Decorating & Renovating

Polyurethane turned my white cabinet yellow. Now what?

I am so pissed about this and I don't even know what to do.  I bought an unfinished wood filing cabinet.  It wasn't cheap, but it was cheaper than it would have been if I'd had it professionally painted.  So I primed and painted it white.  It looked lovely so I sealed it with "clear" polyurethane.  That was a week ago and the poly has turned it yellow.  It looks like that nasty yellow that furniture gets from being in smokers homes.  WTF do I do now?  Do I have to strip it and start over?  Can I just paint another white coat over the poly and then use a different brand of poly (or some other product) and hope that doesn't turn it yellow?  And also, can I go down to Miniwax and kick someone in the balls because I am so pissed that their "clear" product is apparently anything but.
Ernst355

Re: Polyurethane turned my white cabinet yellow. Now what?

  • Was it an oil based poly?  In my research for our cabinets, every source I found said to use water based poly.  Even the clearest oil-based poly over white will eventually start to look yellow.  I don't know if you have to totally start over, but that's probably what I would do.  And finish with a water-based poly if you need one.  I think our plan it to used a self-leveling enamel paint.
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    Jack

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  • I would sand the poly off and repaint and not seal and use a gloss or enamel paint. My experience with even the water based poly was that it yellowed. I know how you feel. Very frustrating!  I'll never use it over a light colored paint again.  Thankfully I learned that lesson before doing our kitchen cabinets.  I used BM Satin Impervo and didn't seal them.  It's very durable and dirt and spills just wipe off. I would sand the poly and repaint. 
  • LM915LM915
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    ugh, how frustrating!  I am painting a piece of furniture right now and plan to seal with a poly that is supposed to be clear... but now I'm scared.  This is the stuff that I have seen a lot of bloggers use on furniture painted white and they say it doesn't yellow, is this what you used?

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  • image LM915:

    ugh, how frustrating!  I am painting a piece of furniture right now and plan to seal with a poly that is supposed to be clear... but now I'm scared.  This is the stuff that I have seen a lot of bloggers use on furniture painted white and they say it doesn't yellow, is this what you used?

    image

    No, I used the oil based version of that same product because I thought it would be more durable.  Jokes on me, I guess.  I'm glad to hear that I may not have to strip the thing down again.  Just sand, add another coat of white and then use a water-based poly.  I'd rather not go out and buy more paint.  I still have quite a bit of the paint I originally bought for this project and it worked nicely.   

  • In the future, if you want a non-yellowing, oil based clear coat, lacquer is the way to go.  But it stinks and your work space needs to be super duper dust free  because of its extended drying time (24hrs).
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