Choosing the right finish or resin for your project can significantly impact your work’s final outcome, durability, and appearance. Among polyurethane polycrylic resins, each has their unique characteristics and applications.

To make an informed choice, consider the following factors when deciding between these options:

Project Type

The type of project you’re working on will heavily influence your choice of finish. For instance, if you’re working on wooden furniture, you might opt for a polyurethane finish due to its durability and water-resistant properties.

On the other hand, polycrylic might be a better choice if you’re creating artwork as it’s typically non-yellowing and provides a clear, glossy finish.

Application Method

Consider how you plan to apply the finish. Polyurethane and polyacrylic are available in various forms, including brush-on, spray-on, and wipe-on. Choose a finish that suits your preferred application method and provides a smooth and even result.

Durability and Protection

If your project is subjected to wear and tear, such as in high-traffic areas or outdoor furniture, you’ll want a finish that offers excellent durability and protection against moisture, UV rays, and scratches.

Polyurethane, especially oil-based variants, is known for its robust protection, making it suitable for heavy-use items.

Finish Appearance

Consider the desired appearance of your project. Polyurethane finishes can vary from matte to glossy, while polycrylic typically provides a clear and glossy finish. Additionally, certain resins may enhance the natural color and grain of wood, so choose based on the aesthetic you’re aiming for.

Drying Time

The drying time of a finish can impact your project’s timeline. Water-based finishes like polycrylic is generally dry faster than oil-based polyurethane. This could be a deciding factor if you’re looking for quicker turnaround times.

Odor and Ventilation

Some finishes emit strong odors during application and drying. If you’re working in an enclosed space or have sensitivities to strong odors, consider choosing a finish with low VOC (volatile organic compounds) content or opt for water-based options that generally have less odor.

Ease of Application

If you’re new to working with finishes, ease of application might be essential. Water-based finishes like polycrylic are known for their user-friendly application, as they are less likely to show brush strokes and can be cleaned up with water.

Environmental Considerations

For those concerned about the environment, look for finishes labelled as environmentally friendly or low VOC. Water-based finishes generally have lower VOC content than oil-based ones.

Artistic and Craft Projects

For art and craft projects, consider the transparency and clarity of the finish. Polycrylic is often preferred in these cases due to its ability to preserve the true colors and details of the artwork.

Experimental Projects

If you’re experimenting with different techniques or creating a unique project, you might want to explore various resin options beyond polyurethane and polycrylic, such as epoxy resin, which is known for its versatility in creating stunning and intricate designs.


Lastly, consider your budget. Different finishes come at different price points, and high-quality finishes may have a more significant impact on cost. Balancing your desired finish quality with your budget is crucial.


Choosing between polyurethane, polycrylic, and other resins requires careful consideration of factors like project type, durability, appearance, application method, and environmental considerations. Each finish has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to weigh these factors against your project’s specific requirements.

If you’re uncertain, consider testing the finish on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to your entire project. By making an informed decision, you can achieve the best possible result and ensure that your project stands the test of time.


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