Does Chalk Paint Need to Be Sealed? [Explained!]

Chalk paint is a popular choice for painting furniture because it gives a distressed look without requiring any special techniques. Known for its matte finish, chalk paint can adhere to almost any surface without the need for primer. But does chalk paint need to be sealed? In this article, we will give a detailed answer to this question along with other relevant information people search for. Let’s get started!

Do You Need to Seal Chalk Paint?

When it comes to chalk paint, there is a lot of debate about whether or not you need tp seal it. Some experts say that it is unnecessary, while others believe it is an essential step in the painting process. So, what is the truth?

You do not necessarily need to seal chalk paint if you prefer the chalky, matte finish. But, when you chalk paint a piece of furniture or something else that will get a lot of use, sealing is recommended.

Why Should You Seal Chalk Paint?

One drawback of chalk paint is that it is porous, making it easily flake or chip over time when applied over furniture like tables and chairs. When you use a top coat, you can save a lot of time by not having to repaint those high-traffic pieces as frequently because the paint is chipped.

Sealing will protect the paint from fingermarks and scratches, as well as keep the color from fading over time. If you choose a water-resistant sealer, you will also be able to wipe clean your chalk-painted surface without removing the paint.

Of course, if you love the tactile sensation or don’t want to ruin the matte finish with an undesirable shine, you can leave your chalk painted furniture unsealed. In addition, flaking-style chalk paint is becoming increasingly popular among furniture flippers. However, if you don’t think that way and want to protect your paint job from distressing or keep it looking fresh for a long time, sealing with a top coat will be necessary.

What Do You Seal Chalk Paint With?

There are several types of sealers that can be used on chalk paint, including polyurethane, varnish, and wax. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to choose the right one for your project.


Polyurethane is one of the most popular sealers for chalk paint. It is clear, durable, and easy to apply. You can find polyurethane in both water-based and oil-based formulas. Water-based polyurethane will dry more quickly, but oil-based polyurethane will provide more protection against scratches and stains. Oil-based polyurethane is also the best option for outdoor projects. 

However, when polyurethane resists stains very well, it can yellow over time. In rare cases, it can also leach tannins out of the wood. Therefore, it’s always best to do a sample test on a small area before applying to the whole project. 

Polyurethane sealer works best when you apply three coats and allow each of them at least two hours to dry before recoat. Slow, smooth brush strokes will prevent bubbles in paint. Also remember that polyurethane takes 72 hours to fully cure, so don’t touch the furniture in that period after you finish applying the top coats. 


Polycrylic is another option which is almost similar to polyurethane but found only in fast-drying water-based formulas. The biggest advantage of using polycrylic over polyurethane is, it doesn’t yellow over time. In addition, it doesn’t take 72 hours to cure; instead, 24 hours is usually enough for a nice, durable finish. Many also find polycrylic sealer litter easier to clean.

Two coats of polycrylic is usually good enough to seal chalk paint. However, the downside is that you’ll need to sand in between additional coats, so expect to spend some time and elbow grease.


Wax has become a very popular option for sealing chalk paint. It gives the painted surface a soft, matte finish while also protecting it from scratches and water damage. It also keeps your paint from drying out and becoming brittle over time, making it less likely to crack or chip off.

Wax sealers have some limitations, one of which is their durability in high-contact areas. It is known to be the least durable sealer when applied to surfaces such as chairs and table tops. People who have used wax on these surfaces often find that they need to re-wax parts of them. Wax can also be difficult to remove from chalk paint. If you decide to repaint your project piece later, it can be a time-consuming task. Another disadvantage is that wax takes the longest to fully cure, possibly two weeks. So, if you need a top coat for a quick project, avoid wax sealers.

Wax should be applied with a wax brush or a lint-free cloth.


For decades, varnish has been the most popular sealer among woodworkers, and there is a good reason for this. It is the most long-lasting sealer for wooden furniture, protecting it from daily aggressors like water, grease, and scratches for many years.

Varnish is also widely used to seal chalk painted surfaces, especially for outdoor wooden projects. Once you know how to seal with varnish, your chalk painted furniture will be permanently sealed.

Make sure to dilute your varnish with mineral spirit before applying the sealer. Apply it in coats, allowing each to dry before moving on to the next. You’ll also need to sand in between each coat, but don’t dilute the varnish.

Finally, remember that varnish will alter the color of your chalk paint slightly and will add a bit of shine to it. Depending on what you want your final project to look like, this can be either an advantage or a disadvantage.

Can you use chalk paint straight over varnish? Read here! 


Glaze is the least effective choice for a top coat over chalk paint to protect it from wear and tear. That’s why , we only recommend using glaze sealers on decorative pieces.

Having said that, we’ve heard of people using it successfully, particularly when combined with an additional coat of polyurethane or polycrylic. Glaze is very simple to use. Just apply it to your desired piece and wipe away any excess. Glaze is also one of the quickest chalk paint sealing methods since it dries overnight.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can You Seal Chalk Paint With Mod Podge?

Yes! You can use Mod Podge to seal chalk paint. This is a great option if you want to protect your chalk paint from wear and tear, or if you want to add a bit of shine to your project. Simply apply a thin layer of Mod Podge over the chalk paint, and allow it to dry. Your project will now be protected and have a beautiful finish!

How Long After Chalk Paint Can You Seal?

Depending on the condition of the surface, you might give your chalk paint up to 72 hours to dry. If the painted surface is new and in good condition, 24 hours of drying time is usually enough. If the surface has patches or has previously been painted, allow 72 hours.


Chalk paint does not need to be sealed. However, there are some benefits to sealing it. For one thing, it will make the paint more durable and resistant to wear and tear. So if you’re looking for the best protection for your furniture, sealing the chalk paint is a good idea. But if you’re just looking for a quick and easy project, feel free to skip this step!

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