Product FAQs

Arm-R-Seal

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Which Topcoat Should I Choose?

General Finishes offers a complete coatings system with a finish for every objective.

General Finishes Professional, Industrial, and OEM Water-Based Topcoats

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Enduro Professional 1K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 1K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series White Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pre-Cat Lacquer

General Finishes Retail Water-Based Topcoats:

  • High Performance Topcoat
  • Flat Out Flat
  • Enduro-Var II Topcoat
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Exterior Water-Based Topcoats:

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Oil-Based Topcoats

  • Arm-R-Seal 
  • Gel Satin Topcoat
  • Wood Bowl Finish
  • Butcher Block Oil
  • Outdoor Oil

GENERAL PRACTICE:

  1. Oil-based topcoats and ENDURO-VAR II will amber over time.
  2. All other water-based and High Performance top coats dry clear.
  3. Never use any water-based topcoat with long oils such as Danish, Tung or Linseed.
  4. Water-based top coats clean up with soap and water. Oil-based topcoats require mineral spirits for cleanup.
  5. If you use water-based topcoats over oil-based finishes, make sure that you wait 72 hours between the two products. It is essential to let the oil finish dry longer.
  6. For more complex projects with many details and corners or large surface areas such as cabinets, we recommend either ARM-R-SEAL liquid oil-based topcoats or water-based topcoats. Large surfaces such as cabinets or tables and complex projects with lots of detail are easier to cover with a liquid topcoat rather than a GEL SATIN topcoat.
  7. Enduro Professional Topcoats are thinner and intended to be sprayed
  8. HIGH PERFORMANCE can be brushed or sprayed. It can be thinned by adding 5-10% distilled water if needed. 

Compare all topcoats

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*Why Does My Oil Finish Have a Haze When Applying Arm-R-Seal Over a Linseed Oil Based Stain?*

Linseed oil stains take a LONG time to dry. When applied too soon, Arm-R-Seal will likely prevent the linseed oil-based stain from gassing out and drying completely due to solvent entrapment, causing a haze.

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*Can I Spray Arm-R-Seal?

Arm-R-Seal can be sprayed successfully, but we prefer hand application methods because it is very easy to spray too much in one area. If you choose to spray, use very thin coats and watch for runs (large drips that run down the side of your project).

If you notice a run, immediately wipe or brush it out. If you correct a run promptly, you will not see a mark. However, dried runs can be difficult to remove.

Wear a mask and work in a well-ventilated spray booth.

Size: Small Needle Nozzle (1mm)
 

 

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*Can I Change the Sheen of the Topcoat? The One I Applied Is Too Shiny.

If you want to change the sheen, you can re-coat with a different sheen over top. The second layer of top coat will replace the appearance of the first.

Sand lightly with a used 220 sanding PAD to knock down the original finish before re-coating. It may take two or 3 coats to get complete coverage.

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*What Finish Would You Recommend for a Butcher Block Counter Top?

It depends on the type of use you plan for your butcher-block top and the look you want.

If it is a statement piece and not intended for high use, almost any finish would work. General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Topcoat is a good choice. If you intend to prep or chop food General Finishes Butcher Block Oil should be applied.

However, neither product will withstand continuous water use or standing water, or hold up to knife cuts. We always use a cutting board just as we would on a standard kitchen counter. Basically, all horizontal wood surfaces in a kitchen must be maintained, and will easily wear with high water use.

Differences:

  • Butcher Block Oil is a maintenance product that should be reapplied over time. It has a lovely matte finish that soaks into the wood and is an excellent protectant for wood surfaces that come in contact with food. Simply wipe on, allow 5 minutes to penetrate and wipe off the excess. It can also be used on cutting boards, utensils, or bowls. It is one of our most popular finishes for butcher-block counters.
     
  • Arm-R-Seal is a fine furniture finish, offers several levels of sheen and is a durable finish. It has been successfully used on home bar projects with this caveat: no fine furniture finish is impervious to water. Spills must be wiped up in a timely manner.

For a more water-resistant finish, we recommend visiting a finish dealer that carries lines specifically designed for high water use such as an Epoxy or a professional two-step catalyzed finish such as General Finishes Conversion Varnish.

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*Is it safe to buff Arm-R-Seal with an auto polish?

We know of many customers that have achieved great results from buffing Arm-R-Seal with auto polishes, providing that the finish has cured for 7 to 10 days.

As with all products that are not manufactured by General Finishes, always test for compatibility on a hidden area of your project before getting started.  

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*Can An Oil Based Topcoat Such as Arm-R-Seal Be Thinned?

General Finishes Arm-R-Seal

Although Arm-R-Seal rarely needs thinning because of its low viscosity, it can be thinned with up to 10% mineral spirits - more than that may thin the solids content too much.

Thinned Arm-R-Seal will be diluted but can be stored without risk of separation.

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*Which General Finishes Products Would Work Best on a Restaurant Table?

GF has two products that would work well.

For non-professional finishers, we recommend using General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Topcoat.

Arm-R-Seal is oil based and will amber. Be sure to apply liberally with a foam brush or roller, letting the product self-level a bit. A liberal application will help you avoid streaks caused by back-brushing and pressure. Stir product thoroughly before and during application because flatting agents settle quickly in a solvent base finish.

For experienced professional finishers who spray, we recommend our two-step General Finishes Conversion Varnish, which would cure in half the time and dries clear.

Even though General Finishes products are water resistant, they are not impervious to standing water condensation (like an epoxy finish). As with any fine furniture finish, spills should be wiped up in a timely manner. We recommend using coasters to protect your wood from water condensation and pot holders to protect from heat.

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*What Topcoat Should I Use on Padauk Wood?

Padauk Exotic Wood

We recommend an oil-based finish such as General Finishes Arm-R-Seal.

Oily woods can be tricky with any topcoat. The high oil content affects the drying process of the finish coats and Padauk has a very high oil content. Sometimes oily woods dry fine and sometimes they take weeks.

Try wiping the wood with alcohol or acetone to dry the oils before coating. This technique may help but does not work all of the time - each piece of wood is different.

To be safe, always plan on a long dry time.

 

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

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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*Why is Arm-R-Seal Blotching Over an Oil Based Stain on a Table I am Refinishing?

Arm-R-Seal Blotching

The problem areas on your table are probably caused by surface contamination from oils, waxes or cleaning products used over the years.

Contaminants from dusting sprays that contain silicone will also impact the appearance and adherence of a finish - silicone is almost impossible to remove. Oil soaps and wax can also cause adhesion failures. This may be why the finish is performing differently on the leaves vs the table top. Adhesion failure is often more obvious in the deepest patterns of grain because the contamination is driven deep into the grain. 

Unfortunately, even though you sanded the table down to raw wood, sanding alone will not remove this type of contamination. In fact, sometimes the friction heat of sanding will drive contaminants deeper into the grain. 

You have two options, and we recommend the first:

  1. Strip, sand and refinish the table. Use a strong solvent such as a paint stripper and, brushing the surface with a soft brass brush to clean out the grain. Follow this by cleaning with 0000 Medium steel wool and mineral spirits.
  2. Buff the existing finish with 0000 steel wool and mineral spirits, particularly in the affected areas, and then re-apply several more coats of Arm-R-Seal

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What Finishes & Coatings does General Finishes Offer for Retailers, Homeowners and DIY??

General Finishes offers water, oil, and maintenance finishes that meet the needs of homeowners, woodworkers, and DIY’ers. Comprehensive videos are available for each product on YouTube, plus dynamic comparison charts at GeneralFinishes.com/COMPARE.

All General Finishes water-based finishes are:

  • VOC compliant in all 50 states
  • Water cleanup 
  • Low odor
  • Non-flammable
INTERIOR PRIMERS

Water Based Stain Blocker is:

  • An epoxy acrylic formulation.
  • Prevents tannin bleed-through & discoloration.
  • Has high build with excellent adhesion properties.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
WATER-BASED TOPCOATS & PIGMENTED FINISHES

High Performance Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An Interior polyurethane/acrylic blend.
  • Clear drying.
  • highly resistant to water and household chemicals.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Flat Out Flat Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior acrylic formulation.
  • Clear drying.
  • provides an extremely flat finish with high durability.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Enduro-Var II Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior oil-modified water-based urethane.
  • Dries to a light, amber tone.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Is made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Is available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Water-Based Glaze Effects is:

  • An interior oxidating acrylic formula.
  • Available in 6 colors, including a Clear Base.
  • Is a decorative specialty finish.
  • Can be intermixed to create custom colors.
  • It requires a topcoat
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer

Pro Image Water-Based Flooring Topcoat is:

  • An interior polyurethane.
  • Clear drying.
  • Levels to a smooth, hard, durable finish.
  • Provides excellent slip and black heel mark resistance.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or pad applicator.
INTERIOR WATER-BASED STAINS

Water-Based Wood Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • It’s available in 18 deep brilliant colors.
  • And provides universal coverage on many wood species.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Used to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And to reduce Water Based Wood Stains.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Dye Stain is:

  • A penetrating stain with ink-like consistency.
  • It is available in 14 vibrant colors.
  • And can be used as a toner.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer or wiping on.

Water-Based Dye Stain Reducer is:

  • The clear base used to reduce Dye Stain colors.
WATER & OIL EXTERIOR FINISHES

Exterior 450 Clear Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • A polyurethane formulation.
  • Tintable to dark colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & Mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Clear drying.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

 450 White Water-Based Topcoat is: 

  • A pigmented polyurethane formulation.
  • Is tintable to light and pastel colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Exterior 450 Water-Based Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 10 colors, including a clear base.
  • Contains U.V. absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium Interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.

Outdoor Oil is:

  • A penetrating oil wood preservative.
  • Contains UV absorbers and mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • This finish will amber as it ages.
  • A maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.
INTERIOR OIL STAINS & AMBERING TOPCOATS

Gel Satin Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip oil and urethane formula.
  • Designed to provide a hand-rubbed look.
  • Will amber as it ages.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Gel Oil-Based Stain is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip formula.
  • Available in 14 deep, rich, uniform colors.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or wipe on.

 Arm-R-Seal Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A penetrating sealer with a high-quality urethane formulation.
  • It provides long-lasting, durable protection.
  • and works beautifully on projects with detail.
  • This finish will amber as it ages
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Liquid Oil-Based Wood Stain is:

  • a traditional, pigmented liquid wiping stain
  • Available in 14 colors
  • Can be used as a toner with Arm-R-Seal
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Designed to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And penetrates the grain to promote uniform acceptance of oil stains.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Seal-A-Cell Clear is:

  • Formulated with a blend of oils, urethanes, and wax.
  • Is GF’s deepest penetrating close-to-the-wood sealer.
  • And the best choice for highlighting figured wood.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Hard Wax Oil is:

  • A urethane-solids polymer in a blend of oil & wax.
  • Enhances the natural look of wood.
  • One of our easiest finishes to use.
  • It’s best used with optional GF Hardener to shorten dry time and provide superior durability.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a white pad or plastic spreader.

 Oil Based Wood Bowl Finish is:

  • A pure urethane formulation.
  • Highlights figured wood beautifully
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.
INTERIOR MAINTENANCE PRODUCTS

Butcher Block Oil is:

  • A mineral oil formulation.
  • Meets all requirements for use on wooden surfaces that come in contact with food.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a cloth.

Orange Oil is:

  • A routine cleaner for cured wood finishes
  • Non-combustible with a fresh orange scent
  • Apply with a cloth

Satin Finishing Wax is:

  • A blend of waxes.
  • Produces a soft sheen and feel over any wood finish.
  • Can be used as a polish for rubbing out new finishes OR as a scratch-remover.
  • Apply with a cloth.

No matter what your project is, General Finishes has the right product for you. General Finishes is dedicated to using the highest-quality ingredients in all our products, while testing and advancing our water-based finishes with leading-edge technology.

Learn more about GF’s products at Generalfinishes.com. 

General Finishes: We make tomorrow's finishes today.

 

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Brushable White Enamel

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*What Shade of White is Brushable White Enamel?

General Finishes Brushable White Enamel is a bright white. It's similar in color to General Finishes Snow White Milk Paint and General Finishes Enduro Pigmented White Poly.

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*How Does Brushable White Enamel Compare to Enduro White Poly?

General Finishes Enduro Pigmented White Poly and General Finishes Brushable White Enamel have similar durability, but different polymer systems.

The ingredients in Brushable White Enamel cause it to dry slower than Enduro White Poly. Enduro White Poly is a spray finish, and Brushable White Enamel is brush, roll, or spray.  Professionals often pair the two by rolling the face frames with Brushable White Enamel and spraying Enduro White Poly. Brushable White Enamel is the perfect choice for homeowners and DIYers who want a professional finish, similar to White Poly, but don't have spray equipment.

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*Can Brushable White Enamel Be Tinted?

Yes, Brushable White Enamel can be tinted to a light neutral or pastel shade with a zero VOC UTC colorant. 

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*Can Brushable White Enamel Be Used Over an Existing Finish?

Brushable White Enamel can be applied to raw wood or existing finishes. When applying over an existing finish, be sure to prep your surface properly.

Learn how to properly prep existing finishes by watching this video.

The use of General Finishes Stain Blocker wood primer is recommended on both raw wood and existing finishes to prevent dye or stain bleed-through.

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Chalk Style Paint

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*How Do I Prevent Light Colored Paint from Yellowing When Applying Water Based Topcoat?

All bright white paint will yellow slightly with time, even without topcoat. You have probably tried to touch up white woodwork in your home after several years and noticed that the new paint is brighter.

But white and light paints can react if clear coated with a waterbased finish; water-based topcoats are reactive and may draw out substances in the wood such as tannins, dyes or unknown substances in existing finishes causing the topcoat to yellow. This is an industry-wide issue and can happen right away, years later or never.

There is no way to reliably predict yellowing ahead of time. Every existing finish is different and we rarely know the finishing provenance on a previously finished piece. Every tree is different; every piece of wood is unique. Wood can bleed tannins immediately after the topcoat dries or months later with a change in temperature that comes with a change in seasons. Oak, pine, mahogany, and Douglas Fir are particularly prone to bleed-through.

Throughout all of our testing, General Finishes water-based topcoats are clear drying over a non-reactive substrate such as plastic or metal but when applied to something as unpredictable as wood, it is best to play it safe.

To reduce the occurrence of yellowing, we formulated Stain Blocker, a chemical stain and tannin blocking primer, and Brushable White Enamel. But the safest route is no use of topcoat over whites and light paint. As all of our white pigmented paints are self-sealing and do not require a topcoat, we warn users as follows:

CAUTION: Do NOT use any water-based clear coat over bright whites such as GF Snow White Milk Paint, or GF White Poly as it may cause yellowing. Lighter-colored paints may alter slightly with a topcoat application, but the color shift is less noticeable. Any clear coat can become reactive over wood substrates or existing finishes, causing tannin or dye bleed-though regardless of priming. All of GF's white paints do NOT require a topcoat.

TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF AND PREVENTING YELLOWING

  1. Don't apply any clear coat when using light or white paints. Topcoat is perfectly fine over darker colors.
  2. Always prime white paint with a paint system: Gf recommends either 2 coats of Stain Blocker or White Undercoat.
    • Over raw wood: Apply two coats of Stain Blocker or Enduro White Undercoat, then 1-2 coats of Brushable White Enamel, White Poly (spray only), or Milk Paint.
    • Over an existing finish: Apply two coats of Stain Blocker, then 1-2 coats of Brushable White Enamel, White Poly (spray only), or Milk Paint. Always let any primer dry overnight. Many primers suggest a 3-hour dry time and that is not enough.
  3. We offer three types of self-sealing pigmented paint.
    • Milk Paint: A clear topcoat is not required on our Milk Paint for increased durability. It is a self-sealing, exterior rated coating with very high-performance properties. However, higher sheen topcoats provide a smoother surface that is easier to clean for high use projects such as tabletops and kitchen cabinets. Topcoat is fine for darker colors, but not for light or white Milk Paint. In those cases, use Brushable White Enamel (available in Satin or Semigloss) or spray our pigmented White Poly (available in Flat Satin or Semigloss.)
    • Enduro White Poly: Use a professional sprayable "white coat" such as our professional Enduro White Poly. It is a white paint with "increased topcoat properties", is a stand-alone finish when 3 coats are applied and does not require sealing with a topcoat.
    • Brushable White Enamel was developed as a stand-alone finish for those who want a bright white but do not use spray equipment.
  4. Use disclaimers in your contracts. Upcharge for the extra coats needed and never guarantee a white finish over a piece when the customer wants a topcoat. Here is a suggestion for your contracts: 

    Terms of Agreement and Warranties: ________ (Initials) I have been informed that more coats are required when painting with bright whites, reds, greens or yellows. I understand that white paint can yellow over time and water-based topcoats can react with the substrate or existing finish under white paints causing yellowing, even if a stain-blocking primer is used. I have been informed that topcoat over white or light paints should NOT be used.
  5. Always test your project's ENTIRE finishing schedule (from cleaning to topcoat) on an inside door or a more hidden area of the piece. This does not help if the yellowing occurs later but you will at least know if there is an immediate problem.
  6. If you are working on period pieces such as a 1940's serpentine mahogany desk which were often finished in stain containing aniline dyes that cast a pinkish bleed-through under light paint, stay away from light colors. Not every piece of furniture is suitable for up-cycling with a light paint color. Pine, Mahogany, and furniture of the 1940's and 50's are a red flag.
  7. Last, not all manufacturer's topcoats are compatible with other finishes and may react with a color change. Always follow best practices by not rushing, and testing to your satisfaction first.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHITE PAINT:

  • Bright white paints can yellow over time with or without topcoat. It is the nature of oxidation.
  • The underlying finish or wood species can affect the final color of light paint.
  • Details and inside corners are difficult to cover with any paint color, but this property tends to be more noticeable with whites. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon in paint application and does not necessarily constitute a defect in the paint finish or your technique.
  • The more porous the paint (chalk paint vs an acrylic paint), the more likely that yellowing will occur. The topcoat is actually seeping through the spaces caused by the larger particles of filler that give chalk style paints their texture.
  • Whites have a lower “hide” quality and are more transparent than other colors. Most bright whites require additional coats to achieve the desired color and minimize color variation. This can increase the cost of paint finishing. Always include a clause in your contracts addressing the need for additional coats to achieve coverage.

IF YOU ARE A PAINTING PROFESSIONAL, DO NOT CARRY THE COST OF WHITE PAINT YOURSELF

Include the cost of the increased labor for applying white paints with a fair, reasonable up-charge. White paints, even if they did not yellow, require more coats and high-quality primers to achieve coverage. See our video How to Achieve a Bright White Finish that Lasts for more information.

If your white cabinets have yellowed, we recommend prep cleaning and scuff sanding, applying a coat of General Finishes Stain Blocker primer, finish sand and re-coat with another coat of paint.

Watch "How to Get a Bright White Finish" to learn more.

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*Why Do Milk Paint and Chalk Style Paint Separate in the Can, Even After Stirring?*

The separation is a condition the paint industry calls "float." This is typical with specific colors, such as grays, because of the large variance in the gravities of the pigments required to create those colors. In gray, for instance, Ti02 (white) is 3.4 and black is 1.62. The lower density will float.

This phenomenon will not occur in colors with less variance in densities. Float is not unique to General Finishes products.

Always stir the paint well just BEFORE and DURING use. If there is any delay, the ingredients will start separating. If it is a large project, we recommend continuing to stir throughout use to keep color properties consistent.

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*How Can I Improve Coverage When Using White Paint on Furniture?*

A primer is your best defense under light-colored paint.

Another technique to avoid the slight color change that sometimes occurs when applying topcoat is to add 10-15% of the paint you are using to your topcoat. This technique layers additional coats of color over your piece as well as providing the protection of a topcoat. If you don't like measuring, just add enough paint until you can see a bit of the hue in the topcoat. This method works with a brush or a spray gun.

To maintain the full-strength protection of the topcoat, DO NOT TINT YOUR FINAL COAT of topcoat.

Remember, NEVER EVER paint an existing piece of furniture with a light paint without proper preparation AND a stain blocking primer. Topcoats can activate tannins in the wood, or dyes in the previous finish, causing yellow or pink bleed-through. We recommend General Finishes Stain Blocker, which has been developed specifically for upcycling furniture and has proven to be 100% effective when two coats are applied, or Zinsser BIN.

Here is a sample finishing schedule:

  1. Prep clean and sand
  2. Three coats of paint (or four if needed)
  3. Two coats of topcoat mixed with 10-15% paint
  4. One coat of topcoat

VIDEO: How to update or refinish cabinets and woodwork light paint color using a sprayer.

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*What is the Difference Between Latex and Acrylic Paint?

The word "latex" is often a misnomer and is used everywhere to differentiate a water-based product from an oil-based product. The same as the word “Kleenex” is used to describe any type of facial tissue, regardless of the brand.

Today, "latex" is the technical term for a suspension (U.S.) or emulsion (European) of microparticles in water.

Latex (a plant-based derivative) was never one of the early ingredients used as a binder, the material that holds all the ingredients together and imparts adhesion, in paint. Binders that are commonly used include synthetic or natural resins such as alkyds, acrylics, vinyl-acrylics, vinyl acetate/ethylene (VAE), polyurethanes, polyesters, melamine resins, epoxy, or oils. Acrylic paint is called that because an acrylic resin is used and not all resins are equal.

CAN I USE “LATEX” WALL PAINT FOR FURNITURE?

Yes, you can. You should differentiate between the “standard” wall paints and the “performance” wall paints, such as Advance by Ben Moore.

The problem with “standard" wall paints is performance. The majority of latex wall paints are designed and engineered for a different purpose: and that is to have great coverage…..on a wall.

Walls simply don’t have the wear and tear that other horizontal surfaces do, so wall paints are manufactured with fewer resins and more of the cost competitive fillers. This helps keep the cost down, which makes sense. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 100% ACRYLIC WALL PAINT AND 100% ACRYLIC FURNITURE PAINT?

The first is the quality of the resin.

There are thousands on the market and they are not all equal. Resins affect cure time. The newer, performance wall paints, such as Benjamin Moore’s Advance, needs almost 20-30 days to FULLY cure for physical use in lab tests, but on a wall that does not matter - folks don’t walk on walls.

Furniture and cabinet finishers need a faster cure time. Furniture and cabinets may need to be stacked, packaged or used fairly immediately, so the resins are selected are based on cure time properties.

The second difference is the amount of filler used.

Both wall paints and furniture paints may use 100% Acrylic as the resin. Most interior house paints tend to be a combination of a binder, which is more expensive, (such as latex, acrylic, vinyl, vinyl acrylic, and others), a whole bunch of less expensive fillers such as calcium carbonate or talc, some pigment for color and water. The fillers in wall paint give it great coverage and allow the paint to be manufactured at a lower price point, but sacrifice durability and performance. Imagine wall paint as a can filled with 50% filler powder, some pigment colors, a little binder and then topped off with water. The higher end wall paints are a step up and improve this ratio but still tend to be less durable.

By comparison, a furniture paint may contain 30% filler powder, more binders and higher quality resins, pigments for color, and water. Chalk style furniture paints also have more filler powder than acrylic paints. That is why our Milk Paint is more durable than the average chalk style paint- the ratio of filler.

In summary, acrylic paints for furniture contain a higher ratio of resin to filler and superior resins.

High-quality acrylic resins give furniture paint the properties needed in the final finish: adhesion, hardness, flexibility (expansion and contraction with temperature changes in outdoor applications), good scrub resistance and superior color. These paints excel when it comes to flow, leveling and easy brushing. And these paints cure for use and recoating faster.

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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

Related Categories


Dye Stains (Water Based)

Return

*How Do I Correct Color Lift when Applying High Performance Over GF Water Based Dye Stain?

It is normal to see a bit of stain on the brush when applying the first coat of topcoat. Topcoats often pull a bit of color on the first pass, but good preparation will minimize this.

To prepare open grains woods such as raw Oak for a water-based stain, we recommend sanding with 180-grit followed by no more than 220-grit sandpaper.

300-grit or 400-grit sandpaper is too fine for preparing raw wood. Too fine of a grit changes the wood from a porous surface to one that is too smooth to absorb the stain, which causes the first top coat application to pull excessive color (it is like trying to apply stain to glass).

There is always a small amount of color pull when using water-based stains, but the smooth surface escalates this condition. This was evident in the areas that you used the brush to remove excess topcoat.

See recommended sanding schedules here.

Instructional Video: How to Prep Sand New or Raw Wood

Here are some options to try. Always test a small area before proceeding with your entire project.

  1. TONING: Lightly sand the light areas with a 220-grit sanding foam pad to open up the pores of the wood.
    Create a toning mix of 10-20% Dye Stain to 80-90% topcoat. Using a small brush, apply this mix over the light areas to blend with the darker areas.
    Let this dry 3-4 hours. Then apply another coat of the mix over the entire surface. If this is successful, then apply 2-3 coats of the topcoat.
  2. GLAZING: Glaze the light areas. This will change the look of your doors but is an easier remedy.
  3. START OVER: Optimally, you should sand down to bare wood and start over with this prep sanding schedule indicated able.
    You can apply the Dye Stain directly to the wood, or mix in 10% topcoat to help lock in the color.

Related Categories


Does adding Dye Stain Reducer to Dye Stain lighten the color?

Yes, one of its uses is to dilute dye stain colors. Dye Stain reducer is the clear base the we use when manufacturing our dye stains. We make the reducer first, then add the dye color.

It is easy to make your own custom color Dye Stain by adding in 10% increments until you achieve the color you want. It is not possible to mix too much of our dye stain or reducer together.

Additionally, General Finishes Water Based Stains can be mixed into the reducer, which will lighten the color and thin the viscosity so it will penetrate deeper into the wood.

You can also mix other manufacturers dyes such as TransTint dye concentrate, sold in many wood working stores.

We do not recommend using water to lighten dye stain. Reducer has ingredients to help keep color molecules dispersed evenly in the can.

Related Categories


*Why or When Should I Use a Dye Stain?*

There are several reasons to choose Dye Stain. Here are a few.

  1. Use dye stain when you have beautiful wood grain, pattern or burl and you want to show it off! GF Dye Stains are like ink and penetrate deep into the wood grain, revealing the figure of the wood with beautiful transparency.
  2. They are a great way to layer and intensify color. We often use a yellow or amber dye stain under another type of darker stain, such as Yellow Dye Stain under Java Gel Stain. The combined colors create a lovely depth and glow.
  3. Dye stains create a brilliantly colored project while maintaining the look of the wood. They come in a range of colors from traditional wood tones to brilliant primaries and can be applied to raw wood or combined with clear coats to make a toner.

Look at this piece that Jilian Moncada of ReFind Design by Coco Clare shared. When Jilian discovered this elegant burled wood under the old finish, she wrote and asked what to use - we recommended dye stain and just look at her result!

We do not recommend the use of a wood pre-conditioner with dye stains. It is a matter of personal preference, but conditioners diminish color saturation, defeating the purpose of dye stains.

GRAIN RAISE: Water-based dye stains pop the wood grain more than solvent-based versions, but like all water-based stain products, it will raise the grain of the wood a bit. You can reduce this effect by raising the grain before applying dye stain. First, dampen the sanded surface with a cloth moistened with distilled water (tap water can contain minerals that may affect the finish). Let the surface dry and then sand lightly with the grain using 220-grit sandpaper. Never over-sand before applying any stain, as you may seal the surface so much that stain will not be able to properly penetrate. Alternatively, grain raise can easily be knocked down when finish sanding the first layer of topcoat.

CAUTION: Test the color in a hidden area before you begin your project. Once you use a Dye Stain, that is the color you are going to get. Apply liberally and evenly with a foam applicator and wipe off any excess immediately. There won't be much to wipe away; it penetrates fast.

Please share your completed Dye Stain projects on our Facebook page and in our Design Center.

Related Categories


Can I adjust the color of my Dye Stain?

Yes, there are a couple of ways. Dye Stain Reducer is the clear base that we use when manufacturing General Finishes Dye Stains. The Reducer is made first, then the dye color is added.

It is easy to make your own custom color Dye Stain by adding in 10% increments of Dye Stain color to Reducer until you achieve the color you want. It is not possible to mix too much of our Dye Stain and Reducer together.

Additionally, General Finishes Water Based Wood Stains can be mixed into the Reducer, which will lighten the color and thin the viscosity so it will penetrate deeper into the wood.

You can also mix other manufacturers dyes such as TransTint dye concentrate, sold in many wood working stores.

Note: We do NOT RECOMMEND using water to lighten dye stain. Reducer has ingredients to help keep color molecules dispersed evenly in the can.

Related Categories


What Finishes & Coatings does General Finishes Offer for Retailers, Homeowners and DIY??

General Finishes offers water, oil, and maintenance finishes that meet the needs of homeowners, woodworkers, and DIY’ers. Comprehensive videos are available for each product on YouTube, plus dynamic comparison charts at GeneralFinishes.com/COMPARE.

All General Finishes water-based finishes are:

  • VOC compliant in all 50 states
  • Water cleanup 
  • Low odor
  • Non-flammable
INTERIOR PRIMERS

Water Based Stain Blocker is:

  • An epoxy acrylic formulation.
  • Prevents tannin bleed-through & discoloration.
  • Has high build with excellent adhesion properties.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
WATER-BASED TOPCOATS & PIGMENTED FINISHES

High Performance Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An Interior polyurethane/acrylic blend.
  • Clear drying.
  • highly resistant to water and household chemicals.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Flat Out Flat Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior acrylic formulation.
  • Clear drying.
  • provides an extremely flat finish with high durability.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Enduro-Var II Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior oil-modified water-based urethane.
  • Dries to a light, amber tone.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Is made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Is available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Water-Based Glaze Effects is:

  • An interior oxidating acrylic formula.
  • Available in 6 colors, including a Clear Base.
  • Is a decorative specialty finish.
  • Can be intermixed to create custom colors.
  • It requires a topcoat
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer

Pro Image Water-Based Flooring Topcoat is:

  • An interior polyurethane.
  • Clear drying.
  • Levels to a smooth, hard, durable finish.
  • Provides excellent slip and black heel mark resistance.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or pad applicator.
INTERIOR WATER-BASED STAINS

Water-Based Wood Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • It’s available in 18 deep brilliant colors.
  • And provides universal coverage on many wood species.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Used to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And to reduce Water Based Wood Stains.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Dye Stain is:

  • A penetrating stain with ink-like consistency.
  • It is available in 14 vibrant colors.
  • And can be used as a toner.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer or wiping on.

