Can Oil and Water Based Products Be Used Over Each Other?*

Yes! But you must follow ONE simple rule to ensure the best possible finish: the underlying finish must be absolutely dry.

  • When using a water-based product over an oil-based product, such as water-based High Performance Topcoat over oil-based Gel Stain, wait 72 hours before applying the water-based product.
  • When using an oil-based product over a water-based product, such as oil-based Arm-R-Seal Topcoat over Water Based Wood Stain, wait 24 hours before applying the oil-based product.


  • You cannot mix water- and oil-based products together.
  • General Finishes original Enduro-Var can only be used over raw wood or General Finishes water-based wood stains or dye stains. Original Enduro-Var cannot be used with any oil-based product, sanding sealer or shellac. Enduro-Var II (new formula) is compatible with all GF products and can be used over shellac. 
  • Oil-based finishes amber over time; do not use them over white or very light colors.

VIDEO: Can oil and water based products be used over one another?