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Best Clear Coat for White Paint : Top 6 Picks for 2022

Our vehicles and furniture don’t come cheap. That’s why we strive to protect them like fragile babies!

It’s heartbreaking when your favorite furniture has an unsightly scratch…or when battery acid damages your car’s paint.

But it is not just your car or furniture that worries you—there’s the painted windows, floors, cabinets, and other surfaces in your house.

You need the best clear coat for white paint—but how do you choose from numerous options?

Thankfully, we have researched and rounded up six best clear coats to protect your white-painted surfaces.



Editor's Rating


Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Clear Protective Topcoat

5 out of 5

Varathane Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane Gloss Finish

5 out of 5

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat Gloss

4.5 out of 5

Dupli-Color Clear Coat Paint Shop Finish System Clear Gloss

4 out of 5

KBS Coatings Diamond Finish Clear Coat For While Paint

4.5 out of 5

Our Recommended 6 Best Clear Coat for White Paint

1. Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Clear Protective Topcoat

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Have you ever come across a surface with a terribly thick topcoat and you're left wondering how much coating was wasted? One of the struggles of getting the best clear coat for white paint is finding one that is easy to put on your surfaces and has a wide coverage.

If you're looking for an economy chalk paint that gives your surfaces a thin, sophisticated, and durable finish; Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Clear Protective Topcoat is “The One”.

Whatever material you wish to cover—from wooden and metallic to canvas and ceramic surfaces, Rust-Oleum chalked topcoat lets you do that.

Top of its features is its one-coat coverage, thanks to its easy adhesiveness. Even as an amateur, you'll discover it super-easy to apply and you can cover as much as 150 sq. ft.

Secondly, you never have to worry about taking loads of time to prep your surfaces before applying a Rust-Oleum chalked clear coat. You can do a great coating task with minimal prep.

Highlighted Features:
  • Wide coverage of up to 150 sq. ft.
  • Highly adhesive allowing for easy application
  • Gives a smooth, matte finish
  • Has a low-odor formula allowing for easy clean up with soap and water
  • Easy, one-coat coverage
  • Dries in 30 minutes
1 qt Rust-Oleum Brands 287722 Clear Chalked Ultra Matte Paint
  • Use on a variety of interior surfaces like wood, metal, ceramic, canvas and easily distress to create a...
  • Low-odor/VOC formula allows for easy clean up with soap and water
  • Dries to the touch in just 30 minutes and covers up to 150 sq. ft.; one-coat coverage allows projects to...
  • Excellent adhesion and easy application with minimal prep

2. Varathane Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane Gloss Finish

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Permanent scratches and stains on surfaces have a way of ruining your mood—not to mention how unattractive they make any place look.

If you've had the worst experience with stains and scratches and you're badly in need of a solution, Varathane Water-based Polyurethane is it. With maximum stain and scratch resistance, you never have to worry about damage to your surfaces.

An additional top feature of this Varathane package is its polished, rich-gloss finish that makes it easy to clean even using water alone.

Compared to other water-based polyurethanes, Varathane is crystal clear, maintaining the beauty of your wooden surfaces without ever yellowing or compromising on the quality of surface material. 

It has decent coverage of 125 sq. ft. which helps when you wish an economy product. With such a coverage, you can coat large surfaces using small amounts of paint. Varathane will feel dry to the touch in a record 30 minutes.

Forget about nasty smells! With an almost undetectable odor, you'll enjoy some fresh air indoors while coating your surfaces with Varathane Polyurethane.

Being water-based is a plus as it makes it easily cleanable and long-lasting. All you need to do is to seal and store your tin in a dry and cool place after use.

Highlighted Features:
  • For use on wooden surfaces
  • It is water-based, making it easy to clean
  • Gives a glossy, rich finish which is also easy to clean
  • Doesn’t stain surfaces
  • Has coverage of 125 sq. ft.
  • Dries to touch in 30 minutes
  • Has a recoat window of 2 hours
  • Offers maximum scratch and stain protection
Varathane 200041H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart, Gloss Finish, 32 Fl Oz
  • Protects indoor wood surfaces such as furniture, windows, cabinets, trim and more
  • Water based formula dries fast and cleans up with soap and water
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes with coverage up to 125 sq. ft., recoat after 2 hours
  • Durable formula provides outstanding stain and scratch resistance with excellent clarity

3. General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat Gloss

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How a lot of “tough” and “durable” topcoats have you tried that have frustrated your high expectations? Finding a clear coat that is sturdy and long lasting is difficult.