Water-Based Dye Stain Reducer is:

  • The clear base used to reduce Dye Stain colors.
WATER & OIL EXTERIOR FINISHES

Exterior 450 Clear Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • A polyurethane formulation.
  • Tintable to dark colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & Mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Clear drying.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

 450 White Water-Based Topcoat is: 

  • A pigmented polyurethane formulation.
  • Is tintable to light and pastel colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Exterior 450 Water-Based Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 10 colors, including a clear base.
  • Contains U.V. absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium Interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.

Outdoor Oil is:

  • A penetrating oil wood preservative.
  • Contains UV absorbers and mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • This finish will amber as it ages.
  • A maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.
INTERIOR OIL STAINS & AMBERING TOPCOATS

Gel Satin Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip oil and urethane formula.
  • Designed to provide a hand-rubbed look.
  • Will amber as it ages.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Gel Oil-Based Stain is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip formula.
  • Available in 14 deep, rich, uniform colors.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or wipe on.

 Arm-R-Seal Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A penetrating sealer with a high-quality urethane formulation.
  • It provides long-lasting, durable protection.
  • and works beautifully on projects with detail.
  • This finish will amber as it ages
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Liquid Oil-Based Wood Stain is:

  • a traditional, pigmented liquid wiping stain
  • Available in 14 colors
  • Can be used as a toner with Arm-R-Seal
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Designed to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And penetrates the grain to promote uniform acceptance of oil stains.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Seal-A-Cell Clear is:

  • Formulated with a blend of oils, urethanes, and wax.
  • Is GF’s deepest penetrating close-to-the-wood sealer.
  • And the best choice for highlighting figured wood.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Hard Wax Oil is:

  • A urethane-solids polymer in a blend of oil & wax.
  • Enhances the natural look of wood.
  • One of our easiest finishes to use.
  • It’s best used with optional GF Hardener to shorten dry time and provide superior durability.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a white pad or plastic spreader.

 Oil Based Wood Bowl Finish is:

  • A pure urethane formulation.
  • Highlights figured wood beautifully
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.
INTERIOR MAINTENANCE PRODUCTS

Butcher Block Oil is:

  • A mineral oil formulation.
  • Meets all requirements for use on wooden surfaces that come in contact with food.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a cloth.

Orange Oil is:

  • A routine cleaner for cured wood finishes
  • Non-combustible with a fresh orange scent
  • Apply with a cloth

Satin Finishing Wax is:

  • A blend of waxes.
  • Produces a soft sheen and feel over any wood finish.
  • Can be used as a polish for rubbing out new finishes OR as a scratch-remover.
  • Apply with a cloth.

No matter what your project is, General Finishes has the right product for you. General Finishes is dedicated to using the highest-quality ingredients in all our products, while testing and advancing our water-based finishes with leading-edge technology.

Learn more about GF’s products at Generalfinishes.com. 

General Finishes: We make tomorrow's finishes today.

 

Related Categories


Enduro Tintable 2K Clear Poly

Return

Which Topcoat Should I Choose?

General Finishes offers a complete coatings system with a finish for every objective.

General Finishes Professional, Industrial, and OEM Water-Based Topcoats

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Enduro Professional 1K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 1K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series White Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pre-Cat Lacquer

General Finishes Retail Water-Based Topcoats:

  • High Performance Topcoat
  • Flat Out Flat
  • Enduro-Var II Topcoat
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Exterior Water-Based Topcoats:

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Oil-Based Topcoats

  • Arm-R-Seal 
  • Gel Satin Topcoat
  • Wood Bowl Finish
  • Butcher Block Oil
  • Outdoor Oil

GENERAL PRACTICE:

  1. Oil-based topcoats and ENDURO-VAR II will amber over time.
  2. All other water-based and High Performance top coats dry clear.
  3. Never use any water-based topcoat with long oils such as Danish, Tung or Linseed.
  4. Water-based top coats clean up with soap and water. Oil-based topcoats require mineral spirits for cleanup.
  5. If you use water-based topcoats over oil-based finishes, make sure that you wait 72 hours between the two products. It is essential to let the oil finish dry longer.
  6. For more complex projects with many details and corners or large surface areas such as cabinets, we recommend either ARM-R-SEAL liquid oil-based topcoats or water-based topcoats. Large surfaces such as cabinets or tables and complex projects with lots of detail are easier to cover with a liquid topcoat rather than a GEL SATIN topcoat.
  7. Enduro Professional Topcoats are thinner and intended to be sprayed
  8. HIGH PERFORMANCE can be brushed or sprayed. It can be thinned by adding 5-10% distilled water if needed. 

Compare all topcoats

Related Categories


What makes 2K Professional-Industrial-OEM coatings really perform?

Photo of Tintable-2K-dark-color-Under IR

Photo of Enduro Tintable 2K Clear and 2K White Poly

A high-performance 2K coating has a base specifically formulated to be catalyzed with Isocyanates to crosslink the polymer fully. This catalyst provides superior performance over 1 K coatings that have been hardened with PolyAzuradine or Carbodiiamide. To create Enduro Tintable 2K; General Finishes tested over 30 polymers, resins, and other ingredients sourced from around the world. These new coatings are engineered to prevent the biggest frustrations for today's professional, industrial and OEM users providing ultimate durability for interior/exterior use. General Finishes goes hard for great chemistry, so you don't have to worry when your clients are tough on the paint. Paired with Tintable 2K Clear Poly, you have a dynamic duo of 2 component finishes, the most durable interior/exterior coatings General Finishes has ever created. You can apply confidently, knowing that you are giving your customer the best the industry offers. Perfect for new or remodeled cabinets, furniture, woodwork, pre-primed steel, fiberglass, and exterior projects. Made in the U.S.A.

KEY FEATURES

  1. Ease of application. Whether in a shop or on-site, Enduro 2K is designed to flow and level for Professionals/Industrial users that apply with AAA, HVLP, Airless, or flatline systems.

  2. Tintable to any major manufacturer's color deck. Enduro 2K hits the deepest darks, the bright whites, and everything in between. General Finishes recommends ColourFal Zero colorants.

  3. Higher gloss standards for white and clear, with 90+ degrees on a 60-degree angle.

  4. Fast production time: You can spray 3-4 coats of Enduro 2K and sand in between coats in one day. Enduro 2K cures for use in 5 days.

  5. Fast film build: Enduro 2K'S are engineered with a combo of larger and smaller-sized resin particles, which, when combined with the catalyst, allows for a thicker, quicker film build than any 1K. It provides a better vertical hang when spraying built-in surfaces on-site, with fewer drips or sags.

  6. Water and chemical resistance: Combining our new resin with catalyzation allows Enduro 2K to hit a commercial level of water and chemical resistance that *exceeds industry requirements and guidelines”. This is the perfect coating to stand the test of time on Wisconsin bar tops.

  7. Excellent adhesion properties on properly cleaned and prepped wood, plastics, fiberglass, and pre-rimed steel. (It Sticks).

  8. Exterior use: This new finish has an unusual balance of durability and flexibility, making it the professional’s choice for outdoor projects such as doors, benches, furniture, and tables. Do not use on deck surfaces.

  9. Consistency. General Finishes prides itself on superior quality control to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations.

Available in Flat, Satin, Semi-gloss, and Gloss

Related Categories


Which General Finishes Coatings are suitable for OEM applications?

General Finishes Enduro Professional OEM Coatings

Enduro Tintable 2K Poly by General Finishes

Photo of Tintable 2K Poly under IR Light

General Finishes industrial/professional Enduro Water-based Tintable 2K coatings are ideally qualified for OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) production, which requires functional properties that are essential to the performance and durability of industrial, transportation, and durable consumer products. In addition to our line of stock Enduro finishes, General Finishes can custom-make coatings for your specific OEM objectives.

If you have interest, inquire here to be contacted by a rep: We currently provide coatings and finishes for the following markets:

  • Wood Flooring
  • Kitchen Cabinets
  • Windows, Doors, and Millwork
  • Furniture
  • Specialty Wood Applications
  • Windows, Doors, and Millwork
  • Pre-primed Steel, Plastics, and Fiber Glass

General Finishes offers 6 stock water-based coatings in the OEM market space:

  1. Enduro Tintable 2K White Poly
  2. Enduro Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  3. Enduro 2K Conversion Varnish
  4. Enduro Clear 1K Poly
  5. Enduro Pre-Cat Lacquer
  6. Enduro RTM Stains

Our newest addition, Enduro Tintable 2K White Poly and Tintable 2K Clear Poly, offers the following features and functionality:

  1. Ease of application. Whether you’re in a shop or on-site, Enduro 2K was designed to flow and level for users applying with AAA, HVLP, Airless, or flatline systems.
  2. Tintable to any major manufacturer's color deck. Enduro 2k hits the deepest darks, the bright whites, and everything in between.
  3. Higher gloss standards for white and clear, with 90+ degrees on a 60-degree angle.
  4. Fast production time: You can spray 3-4 coats of Enduro 2K and sand in between coats in one day. Enduro 2K cures in 5 days.
  5. Fast film build: Enduro 2k is engineered with a combo of larger and smaller-sized resin particles, which, when combined with the catalyst, allows for a thicker, quicker film build than any 1k. It provides a better vertical hang when spraying built-in surfaces on-site, with fewer drips or sags.
  6. Water and chemical resistance: Combining our new resin with catalyzation allows Enduro 2k to hit a commercial level of water and chemical resistance that *exceeds industry requirements and guidelines”. This is the perfect coating to stand the test of time on high-use projects.
  7. Excellent adhesion properties on properly cleaned and prepped wood, plastics, fiberglass, and Pre-Primed steel. (It Sticks).
  8. Exterior use: This new finish has an unusual balance of durability and flexibility, making it the choice for outdoor projects such as doors, benches, furniture, and tables. Do not use on deck surfaces.
  9. Consistency. General Finishes prides itself on superior quality control to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations.

Available in Flat, Satin, Semi-gloss, and Gloss

Related Categories


Enduro Tintable 2K White Poly

Return

What makes 2K Professional-Industrial-OEM coatings really perform?

Photo of Tintable-2K-dark-color-Under IR

Photo of Enduro Tintable 2K Clear and 2K White Poly

A high-performance 2K coating has a base specifically formulated to be catalyzed with Isocyanates to crosslink the polymer fully. This catalyst provides superior performance over 1 K coatings that have been hardened with PolyAzuradine or Carbodiiamide. To create Enduro Tintable 2K; General Finishes tested over 30 polymers, resins, and other ingredients sourced from around the world. These new coatings are engineered to prevent the biggest frustrations for today's professional, industrial and OEM users providing ultimate durability for interior/exterior use. General Finishes goes hard for great chemistry, so you don't have to worry when your clients are tough on the paint. Paired with Tintable 2K Clear Poly, you have a dynamic duo of 2 component finishes, the most durable interior/exterior coatings General Finishes has ever created. You can apply confidently, knowing that you are giving your customer the best the industry offers. Perfect for new or remodeled cabinets, furniture, woodwork, pre-primed steel, fiberglass, and exterior projects. Made in the U.S.A.

KEY FEATURES

  1. Ease of application. Whether in a shop or on-site, Enduro 2K is designed to flow and level for Professionals/Industrial users that apply with AAA, HVLP, Airless, or flatline systems.

  2. Tintable to any major manufacturer's color deck. Enduro 2K hits the deepest darks, the bright whites, and everything in between. General Finishes recommends ColourFal Zero colorants.

  3. Higher gloss standards for white and clear, with 90+ degrees on a 60-degree angle.

  4. Fast production time: You can spray 3-4 coats of Enduro 2K and sand in between coats in one day. Enduro 2K cures for use in 5 days.

  5. Fast film build: Enduro 2K'S are engineered with a combo of larger and smaller-sized resin particles, which, when combined with the catalyst, allows for a thicker, quicker film build than any 1K. It provides a better vertical hang when spraying built-in surfaces on-site, with fewer drips or sags.

  6. Water and chemical resistance: Combining our new resin with catalyzation allows Enduro 2K to hit a commercial level of water and chemical resistance that *exceeds industry requirements and guidelines”. This is the perfect coating to stand the test of time on Wisconsin bar tops.

  7. Excellent adhesion properties on properly cleaned and prepped wood, plastics, fiberglass, and pre-rimed steel. (It Sticks).

  8. Exterior use: This new finish has an unusual balance of durability and flexibility, making it the professional’s choice for outdoor projects such as doors, benches, furniture, and tables. Do not use on deck surfaces.

  9. Consistency. General Finishes prides itself on superior quality control to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations.

Available in Flat, Satin, Semi-gloss, and Gloss

Related Categories


Which General Finishes Coatings are suitable for OEM applications?

General Finishes Enduro Professional OEM Coatings

Enduro Tintable 2K Poly by General Finishes

Photo of Tintable 2K Poly under IR Light

General Finishes industrial/professional Enduro Water-based Tintable 2K coatings are ideally qualified for OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) production, which requires functional properties that are essential to the performance and durability of industrial, transportation, and durable consumer products. In addition to our line of stock Enduro finishes, General Finishes can custom-make coatings for your specific OEM objectives.

If you have interest, inquire here to be contacted by a rep: We currently provide coatings and finishes for the following markets:

  • Wood Flooring
  • Kitchen Cabinets
  • Windows, Doors, and Millwork
  • Furniture
  • Specialty Wood Applications
  • Windows, Doors, and Millwork
  • Pre-primed Steel, Plastics, and Fiber Glass

General Finishes offers 6 stock water-based coatings in the OEM market space:

  1. Enduro Tintable 2K White Poly
  2. Enduro Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  3. Enduro 2K Conversion Varnish
  4. Enduro Clear 1K Poly
  5. Enduro Pre-Cat Lacquer
  6. Enduro RTM Stains

Our newest addition, Enduro Tintable 2K White Poly and Tintable 2K Clear Poly, offers the following features and functionality:

  1. Ease of application. Whether you’re in a shop or on-site, Enduro 2K was designed to flow and level for users applying with AAA, HVLP, Airless, or flatline systems.
  2. Tintable to any major manufacturer's color deck. Enduro 2k hits the deepest darks, the bright whites, and everything in between.
  3. Higher gloss standards for white and clear, with 90+ degrees on a 60-degree angle.
  4. Fast production time: You can spray 3-4 coats of Enduro 2K and sand in between coats in one day. Enduro 2K cures in 5 days.
  5. Fast film build: Enduro 2k is engineered with a combo of larger and smaller-sized resin particles, which, when combined with the catalyst, allows for a thicker, quicker film build than any 1k. It provides a better vertical hang when spraying built-in surfaces on-site, with fewer drips or sags.
  6. Water and chemical resistance: Combining our new resin with catalyzation allows Enduro 2k to hit a commercial level of water and chemical resistance that *exceeds industry requirements and guidelines”. This is the perfect coating to stand the test of time on high-use projects.
  7. Excellent adhesion properties on properly cleaned and prepped wood, plastics, fiberglass, and Pre-Primed steel. (It Sticks).
  8. Exterior use: This new finish has an unusual balance of durability and flexibility, making it the choice for outdoor projects such as doors, benches, furniture, and tables. Do not use on deck surfaces.
  9. Consistency. General Finishes prides itself on superior quality control to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations.

