Storing Finishes

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*How Can I Prevent Gel Stain from Hardening in the Can?

As the Gel Stain is used, the volume of stain in the can is displaced with air, causing the stain to start curing. Gel Stains harden up more quickly than liquid oil stains for all the reasons folks love them - the extra colorants and solids within the stain that provide such great coverage also harden up more quickly than other stains.

During storage, the oxygen or moisture that's sealed in the container continues to cure and thicken your stored product, ruining the leftovers. Here are some tips to ensure your Gel Stain remains in great working condition.

  • Decant the amount of stain you'll need into a foil covered bowl and reseal your can right away. Every minute the can is open the stain is curing. 
  • Be sure to REALLY clean the chime and the lid of the can to assure a tight seal.
  • Use Bloxygen to help remove excess oxygen from your can of finish to help preserve it longer.
  • Store your sealed cans upside down.
  • Transfer any unused stain to a smaller container once finished with your project or buy Gel Stain in smaller cans to begin with.
  • Plastic Wrap??  Haven't tried it, but you get the idea! Anything to prevent contact with air is key.

Watch Tips on Storing Leftover Wood Finishes here.

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Can I apply vaseline to the rim of a can containing water based products to prevent rusting?

Vaseline is not recommended on the rim of the can (called the chime) as it can contaminate a water-based product and may cause surface defects. Always carefully clean the rim of the can with a paper towel, followed by a damp paper towel before putting the lid on tightly.

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*What is the Cure Time After Applying a Finish to Furniture or Cabinets?

"Cure time" is the amount of time needed for the finish on a piece to reach maximum hardness and be ready for normal use. This is different than "dry time." 

Water-based finishes cure faster than oil-based finishes, approximately 21 days vs 30 days under ideal conditions (70°F and 50% humidity).

During the curing stage, treat your project with special care. Avoid placing heavy objects on it. Always avoid the use of furniture polishes, dusting sprays or oil soaps as they may contaminate the finish for future re-coating. Use a water-dampened cloth for regular cleaning. Wipe up spills in a timely manner.

WATER SPILLS AND DAILY USE: Clean water spills up as they occur during regular use and protect from heat. Although General Finishes products are water resistant, they are not impervious to water. Surfaces will not be damaged by spilled water so long as it is cleaned up promptly. Use coasters to protect your wood from standing water and pot holders to protect from heat.

 

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*Why did my remaining Arm-R-seal thicken in the can?

General Finishes Oil Based Arm-R-Seal Topcoat

Oil-based topcoats are "oxidizing" products which means that the moment it is introduced to oxygen, a chemical reaction will cause the finish to begin to harden. As topcoat is used, the empty space in the can is filled with air, furthering the curing process. 

Tips to ensure your Arm-R-Seal remains in great working condition:

  1. Decant the amount of Arm-R-Seal you will need into a foil covered bowl or paper cup and reseal the can right away. Every minute the can is open, the stain is curing.
  2. Be sure to thoroughly clean the chime and the lid of the can to assure a tight seal.
  3. Add Bloxygen to remove excess oxygen from your can of finish before sealing. 
  4. Store your sealed cans upside down. The liquid creates a seal around the lid when stored upside down, preventing air from getting in. 
  5. Transfer any unused finish to a smaller container once finished with your project. StopLoss Bags® are a popular choice. 

 

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Can I use water based topcoat, stain or paint after it has frozen?

Frozen High Performance Water Based Topcoat

Usually not but not all water based products respond the same way to a freeze. Most stains will be fine because freezing doesn't affect color. Some of the dyes will coagulate.

The best advice... don't let water finishes freeze. Once frozen, most water based finishes such as General Finishes High Performance Water Base Topcoat are no longer useable. Other manufacturer's products may not freeze because solvents or plasticizers have been added. To check the integrity of your possibly frozen oil based product, open the can and stir to see if the contents are still liquid. If it's still liquid the product should still be viable. Just make sure to mix well to reincorporate the additives into the finish.

If your product is indeed frozen and unusable, we recommend you contact the retailer you purchased the product from for a replacement. Amazon resellers should easily take the product back if you have concerns. General Finishes does monitor weather conditions before shipping to avoid product freezing, but cannot control happens when the shipment arrives at its destination.

 

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*What Is the Best Way to Store Water Based Finishes?

LIFE OF PRODUCT
Water-based products do not last forever, even when unopened. General Finishes products are best used within 1 year of the manufacture date listed on the bottom of the can. The life of the product may be extended to 2-3 years with proper care and storage.

SETTLING
Gravity can cause some solids to settle on the bottom of the can and slight separation on the top. This is normal. If working with older paint, use a paint mixing attachment on a drill. If the solids dissolve and clumps smooth out after mixing from the bottom, the product is in good condition for use.

