11 Best Finish for Cornhole Boards

Are you tired of your meticulously crafted Cornhole boards succumbing to the wear and tear of outdoor games? After rigorous testing of 11 different products, I’ve uncovered the ultimate solution.

With an ardent passion for woodworking and countless hours spent refining Cornhole board finishes, my expertise in the field is hard-earned and extensive.

Among the myriad options, one product stood head and shoulders above the rest—TotalBoat -48649.

In this article, I’ll delve into what makes TotalBoat the undisputed champion in Cornhole board finishes. But here’s the twist: the best finish isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are nuances to consider, tailored to various preferences and conditions.

So, whether you’re aiming for weather resistance, a glossy sheen, or something else, keep reading to discover the ideal finish to protect and enhance your Cornhole boards.

Your next game could be your best yet.

Our Top Picks

Best Finish for Cornhole Boards

  1. TotalBoat-486490 Lust Marine VarnishBest overall finish
  2. General Finishes High-Performance Water BasedBest bang for the buck
  3. 1 qt Minwax 64444 Clear PolycrylicBest Clear Coat for Cornhole Boards
  4. Rust-Oleum 302736Best polyurethane for cornhole boards
  5. Aleene’s 26412 Spray Gloss FinishBest for DIY Project
  6. Rust-Oleum 200241HBest Eco-friendly cornhole finish
  7. SEAL-ONCE NanoBest sealer for cornhole boards
  8. Seymour Paint 620-1525 Insulating VarnishBest paint for cornhole boards
  9. Roxil Wood ProtectionBest for Waterproofing Cornhole Boards for Ten years
  10. DWIL Matte Finish Furniture PaintBest All in One Finish
  11. Krylon K03603000 Exterior Semi-TransparentBest Semi-Transparent Finish

The Best Coating for Cornhole Board Surface (Updated List)

1. Best Overall Finish – TotalBoat-486490 Matte Finish for Wood

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When finding the best finish for Cornhole boards, one product stands head and shoulders above the rest: TotalBoat-486490. This premium choice isn’t just a finish; it’s a masterpiece that transforms your Cornhole boards into works of art.

I’ve had the pleasure of using TotalBoat-486490, and it never disappoints. Its matte finish is nothing short of spectacular, giving the boards a high-end, professional look that will impress anyone who lays eyes on them. Applying it is a breeze, even for someone who may not be a woodworking expert. The instructions are clear, and the finish goes smoothly, leaving no streaks or imperfections.

But what else sets TotalBoat-486490 apart is its durability. After countless games and exposure to the elements, the finish still looks as flawless as the day I applied it. Plus, it’s received rave reviews from fellow woodworkers, further solidifying its reputation as the best finish in the game.

Now, you might think that a premium product like TotalBoat-486490 has a hefty price tag. And yes, it’s true that it’s not the cheapest option on the market. But remember, you’re investing in unparalleled quality and a finish that will make your Cornhole boards the envy of your friends and competitors.

This isn’t just another finish; it’s a statement of excellence. So, if you want the best finish for your Cornhole boards, make the smart choice and go with TotalBoat-486490. Your boards will thank you, and so will anyone lucky enough to play on them.

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2. Best Bang for the Buck – General Finishes High-Performance Water-Based Topcoat

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The General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat emerges as a worthy runner-up. While both products offer durability, the General Finishes topcoat takes it a step further, boasting to be the hardest and most durable consumer polyurethane topcoat you’ll find. 

Here’s why it’s a compelling choice:

  • Unparalleled Durability: General Finishes outshines the competition in terms of durability, ensuring that your Cornhole boards remain pristine even after rigorous use.
  • Speedy Application: With a remarkable dry time of 1 to 2 hours between coats, you can finish your project faster and return to playing Cornhole sooner.
  • Budget-Friendly: Compared to the first product, General Finishes offers a more budget-friendly option without compromising on quality. It proves that you can achieve excellent results without breaking the bank.

Now, let’s compare it to the first product. While the first product might have a slight edge in a matte finish, General Finishes excels in durability and cost-effectiveness. The faster dry time is a significant advantage, allowing you to complete your Cornhole board project more efficiently. 