Available in Flat, Satin, Semi-gloss, and Gloss

Related Categories


Enduro 1K Clear Poly

Return

Which Topcoat Should I Choose?

General Finishes offers a complete coatings system with a finish for every objective.

General Finishes Professional, Industrial, and OEM Water-Based Topcoats

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Enduro Professional 1K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 1K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series White Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pre-Cat Lacquer

General Finishes Retail Water-Based Topcoats:

  • High Performance Topcoat
  • Flat Out Flat
  • Enduro-Var II Topcoat
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Exterior Water-Based Topcoats:

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Oil-Based Topcoats

  • Arm-R-Seal 
  • Gel Satin Topcoat
  • Wood Bowl Finish
  • Butcher Block Oil
  • Outdoor Oil

GENERAL PRACTICE:

  1. Oil-based topcoats and ENDURO-VAR II will amber over time.
  2. All other water-based and High Performance top coats dry clear.
  3. Never use any water-based topcoat with long oils such as Danish, Tung or Linseed.
  4. Water-based top coats clean up with soap and water. Oil-based topcoats require mineral spirits for cleanup.
  5. If you use water-based topcoats over oil-based finishes, make sure that you wait 72 hours between the two products. It is essential to let the oil finish dry longer.
  6. For more complex projects with many details and corners or large surface areas such as cabinets, we recommend either ARM-R-SEAL liquid oil-based topcoats or water-based topcoats. Large surfaces such as cabinets or tables and complex projects with lots of detail are easier to cover with a liquid topcoat rather than a GEL SATIN topcoat.
  7. Enduro Professional Topcoats are thinner and intended to be sprayed
  8. HIGH PERFORMANCE can be brushed or sprayed. It can be thinned by adding 5-10% distilled water if needed. 

Compare all topcoats

Related Categories


What is the difference between professional Enduro Clear Poly and High Performance Topcoat?

Enduro Clear Poly is designed for professionals that routinely spray their finishes. High Performance is formulated for the retail market so it can be sprayed or hand applied.

  • Enduro Clear Poly is slightly more durable than High Performance in the categories of wear, water, and chemical resistance.
  • Even though Enduro Clear poly is more durable and more water resistant than High Performance, High Performance is extremely durable and also recommended for high-use surfaces like kitchen cabinets and table tops.
  • Both products can be sprayed.
  • High Performance can also be applied by hand with a foam/bristle brush.
  • Clear Poly and High Performance are both Urethane/Acrylic blends.
  • High Performance is sold in Pints, Quarts & Gallons by GF Retailers, Clear Poly is Gallon, 5-gallon pails and 55-gallon drums by GF Distributors. Cost is determined by Retailer/Distributor.

Compare all General Finishes Topcoats in our comparison chart.

Related Categories


How Do General Finishes Water Based Topcoats Differ?

GF recommends using the least expensive product that will provide the needed performance characteristics. We offer a range of products designed for professional spray applications and brush-on finishes for consumer use.

Compare all GF Topcoats Here

Watch Video: Comparison of All GF Water Based Finishes Here

PROFESSIONAL TOPCOATS

ENDURO PRE CAT LACQUER (Spray only)

Looking for hardness, clarity and fast stack time? Pre Cat Lacquer is the choice. Use in applications where there is little risk of chemical contamination issues from substances such as ketchup, soap, chemical cleaners, or ammonia. This is the perfect spray finish for interior doors, casing, moldings, door jambs and furniture that receives light use. When you think about it, interior doors don't take a lot of wear. You might wipe them down or dust them once in a while but that is about it. PreCat Lacquer is a hard finish that provides excellent build and superior clarity at a phenomenal price point. If you are not finishing a surface such as a tabletop where you anticipate chemical contamination during use, why pay for a more expensive finish?

Dries clear.

Watch Pre Cat Lacquer Product Overview Video Here

ENDURO CLEAR POLY (Spray only)

Poly is the go-to cabinet finish. It has all the durability you need at a lower price point than Conversion Varnish. It is similar to High Performance in test measurements for chemical, water and wear resistance, but HP can be brushed and Clear Poly can't - it is already thinned for spraying. Clear Poly has a bit of an edge over High Performance in overall chemical resistance, a 98 rating vs 92.

Dries clear.

Watch Clear Poly product overview video here

ENDURO CONVERSION VARNISH (2K-Spray only)

This is our top of the line. Conversion Varnish is a post catalyzed high solids, two component urethane formulated for professionals who need the highest level of durability and chemical resistance. Varnish will cure the fastest. Requires NCO Catalyst. It is recommended for commercial applications or extremely high-wear surfaces such as countertops and bar tops

Dries clear.

Watch Conversion Varnish Product Overview Video Here

RETAIL TOPCOATS

HIGH PERFORMANCE (Brush or Spray)

GF's best performing brush on finish with very similar performance testing as our Poly. (High Performance can be thinned for spraying).

Dries clear.

Watch High Performance Product Overview Video Here

FLAT OUT FLAT (Brush or Spray)

Flat Out Flat is formulated with a self cross-linking acrylic, and is designed to mimic the look and feel of a wax finish. Because of the increased matting agents used to create the "Flat look", this finish will have less clarity. Like wax, it dries softer to the touch than High Performance when completely cured, and will show more fingerprints. FOF finish will mark up more easily because of increased matting agents used to reduce the sheen, so it is not recommended for high-use tabletops.

Dries clear.

Watch Flat Out Flat Product Overview Video Here

BOTH PROFESSIONAL AND RETAIL TOPCOATS

ENDURO-VAR (Spray or brush)

Enduro-Var is an oil modified water-based alternative for customers that want the warm look of an oil finish in a water based coating. It looks more like an oil finish than a water coating, and can be sprayed or brushed. The original Enduro-Var adheres well ONLY over WATER STAINS, DYE STAINS, and RAW WOOD. Use over other finishes at your own risk. The new formula of Enduro-Var II is compatible with all GF products and dries to a lighter amber than the previous formula.

Dries Amber

Watch Enduro-Var II Product Overview Video Here

EXTERIOR 45O TOPCOAT

Exterior 450 provides a clear drying tough, protective finish that will withstand the rigors of the sun, rain, and wind. It is suitable for vertical surfaces such as fences, patio furniture, garage doors, entrance doors, outdoor kitchens and interior windows. It is not recommended as a deck finish. Fortified with UV absorbers to stabilize the finish, Exterior 450's built-in mildewcide retards mold and mildew growth.

Dries Clear

Watch Exterior 450 Topcoat Overview Video Here

Related Categories


*How Do I Spray Water Based Finishes?

Spray Tip Guidelines from General Finishes
Click the image to download a PDF of this chart

General Finishes water-based products can be sprayed through compressed air, HVLP, airless or C.A.S. units.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF 

SURFACE PREPARATION:

All surfaces should be clean and free from dirt and oil and sanded.

Indicated below are instructional videos we have for preparing a surface for a new coat of paint or finish:

SPRAY APPLICATION OF GENERAL FINISHES WATER-BASED FINISHES:

All General Finishes water-based topcoats and wood stains are ready to spray from the container without additives with the exception of Conversion Varnish. Always strain material through a medium to fine mesh filter before spraying. If necessary, in hot or dry climates, reduce 10 to 15% with General Finishes Extender to extend the open time.

PRE SEALING:

Softwoods such as Pine absorb stain at an uneven rate and may respond better to staining if the wood is pre-sealed. General Finishes Pre-Stain Conditioner Natural can be applied to raw wood to condition the surface for uniform penetration of the stain. Pre-sealing will cause the final stain to be lighter so you may need to use a darker color. Always test your color on a hidden part of the furniture. Allow the Pre-Stain Conditioner to dry 30 minutes before applying your final stain color.

If you are using a sprayer that has been used for oil-based or lacquers, clean the unit thoroughly with acetone followed with hot water to purge the fluid passage. Apply a thin coat first that will dry and harden faster. Sand this first coat down to a smooth base on which to build your finish coats with a 220-320 grade foam sanding pad or #400-grit sandpaper. It is better to spray 2 thin coats rather than 1 heavy coat.

Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment. GF's general recommended fluid tips for Wood Stains and Top Coats are Compressed air - .040 and Airless - .009.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF

This PDF lists general guidelines for several different types of sprayers with specific General Finishes product recommendations for HVLP listed below.

RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR GENERAL FINISHES PRODUCTS USING HVLP:

  • Milk Paint: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Brushable White Enamel 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Stain Blocker: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Pearl Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Glaze Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • High-Performance Topcoat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Flat Out Flat Top Coat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro-Var 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Wood Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Dye Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Topcoat:1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Sanding Sealer: 1.3-1.4mm
  • Enduro White Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro Black Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro White Under Coat 1.5mm-1.8mm
  • Enduro Clear Poly: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Pre Cat Lacquer: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Conversion Varnish: 1.1mm-1.3mm

Air caps should be medium size. Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment.

Break your work into sections such as dresser top or drawer fronts. Spraying too large of an area can result in a textured grainy surface. A correctly sprayed finish should appear even and glossy. It is important to spray enough material to allow proper flow and leveling of the finish.

Spray medium wet films at 3-5 wet ml thickness. Practice makes perfect. If you have never sprayed finishes before, take a large piece of cardboard and practice your technique first. Spray water on the cardboard to learn how the gun works. Check your fluid settings and adjust the controls to get comfortable with the spray angles and to develop your technique.

SPRAYING TOPCOATS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. For topcoats, overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines.

Watch our video how to spray water-based topcoats here.

SPRAYING WATER BASED WOOD STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage and wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

SPRAYING WATER BASED DYE STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage. If coverage is even, there is no need to wipe. If you have issues with uneven coverage, wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

Related Categories


*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

Related Categories


What makes GF's Dead Flat sheens different?

 

General Finishes Water Based Topcoat High Performance Dead FlatGeneral Finishes Water Based Topcoat Enduro Clear Poly Dead Flat

Until now, Matte sheens always came with a compromise in durability. Consumers have been asking for an ultra-flat topcoat that is as durable as our other sheens, and we are finally able to deliver!

Thanks to brand new patented polymer technology, we are now able to create a Matte sheen without waxes and matting agents that decrease durability.

Defining Durability
All of our testing shows High Performance Dead Flat is as durable as High Performance Satin, which is a drastic improvement over Flat Out Flat topcoat.

Flat: (degree sheen)
Flat Out Flat: <5
High Performance Dead Flat: <5

Water Resistance: (max 5)
Flat Out Flat: 2
High Performance, Dead Flat: 4

Chemical Resistance: (0-100)
Flat Out Flat: 82
High Performance, Dead Flat: 92

Scratch Resistance and Marring:
Scratch Resistance is strong with both products.
Marring is better than Flat Out Flat and comparable to the Satin and Flat.

High Performance vs. Clear Poly
The main differentiator between these products is that Clear Poly is a spray-only product and High Performance can be applied with a brush or sprayed. Clear Poly is popular among high production contractors but both products produce professional results.

Upgraded Features

  • Patented self-matting polyurethane
  • Uses renewable resources, with no Prop 65 chemicals
  • Meets KCMA standards
  • VOC compliant nationwide

Warning: Do Not Mix!
Topcoat with a Dead Flat sheen CAN NOT be mixed with another sheen because a completely different polymer is used and the combined formulas will not perform well as one.

Leaders in Water-Based Finishing Innovation
General Finishes actively works to improve our products on an ongoing basis. As new finishing technology is released, we test and experiment to stay on the leading edge. Our chemist travels around the world and is sent new ingredients when they are discovered on a regular basis. We are one of the rare companies capable of incorporating new innovations and ingredients into our products, no expense spared, because of our dedication to staying on the leading edge and providing the highest quality product on the market. 

Ordering soon?
High Performance Dead Flat is available in pints, quarts and gallons. Clear Poly Dead Flat is available in gallons. 5-gallon pails may be delayed due to label production and Canadian labels are pending translations.

Related Categories


Can the Dead Flat sheen of Enduro Clear Poly be tinted?

 

Yes! Enduro Clear Poly in Dead Flat can be tinted in the same way as other sheens. The color may be softer, but it can be done. 

As always, we recommend that you test on a hidden area of your project or a test board to make sure you are happy with the result before starting your project.

Related Categories


How do you maintain clarity of a Dead Flat sheen over dark colors?

Traditionally, flat topcoats were created by adding matting agents to gloss topcoat. These agents decreased the durability of the topcoat and produced a slight haze that reduced the vibrancy of an underlying stain or paint. 

Using newly patented polymer resin technology, matting agents are no longer required.  Our new Dead Flat topcoats produce a brilliant clear finish while providing significant improvements to chemical, water and mar resistance.

The new Dead Flat Matte sheen formula is available in the High Performance and Clear Poly lines. You can now achieve the look of our original Flat Out Flat while maintaining clarity and GF's high performance standards.

Related Categories


What is the best, most durable paint for cabinets? Check out Water-Based Tintable 2K Clear and White Poly

Enduro 2K Tintable 2K White and 2K Clear Poly

Enduro tintable 2K Clear poly drying under IR

Superior water-based Enduro Tintable 2K Polys made in Wisconsin for professional, industrial, and OEM users. We hope you try it out; you’ll like it.

The term 2K references a product that is a 2-component polyurethane specifically catalyzed with Isocyanate to crosslink the polymer fully, which provides superior performance 1K coatings hardened PolyAzuradine or Carbodiiamide. To create Enduro Tintable 2K, General Finishes tested over 30 polymers, resins, and other ingredients sourced from around the world. 

These new coatings are engineered to prevent the biggest frustrations for today's professional, industrial and OEM users providing ultimate durability for interior/exterior use. 

General Finishes goes hard for great chemistry, so you don't have to worry when your clients are tough on the paint. Paired with Tintable 2K Clear Poly, you have a dynamic duo of 2 component finishes, the most durable interior/exterior coatings General Finishes has ever created. You can apply confidently, knowing that you are giving your customer the best the industry offers. 

Perfect for new or remodeled cabinets, furniture, woodwork, pre-primed steel, fiberglass, and exterior projects. Made in the U.S.A.

