I'm refinishing a table I built about 10 years ago. I put 2 layers of gloss polyurethane down and sanded between coats. All was fine at this point. I gave it another light sanding and put a third coat down. An hour later I saw that the urethane had "buckled" in several dozen spots. I've had to sand it back down, and am ready to go again. But what caused this and how do I prevent it from happening again?

1 Answer 1


It is very unusual for Urethane to Buckle or alligator skin when applied over urethane. The reason for this type of failure is usually a contaminate on the surface. Grease, oil, wax etc. Did you use the same type of urethane from the same lot? After sanding, did you clean the dust off with a cloth that may have had some contaminates on it? I always use a clean cloth very slightly damp with water, or a tact cloth, never use mineral spirits. Give it a while to dry completely and put on the next coat. The only other problem could have been that the urethane was not mixed well. Always stir, never shake urethane. Don't mix water base urethane with oil base.

  • Did you use the same type of urethane from the same lot considering it was originally finished 10 years ago this seems unlikely. Unless you're suggesting the poly was too old to use.
    – Brad
    Jul 23, 2019 at 20:38

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