The high performance water-based topcoat from General Finishes brings out the real meaning of toughness. For the record, if you're looking for a brand that offers finishing products that are worth your loyalty, you found it. General Finishes is the leading manufacturer of water-based finishes in America.

When you wish to “paint and forget”, this topcoat does it.

Made from polyurethane, it is the hardest coat out there that is also suitable for use on your floors. High performance top coat from General Finishes also comes with a UV stabilizer, keeping it from breaking down if you accidentally leave it out in the sun.

Since the high performance coating is strong, you may have to wait between 1 and 2 hours for it to dry. You will, however, discover it painless to use as it spreads easily, quickly, and evenly. It is also water-based and has a gloss finish, which means you'll have an easy time cleaning.

Highlighted Features:
  • The toughest topcoat in the market and can even be used on floors
  • Dries within 1 to 2 hours
  • It is water-based and gives a gloss finish
  • Has a UV stabilizer to which keeps it from breaking down if exposed to the sun
General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat, 1 Quart, Gloss
  • Do not apply clear topcoats over bright white paint, as yellowing may occur due to a reaction to the...
  • The hardest, most durable consumer polyurethane top coat on the market today
  • Dry Time Between Coats is only 1 to 2 Hours
  • Interior use only

4. Dupli-Color Clear Coat Paint Shop Finish System Clear Gloss

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Sometimes, and most times, you may have to recoat your surfaces until you discover the perfect finish. If you're among the people who do even up to five recoats, you know how tasking that can be.

Many topcoats require you to wait a few minutes to several hours before recoating. Think about all the time you would take to complete your project.

The Dupli-Color Finish System is unique because it doesn’t tie you to a recoat window. You can reapply your coating as commonly as you need to.

This coating is best for your motorcycle or automotive body projects.

Dupli-Color is extremely easy to use even for beginners. First, it sprays easily and doesn’t run so you've more control over your coating. Secondly, it comes as a ready spray, with no need to do the technical reducing or mixing.

Once you're done with your coating and you need to perfect your automotive with some final finishes, Dupli-Color clear coat finishes are extremely easy to wet sand or buff.

Highlighted Features:
  • It is a ready-to-use lacquer spray
  • You can reapply at any time as there is no recoat window
  • Mostly made for use on the exterior body  of auto motives
  • It wet sands easily, leaving a clean finish
  • Beginners will discover it easy to use
Dupli-Color EBSP30000 Clear Coat Paint Shop Finish System - 32 oz., Clear Gloss
  • Pre-reduced, ready-to-spray lacquer
  • No mixing or reducing required
  • Easy to apply and dries quickly
  • No recoat window, reapply at any time

5. KBS Coatings Diamond Finish Clear Coat For While Paint

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There’s no telling when battery accidents will destroy your car paint. Once it happens, you start to wonder where else your battery acid has reached and what else is damaged. It is a roller coaster of emotions that, really, can be avoided.

All you need is a suitable topcoat to protect your high-temperature automotive applications.

Diamond Finish Clear’s KBS coating is your best bet when you wish to protect internal car parts such as engine blocks, cylinder heads, and brake components. This Diamond Clear high-performance clear coat can keep your car parts from corrosion and yellowing, even up to temperatures as high as 300° F.

The coating on your vehicle parts will be hard as rock, as this KBS coating contains over 60% high solids that form a tough coat.

You can also use KBS coating for the exterior of your car to give it a new look.

While the product is quite pricey and not as glossy as other finish coatings in the market; it makes up for that big time. KBS coating is very easy to apply and also helps you say goodbye to yellowing, oxidation, and other harsh weather elements that can destroy the surfaces of your vehicle for good.

Highlighted Feature:
  • It is an over 60% high solids coating that forms a tough layer
  • Highly resistant to corrosion, yellowing, and the toughest chemicals including methanol and battery acid
  • Best for applications in high temperature auto motives such as brake components and engine blocks
  • Works without a hardener and will cure without the application of heat at temperatures of between 50° to 86° F
  • Keeps car parts from corrosion and yellowing up to temperatures of 300° F.
  • Can survive in the toughest environments without peeling or cracking
  • Surfaces require minimal prep time
KBS Coatings 8504 DiamondFinish Clear Coat - 1 Gallon
  • Diamond Finish Clear is Formulated to Apply Directly Over Other Coatings or Direct To Metal (DTM)....
  • Diamond Finish Clear is a Moisture Cured Urethane which is an advanced coatings technology offering...
  • Diamond Finish Clear is a water clear high gloss clear coat remains permanently flexible and can perform...
  • With Diamond Finish Clear, unlike normal two-part coatings, no hardener is needed. You can just stir and...

