Polyurethane finishes are usually intended as an after coat once a stain has been applied but now they are often made as a finish because they are usually easy to apply and greatly increase the appearance of bare timber.
They are the clearest type of finish and they are lighter and thinner than most stains so more than one coat needs to be applied.
These finishes give good protection for bare or stained timber and they is available in many hues and tones but the main three are dark ones, light ones and one that is somewhere in the middle of the light and dark.
This finish is best suited for interior use which generally means that they are very aesthetically pleasing and work well with most types of stains.
Because this type of finish is most suited for interior use it is mostly seen on furniture pieces such as tables, desks and television cabinets.
This type of finish is very easy to apply by brush and once enough coats are applied it is also very durable. It leaves a glossy appearance that is also like a slightly hard shell over the timber which is why it is durable and looks glossy.
Like any other wood stains and finishes this is one that will need to be maintained and reapplied over time due to normal wear and tear such as what a piece of furniture may receive over a few years.
Polyurethane finishes come in two types which are solvent based and water based though the water based ones are easier and safer to work with which is why it is the more suitable choice for beginners in woodwork.
Before applying a timber finish like this the wood should be completely sanded and dust free or it will diminish the quality of the final product. Apply a thin coat up to three or four times and sand in between each coat with very fine grade wet and dry sandpaper, doing this will leave a very smooth and glossy finish.