STORAGE TIPS
See video tutorial: Tips on Storing Leftover Finishes
Water-based finishes crystalize and form a skin due to evaporation when the air-tight seal on a can is broken at first use. The following best practices will increase the life of your product:

  1. Pry open sealed lid(s) with a paint can opener by hooking under the lid's rolled edge. The use of a screwdriver can disfigure the rim and lid, impairing a complete seal. 
  2. Keep lid(s) closed while working. Pour what you will use into a bowl, paper cup, or plate, and close can lid as you work. 
  3. CLEAN the chime of the can(s) thoroughly with a paper towel before closing to create a complete seal. Paint in the chime can be minimized by using a pouring lid, such as Fitsall. Avoid wiping used brushes on the lid.
  4. Pound the lid(s) in place using a rubber mallet to avoid distorting the chime or lid. Dents in the lid from direct contact with a hammer can impair a complete seal. Alternatively, place a flat piece of wood over can lid and firmly pound shut.
  5. Store in moderate temperatures. Avoid temperatures below 50*F/10*C or above 80*F/26*C. Frozen and heat-damaged product cannot be revitalized. Temperature-controlled spaces, such as a basement, are ideal for storage. Do not store product in an attic, garage, in direct sunlight, or next to something warm like a water heater or furnace.
  6. Store the can(s) upside down to create a liquid seal, minimize evaporation and reduce the chance of crystallization. Decant remaining product from the can before stirring. 
  7. Decant leftovers to a smaller container when the finish is almost used up. Alternative storage containers for water-based products are plastic FIFO bottles or glass bottles. Do not fill metal-lidded containers completely to prevent them from rusting.

The following water-based product mixtures can be stored:

  1. Product combined with up to 15% General Finishes Extender or General Finishes Accelerator can be stored, with the exception of thinned General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain.
  2. Mixtures involving colors & sheens within the same product line, such as:
    • High Performance Satin + High Performance Gloss
    • Snow White Milk Paint + Coastal Blue Milk Paint
    • Amber Dye Stain + Merlot Dye Stain

The following product mixtures should NOT be stored:

  • Any water-based product with thinned tap water; water often contains bacteria that will adversely affect stored paint.
  • Topcoat + Stain or Paint
  • Milk Paint + Chalk Style Paint
  • Water
  • Water-Based Wood Stain + Dye Stain

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What is the shelf life of GF Milk Paint?

GF is rather conservative regarding the life of our Milk paint. Water based products do not last forever, even when unopened. General Finishes products are best used within 1-2 years.

However, the life of the product may be extended with proper care and storage. If the can is in good condition, unopened and stored in correct temperatures, water based products can last 3-5 years. Avoid temperatures below 50°F/10°C or above 80°F/26°C and keep from freezing. Note, a can of paint that is 3 years old will not look like a can of paint that is 6 months to 1 year old. You will see stratification or separation, which is normal. Always stir thoroughly before using.

If your paint has a foul smell, the product is contaminated and is no longer in useable condition. Failure to reincorporate large, chunky lumps when stirring indicates the product has frozen and can no longer be used. 

Please be mindful of the manner in which your paint is stored and how long it's been in storage. It is not a forever product.

Storage Tips

Water-based finishes crystalize and form a skin due to evaporation when the air-tight seal on a can is broken at first use. The following best practices will increase the life of your product:

  1. Pry open sealed lids with a paint can opener by hooking under the lid's rolled edge. The use of a screwdriver can disfigure the rim and lid, impairing a complete seal.
  2. Keep lid closed while working. Pour what you will use into a bowl, paper cup, or plate, and close can lid as you work.
  3. Clean the chime of the can thoroughly with a paper towel before closing to create a complete seal. Paint in the chime can be minimized by using a pouring lid, such as Fitsall. Avoid wiping used brushes on the lid.
  4. Pound the lid in place using a rubber mallet to avoid distorting the chime or lid. Dents in the lid from direct contact with a hammer can impair a complete seal. Alternatively, place a flat piece of wood over can lid and firmly pound shut.
  5. Store in moderate temperatures. Avoid temperatures below 50°F/10°C or above100°F/38°C. Keep from freezing. Frozen and heat-damaged product cannot be revitalized. Temperature-controlled spaces, such as a basement, are ideal for storage. Do not store product in an attic, garage, in direct sunlight, or next to something warm like a water heater or furnace.
  6. Store can upside down to create a liquid seal, minimize evaporation and reduce the chance of crystallization. Decant remaining product from the can before stirring.
  7. Decant leftovers to a smaller container when the finish is almost used up. Alternative storage containers for water-based products are plastic FIFO bottles or glass bottles. Do not fill metal-lidded containers completely to prevent them from rusting.

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The contents of my product have separated in the can. Is that normal?

Gravity can cause some solids to settle on the bottom of the can and slight separation on the top. This is normal.

If working with older paint, use a paint mixing attachment on a drill to reincorporate the solids. If the solids dissolve and the clumps smooth out after mixing from the bottom, the product is in good condition. 

If your water based product has large chunks that cannot be incorporated by stirring, the product has frozen and can no longer be used.

 

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