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I am finishing oak trim (casing, baseboards, and quarter round). I am using Minwax fast drying polyurethane clear satin. The instructions call for 2 or 3 coats. If I ensure that the 1st and 2nd coat adequately cover the trim, is the 3rd coat necessary or advised?

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    How much to add is partly down to the user and partly down to the wood. If two coats gives you what you want then you're fine leaving it at that, but often a third coat is needed for that completely uniform look we're fond of, without dry-looking patches in certain areas where the wood is a little more absorbent. – Graphus May 1 '17 at 7:16
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    Apply at least 2 coats of polyurethane to your wooden surface. If the area sees so much traffic or moisture, at least 3 coats will be great. – Tyron Jun 16 at 13:51
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It is not necessary. Adding another coat of poly would make the finished project a little tougher and resistant to wear, but it also shines it up a bit more, which may or may not be an effect you are wanting. In the case of baseboards and trim, they aren't really going to see much wear anyway, so another coat isn't giving you much benefit.

So as long as you're happy with the results, there is no need to add another coat. The instructions for finishes are notorious for directing the user to apply more than is strictly necessary.

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    "The instructions for finishes are notorious for directing the user to apply more than is strictly necessary." One might be suspicious and think the manufacturers are trying to get us to use more of their product so we come back to purchase it more frequently... – FreeMan May 1 '17 at 15:13
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This is always a personal preference, but given this is trim (assuming door/window casing, etc.) you should be absolutely fine with that many coats on a hardwood finish.

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  • In my house, it's the trim that gets the most abuse! That's what it is sort of for... – jdv Jun 25 at 19:45

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