KEY FEATURES

  1. Ease of application. Whether in a shop or on-site, Enduro 2K is designed to flow and level for Professionals/Industrial users that apply with AAA, HVLP, Airless, or flatline systems.
  2. Tintable to any major manufacturer's color deck. Enduro 2K hits the deepest darks, the bright whites, and everything in between. General Finishes recommends ColourFal Zero colorants.
  3. Higher gloss standards for white and clear, with 90+ degrees on a 60-degree angle.
  4. Fast production time: You can spray 3-4 coats of Enduro 2K and sand in between coats in one day. Enduro 2K cures for use in 5 days.
  5. Fast film build: Enduro 2K'S are engineered with a combo of larger and smaller-sized resin particles, which, when combined with the catalyst, allows for a thicker, quicker film build than any 1K. It provides a better vertical hang when spraying built-in surfaces on-site, with fewer drips or sags.
  6. Water and chemical resistance: Combining our new resin with catalyzation allows Enduro 2K to hit a commercial level of water and chemical resistance that *exceeds industry requirements and guidelines”. This is the perfect coating to stand the test of time on Wisconsin bar tops.
  7. Excellent adhesion properties on properly cleaned and prepped wood, plastics, fiberglass, and pre-rimed steel. (It Sticks).
  8. Exterior use: This new finish has an unusual balance of durability and flexibility, making it the professional’s choice for outdoor projects such as doors, benches, furniture, and tables. Do not use on deck surfaces.
  9. Consistency. General Finishes prides itself on superior quality control to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations.

Available in Flat, Satin, Semi-gloss, and Gloss

Related Categories


Enduro 1K White Poly

Return

Which Topcoat Should I Choose?

General Finishes offers a complete coatings system with a finish for every objective.

General Finishes Professional, Industrial, and OEM Water-Based Topcoats

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Enduro Professional 1K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 1K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series White Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pre-Cat Lacquer

General Finishes Retail Water-Based Topcoats:

  • High Performance Topcoat
  • Flat Out Flat
  • Enduro-Var II Topcoat
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Exterior Water-Based Topcoats:

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Oil-Based Topcoats

  • Arm-R-Seal 
  • Gel Satin Topcoat
  • Wood Bowl Finish
  • Butcher Block Oil
  • Outdoor Oil

GENERAL PRACTICE:

  1. Oil-based topcoats and ENDURO-VAR II will amber over time.
  2. All other water-based and High Performance top coats dry clear.
  3. Never use any water-based topcoat with long oils such as Danish, Tung or Linseed.
  4. Water-based top coats clean up with soap and water. Oil-based topcoats require mineral spirits for cleanup.
  5. If you use water-based topcoats over oil-based finishes, make sure that you wait 72 hours between the two products. It is essential to let the oil finish dry longer.
  6. For more complex projects with many details and corners or large surface areas such as cabinets, we recommend either ARM-R-SEAL liquid oil-based topcoats or water-based topcoats. Large surfaces such as cabinets or tables and complex projects with lots of detail are easier to cover with a liquid topcoat rather than a GEL SATIN topcoat.
  7. Enduro Professional Topcoats are thinner and intended to be sprayed
  8. HIGH PERFORMANCE can be brushed or sprayed. It can be thinned by adding 5-10% distilled water if needed. 

Compare all topcoats

Related Categories


How Do General Finishes Water Based Topcoats Differ?

GF recommends using the least expensive product that will provide the needed performance characteristics. We offer a range of products designed for professional spray applications and brush-on finishes for consumer use.

Compare all GF Topcoats Here

Watch Video: Comparison of All GF Water Based Finishes Here

PROFESSIONAL TOPCOATS

ENDURO PRE CAT LACQUER (Spray only)

Looking for hardness, clarity and fast stack time? Pre Cat Lacquer is the choice. Use in applications where there is little risk of chemical contamination issues from substances such as ketchup, soap, chemical cleaners, or ammonia. This is the perfect spray finish for interior doors, casing, moldings, door jambs and furniture that receives light use. When you think about it, interior doors don't take a lot of wear. You might wipe them down or dust them once in a while but that is about it. PreCat Lacquer is a hard finish that provides excellent build and superior clarity at a phenomenal price point. If you are not finishing a surface such as a tabletop where you anticipate chemical contamination during use, why pay for a more expensive finish?

Dries clear.

Watch Pre Cat Lacquer Product Overview Video Here

ENDURO CLEAR POLY (Spray only)

Poly is the go-to cabinet finish. It has all the durability you need at a lower price point than Conversion Varnish. It is similar to High Performance in test measurements for chemical, water and wear resistance, but HP can be brushed and Clear Poly can't - it is already thinned for spraying. Clear Poly has a bit of an edge over High Performance in overall chemical resistance, a 98 rating vs 92.

Dries clear.

Watch Clear Poly product overview video here

ENDURO CONVERSION VARNISH (2K-Spray only)

This is our top of the line. Conversion Varnish is a post catalyzed high solids, two component urethane formulated for professionals who need the highest level of durability and chemical resistance. Varnish will cure the fastest. Requires NCO Catalyst. It is recommended for commercial applications or extremely high-wear surfaces such as countertops and bar tops

Dries clear.

Watch Conversion Varnish Product Overview Video Here

RETAIL TOPCOATS

HIGH PERFORMANCE (Brush or Spray)

GF's best performing brush on finish with very similar performance testing as our Poly. (High Performance can be thinned for spraying).

Dries clear.

Watch High Performance Product Overview Video Here

FLAT OUT FLAT (Brush or Spray)

Flat Out Flat is formulated with a self cross-linking acrylic, and is designed to mimic the look and feel of a wax finish. Because of the increased matting agents used to create the "Flat look", this finish will have less clarity. Like wax, it dries softer to the touch than High Performance when completely cured, and will show more fingerprints. FOF finish will mark up more easily because of increased matting agents used to reduce the sheen, so it is not recommended for high-use tabletops.

Dries clear.

Watch Flat Out Flat Product Overview Video Here

BOTH PROFESSIONAL AND RETAIL TOPCOATS

ENDURO-VAR (Spray or brush)

Enduro-Var is an oil modified water-based alternative for customers that want the warm look of an oil finish in a water based coating. It looks more like an oil finish than a water coating, and can be sprayed or brushed. The original Enduro-Var adheres well ONLY over WATER STAINS, DYE STAINS, and RAW WOOD. Use over other finishes at your own risk. The new formula of Enduro-Var II is compatible with all GF products and dries to a lighter amber than the previous formula.

Dries Amber

Watch Enduro-Var II Product Overview Video Here

EXTERIOR 45O TOPCOAT

Exterior 450 provides a clear drying tough, protective finish that will withstand the rigors of the sun, rain, and wind. It is suitable for vertical surfaces such as fences, patio furniture, garage doors, entrance doors, outdoor kitchens and interior windows. It is not recommended as a deck finish. Fortified with UV absorbers to stabilize the finish, Exterior 450's built-in mildewcide retards mold and mildew growth.

Dries Clear

Watch Exterior 450 Topcoat Overview Video Here

Related Categories


*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

Related Categories


*Why Do I Sometimes Get Metal Marks On Cabinets I Have Painted with White Poly?

This is very common in pigment coatings and paints. It is called metal marking and it is a characteristic that is very difficult to eliminate.

You can even see it in dinnerware like white plates. We usually test with wedding rings and forks. It a constant focus and improvement project for General Finishes, especially the whites. The difference with tinted clear is that the amount of pigment varies from color to color, so sometime it will occur with the lighter paints.

Related Categories


What is the best, most durable paint for cabinets? Check out Water-Based Tintable 2K Clear and White Poly

Enduro 2K Tintable 2K White and 2K Clear Poly

Enduro tintable 2K Clear poly drying under IR

Superior water-based Enduro Tintable 2K Polys made in Wisconsin for professional, industrial, and OEM users. We hope you try it out; you’ll like it.

The term 2K references a product that is a 2-component polyurethane specifically catalyzed with Isocyanate to crosslink the polymer fully, which provides superior performance 1K coatings hardened PolyAzuradine or Carbodiiamide. To create Enduro Tintable 2K, General Finishes tested over 30 polymers, resins, and other ingredients sourced from around the world. 

These new coatings are engineered to prevent the biggest frustrations for today's professional, industrial and OEM users providing ultimate durability for interior/exterior use. 

General Finishes goes hard for great chemistry, so you don't have to worry when your clients are tough on the paint. Paired with Tintable 2K Clear Poly, you have a dynamic duo of 2 component finishes, the most durable interior/exterior coatings General Finishes has ever created. You can apply confidently, knowing that you are giving your customer the best the industry offers. 

Perfect for new or remodeled cabinets, furniture, woodwork, pre-primed steel, fiberglass, and exterior projects. Made in the U.S.A.

KEY FEATURES

  1. Ease of application. Whether in a shop or on-site, Enduro 2K is designed to flow and level for Professionals/Industrial users that apply with AAA, HVLP, Airless, or flatline systems.
  2. Tintable to any major manufacturer's color deck. Enduro 2K hits the deepest darks, the bright whites, and everything in between. General Finishes recommends ColourFal Zero colorants.
  3. Higher gloss standards for white and clear, with 90+ degrees on a 60-degree angle.
  4. Fast production time: You can spray 3-4 coats of Enduro 2K and sand in between coats in one day. Enduro 2K cures for use in 5 days.
  5. Fast film build: Enduro 2K'S are engineered with a combo of larger and smaller-sized resin particles, which, when combined with the catalyst, allows for a thicker, quicker film build than any 1K. It provides a better vertical hang when spraying built-in surfaces on-site, with fewer drips or sags.
  6. Water and chemical resistance: Combining our new resin with catalyzation allows Enduro 2K to hit a commercial level of water and chemical resistance that *exceeds industry requirements and guidelines”. This is the perfect coating to stand the test of time on Wisconsin bar tops.
  7. Excellent adhesion properties on properly cleaned and prepped wood, plastics, fiberglass, and pre-rimed steel. (It Sticks).
  8. Exterior use: This new finish has an unusual balance of durability and flexibility, making it the professional’s choice for outdoor projects such as doors, benches, furniture, and tables. Do not use on deck surfaces.
  9. Consistency. General Finishes prides itself on superior quality control to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations.

Available in Flat, Satin, Semi-gloss, and Gloss

Related Categories


Enduro Conversion Varnish

Return

*Which General Finishes Products Would Work Best on a Restaurant Table?

GF has two products that would work well.

For non-professional finishers, we recommend using General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Topcoat.

Arm-R-Seal is oil based and will amber. Be sure to apply liberally with a foam brush or roller, letting the product self-level a bit. A liberal application will help you avoid streaks caused by back-brushing and pressure. Stir product thoroughly before and during application because flatting agents settle quickly in a solvent base finish.

For experienced professional finishers who spray, we recommend our two-step General Finishes Conversion Varnish, which would cure in half the time and dries clear.

Even though General Finishes products are water resistant, they are not impervious to standing water condensation (like an epoxy finish). As with any fine furniture finish, spills should be wiped up in a timely manner. We recommend using coasters to protect your wood from water condensation and pot holders to protect from heat.

Related Categories


How Do General Finishes Water Based Topcoats Differ?

GF recommends using the least expensive product that will provide the needed performance characteristics. We offer a range of products designed for professional spray applications and brush-on finishes for consumer use.

Compare all GF Topcoats Here

Watch Video: Comparison of All GF Water Based Finishes Here

PROFESSIONAL TOPCOATS

ENDURO PRE CAT LACQUER (Spray only)

Looking for hardness, clarity and fast stack time? Pre Cat Lacquer is the choice. Use in applications where there is little risk of chemical contamination issues from substances such as ketchup, soap, chemical cleaners, or ammonia. This is the perfect spray finish for interior doors, casing, moldings, door jambs and furniture that receives light use. When you think about it, interior doors don't take a lot of wear. You might wipe them down or dust them once in a while but that is about it. PreCat Lacquer is a hard finish that provides excellent build and superior clarity at a phenomenal price point. If you are not finishing a surface such as a tabletop where you anticipate chemical contamination during use, why pay for a more expensive finish?

Dries clear.

Watch Pre Cat Lacquer Product Overview Video Here

ENDURO CLEAR POLY (Spray only)

Poly is the go-to cabinet finish. It has all the durability you need at a lower price point than Conversion Varnish. It is similar to High Performance in test measurements for chemical, water and wear resistance, but HP can be brushed and Clear Poly can't - it is already thinned for spraying. Clear Poly has a bit of an edge over High Performance in overall chemical resistance, a 98 rating vs 92.

Dries clear.

Watch Clear Poly product overview video here

ENDURO CONVERSION VARNISH (2K-Spray only)

This is our top of the line. Conversion Varnish is a post catalyzed high solids, two component urethane formulated for professionals who need the highest level of durability and chemical resistance. Varnish will cure the fastest. Requires NCO Catalyst. It is recommended for commercial applications or extremely high-wear surfaces such as countertops and bar tops

Dries clear.

Watch Conversion Varnish Product Overview Video Here

RETAIL TOPCOATS

HIGH PERFORMANCE (Brush or Spray)

GF's best performing brush on finish with very similar performance testing as our Poly. (High Performance can be thinned for spraying).

Dries clear.

Watch High Performance Product Overview Video Here

FLAT OUT FLAT (Brush or Spray)

Flat Out Flat is formulated with a self cross-linking acrylic, and is designed to mimic the look and feel of a wax finish. Because of the increased matting agents used to create the "Flat look", this finish will have less clarity. Like wax, it dries softer to the touch than High Performance when completely cured, and will show more fingerprints. FOF finish will mark up more easily because of increased matting agents used to reduce the sheen, so it is not recommended for high-use tabletops.

Dries clear.

Watch Flat Out Flat Product Overview Video Here

BOTH PROFESSIONAL AND RETAIL TOPCOATS

ENDURO-VAR (Spray or brush)

Enduro-Var is an oil modified water-based alternative for customers that want the warm look of an oil finish in a water based coating. It looks more like an oil finish than a water coating, and can be sprayed or brushed. The original Enduro-Var adheres well ONLY over WATER STAINS, DYE STAINS, and RAW WOOD. Use over other finishes at your own risk. The new formula of Enduro-Var II is compatible with all GF products and dries to a lighter amber than the previous formula.

Dries Amber

Watch Enduro-Var II Product Overview Video Here

EXTERIOR 45O TOPCOAT

Exterior 450 provides a clear drying tough, protective finish that will withstand the rigors of the sun, rain, and wind. It is suitable for vertical surfaces such as fences, patio furniture, garage doors, entrance doors, outdoor kitchens and interior windows. It is not recommended as a deck finish. Fortified with UV absorbers to stabilize the finish, Exterior 450's built-in mildewcide retards mold and mildew growth.

Dries Clear

Watch Exterior 450 Topcoat Overview Video Here

Related Categories


*How Do I Spray Water Based Finishes?

Spray Tip Guidelines from General Finishes
Click the image to download a PDF of this chart

General Finishes water-based products can be sprayed through compressed air, HVLP, airless or C.A.S. units.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF 

SURFACE PREPARATION:

All surfaces should be clean and free from dirt and oil and sanded.

Indicated below are instructional videos we have for preparing a surface for a new coat of paint or finish:

SPRAY APPLICATION OF GENERAL FINISHES WATER-BASED FINISHES:

All General Finishes water-based topcoats and wood stains are ready to spray from the container without additives with the exception of Conversion Varnish. Always strain material through a medium to fine mesh filter before spraying. If necessary, in hot or dry climates, reduce 10 to 15% with General Finishes Extender to extend the open time.