In essence, General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat fills the gap by providing a highly durable finish with a quicker application process at a more budget-friendly

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3. Best Clear Coat for Cornhole Boards – 1 qt Minwax 64444 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish

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Ever dealt with the heartbreak of seeing your painstakingly crafted cornhole board ruined by stains, scratches, or moisture? Minwax 64444 Polycrylic Protective Finish is the remedy. The semi-gloss sheen adds a touch of elegance to the finished piece without being overly shiny. It perfectly balances matte and high gloss, enhancing the wood’s natural beauty.

Now, let’s dive into the fantastic features of Minwax 64444 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish. With its ultra-fast drying time, Minwax 64444 promises efficiency, drying to the touch within minutes.

This feature means you can say goodbye to unnecessary delays and complete your projects in record time. Moreover, it’s water-based, making cleanup breezy, and the low odor ensures a pleasant application process.

But what sets Minwax 64444 apart from the competition is its promise of a crystal-clear finish that remains pristine over time. You won’t have to worry about your cornhole protective layer yellowing as the years go by. It secures the natural beauty of the wood, preserving its authentic charm for the long haul.

Put simply, Minwax 64444 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish is a top-tier choice if you prefer a semi-gloss, moderately reflective finish on the board surface.

Its fast drying, low odor, and non-yellowing properties set it apart and make it the go-to solution for anyone who wants to protect and enhance their Cornhole boards.

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4. Best Polyurethane for Cornhole Boards – Rust-Oleum 302736

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Rust-Oleum 302736 Triple Thick Polyurethane, Matte is three times thicker than standard polyurethane. A refined self-leveling formula lets you finish your projects in a single coat.

Comparatively, Rust-Oleum 302736 places a strong emphasis on durability and protection. With this product, you’ll avoid the common problems of surface wear, scratches, and damage due to gameplay, thereby maintaining the aesthetics and functionality of your boards.

What sets Rust-Oleum 302736 apart is its exceptional matte finish, in contrast to the semi-gloss sheen of the first product. The matte finish will give the cornhole board a flat, low-sheen appearance.

You can use it on all interior finished wood surfaces, including furniture, cornhole boards, doors, trim, etc. This not only saves effort but also makes it cost-effective. The swift drying time of just 2 hours further enhances its convenience factor.

To sum it up; if maximum durability and a matte appearance are priorities, Rust-Oleum Polyurethane is a suitable choice, even though it requires more effort in application.

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5. Best for DIY Project – Aleene’s 26412 Spray Gloss Finish

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This spray-on acrylic sealer is long-lasting and versatile, leaving a clear gloss finish cornhole boards and other surfaces. It is easy to apply and dries quickly with no drips or runs.

So, you finish your project in record time. It provides reliable, weatherproof protection on both exterior and interior wood surfaces. This product is an all-weather sealer coat.

It goes on easily and does not require a brush; spray straight. Allow at least an hour in-between coats and 24 hours to cure fully. Please note that this product has a short lifespan.

As a result, you may have to reapply every three years. For best results, ensure you work in a clean and debris-free environment.

That’s so because floating hair, dirt particles, and dust settling on your cornhole board will be sealed permanently during the topcoat application process.

It preserves the surface of your cornhole board while also adding a little smooth feeling to it. This spray-on sealer protects paints, decals, artwork, and unfinished wooden surfaces.

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6. Best Eco-friendly Cornhole Finish – Rust-Oleum 200241H

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Cleaning up after applying oil-based poly on a cornhole board is no laughing matter, and you may have had your fair share of frustrations. This is the poly for you if you are looking for a clear water-based polyurethane that will blow your mind away in performance.

You’ll appreciate how simple it is to clean up the product without messing. It goes on a little thinner than the oil-based polyurethane. The outcomes could pleasantly surprise you.

It outshines ordinary polys because it does not yellow or crack when you use it on your cornhole boards. This cornhole board finish has a foamy consistency but dries clear.

Because it is a Low VOC formula (volatile organic compounds), the finish is pet safe. It is also safe for both the user and the environment.

It dries quickly, allowing you to complete your cornhole finishing project sooner than expected. It gives the boards a satin finish, not a semi gloss poly.

