It depends on your objectives; do you want a clear finish, fast dry time, interior or exterior use, a certain sheen, want to spray, etc.?
- For an interior clear finish or a Flat finish, use HIGH PERFORMANCE water based topcoat. It is a "water white" finish, fast drying (1 to 2 hours), water cleanup and contains a UV Stabilizer to protect the underlying stains from fading. Waterbased HIGH PERFORMANCE can be applied over any stain as long as it is dry.
For applying over oil base stains: 24-48 hour wait time. For applying over GF water base stains, GF Milk Paint and Dye Stains: 1-2 hours. NOT recommended over any long oils such as Linseed oil, Danish Oils. Application method: Acrylic brush, foam brush, paint pad applicator, or spray with HVLP 1.3 (.051) needle nozzle. High Performance topcoat is available in flat, satin, semi-gloss and gloss sheens.
- If ambering is desired (darkening of the finish over time), you have two choices, use ARM-R-SEAL liquid oil based topcoat, a long time favorite of the wood working world. It can be wiped and brushed on. Available in Satin, Semi-gloss and Gloss sheens. Or use Enduro-Var waterbased topcoat, available in Flat, Satin, Semi-Gloss and Gloss. Enduro-Var adheres well only over WATER STAINS, DYE STAINS, and RAW WOOD. It will adhere over an oil stain ONLY if the stain is completely dry (minimum 4 days drying).
- If you want fast build or a soft satin sheen, use oil based GEL SATIN Topcoat. It is a heavy duty oil and urethane oil base top coat, which produces a beautiful hand rubbed quality finish. Gel satin has a thicker consistency, so there are no drips, runs or spills. Dry time is approximately 12-24 hours depending on humidity and temperature. Application method: Wipe on with a cloth, natural bristle brush, foam brush, or paint pad applicator. GF developed this finish as a "sister" to GEL STAIN. For more complex projects that have a lot of nooks and crannies, we recommend ARM-R-SEAL liquid topcoat or HIGH PERFORMANCE water based top coat, or ENDURO-VAR, available in Flat, Satin, Semi-gloss and Gloss.
- If you need an exterior finish, use waterbased EXTERIOR 450. Brush it on with an acrylic brush, poly foam brush or handi-painter applicator or spray with HVLP, 1.3 (.051) needle nozzle. Exterior 450 is NOT suitable for decks, but performs well on furniture and doors. It is available in Satin, Semi-Gloss and Semi Gloss
- How many top coats do I need? Normally 3-4 coats of a combination of sealer and/or top coat are recommended. If you are working on a project that needs extreme wear or water resistance such as bathroom vanities or kitchen cabinets, we normally recommend 4-5 coats.
Friendly Reminder- always take care to dispose of oil based soaked application materials safely according to your local regulations.