I was applying Polyurethane to a wood bookshelf that I made yesterday evening. Unfortunately I ran out before I was finished. There is a small area that has not been covered at all and I need to apply a second coat to the entire bookshelf.

Normally I would just go to the store that I bought it and buy a second can of what I was already using. Unfortunately, the store that I bought the first can at is far away. I was thinking that I would just nip over to my small local hardware store and pick up a can of whatever they have. Do I need to make sure that I get the same brand/type that I have already used?

Currently I am using: Minwax - Fast Drying Polyurethane - Clear Satin with long lasting protection. Does the next bottle I buy also need to be Minwax? Can I use another brand on top of existing layer?

2 Answers 2


I would keep them the same if it's not too inconvenient.

Different manufacturers (and even different batches from the same manufacturer) may have different drying properties (the Satin may come out differently). They may also have trouble adhering to one another which would lead to cracking between layers and may also yellow differently, producing a blotchy effect later on especially in areas that didn't cover well.

Your safest bet would have been to buy as much poly as you needed and mix them all together before you started in a seperate container. If you expect the bookshelf to last more than five years then go get the same stuff. Otherwise, it probably doesn't matter.


In addition to the points that Karl mentioned, different chemical properties can result in the wood darkening at different rates, resulting in lighter and darker areas. I would under no circumstances mix different brands.

  • Not even on different coats? Ie: Coat 1: Brand A, Coat 2: Brand B Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 21:05

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