I recently painted a design in acrylic paint on a piece of maple wood that will eventually be subject to elements such as UV, weather, foot traffic, etc. I've heard that marine polyurethane is the way to go to protect this sort of project, but I'm having a heard time finding one that is water-based and would not smear my acrylic paint. Is any water-based polyurethane (I've found some with UV protectant) going to do the job?
Also, what are the benefits/features/differences of matte, satin, and gloss?
I've found quite a few water-based polyurethanes at this site:
Any other suggestions for this project are greatly appreciated. This is what I've painted for those interested (it is the platform on the top of the trailer). <img src="http://www.surlybikes.com/blogimages/stoked_dummy_lg.jpg ">