that the next coat can stick. Additionally, drying and curing durations are vastly different between the two products.

In contrast to polyurethane, which requires 72 hours to cure, polycrylic cures in about 24 hours. To achieve a long-lasting finish, this method is much faster.

When you seal chalk paint with polycrylic, you don’t have to worry about it fading. Your matte chalk paint will still have a gloss to it even if you use a matte paintbrush.

The risk can be reduced by applying a matte sealant to the surface of your nail polish.

Varnish

Varnish can also be used to protect chalk paint from the elements. Compared to the other sealants on this list, this one is a little more difficult.

Dilute your varnish first with mineral spirits or some other solvent. After that, you’ll need to apply many coats of varnish, allowing each one to dry completely between applications.

Using fine-grit sandpaper, sand between each application. In between varnish applications, do not dilute it with water or thinner.

Varnishing your chalk paintwork can give them an extra pop of dimension and some luster. Depending on what you’re hoping to achieve, this might either be positive or negative.

The varnish is the best option for sealing chalk paint for outdoor work. There’s a good reason for varnish being a longtime woodworker preference.

Using varnish is a wise investment because it’s been around for a long time and is exceptionally long-lasting. We’re talking about something that will last for a very long time.

Wax

When it comes to sealing chalk paint, most people turn to wax. In terms of chalk paint finishes, wax is by far the most common. In part, this is due to the rustic appeal of chalk paint.

Wax, unlike polyacrylic or polyurethane sealers, behaves differently. Waxing your furniture will also teach you some time-honored techniques for furniture finishing.

You can use a wax brush to apply the wax. Also, wipe off any exposed surfaces with a lint-free cloth as you go. The finish of the wax will be arid to the touch in a matter of minutes.

However, wax sealants might take up to two weeks to fully cure. This means that 15 days are the least it takes for the wax to cure; you should treat your furniture with the utmost care.

This is especially important in high-traffic areas like the dining room or kitchen. When using wax on a high-contact surface, you should anticipate reapplying it frequently, as we previously stated.

Tabletops and chairs, in particular, are excellent candidates for this treatment. Consequently, bear this in mind while selecting wax-sealed chalk paint projects.

Glaze

Using a glaze as a top layer on chalk paint is a novel idea. We’re not saying it’s the best, but we’ve heard of individuals using it successfully, so we thought it was worth mentioning.

You can, in theory, seal chalk paint with a glaze. Most glaze furniture users, however, additionally use polycrylic or polyurethane as a final topcoat.

As you can see, glaze falls short in terms of protection compared to the other sealants discussed here. Glaze, on the other hand, maybe the simplest to use.

It’s as simple as applying the glaze and then wiping it clean. When the glaze has dried, it will have a distinctive color and provide some minor protection.

One of the fastest sealing options, glaze often dries overnight. This topcoat should only be used on decorative items that will not be subjected to much wear and tear.

If you don’t, you’ll have to keep reapplying the glaze.

Final Verdict

So, in this detailed guide, we went through the primary approaches to sealing chalk paint. There is a wide variety of topcoats available for you to pick from, including wax, spray finish, and paint-on polyacrylics.

And it doesn’t even consider the different kinds of products that can be purchased! Remember that each product creates a unique appearance, and always test your selections on scraps before applying them to your most prized piece of furniture.

Chalk paint is a really creative activity, and countless different things can be done with it. Have fun trying out new things and painting.

Photo of author

Shelley Stevenson

Shelly Stevenson is the full-time editor responsible for painting, flooring, bathrooms & home climate coverage at StyDomIo. She is a home improvement expert with an eye for design and the skills to get the work done. She knows what turns a house into a home and has the advice and ideas to make upgrades easy and fun.

Leave a Comment

Explore Us

About Us

StayDomIo Logo

At StayDomIo.com, we have a team of professional industry experts to help you find guides on painting, finishing, flooring, bathroom & kitchen to make your home look stunning. We have tested, researched & written hundreds of buying guides to help you select the top notch & affordable product out there!

Disclosure

StayDomIo.Com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.