Can You Apply Polycrylic over Chalk Paint? (& Vice Versa)

Chalk paint isn’t durable or moisture-resistant. You can apply polycrylic over chalk paint to increase the durability of the finish and protect it from water, moisture, scratches, and handling.

You need 2-3 polycrylic coats for outdoor chalk paint finishes and 1-2 polycrylic coats for indoor chalk finishes.

How Many Polycrylic Coats Over Chalk Paint?

You need two or three (2-3) polycrylic coats for outdoor chalk paint finishes, and one or two (1-2) polycrylic coats for indoor chalk paint finishes.

The exact number of coats depends on the surface usage. For instance, outdoor finishes that are protected from rain or moisture, don’t need more than two (2) coats. While, indoor finishes that are exposed to constant water, need two (2) coats.

Outdoor chalk paint finishes are exposed to weather elements, constant moisture, and dust, so they need more protection. Indoor finishes aren’t exposed to constant water and don’t need as much protection.

The minimum number of polycrylic coats is one (1), while the maximum is three (3). If you apply more than 3 polycrylic coats the finish will get too thick and might turn sticky.

How Long Must Chalk Paint Dry Before Polycrylic?

Chalk paint must fully dry (cure) for 24 hours before applying Polycrylic. During the 24 hours, the chalk paint solvent (water) evaporates from the coating, and the particles compact and form a hard coating.

If you seal chalk paint too soon, the finish will turn sticky or tacky and the sealer won’t adhere over it. That’s because the sealer will prevent the paint solvent (water) from evaporating. Since the solvent can’t evaporate, the finish won’t dry and will turn sticky.

To speed up the drying time, increase the solvent’s evaporation rate by increasing the air circulation around the coating.

Can You Mix Polycrylic and Chalk Paint?

You can’t mix polycrylic with chalk paint as they have different formulas that aren’t compatible. Chalk paint is a water-based paint that beautifies a surface, while polycrylic is a sealer that protects the surface.

Polycrylic is thicker because it’s formulated with protective additives and resins. Chalk paint is thinner as it only contains binder (P.O.P.), solvent (water), and pigments.

If you mix polycrylic with chalk paint, the mixture will have an uneven flow and color shade. Also, chalk paint dries faster than polycrylic, so one part of the finish will be dry while the other will still be wet, which causes paint cracks and uneven finish. 

However, you can add paint pigments to polycrylic to get a colorful and durable finish. 

Can You Apply Chalk Paint over Polycrylic?

You can’t apply polycrylic over chalk paint as polycrylic has a glossy moisture-resistant finish that doesn’t allow paint penetration or adhesion.

Chalk paint must penetrate a surface to adhere to it. But, since polycrylic doesn’t allow penetration, chalk paint won’t penetrate or adhere over it. So, you must remove the polycrylic topcoat before applying chalk paint.

To apply chalk paint over polycrylic, do the following things.

  1. Clean the Finish.
  2. Remove the Polycrylic topcoat from the surface.
  3. Sand the Surface.
  4. Apply Chalk paint.
Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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