PRE SEALING:

Softwoods such as Pine absorb stain at an uneven rate and may respond better to staining if the wood is pre-sealed. General Finishes Pre-Stain Conditioner Natural can be applied to raw wood to condition the surface for uniform penetration of the stain. Pre-sealing will cause the final stain to be lighter so you may need to use a darker color. Always test your color on a hidden part of the furniture. Allow the Pre-Stain Conditioner to dry 30 minutes before applying your final stain color.

If you are using a sprayer that has been used for oil-based or lacquers, clean the unit thoroughly with acetone followed with hot water to purge the fluid passage. Apply a thin coat first that will dry and harden faster. Sand this first coat down to a smooth base on which to build your finish coats with a 220-320 grade foam sanding pad or #400-grit sandpaper. It is better to spray 2 thin coats rather than 1 heavy coat.

Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment. GF's general recommended fluid tips for Wood Stains and Top Coats are Compressed air - .040 and Airless - .009.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF

This PDF lists general guidelines for several different types of sprayers with specific General Finishes product recommendations for HVLP listed below.

RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR GENERAL FINISHES PRODUCTS USING HVLP:

  • Milk Paint: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Brushable White Enamel 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Stain Blocker: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Pearl Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Glaze Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • High-Performance Topcoat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Flat Out Flat Top Coat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro-Var 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Wood Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Dye Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Topcoat:1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Sanding Sealer: 1.3-1.4mm
  • Enduro White Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro Black Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro White Under Coat 1.5mm-1.8mm
  • Enduro Clear Poly: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Pre Cat Lacquer: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Conversion Varnish: 1.1mm-1.3mm

Air caps should be medium size. Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment.

Break your work into sections such as dresser top or drawer fronts. Spraying too large of an area can result in a textured grainy surface. A correctly sprayed finish should appear even and glossy. It is important to spray enough material to allow proper flow and leveling of the finish.

Spray medium wet films at 3-5 wet ml thickness. Practice makes perfect. If you have never sprayed finishes before, take a large piece of cardboard and practice your technique first. Spray water on the cardboard to learn how the gun works. Check your fluid settings and adjust the controls to get comfortable with the spray angles and to develop your technique.

SPRAYING TOPCOATS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. For topcoats, overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines.

Watch our video how to spray water-based topcoats here.

SPRAYING WATER BASED WOOD STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage and wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

SPRAYING WATER BASED DYE STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage. If coverage is even, there is no need to wipe. If you have issues with uneven coverage, wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

Related Categories


Enduro Pre Cat Laquer

Return

How Do General Finishes Water Based Topcoats Differ?

GF recommends using the least expensive product that will provide the needed performance characteristics. We offer a range of products designed for professional spray applications and brush-on finishes for consumer use.

Compare all GF Topcoats Here

Watch Video: Comparison of All GF Water Based Finishes Here

PROFESSIONAL TOPCOATS

ENDURO PRE CAT LACQUER (Spray only)

Looking for hardness, clarity and fast stack time? Pre Cat Lacquer is the choice. Use in applications where there is little risk of chemical contamination issues from substances such as ketchup, soap, chemical cleaners, or ammonia. This is the perfect spray finish for interior doors, casing, moldings, door jambs and furniture that receives light use. When you think about it, interior doors don't take a lot of wear. You might wipe them down or dust them once in a while but that is about it. PreCat Lacquer is a hard finish that provides excellent build and superior clarity at a phenomenal price point. If you are not finishing a surface such as a tabletop where you anticipate chemical contamination during use, why pay for a more expensive finish?

Dries clear.

Watch Pre Cat Lacquer Product Overview Video Here

ENDURO CLEAR POLY (Spray only)

Poly is the go-to cabinet finish. It has all the durability you need at a lower price point than Conversion Varnish. It is similar to High Performance in test measurements for chemical, water and wear resistance, but HP can be brushed and Clear Poly can't - it is already thinned for spraying. Clear Poly has a bit of an edge over High Performance in overall chemical resistance, a 98 rating vs 92.

Dries clear.

Watch Clear Poly product overview video here

ENDURO CONVERSION VARNISH (2K-Spray only)

This is our top of the line. Conversion Varnish is a post catalyzed high solids, two component urethane formulated for professionals who need the highest level of durability and chemical resistance. Varnish will cure the fastest. Requires NCO Catalyst. It is recommended for commercial applications or extremely high-wear surfaces such as countertops and bar tops

Dries clear.

Watch Conversion Varnish Product Overview Video Here

RETAIL TOPCOATS

HIGH PERFORMANCE (Brush or Spray)

GF's best performing brush on finish with very similar performance testing as our Poly. (High Performance can be thinned for spraying).

Dries clear.

Watch High Performance Product Overview Video Here

FLAT OUT FLAT (Brush or Spray)

Flat Out Flat is formulated with a self cross-linking acrylic, and is designed to mimic the look and feel of a wax finish. Because of the increased matting agents used to create the "Flat look", this finish will have less clarity. Like wax, it dries softer to the touch than High Performance when completely cured, and will show more fingerprints. FOF finish will mark up more easily because of increased matting agents used to reduce the sheen, so it is not recommended for high-use tabletops.

Dries clear.

Watch Flat Out Flat Product Overview Video Here

BOTH PROFESSIONAL AND RETAIL TOPCOATS

ENDURO-VAR (Spray or brush)

Enduro-Var is an oil modified water-based alternative for customers that want the warm look of an oil finish in a water based coating. It looks more like an oil finish than a water coating, and can be sprayed or brushed. The original Enduro-Var adheres well ONLY over WATER STAINS, DYE STAINS, and RAW WOOD. Use over other finishes at your own risk. The new formula of Enduro-Var II is compatible with all GF products and dries to a lighter amber than the previous formula.

Dries Amber

Watch Enduro-Var II Product Overview Video Here

EXTERIOR 45O TOPCOAT

Exterior 450 provides a clear drying tough, protective finish that will withstand the rigors of the sun, rain, and wind. It is suitable for vertical surfaces such as fences, patio furniture, garage doors, entrance doors, outdoor kitchens and interior windows. It is not recommended as a deck finish. Fortified with UV absorbers to stabilize the finish, Exterior 450's built-in mildewcide retards mold and mildew growth.

Dries Clear

Watch Exterior 450 Topcoat Overview Video Here

Related Categories


*How Do I Spray Water Based Finishes?

Spray Tip Guidelines from General Finishes
Click the image to download a PDF of this chart

General Finishes water-based products can be sprayed through compressed air, HVLP, airless or C.A.S. units.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF 

SURFACE PREPARATION:

All surfaces should be clean and free from dirt and oil and sanded.

Indicated below are instructional videos we have for preparing a surface for a new coat of paint or finish:

SPRAY APPLICATION OF GENERAL FINISHES WATER-BASED FINISHES:

All General Finishes water-based topcoats and wood stains are ready to spray from the container without additives with the exception of Conversion Varnish. Always strain material through a medium to fine mesh filter before spraying. If necessary, in hot or dry climates, reduce 10 to 15% with General Finishes Extender to extend the open time.

PRE SEALING:

Softwoods such as Pine absorb stain at an uneven rate and may respond better to staining if the wood is pre-sealed. General Finishes Pre-Stain Conditioner Natural can be applied to raw wood to condition the surface for uniform penetration of the stain. Pre-sealing will cause the final stain to be lighter so you may need to use a darker color. Always test your color on a hidden part of the furniture. Allow the Pre-Stain Conditioner to dry 30 minutes before applying your final stain color.

If you are using a sprayer that has been used for oil-based or lacquers, clean the unit thoroughly with acetone followed with hot water to purge the fluid passage. Apply a thin coat first that will dry and harden faster. Sand this first coat down to a smooth base on which to build your finish coats with a 220-320 grade foam sanding pad or #400-grit sandpaper. It is better to spray 2 thin coats rather than 1 heavy coat.

Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment. GF's general recommended fluid tips for Wood Stains and Top Coats are Compressed air - .040 and Airless - .009.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF

This PDF lists general guidelines for several different types of sprayers with specific General Finishes product recommendations for HVLP listed below.

RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR GENERAL FINISHES PRODUCTS USING HVLP:

  • Milk Paint: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Brushable White Enamel 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Stain Blocker: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Pearl Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Glaze Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • High-Performance Topcoat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Flat Out Flat Top Coat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro-Var 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Wood Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Dye Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Topcoat:1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Sanding Sealer: 1.3-1.4mm
  • Enduro White Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro Black Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro White Under Coat 1.5mm-1.8mm
  • Enduro Clear Poly: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Pre Cat Lacquer: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Conversion Varnish: 1.1mm-1.3mm

Air caps should be medium size. Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment.

Break your work into sections such as dresser top or drawer fronts. Spraying too large of an area can result in a textured grainy surface. A correctly sprayed finish should appear even and glossy. It is important to spray enough material to allow proper flow and leveling of the finish.

Spray medium wet films at 3-5 wet ml thickness. Practice makes perfect. If you have never sprayed finishes before, take a large piece of cardboard and practice your technique first. Spray water on the cardboard to learn how the gun works. Check your fluid settings and adjust the controls to get comfortable with the spray angles and to develop your technique.

SPRAYING TOPCOATS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. For topcoats, overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines.

Watch our video how to spray water-based topcoats here.

SPRAYING WATER BASED WOOD STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage and wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

SPRAYING WATER BASED DYE STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage. If coverage is even, there is no need to wipe. If you have issues with uneven coverage, wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

Related Categories


Enduro RTM Ready To Match Stain System

Return

What is toning finishes?

General Finishes Dye Stain

Toning is the process of adding colorant, either dye or pigmented stain into a top coat and then applying over an entire piece in order to subtly deepen the color. All of our stains can be used: Stock base colors of RTM, Water-Based Wood Stains or Dye stains. If you are new to toning, we recommend starting with Dyes stains, which can be easier to use as they only contain dyes and no pigments. 

All of General Finishes water-based topcoats with the exception of Conversion Vanish can be tinted to create lightly colored finishes for toning.  It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TEST to your satisfaction before application to your entire project. 

There are limits anytime you add pigments or dyes to water-based topcoats. Toning should always be done in small increments to achieve the desired color. If you are starting with a light honey tone door and you want to create an Espresso color this will take multiple coats of color including base coat of stain followed by several toning coats. It is impossible to achieve a radical color change with just 1 coat of toner.

A good rule to follow when toning is starting with a minimal amount of stain or dye, 5-10% by volume. Some colors work better than others. Normally 1-2 ounces or stain per quart of clear topcoat is sufficient to create a toner. Always test color first and strain material through a fine mesh filter to remove any undissolved particle of pigment. Once you have achieved the desired color tone apply a clear topcoat to lock in the color. Toner made with water based wood stain should be used at point of use only. Do not store for extended periods of time. 

 

Related Categories


*Why Isn't RTM Stain Adhering to the Wood Grain of My Oak Project?

This problem could be caused by the surface tension of the oak. Surface Tension, sometimes created by sanding, can cause stains to not adhere to the grain of the wood.

You have a few options:

  1. Lightly hand-apply the first coat, then spray (without wiping) a second coat.
  2. Hand-apply stain the first coat. Then tone the piece by applying a mix of 10-15% stain with topcoat.

Related Categories


Enduro-Var

Return

*How Can I Tell if a Water Based Topcoat is Dry?

If the finish feels cool to the touch, it's not ready. When you can sand it to a dry powder, it is ready for the next coat. Dry times will be longer if it is raining, cold, or humid. When in doubt, waiting longer is always better.

Related Categories


Which Topcoat Should I Choose?

General Finishes offers a complete coatings system with a finish for every objective.

General Finishes Professional, Industrial, and OEM Water-Based Topcoats

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Enduro Professional 1K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 1K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series White Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pre-Cat Lacquer

General Finishes Retail Water-Based Topcoats:

  • High Performance Topcoat
  • Flat Out Flat
  • Enduro-Var II Topcoat
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Exterior Water-Based Topcoats:

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Oil-Based Topcoats

  • Arm-R-Seal 
  • Gel Satin Topcoat
  • Wood Bowl Finish
  • Butcher Block Oil
  • Outdoor Oil

GENERAL PRACTICE:

  1. Oil-based topcoats and ENDURO-VAR II will amber over time.
  2. All other water-based and High Performance top coats dry clear.
  3. Never use any water-based topcoat with long oils such as Danish, Tung or Linseed.
  4. Water-based top coats clean up with soap and water. Oil-based topcoats require mineral spirits for cleanup.
  5. If you use water-based topcoats over oil-based finishes, make sure that you wait 72 hours between the two products. It is essential to let the oil finish dry longer.
  6. For more complex projects with many details and corners or large surface areas such as cabinets, we recommend either ARM-R-SEAL liquid oil-based topcoats or water-based topcoats. Large surfaces such as cabinets or tables and complex projects with lots of detail are easier to cover with a liquid topcoat rather than a GEL SATIN topcoat.
  7. Enduro Professional Topcoats are thinner and intended to be sprayed
  8. HIGH PERFORMANCE can be brushed or sprayed. It can be thinned by adding 5-10% distilled water if needed. 

Compare all topcoats

Related Categories


How do I repair a section that I have buffed through using Enduro-Var over an epoxy on a guitar

Our first concern is the use of the epoxy. Although you have may had success with this process previously, we do not recommend the use of Enduro-Var with epoxy or any oil based products. Enduro-Var works well on its own or with GFs water based finishes. There is a great possibility that future finishes can fail.

Nor do we recommend adding denatured alcohol, which should not be used in any of General Finishes water based products. Denatured alcohol can change the polarity of a finish formula, kicking out polymer particles that would look like grit on the surface. Denatured alcohol could also deactivate the defoamers in the formula.

The use of Extender won't help you. It is a water based product and will not melt through existing layers of finish in the same manner that solvent finishes do.

We interpret that you are trying to remove witness lines which are basically sanding marks. For your current situation, we recommend attempting to build the area with just Enduro-Var, then buffing out with a 2000-3000 grit. You may have to sand down and start over if that is not successful.

Future forward. Use Enduro-Var on its own. Although it is a favorite among Luthiers, it is a unique hybrid finish that does not pay well with other finishes.

Related Categories


*How Can I Buff Enduro-Var Gloss to a Higher Gloss?

Contributed by Jeff Jewitt of Homestead Finishing Supplies

Day 1:

  • Prep sand the wood with 220-grit sandpaper.
  • Spray a wet coat of General Finishes Enduro-Var Gloss and dry for 2 hours.
  • Level sand with 320-grit sandpaper.
  • Spray a second wet coat and dry for 2 hours.
  • Lightly sand with 320-grit sandpaper.
  • Spray a third wet coat and allow to dry overnight.

Day 2:

  • Level sand with 320-grit sandpaper.
  • Wipe down with water mixed with 5% Denatured Alcohol.
  • Spray a fourth wet coat 2-3 mils thick and dry 1 hour.
  • Spray 3 more coats, 1 hour between coats, for a total of 4 coats the second day.

