Why You Should Never Put Polycrylic Over A Red Mahogany Stain

Why You Should Never Put Polycrylic Over A Red Mahogany Stain

You want to be sure that wood is treated with the utmost care to give it that classy look.

To ensure the longevity, durability, and great shine of your wood, you will want to cover it with a finishing liquid to make sure that it serves you well for the long term.

Polycrylic Over Red Mahogany Stain?

However, frequent debate has gone on about whether or not you can use a polycrylic protective coat over red mahogany stain. For your convenience, we’ve set out a little explanation of just why this should be avoided.

What Is Polycrylic?

Polycrylic is a water-based protective coat that has a little bit of polyurethane mixed in. It protects and gleans interior wood surfaces such as furniture, doors, cabinets, and woodwork, which itself may be professionally cut or straightened from warp (more details here).

This protective coat increases the durability of wood by helping it to withstand harsh weather conditions and everyday wear.

It also offers a faster drying time than an oil-based alternative and can be used on wood already covered with water-based stains or on bare wood.

Polycrylic can be easily cleaned with warm water, and is best to use over light woods such as maple, ash, and birch.

Staining Your Wood

Staining involves finishing with a penetrating wood stain that usually changes the color of the wood. It can be used to make wood look like it is actually more expensive that it really is.

Wood stain is usually an oil-based liquid that is wiped across the wood’s surface and left to dry. Before it dries completely, excess stain should be wiped off. The end result is wood that has a nice glossy finish.

Combining Polycrylic and Red Mahogany Stain

A red mahogany stain is simply a wood stain oil that colors your wood to make it look like it is made from red mahogany. The problem arises when one puts polycrylic over red mahogany stain.

One reason why this should be avoided is because the bases of the two products differ.

The red mahogany stain is an oil-based finish, while polycrylic is water-based. When these two bases are combined, the water-based finish will cause the color to turn a browner color than the intended red.


Oil and water are not miscible products, and this includes finishes with different bases. When you try to smear polycrylic over red mahogany stain, the polycrylic might move the pigment in the stain, meaning one has to watch carefully how it’s applied.

It might also take several days to lose the stickiness of the finish. Overall, it is recommended to not try your luck with adding polycrylic over a red mahogany stain.