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7. Best Sealer for Cornhole Boards – SEAL-ONCE Nano+Poly Penetrating Wood Sealer with Polyurethane

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Seal-Once Marine Penetrating Wood Sealer is a waterproof cornhole board finish that offers natural aesthetics plus protection from harsh outdoor conditions, particularly in marine settings.

This poly is guaranteed to keep cornhole boards protected from unforgiving elements for decades. It lives up to its name by providing unparalleled relief to coastal residents who enjoy the game and are keen to maintain the boards.

The most intriguing feature of this finish is its use of nanotechnology. Wood is more susceptible to mildew growth, rotting, and water and UV damage in high moisture locations.

The best way to stay ahead of the elements is to use a poly specially formulated with advanced technology such as this one. It engages an exclusive nanotechnology formula to offer superior protection against these elements.

It deeply penetrates the wood and defends it down to the cellular level. Thanks to peculiar nanotechnology, water vapor can easily escape rather than be trapped.

The breathable barrier it produces allows the wood to expand in heat or cold.

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8. Best Paint for Cornhole Boards – Seymour Paint 620-1525 Insulating Varnish

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Suppose you need to shield a cornhole board from deterioration brought about by moisture, oil, alkali, and acid exposure. In that case, this could be a superb fit.

You can also use it as a Class F winding or electrical equipment coat. It dries quickly, is resistant to cracking, and has a low current leakage. It dries quickly, is resistant to cracking, and has a low current leakage.

It is a professional-grade formula invented to withstand the most extreme conditions. This product is unbeatable in terms of price, quantity, and quality of this fantastic insulating winding finish.

You can easily afford it even if you are low on cash, and it will probably work better than other high-end painting products that leave huge dents in your wallet.

You’ll be pleased with the result, and you may never want to buy another insulating paint once you lay your hands on this item. It has superb coverage since a little goes a long way.

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9. Best for Waterproofing Cornhole Boards for Ten years – Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Treatment

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It is a brilliant idea to make the best effort to waterproof your cornhole boards since they’re continually exposed to moisture and intense UV rays.

You could give your boards an upper hand against the elements with this finish. The fascinating aspect of this product is that one coat is all you need to keep the boards protected for a decade.

The cream formulation also enables quick and accurate application with minimal splashback or runoff on vertical and horizontal surfaces.

For best results, thoroughly clean the untreated board with biocidal wood cleaner before applying this cornhole board finish. It’s incredibly creamy and straightforward to apply.

I applied it with a waterproofing synthetic bristle brush. You can use it on a redwood fence and other surfaces, and you’ll love how it looks in the rain. The rainwater beads right off.

It won’t dry with a semigloss or shine, making it more resistant to powerful UV rays. It makes the color of the wood more profound and richer and produces no odor.

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10. Best All in One Finish-DWIL Matte Finish Furniture Paint

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DWIL Matte Finish is a game-changer when it comes to protecting and enhancing wood surfaces. As an all-in-one wood paint kit, it simplifies the process of refinishing wood furniture and brings remarkable features to the forefront.

One of its standout features is the ability to protect wood surfaces effectively. This finish not only adds a layer of beauty but also forms a robust protective film, guarding your wood against wear and tear.

What truly sets DWIL Matte Finish apart is its no-primer requirement. You can apply it directly to wood, saving you time and effort in the preparation process. The need for sanding is also eliminated, making it a hassle-free option for both DIY enthusiasts and professionals.

The fast drying time of this finish is another noteworthy advantage. It allows you to complete your wood projects quickly, reducing downtime and waiting periods.

Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of DWIL Matte Finish is how easy it is to apply. Its user-friendly nature ensures a smooth and hassle-free application process, even for those with limited experience in woodworking.

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11. Best Semi-Transparent Finish-Krylon K03603000 Exterior Semi-Transparent

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Krylon K03603000 Exterior Semi-Transparent Stain brings a host of remarkable features to the forefront, making it a standout choice for painting cornhole boards.

One of its most impressive features is its ability to protect wood surfaces effectively. This stain adds a touch of beauty and also forms a robust shield against the elements, ensuring the longevity of your wood projects.

What sets the Krylon Exterior Stain apart is its premium and durable formulation. It delivers a finish that stands up to the test of time, even in harsh outdoor conditions. Whether it’s rain, sunlight, or general wear and tear, this stain offers a level of resilience.

