how to make polyurethane dry faster
Kristina Davis

How to make polyurethane dry faster is what hits you immediately after you are done applying it to your surfaces.

Recently, polyurethane, commonly referred to as urethane, is the best wood sealant there is, and there ever has been. 

But in one way or the other, you will need to make it dry a little bit quicker than it should take.

And the question falls, how do you speed up polyurethane drying time? 

Some of the best options you have got in bid to make polyurethane dry faster are: either get a brand that does, improve aeration or get a heater to do the job. 

Factors That Affect How Fast Polyurethane Dries

factors affect polyurethane drying

Now, to set the ball rolling, it is in order that we find out the reasons that limit the speed with which polyurethane dries. 

This way, with my help, you will design the most relevant and workable ways that will see speedy results.

You would see how fast, efficient, and smooth your polyurethane finish dries. Roll with me. 

The Type Of The Finish

Top on the list of our factors that affect how fast polyurethane dries sits the type factor.

There are several brands in the market producing different types of wood finish.

You wouldn’t expect all of them to have equal drying time. 

Still, at it, there are only two types of polyurethane. That is oil and water-based.

Oil-based polyurethane tends to dry slower than its water-based counterpart. 



Also, next in line over the factors that affect how fast polyurethane dries is the temperature conditions in place.

If polyurethane is applied on surfaces placed in areas with lower temperatures, it will take a lot longer to dry.

It won’t be the same in areas with higher temperatures. 


Ventilation as well is a key factor that contributes big to how fast your polyurethane dries.

As a fact, polyurethane painted on furniture in well-ventilated areas will surely dry a lot faster.

It will dry faster than that in places with low ventilation.

Tip: Closing all windows ensures that the applied polyurethane that does not catch dust before it dries. 

How Thick The Finish Is

thickness of the finish

Applying thick films of polyurethane on surfaces will delay how fast it takes to dry.

On the other hand, if it is only applied in thin films, the drying speed shall be quite fast. 

How It Is Applied

Using a polyurethane painting method that spreads a lot of it on whatever surface you are painting, will take longer to dry.

But using that which controls the amounts of polyurethane being applied on the surfaces, will enable it to dry faster.

Note: Other factors that affect how quick polyurethane dries involve; the kind of sheen, the condition the wood is in, and the formula of the polyurethane finish. 

How Long Does It Take Polyurethane To Dry?

how long polyurethane dries

As seen and discussed above, some factors might hinder or favor how fast polyurethane dries.

However, the big question is how long does it take polyurethane to dry?

Have in mind that there are only two types of polyurethane. That is water-based and oil-based. 

Oil-based polyurethane takes a minimum of twenty-four hours under favorable conditions to dry.

As for the water-based one, it takes up to six hours or latest half a day.

Tip: Oil-based polyurethane takes 24 hours to dry while water-based ones take between 6 to 12 hours at most. 

How To Make Polyurethane Dry Faster

How To Make oil based polyurethane dry faster is the same way you would do with its water-based counterpart.

There are a number of easy and practical ways on how to dry polyurethane faster

To get you out of limbo, below are the most effective and practical ways that will see you through it without a lot of straining or work.

polyurethane coating

Buy Polyurethane That Dries Faster

The polyurethane market is currently flooded. With old and new companies in a hot battle for customers.

Like all other goods and services, polyurethane makers and vendors have become very inventive. 

They are coming up with different qualities of it now and then. And in them, there are those that have been specially designed and manufactured to dry faster than the others.

All this is in the earnest bid to secure the larger cycle of customers.

So, when you go looking for polyurethane and are interested to find which one dries faster, start with the brand.

Ask around, check online entries for reviews and read the instructions and indications on the container. 

This will largely help you to establish how fast or slow it dries. As a matter of fact, buying a brand of polyurethane that dries faster is a brilliant idea.

waterbased polyurethane

Go For Water Based Polyurethane

Moreso, instead of using oil-based polyurethane, go with its water-based counterpart that is famed for drying quicker. 

You are now fully aware that it will take 6 to 12 hours for the water-based to dry and another 24 hours for oil-based.

So if it is urgent or you need the coating done and dried fast, then preferably apply the water-based polyurethane. You are sure that it will dry faster enough.

Ventilate The Area

Another way that will see your polyurethane dry faster than it should take is to ensure that the painted area is fully ventilated.

Ventilation starts with the opening of all doors and windows. Power on house fans and any other ventilation equipment you might have. 

Ventilation enables the faster circulation of air in the room, hence speeding up the evaporation process.

ventilate the area

In no time, polyurethane will quickly start to dry and also drive out the fumes emanating from polyurethane. 

If applying it on furniture that is not in well-ventilated areas, be as wise as to carry them out and work in the open.

Tip: While handling polyurethane, protect yourself, your nose, and your eyes from the burning fumes by putting on a face mask and goggles.

Use Heating Elements

In the event that you so badly want polyurethane to dry faster than it should take, what can be done? 

You can go ahead and apply various heating elements in the room where it has been painted or near the surfaces, it has been. 

Place a heater in the room at 70F and watch polyurethane dry faster.

However, do not take the silly risk of raising room temperature than it should near polyurethane.

Of course, that could lead to a fire, since polyurethane itself is flammable, and wood materials are also highly flammable.

apply thinner coats

Apply Thinner Films

Thicker films that are so deep, which obviously will take even longer than they should dry.

But thinner films of polyurethane, if painted expertly, will take the shortest time to dry. 

That is because the solvent evaporates quickly, leaving polyurethane glued to the furniture or surface.

Use A Hairdryer 

Isn’t it good to be a little inventive? It is!

Hence in being so, get a hair dryer, plug it in and run it over the surface painted with polyurethane for some time.

This allows you to speed up the evaporation process, so that polyurethane dries faster.

use hairdryer

And also, do not blow the air so close to the surface with polyurethane unless you blow it off.

Tip: While using the hairdryer, ensure that you use the setting that gives off the least heat.

Read Next: How to Fix Cracked Polyurethane on Wood – An Ultimate Guide


For one reason or the other, you may want to see surfaces you coated with polyurethane dry faster.

So, you came asking how to make polyurethane dry faster and this article has left nothing to chance.

The ball is now in your court. Go get that surface polyurethane dry faster now. You have an array of options to choose from. 

From blowing a hair dryer over it, ventilating the area, using water-based polyurethane, a brand that dries faster, to applying only thinner flames. Get to work already!