Urethane, more often called polyurethane, is one of the most popular wood sealants on the market today. It follows that a common problem for everyone from woodworkers to carpenters to floor refinishers is how to make the varnish dry faster. Speeding the drying process for urethane is mostly a matter of applying some common sense and basic preparation, rather than using special additives or some other false trickery.
Buy a quick-drying urethane if speeding up the drying process is truly critical to your schedule. This choice will compound the value of whatever other steps you take, and it is the only way to improve the process by using some type of special urethane. Alternately, you could use high-build urethane to reduce the number of coats required in place of speeding up the drying time of each individual coat.
Open up the windows and doors, and place one or more fans in them to improve air circulation in your work area. This will speed the evaporation process, as well as improve safety by controlling fumes if you must continue to work in an adjoining room.
Set up a space heater in an adjoining doorway to keep the room temperature in the 70s F if you are drying the urethane in early to midspring or mid- to late autumn. Outside of the summer months, the need to ventilate might lower the temperature in the room below the optimum for drying urethane.
Tips & Warnings
- You cannot speed up the drying time of urethane by adding naptha or thinner to the mixture. Any improvement in drying time is illusory.
- Do not try to speed the drying process by raising the temperature above normal room temperature. Setting up a space heater on a high heat level in a room full of wood finishing materials poses a fire hazard.
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images