Water repellency and UV fade protection are two more advantages that this stain offers. It prevents water from seeping into the wood, which can lead to damage over time.

Additionally, the UV fade protection ensures that the wood’s color remains vibrant and doesn’t deteriorate due to sun exposure.

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What is a Cornhole Board Finish?

A cornhole board finish is a poly coat or clear coat that offers a sleek, smooth finish. It safeguards cornhole boards from rain, snow, UV rays, mold, etc.

Cornhole competitors regard cornhole boards as works of art. Cornhole board designs take effort, time, and cash. So, cornhole board maintenance is critical.

What Finish is on ACL Boards?

ACL Boards are coated with polycrylic or polyurethane. Polycrylic is a fast-drying, water-based clear coating that protects your boards’ surface while adding different levels of slipperiness.

It makes the surfaces glossy and takes two hours to dry. Polycrylic finishes are excellent for preserving decals, paint, or other artwork.

How Slick are ACL boards?

ACL boards, used in professional cornhole games, are designed to have a slick surface to meet tournament standards.

This slickness is achieved through refined manufacturing processes, high-quality materials, and specialized finishes. The level of slickness is meticulously maintained to allow bags to slide smoothly, ensuring consistent gameplay and high-level competition.

It’s crucial for these boards to exhibit the right balance between slickness and friction to allow players to execute a range of strategic throws.

Which Types of Finish to Use on Cornhole Board Surface

When finishing cornhole boards, you can use polyurethane or a polycrylic finish. These finishes are excellent options.

Oil-based polyurethane leaves a yellowish tint on unfinished cornhole boards, while water-based poly leaves a super clear coat.

A water-based solution dry faster than an oil-based poly coat. Polycrylic is a water-based product you can use if you need a more glossy look.

Use it on lighter wood, such as maple and birch. You can also use it to conceal decals and paint. Generally, water-based coats dry faster than their oil-based counterparts.

Finish on Cornhole Board Surface

What to Seal Cornhole Boards With?

To seal cornhole boards effectively, use a high-quality, outdoor-appropriate sealant like polyurethane or spar urethane, ensuring durability and protection against weather elements.

Apply multiple thin coats, allowing sufficient drying time between each, for optimal results.

These sealants provide a slick, resilient surface and help maintain the vibrancy of the board’s design.

How to Finish Cornhole Boards

Remember that if you’ve bought a printed board, you don’t need to put anything on it. These cornhole boards are usually finished and designed to withstand humidity, weather, and continuous exposure to direct sunlight.

You can also improvise cornhole boards and finish them to your liking. Here’s how to finish unfinished cornhole boards like a pro.   

The steps also apply when to refinish cornhole boards.

Step 1: Cover the floor and thoroughly clean the board surface

First, you must prepare an area suitable for finishing cornhole boards. Work in a spacious room or garage. Ensure the surface is dust free and cover the flooring with a tarp to protect it from getting stained. 

Step 2: Ensure cornhole boards are dust-free

surface preparation is critical when finishing a cornhole board. Clean the panels and ensure they are free of dirt, grime, dust, and tiny wood particles.

Small particles on the cornhole board’s surface will affect the finish application process and influence the results. 

Dusting cornhole boards

Step 3: Apply a sanding sealer

This step is optional, but we apply multiple coats of sanding sealer before applying the cornhole board finish. 

Step 4: Avoid shaking your poly

You can’t shake a poly as would paint. Shaking it will undoubtedly produce air bubbles, which might ruin the application. So to avoid bubbles in polyurethane, do not shake it.

Step 5: Sealing; how to seal cornhole boards

Use a foam brush to apply the cornhole board finish. Applying with a rolling brush is not a good idea as it may result in air bubbles, which is not what you want.

A three-inch foam brush lets you apply your poly coat more uniformly without unwanted air bubbles. 

Step 6: Apply multiple layers of polyurethane

There are no hard and fast rules as to how many coats of polyurethane you need to apply to cornhole boards to ensure maximum durability and protection from elements.

All you need is to be patient and apply even coats. The rule of thumb is to use five to ten coats of polyurethane. 

Step 7: Wait between coats to let the poly dry completely

The type of poly you’re using, and humidity levels determine the time you should wait before recoating. To be safe, you should wait at least two hours before applying another coat.