6. Rust-Oleum Automotive Autobody Paint Gloss Clear Coat For Painted Furniture

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Dealing with car rusts is a nightmare!

While you may be lucky to pay as  little as $20 to repair a rust, the cost can shoot up to as much as $2000 if the damage is severe...but you do not have to wait until your car is all rusty so that you can dig into your savings to get it back up.

A protective clear coat is what you need.

Rust-Oleum Autobody Clear Coat is a specially made rust formula that helps protect your automotive against the dreaded rusting.

To get a high gloss finish with this coating, you've to do some serious buffing up after your original coatings. Good news is that the clear coat is quick drying and you can apply several recoats at once as there is no recoat window.

Rust-Oleum lacquer acrylic clear coat comes with a lot of benefits including being inexpensive and easy to use even for beginners. It also comes with a ready-to-spray system and is resistant to fading and chipping.

Highlighted Features:
  • Special rust formula that helps to prevent rust
  • It is a ready to spray acrylic lacquer clear coat
  • It is inexpensive
  • Quick drying and has no recoat window
Rust-Oleum 253522 Automotive Premixed Auto Body Paint, Quart, Gloss Clear
  • Provides a durable, professional finish to automotive surfaces
  • Acrylic lacquer formula goes on easily and comes ready to use
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes and covers between 50-75 sq. ft. per quart
  • Provides a touch, road-resistant coating that withstands everyday wear

Best Clear Coat for White Paint Comparison Chart



Ideal for use on these projects


Dry time

Application tools

Recoat window

Soap and water cleanup

Rust-Oleum 30 oz. Ultra-Matte Clear Protective Topcoat

Indoor wood, metal, ceramic, canvas, glass


30 minutes- 1 hour

Brush, spray, chalked decorative glaze

1 hour

Yes, water-based

Varathane Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane Gloss Finish

Indoor wood surfaces


30 minutes - 1 hour

Wipe on, brush

2 hours

Yes, water-based

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat Gloss

Variety of interior surfaces including floors, wood, and metals


30 minutes - 1 hour

Brush, roll, spray

1-2 hours

Yes, water-based

Dupli-Color Clear Coat Paint Shop Finish System Clear Gloss

Automotive exterior body, motorcycles


1 -2 hours

Brush, spray gun

No restrictions


KBS Coatings DiamondFinish Clear Coat

Non-ferocious metals, high temperature automotive applications


1-2 hours

Brush, roller, spray gun

1-2 hours

Yes, water based

Rust-Oleum Automotive Autobody Paint Gloss Clear Coat

Automotive, bare metal


30 mins- 1 hour


No restrictions

No, oil-based

Clear Coat for White Paint Buyer’s Guide

Are you still finding it challenging to choose the best clear coat for white paint to suit your needs? No problem!

Here are 11 pointers that will guide you when you're shopping for a clear coating for your project.

1. The Type of Surface you're Working With

Clear coats for white paint come in various makes.

There are those which are specially made for application on wood, metallic surfaces, hardwood floors, and automotive exteriors. Some clear coats are multipurpose, usable on a wide variety of surfaces e.g. both metal and wood.

Check product labelling to ensure that a clear coat is suitable for the type of surface on which you wish to do your finishing.

2. The Type of Finish you're Looking For

For many, a glossy, rich finish is a must ingredient when choosing a clear coat. In fact, if you've repaired your car and coated it with an attractive gloss, it could fetch a higher resale value.

Glossy surfaces are also smoother and easier to clean. comtemplate whether a glossy finish is a make or break for your project when you're shopping.

3. Exposure to High Temperatures, Sunlight, and Humidity

Will the surfaces you're coating be exposed to extreme weather such as excess sunlight and humidity?

If yes, then you need a clear coat that can withstand those extreme conditions.

An example is when you wish to coat parts of your car that are exposed to high temperature such as brake components. In such a case, you need a high performance clear coat that is tough and can survive under high temperatures.

4. Ease Of Application

Some clear coats come as “ready to spray” while others need additional reducing or mixing.

If you're a beginner, you may want to go for a ready-to-spray clear coat to avoid the technicalities of preparing the right clear coat mix.

Check reviews on how easily a clear coat flows. If it is very fluid, you'll have a hard time keeping it in control as you spray and probably end up with a messy project.

