ANSWER: All stains need a top coat. Think of
stain as the color and top coat as the sealer and protectant.
The high urethane content of General Finishes Gel Stains
results in a lustrous finish that tends to fool people into assuming no sealant
is required. The beauty of Gel Stain comes from the thick urethane which can
carry a LOT of color to any surface, but that color must be sealed in with top
coat. An added bonus of top coat is that it also protects the wood from
Years ago, Chris from General Finishes made the mistake of not adding top coat
to a desk top. She applied 3 coats of a Java/Antique Walnut mixture, and
because it looked and felt "finished" she let the desk cure for a week,
considering the project complete. The next day, Chris spent a few hours working
at her new desk. Upon standing up, she discovered smudges of brown stain all
over her elbows and realized that her mouse pad had rubbed away some of the
stain on the desk. Lesson learned!
WHICH TOP COAT SHOULD I CHOOSE?
General Finishes suggests using High Performance Top Coat for a water based