Run your finger across the board to tell if the initial layer is dry. If it comes without getting any poly on your skin, it’s time to apply another coat. Twenty minutes after applying poly, you can use a fan to speed up drying time.

How to Make Cornhole Boards Slick?

To make cornhole boards slick, start by sanding the surface smoothly, moving from coarse to fine-grit sandpapers. Apply several coats of a high-gloss, weather-resistant finish like polyurethane, allowing ample drying time between coats.

After curing, consider applying cornhole board wax to enhance slickness. This process ensures smooth gameplay, optimal sliding, and durable protection, elevating your cornhole gaming experience.

Regular maintenance with reapplication of wax or polish keeps the surface slick over time

How to Stain Cornhole Boards

stained cornhole boards

Staining cornhole boards is a great way to enhance their appearance and protect the wood from weathering.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to stain your cornhole boards:

Staining Cornhole Boards

Step 1: Preparation and Sanding

Select a well-ventilated work area, ideally outdoors. Gather necessary materials including stain, brushes, sandpaper, and gloves. Start by sanding the boards with medium, then fine-grit sandpaper. Ensure the surface is smooth and clean of dust or debris after sanding.

Step 2: Stain Selection and Application

Choose a suitable outdoor stain compatible with your boards’ wood. Apply a thin, even coat, being mindful to immediately wipe off any excess stain. Allow each coat to dry fully if more than one is desired, achieving your preferred color depth.

Step 3: Drying and Curing

Once the desired color is reached, allow the stain to dry and cure completely, referring to the product’s guidelines, which typically recommend 24 to 48 hours for best results.

How to Maintain Your Custom Cornhole Board

Maintain Cleanliness

Ensure regular cleaning to maintain the aesthetic appeal and avoid deterioration of the cornhole board.

Ensure Proper Storage

Store in a cool, dry place to prolong the life and preserve the custom design of your cornhole board.

Apply Protective Coating

Periodically refresh the protective polyurethane coating to maintain the board’s integrity and appearance.

Safeguard During Transit

Use protective cases and cautious handling during transportation to avoid damage to the board.

Shield from the Elements

Take precautions to protect your board from adverse weather conditions to prevent potential damage.

Enhance with Cornhole Board Wax

Regular application of cornhole board wax enhances the durability and slickness, ensuring a smooth gaming experience.

FAQs

How to make bean bag boards slippery?

Devote significant time to maintaining your cornhole boards by modifying the slipperiness levels. The most popular method for improving the slickness of the cornhole board is to paint it with high-gloss latex paint and then polish it.

Can you put polycrylic over vinyl decals?

Yes. Ensure you are using polycrylic and not polyurethane. Though polyurethane is a crystal clear protective coating, it will eventually turn yellow. Apply several thin layers of polycrylic and allow the product to dry completely between coats. Be keen to remove air bubbles from the adhesive before application. 

Related: Will vinyl stick to wood?

The best way to finish cornhole boards

The best way to finish cornhole boards is by sanding them smoothly, applying a prime-quality, outdoor-appropriate sealant like polyurethane, and allowing ample drying time between multiple coats.

This method ensures a durable, weather-resistant, and slick surface.

For enhanced playability and appearance, consider a high-gloss finish and maintain regular reapplications of sealant or wax, ensuring the boards remain in top condition for optimal gaming experiences.

How to make polyurethane slick

To achieve a slick polyurethane finish, start by applying thin, even coats, allowing each to dry thoroughly. After the final coat, sand lightly with high-grit sandpaper, then buff with #0000 steel wool.

Finish by applying a paste wax, buffing to a high sheen. This process yields a slick, smooth surface, ideal for applications like cornhole boards where reduced friction is desired.

Final Thoughts on the Best Coating for Cornhole Boards

A cornhole board is a prized possession among cornhole aficionados. Cornhole players devote much time to their boards, modifying them with stains, paints, and preferred decals.

The best finish for cornhole boards should protect them from elements and make the boards slick enough to make the game challenging but exciting.

Our top-pick cornhole board finish is Rust-Oleum 302736 Triple Thick Polyurethane. It’s easy to use, works as per the advertising, is affordable and makes the boards super slick.

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