5. Time to Dry and Recoat Window

The time it takes for a clear coat to dry (cure) is crucial especially if you're carrying out a time-sensitive DIY project.

For example, if you wish to coat your car exterior for use in the next 24 hours, you wish to have a clear coat that cures completely within that time.

Recoat window is the time you've to wait before adding an extra layer of coating to your surface. Some clear coats have a zero recoat window. For others, you've to wait for minutes to hours before putting on a second clear coat layer.

6. Whether Clear Coat Requires Sanding Between Coatings

Sanding between coats provides a better finish. On the downside, it is more time-consuming than directly applying your layers of coat without sanding.

If you do not want to sand between coatings, comtemplate clear coats that allow for direct application between coatings

7. Interior Or Exterior Use

Some clear coats are made exclusively for internal or external use. There also clear coats that can be used both for internal and external projects.

If you're looking for a multipurpose clear coat that you can use both indoors and outdoors, you should check the product label to ensure it allows for that.

8. Price

While some of the products with great features may be quite costly, you can still get a decent product within your budget.

Start by writing down the most important features you wish in a clear coat and go for the best product within your budget.

9. Ease of Cleaning

If you wish a finish that is easy to clean with water and soap, choose a water-based clear coat, Clear coats with glossy finish are also easier to clean.

10. The Type of Project

For surfaces that are used commonly and are prone to a higher level of wear and tear, you need a product that is tough and thick to offer resistance. For rarely used surfaces, a lighter clear coat will do.

11. Amount Of Surface Preparation Required

While taking time to prep your surfaces before applying any coating makes the coating process smoother, having a clear coat that works well on surfaces that are not thoroughly prepd is a plus.

If you're short of prep time, choose a clear coat that you can use with minimal prep time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can You Put a Polyurethane Clear Coat Over White Paint?

Answer: Yes!

You can use polyurethane over any kind of paint as long as you've cleaned and prepared it well.

Ensure you use a water-based polyurethane as it does not yellow over time. Make sure that your white paint is completely cured before coating with polyurethane.

2. Water-Based vs Oil-Based Finish-Which is Best?

Answer: Both water-based and oil-based clear coats come with their pros and cons.

An oil-based clear coat takes longer to dry but it has a better finish and is more long-lasting. Since oil-based clear coats are more durable, they are better used in harsh environments such as extremely hot and windy conditions.

Oil-based clear coats are also less expensive.

Water-based clear coats dry faster, are easier to clean, have less odor, and are more environmentally-friendly

3. Can I Use a Clear Coat for My Wooden Floors?

Answer: Definitely!

One of the characteristics of a clear coat for wooden floors is that it has to be tough because of constant friction. The high performance water-based topcoat from General Finishes is an example of a clear coat you can use on your white wooden floors.

A water-based polyurethane clear coat is also a popular option for hardwood flooring finishes.

4. What are The Advantages of Using Acrylic Clear Coat?

Answer: Acrylic clear coats come in several variants; enamel, lacquer, and urethane. Each of these variants has its pros and cons.

When you need an inexpensive product that is easy to use and leaves a final high gloss, acrylic lacquer does that.

Acrylic enamel is long-lasting while urethane is both easy to apply and durable.

5. Which is Better Between a Clear Coat With a Matte Finish vs One With a Glossy Finish?

Answer: With matte finishes, scratches and other imperfections are less obvious than on glossy finishes. The look on matte finishes is also more consistent because there is not much reflection of light compared to glossy surfaces.

Matte surfaces are, however, not as rich and shiny as glossy surfaces and are also harder to clean.

Final Words

Coating your painted surfaces is like insuring your property.

The best clear coat for white paint guards against accidental and environmental damage, adds shine, and increases your property’s lifetime and value.

Before you buy a clear coat, first, comtemplate its intended use. Is it for specific surfaces such as wood or metal only; or is it a multipurpose coating?

Secondly, have your non-negotiables. Do you wish a quick drying product, more gloss, or tough covering?

Hopefully this review will help you make an informed decision.

Don’t wait until the worst happens. Get your clear coat for white paint now!

You can also Read:

  1. How to Paint to Hide Defects?
  2. How to Select Paint for Old Decks?
  3. What Type of Paints to Use in Your Wood Project?
  4. 6 DIY Methods to Getting Acrylic off from Wood
  5. Easy Way to Paint Your Mirror Frame at Home
  6. How to Paint Woods Those are Pressure Treated?
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