Let your project dry 1 week, then:

  • Level sand dry with Mirka P800.
  • Dry sand with Mirka P1200.
  • Dry sand with 2000-grit Mirka Abralon.

Note: Do not use any lubricants of any type for sanding.

Final:

  • Buff 3M Finesse-It Material on with foam buffing pad to high gloss.

Related Categories


What is toning finishes?

General Finishes Dye Stain

Toning is the process of adding colorant, either dye or pigmented stain into a top coat and then applying over an entire piece in order to subtly deepen the color. All of our stains can be used: Stock base colors of RTM, Water-Based Wood Stains or Dye stains. If you are new to toning, we recommend starting with Dyes stains, which can be easier to use as they only contain dyes and no pigments. 

All of General Finishes water-based topcoats with the exception of Conversion Vanish can be tinted to create lightly colored finishes for toning.  It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TEST to your satisfaction before application to your entire project. 

There are limits anytime you add pigments or dyes to water-based topcoats. Toning should always be done in small increments to achieve the desired color. If you are starting with a light honey tone door and you want to create an Espresso color this will take multiple coats of color including base coat of stain followed by several toning coats. It is impossible to achieve a radical color change with just 1 coat of toner.

A good rule to follow when toning is starting with a minimal amount of stain or dye, 5-10% by volume. Some colors work better than others. Normally 1-2 ounces or stain per quart of clear topcoat is sufficient to create a toner. Always test color first and strain material through a fine mesh filter to remove any undissolved particle of pigment. Once you have achieved the desired color tone apply a clear topcoat to lock in the color. Toner made with water based wood stain should be used at point of use only. Do not store for extended periods of time. 

 

Related Categories


Why does Enduro-Var clog up in my spray gun during use?

Enduro-Var sprays beautifully if the gun is absolutely clean and does not have any other finish residue. Proper cleaning with acetone followed with hot water should purge the fluid passage. Enduro-Var itself will not cause gun failure.

Another possibility is the power of the gun. Some of the lower quality guns can overheat causing the product to cure in the gun - they need a rest once in a while if you are using them all day.

Also note that Enduro-Var ADHERES WELL only over WATER STAINS, DYE STAINS, and RAW WOOD.

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*How Do I Spray Water Based Finishes?

Spray Tip Guidelines from General Finishes
Click the image to download a PDF of this chart

General Finishes water-based products can be sprayed through compressed air, HVLP, airless or C.A.S. units.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF 

SURFACE PREPARATION:

All surfaces should be clean and free from dirt and oil and sanded.

Indicated below are instructional videos we have for preparing a surface for a new coat of paint or finish:

SPRAY APPLICATION OF GENERAL FINISHES WATER-BASED FINISHES:

All General Finishes water-based topcoats and wood stains are ready to spray from the container without additives with the exception of Conversion Varnish. Always strain material through a medium to fine mesh filter before spraying. If necessary, in hot or dry climates, reduce 10 to 15% with General Finishes Extender to extend the open time.

PRE SEALING:

Softwoods such as Pine absorb stain at an uneven rate and may respond better to staining if the wood is pre-sealed. General Finishes Pre-Stain Conditioner Natural can be applied to raw wood to condition the surface for uniform penetration of the stain. Pre-sealing will cause the final stain to be lighter so you may need to use a darker color. Always test your color on a hidden part of the furniture. Allow the Pre-Stain Conditioner to dry 30 minutes before applying your final stain color.

If you are using a sprayer that has been used for oil-based or lacquers, clean the unit thoroughly with acetone followed with hot water to purge the fluid passage. Apply a thin coat first that will dry and harden faster. Sand this first coat down to a smooth base on which to build your finish coats with a 220-320 grade foam sanding pad or #400-grit sandpaper. It is better to spray 2 thin coats rather than 1 heavy coat.

Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment. GF's general recommended fluid tips for Wood Stains and Top Coats are Compressed air - .040 and Airless - .009.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF

This PDF lists general guidelines for several different types of sprayers with specific General Finishes product recommendations for HVLP listed below.

RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR GENERAL FINISHES PRODUCTS USING HVLP:

  • Milk Paint: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Brushable White Enamel 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Stain Blocker: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Pearl Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Glaze Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • High-Performance Topcoat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Flat Out Flat Top Coat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro-Var 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Wood Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Dye Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Topcoat:1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Sanding Sealer: 1.3-1.4mm
  • Enduro White Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro Black Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro White Under Coat 1.5mm-1.8mm
  • Enduro Clear Poly: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Pre Cat Lacquer: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Conversion Varnish: 1.1mm-1.3mm

Air caps should be medium size. Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment.

Break your work into sections such as dresser top or drawer fronts. Spraying too large of an area can result in a textured grainy surface. A correctly sprayed finish should appear even and glossy. It is important to spray enough material to allow proper flow and leveling of the finish.

Spray medium wet films at 3-5 wet ml thickness. Practice makes perfect. If you have never sprayed finishes before, take a large piece of cardboard and practice your technique first. Spray water on the cardboard to learn how the gun works. Check your fluid settings and adjust the controls to get comfortable with the spray angles and to develop your technique.

SPRAYING TOPCOATS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. For topcoats, overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines.

Watch our video how to spray water-based topcoats here.

SPRAYING WATER BASED WOOD STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage and wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

SPRAYING WATER BASED DYE STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage. If coverage is even, there is no need to wipe. If you have issues with uneven coverage, wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

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What are the renewable resources in General Finishes products?

General Finishes Renewable Resources Icon - Water Based Finishes

Renewable resources are a recent, eco-friendly advancement in the paint and coatings industry.

They are comprised of plant proteins such as corn; as well as conventional and innovative oils derived from plants such as Euphorbia lagascae, Vernonia galamensis from the sunflower family, and Calendula officinalis, aka marigold.

General Finishes products formulated with renewable resources meet the standard of excellence you have come to expect — including adhesion, coverage, color and durability — with all benefits of water finishes.

GF coatings made with Renewable Resources are: Enduro-Var II, Milk Paint, Water Based Wood Stain, Exterior 450 Stain and Wood Turner's Finish. Look for the green icon!

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Exterior Stains & Topcoats

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Which Topcoat Should I Choose?

General Finishes offers a complete coatings system with a finish for every objective.

General Finishes Professional, Industrial, and OEM Water-Based Topcoats

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Enduro Professional 1K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 1K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series White Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pre-Cat Lacquer

General Finishes Retail Water-Based Topcoats:

  • High Performance Topcoat
  • Flat Out Flat
  • Enduro-Var II Topcoat
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Exterior Water-Based Topcoats:

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Oil-Based Topcoats

  • Arm-R-Seal 
  • Gel Satin Topcoat
  • Wood Bowl Finish
  • Butcher Block Oil
  • Outdoor Oil

GENERAL PRACTICE:

  1. Oil-based topcoats and ENDURO-VAR II will amber over time.
  2. All other water-based and High Performance top coats dry clear.
  3. Never use any water-based topcoat with long oils such as Danish, Tung or Linseed.
  4. Water-based top coats clean up with soap and water. Oil-based topcoats require mineral spirits for cleanup.
  5. If you use water-based topcoats over oil-based finishes, make sure that you wait 72 hours between the two products. It is essential to let the oil finish dry longer.
  6. For more complex projects with many details and corners or large surface areas such as cabinets, we recommend either ARM-R-SEAL liquid oil-based topcoats or water-based topcoats. Large surfaces such as cabinets or tables and complex projects with lots of detail are easier to cover with a liquid topcoat rather than a GEL SATIN topcoat.
  7. Enduro Professional Topcoats are thinner and intended to be sprayed
  8. HIGH PERFORMANCE can be brushed or sprayed. It can be thinned by adding 5-10% distilled water if needed. 

Compare all topcoats

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Should I use Pre-Stain Conditioner Before Staining a Douglas Fir Door to prevent blotching?

Douglas Fir is a difficult wood to stain evenly. A 50|50 mix of your Exterior 450 stain color and Exterior 450 Clear would be a better choice for an exterior conditioner. Blotching may still occur even with this procedure.

After applying the conditioner mix, let it dry 2-3 hours. Allow more time in humid weather. Then a apply the stain color of your choice. Multiple coats will deepen the color.

Watch Exterior 450 Topcoat Overview Video Here

Watch Exterior 450 Stain Overview Video Here

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What is toning finishes?

General Finishes Dye Stain

Toning is the process of adding colorant, either dye or pigmented stain into a top coat and then applying over an entire piece in order to subtly deepen the color. All of our stains can be used: Stock base colors of RTM, Water-Based Wood Stains or Dye stains. If you are new to toning, we recommend starting with Dyes stains, which can be easier to use as they only contain dyes and no pigments. 

All of General Finishes water-based topcoats with the exception of Conversion Vanish can be tinted to create lightly colored finishes for toning.  It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TEST to your satisfaction before application to your entire project. 

There are limits anytime you add pigments or dyes to water-based topcoats. Toning should always be done in small increments to achieve the desired color. If you are starting with a light honey tone door and you want to create an Espresso color this will take multiple coats of color including base coat of stain followed by several toning coats. It is impossible to achieve a radical color change with just 1 coat of toner.

A good rule to follow when toning is starting with a minimal amount of stain or dye, 5-10% by volume. Some colors work better than others. Normally 1-2 ounces or stain per quart of clear topcoat is sufficient to create a toner. Always test color first and strain material through a fine mesh filter to remove any undissolved particle of pigment. Once you have achieved the desired color tone apply a clear topcoat to lock in the color. Toner made with water based wood stain should be used at point of use only. Do not store for extended periods of time. 

 

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*I Used Exterior 450 Over a Mix of Mineral Spirits & Trans Tint Dye Stain and the Finish is Peeling - How Do I Fix the Peeling?*

Most dyes, such as Trans Tint, can only be mixed with alcohol or water, not mineral spirits. A water-based finish, such as Exterior 450, cannot be used in conjunction with mineral spirits, even with an extended dry time. Solvents do not play well with water-based finishes.

Unfortunately, there is no fix for the peeling finish. You will have to sand the project down, apply an exterior stain and recoat with Exterior 450. Also, advise your customer that no finish will withstand the sun indefinitely. All exterior finishes need recoating and maintenance over time.

Related Categories


What are the renewable resources in General Finishes products?

General Finishes Renewable Resources Icon - Water Based Finishes

Renewable resources are a recent, eco-friendly advancement in the paint and coatings industry.

They are comprised of plant proteins such as corn; as well as conventional and innovative oils derived from plants such as Euphorbia lagascae, Vernonia galamensis from the sunflower family, and Calendula officinalis, aka marigold.

General Finishes products formulated with renewable resources meet the standard of excellence you have come to expect — including adhesion, coverage, color and durability — with all benefits of water finishes.

GF coatings made with Renewable Resources are: Enduro-Var II, Milk Paint, Water Based Wood Stain, Exterior 450 Stain and Wood Turner's Finish. Look for the green icon!

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Flat Out Flat

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*How Can I Tell if a Water Based Topcoat is Dry?

If the finish feels cool to the touch, it's not ready. When you can sand it to a dry powder, it is ready for the next coat. Dry times will be longer if it is raining, cold, or humid. When in doubt, waiting longer is always better.

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*Which Is Better as a Sealer? Topcoat or Wax?

It depends on whether you are looking for aesthetics or durability.

A topcoat will provide greater durability and protection than wax finishes over time.

While wax finishes are lovely, they typically show wear (fingerprints) and are not permanent, requiring semi-annual to annual maintenance.

Wax is a low durability finish. It’s fine for a decorative piece that will receive light traffic. It is absolutely not strong enough for tables, kitchen cabinets, or other surfaces that will see frequent use.

Wax takes a bit of elbow grease to apply.

Furthermore, nothing adheres well to wax, which can impact future finish changes. Even though there is internet chatter about removing wax with 3rd party products or mineral spirits, the risk of a failure in re-coating over a wax finish is very high and sometimes impossible.

If you love a wax finish, try General Finishes Satin Finishing Wax. If you want the look and feel of wax with more durability, use our General Finishes Flat Out Flat Topcoat. For even more protection, use General Finishes High Performance Topcoat.

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What is the difference between Flat Out Flat and High Performance Topcoats?

Flat Out Flat is a matte water based topcoat with a velvety feel and was developed as a durable alternative to our Satin Wax.

Choose this product if you want a finish that looks more like wax and your project will not require high use. Like wax, it dries softer to the touch than High Performance when completely cured, and it will show more marring and fingerprints. Flat Out Flat is made with a stable self cross-linking acrylic instead of urethane.

High Performance is urethane based and contains less matting agents which result in a slightly harder finish.

For that reason, High Performance is the best choice for high use areas such as table tops and kitchen cabinets. Both topcoats have similar water resistance, but High Performance offers greater clarity. To achieve the matte aesthetic without sacrificing durability or clarity, try High Performance Dead Flat.

Use with Oil Based Finishes: Let oil-based finishes dry for 72 hours before applying High Performance or Flat Out Flat top coat.

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*Can I Change the Sheen of the Topcoat? The One I Applied Is Too Shiny.

If you want to change the sheen, you can re-coat with a different sheen over top. The second layer of top coat will replace the appearance of the first.

Sand lightly with a used 220 sanding PAD to knock down the original finish before re-coating. It may take two or 3 coats to get complete coverage.

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*How Do I Prevent Light Colored Paint from Yellowing When Applying Water Based Topcoat?

All bright white paint will yellow slightly with time, even without topcoat. You have probably tried to touch up white woodwork in your home after several years and noticed that the new paint is brighter.

But white and light paints can react if clear coated with a waterbased finish; water-based topcoats are reactive and may draw out substances in the wood such as tannins, dyes or unknown substances in existing finishes causing the topcoat to yellow. This is an industry-wide issue and can happen right away, years later or never.

There is no way to reliably predict yellowing ahead of time. Every existing finish is different and we rarely know the finishing provenance on a previously finished piece. Every tree is different; every piece of wood is unique. Wood can bleed tannins immediately after the topcoat dries or months later with a change in temperature that comes with a change in seasons. Oak, pine, mahogany, and Douglas Fir are particularly prone to bleed-through.

Throughout all of our testing, General Finishes water-based topcoats are clear drying over a non-reactive substrate such as plastic or metal but when applied to something as unpredictable as wood, it is best to play it safe.

To reduce the occurrence of yellowing, we formulated Stain Blocker, a chemical stain and tannin blocking primer, and Brushable White Enamel. But the safest route is no use of topcoat over whites and light paint. As all of our white pigmented paints are self-sealing and do not require a topcoat, we warn users as follows:

CAUTION: Do NOT use any water-based clear coat over bright whites such as GF Snow White Milk Paint, or GF White Poly as it may cause yellowing. Lighter-colored paints may alter slightly with a topcoat application, but the color shift is less noticeable. Any clear coat can become reactive over wood substrates or existing finishes, causing tannin or dye bleed-though regardless of priming. All of GF's white paints do NOT require a topcoat.

TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF AND PREVENTING YELLOWING

  1. Don't apply any clear coat when using light or white paints. Topcoat is perfectly fine over darker colors.
  2. Always prime white paint with a paint system: Gf recommends either 2 coats of Stain Blocker or White Undercoat.
    • Over raw wood: Apply two coats of Stain Blocker or Enduro White Undercoat, then 1-2 coats of Brushable White Enamel, White Poly (spray only), or Milk Paint.
    • Over an existing finish: Apply two coats of Stain Blocker, then 1-2 coats of Brushable White Enamel, White Poly (spray only), or Milk Paint. Always let any primer dry overnight. Many primers suggest a 3-hour dry time and that is not enough.
  3. We offer three types of self-sealing pigmented paint.
    • Milk Paint: A clear topcoat is not required on our Milk Paint for increased durability. It is a self-sealing, exterior rated coating with very high-performance properties. However, higher sheen topcoats provide a smoother surface that is easier to clean for high use projects such as tabletops and kitchen cabinets. Topcoat is fine for darker colors, but not for light or white Milk Paint. In those cases, use Brushable White Enamel (available in Satin or Semigloss) or spray our pigmented White Poly (available in Flat Satin or Semigloss.)
    • Enduro White Poly: Use a professional sprayable "white coat" such as our professional Enduro White Poly. It is a white paint with "increased topcoat properties", is a stand-alone finish when 3 coats are applied and does not require sealing with a topcoat.
    • Brushable White Enamel was developed as a stand-alone finish for those who want a bright white but do not use spray equipment.
  4. Use disclaimers in your contracts. Upcharge for the extra coats needed and never guarantee a white finish over a piece when the customer wants a topcoat. Here is a suggestion for your contracts: 

    Terms of Agreement and Warranties: ________ (Initials) I have been informed that more coats are required when painting with bright whites, reds, greens or yellows. I understand that white paint can yellow over time and water-based topcoats can react with the substrate or existing finish under white paints causing yellowing, even if a stain-blocking primer is used. I have been informed that topcoat over white or light paints should NOT be used.
  5. Always test your project's ENTIRE finishing schedule (from cleaning to topcoat) on an inside door or a more hidden area of the piece. This does not help if the yellowing occurs later but you will at least know if there is an immediate problem.
  6. If you are working on period pieces such as a 1940's serpentine mahogany desk which were often finished in stain containing aniline dyes that cast a pinkish bleed-through under light paint, stay away from light colors. Not every piece of furniture is suitable for up-cycling with a light paint color. Pine, Mahogany, and furniture of the 1940's and 50's are a red flag.
  7. Last, not all manufacturer's topcoats are compatible with other finishes and may react with a color change. Always follow best practices by not rushing, and testing to your satisfaction first.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHITE PAINT:

  • Bright white paints can yellow over time with or without topcoat. It is the nature of oxidation.
  • The underlying finish or wood species can affect the final color of light paint.
  • Details and inside corners are difficult to cover with any paint color, but this property tends to be more noticeable with whites. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon in paint application and does not necessarily constitute a defect in the paint finish or your technique.
  • The more porous the paint (chalk paint vs an acrylic paint), the more likely that yellowing will occur. The topcoat is actually seeping through the spaces caused by the larger particles of filler that give chalk style paints their texture.
  • Whites have a lower “hide” quality and are more transparent than other colors. Most bright whites require additional coats to achieve the desired color and minimize color variation. This can increase the cost of paint finishing. Always include a clause in your contracts addressing the need for additional coats to achieve coverage.

IF YOU ARE A PAINTING PROFESSIONAL, DO NOT CARRY THE COST OF WHITE PAINT YOURSELF

Include the cost of the increased labor for applying white paints with a fair, reasonable up-charge. White paints, even if they did not yellow, require more coats and high-quality primers to achieve coverage. See our video How to Achieve a Bright White Finish that Lasts for more information.

If your white cabinets have yellowed, we recommend prep cleaning and scuff sanding, applying a coat of General Finishes Stain Blocker primer, finish sand and re-coat with another coat of paint.

Watch "How to Get a Bright White Finish" to learn more.

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*Can I Mix General Finishes Flat Out Flat and High Performance Topcoat?

No, you should not mix Flat Out Flat and High Performance topcoats. They are engineered with different resin systems.

You can mix High Performance topcoats to adjust sheen. For example, you can mix HP Flat and HP gloss to obtain a different sheen.

Related Categories


What is toning finishes?

General Finishes Dye Stain

Toning is the process of adding colorant, either dye or pigmented stain into a top coat and then applying over an entire piece in order to subtly deepen the color. All of our stains can be used: Stock base colors of RTM, Water-Based Wood Stains or Dye stains. If you are new to toning, we recommend starting with Dyes stains, which can be easier to use as they only contain dyes and no pigments. 

All of General Finishes water-based topcoats with the exception of Conversion Vanish can be tinted to create lightly colored finishes for toning.  It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TEST to your satisfaction before application to your entire project. 

There are limits anytime you add pigments or dyes to water-based topcoats. Toning should always be done in small increments to achieve the desired color. If you are starting with a light honey tone door and you want to create an Espresso color this will take multiple coats of color including base coat of stain followed by several toning coats. It is impossible to achieve a radical color change with just 1 coat of toner.

A good rule to follow when toning is starting with a minimal amount of stain or dye, 5-10% by volume. Some colors work better than others. Normally 1-2 ounces or stain per quart of clear topcoat is sufficient to create a toner. Always test color first and strain material through a fine mesh filter to remove any undissolved particle of pigment. Once you have achieved the desired color tone apply a clear topcoat to lock in the color. Toner made with water based wood stain should be used at point of use only. Do not store for extended periods of time. 

 

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What is the best way to obtain a more durable finish with a flat sheen?

The popular flat sheens are lovely but they have different attributes than glossy finishes. The flatting agents required to reduce sheen in flat or matte topcoats also slightly reduce clarity, water resistance, durability and resistance to chemicals such as ketchup, soap, chemical cleaners, or ammonia. This is not much of a concern in low use areas but is important for table tops or kitchen cabinets.

Here is a tip to improve the performance of your finish and still obtain a matte sheen: Use a semi-gloss sheen for the first two coats and a flat for the third for optimum performance.

General Finishes is constantly seeking new resins and additives to improve the performance of our finishes.

Related Categories


*How Do I Spray Water Based Finishes?

Spray Tip Guidelines from General Finishes
Click the image to download a PDF of this chart

General Finishes water-based products can be sprayed through compressed air, HVLP, airless or C.A.S. units.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF 

SURFACE PREPARATION:

All surfaces should be clean and free from dirt and oil and sanded.

Indicated below are instructional videos we have for preparing a surface for a new coat of paint or finish:

SPRAY APPLICATION OF GENERAL FINISHES WATER-BASED FINISHES:

All General Finishes water-based topcoats and wood stains are ready to spray from the container without additives with the exception of Conversion Varnish. Always strain material through a medium to fine mesh filter before spraying. If necessary, in hot or dry climates, reduce 10 to 15% with General Finishes Extender to extend the open time.

PRE SEALING:

Softwoods such as Pine absorb stain at an uneven rate and may respond better to staining if the wood is pre-sealed. General Finishes Pre-Stain Conditioner Natural can be applied to raw wood to condition the surface for uniform penetration of the stain. Pre-sealing will cause the final stain to be lighter so you may need to use a darker color. Always test your color on a hidden part of the furniture. Allow the Pre-Stain Conditioner to dry 30 minutes before applying your final stain color.

If you are using a sprayer that has been used for oil-based or lacquers, clean the unit thoroughly with acetone followed with hot water to purge the fluid passage. Apply a thin coat first that will dry and harden faster. Sand this first coat down to a smooth base on which to build your finish coats with a 220-320 grade foam sanding pad or #400-grit sandpaper. It is better to spray 2 thin coats rather than 1 heavy coat.

Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment. GF's general recommended fluid tips for Wood Stains and Top Coats are Compressed air - .040 and Airless - .009.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF

This PDF lists general guidelines for several different types of sprayers with specific General Finishes product recommendations for HVLP listed below.

RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR GENERAL FINISHES PRODUCTS USING HVLP:

  • Milk Paint: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Brushable White Enamel 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Stain Blocker: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Pearl Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Glaze Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • High-Performance Topcoat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Flat Out Flat Top Coat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro-Var 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Wood Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Dye Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Topcoat:1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Sanding Sealer: 1.3-1.4mm
  • Enduro White Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro Black Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro White Under Coat 1.5mm-1.8mm
  • Enduro Clear Poly: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Pre Cat Lacquer: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Conversion Varnish: 1.1mm-1.3mm

Air caps should be medium size. Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment.

Break your work into sections such as dresser top or drawer fronts. Spraying too large of an area can result in a textured grainy surface. A correctly sprayed finish should appear even and glossy. It is important to spray enough material to allow proper flow and leveling of the finish.

Spray medium wet films at 3-5 wet ml thickness. Practice makes perfect. If you have never sprayed finishes before, take a large piece of cardboard and practice your technique first. Spray water on the cardboard to learn how the gun works. Check your fluid settings and adjust the controls to get comfortable with the spray angles and to develop your technique.

SPRAYING TOPCOATS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. For topcoats, overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines.

Watch our video how to spray water-based topcoats here.

SPRAYING WATER BASED WOOD STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage and wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

SPRAYING WATER BASED DYE STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage. If coverage is even, there is no need to wipe. If you have issues with uneven coverage, wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

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*Does Flat Out Flat Contain a Wax that Will Prevent Adhesion During a Recoat?

Flat Out Flat is safe to recoat with proper cleaning and scuff sanding.

General Finishes does not use a wax such as parafiin, carnauba or PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) that cause adhesion failures in the finish Flat Out Flat.

We do use a very small amount of a different wax (part of the secret sauce) and it is used to improve matting, abrasion and mar resistance.

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Why Does Flat Out Flat Topcoat Cause Hazing Over Dark Colors?

Hazing or a cloudy appearance can occur when applying a super matte finish over dark colors. In the paint industry, we call this DOI – Distortion of Image. The waxes that give Flat Out Flat its soft feel and the additional matting agents in the formula do not allow light waves to completely refract outward when used over dark colors. Plus, dark colors naturally absorb more light. DOI does occur over light colors, you just can’t see it. Best practice is to always test your finishing schedule before completing the entire project to make sure it meets YOUR satisfaction. The amount of haze on your final project is a personal preference. For example, Flat Out Flat over Lamp Black produces a beautiful dialed-back black, if that’s the look you’re wanting to achieve. 

 

The increased matting agents used to create the flat look of Flat Out Flat cause it to have less clarity, show fingerprints more and provide slightly less durability than High Performance. It is recommended for low-use projects other than kitchen cabinets and tabletops. For successful use, be sure to thoroughly stir the topcoat before and during use to reincorporate any solids that have settled on the bottom of the can. No more than 3 coats of Flat Out Flat is recommended. More coats will not boost durability. If excessive coats are applied, you increase the chances of your finish getting cloudy due to the high amount of flatting agents contained in Flat Out Flat that are necessary to decrease the sheen. 

If you’ve applied Flat Out Flat and are not happy with the look, you can sand it back very lightly with a 220 foam sanding pad and re-coat with a higher sheen finish. Be sure to not be too aggressive when sanding back. Flat Out Flat will come off fairly easily compared to a higher sheen finish. 

Note: GF has tested Flat Out Flat against other brands of matte topcoats  and it performed with the least hazing. There is always a tradeoff when you are seeking specific properties in a finish

Related Categories


What Finishes & Coatings does General Finishes Offer for Retailers, Homeowners and DIY??

General Finishes offers water, oil, and maintenance finishes that meet the needs of homeowners, woodworkers, and DIY’ers. Comprehensive videos are available for each product on YouTube, plus dynamic comparison charts at GeneralFinishes.com/COMPARE.

All General Finishes water-based finishes are:

  • VOC compliant in all 50 states
  • Water cleanup 
  • Low odor
  • Non-flammable
INTERIOR PRIMERS

Water Based Stain Blocker is:

  • An epoxy acrylic formulation.
  • Prevents tannin bleed-through & discoloration.
  • Has high build with excellent adhesion properties.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
WATER-BASED TOPCOATS & PIGMENTED FINISHES

High Performance Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An Interior polyurethane/acrylic blend.
  • Clear drying.
  • highly resistant to water and household chemicals.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Flat Out Flat Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior acrylic formulation.
  • Clear drying.
  • provides an extremely flat finish with high durability.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Enduro-Var II Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior oil-modified water-based urethane.
  • Dries to a light, amber tone.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Is made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Is available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Water-Based Glaze Effects is:

  • An interior oxidating acrylic formula.
  • Available in 6 colors, including a Clear Base.
  • Is a decorative specialty finish.
  • Can be intermixed to create custom colors.
  • It requires a topcoat
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer

Pro Image Water-Based Flooring Topcoat is:

  • An interior polyurethane.
  • Clear drying.
  • Levels to a smooth, hard, durable finish.
  • Provides excellent slip and black heel mark resistance.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or pad applicator.
INTERIOR WATER-BASED STAINS

Water-Based Wood Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • It’s available in 18 deep brilliant colors.
  • And provides universal coverage on many wood species.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Used to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And to reduce Water Based Wood Stains.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Dye Stain is:

  • A penetrating stain with ink-like consistency.
  • It is available in 14 vibrant colors.
  • And can be used as a toner.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer or wiping on.

Water-Based Dye Stain Reducer is:

  • The clear base used to reduce Dye Stain colors.
WATER & OIL EXTERIOR FINISHES

Exterior 450 Clear Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • A polyurethane formulation.
  • Tintable to dark colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & Mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Clear drying.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

 450 White Water-Based Topcoat is: 

  • A pigmented polyurethane formulation.
  • Is tintable to light and pastel colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Exterior 450 Water-Based Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 10 colors, including a clear base.
  • Contains U.V. absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium Interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.

Outdoor Oil is:

  • A penetrating oil wood preservative.
  • Contains UV absorbers and mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • This finish will amber as it ages.
  • A maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.
INTERIOR OIL STAINS & AMBERING TOPCOATS

Gel Satin Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip oil and urethane formula.
  • Designed to provide a hand-rubbed look.
  • Will amber as it ages.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Gel Oil-Based Stain is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip formula.
  • Available in 14 deep, rich, uniform colors.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or wipe on.

 Arm-R-Seal Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A penetrating sealer with a high-quality urethane formulation.
  • It provides long-lasting, durable protection.
  • and works beautifully on projects with detail.
  • This finish will amber as it ages
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Liquid Oil-Based Wood Stain is:

  • a traditional, pigmented liquid wiping stain
  • Available in 14 colors
  • Can be used as a toner with Arm-R-Seal
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Designed to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And penetrates the grain to promote uniform acceptance of oil stains.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Seal-A-Cell Clear is:

  • Formulated with a blend of oils, urethanes, and wax.
  • Is GF’s deepest penetrating close-to-the-wood sealer.
  • And the best choice for highlighting figured wood.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Hard Wax Oil is:

  • A urethane-solids polymer in a blend of oil & wax.
  • Enhances the natural look of wood.
  • One of our easiest finishes to use.
  • It’s best used with optional GF Hardener to shorten dry time and provide superior durability.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a white pad or plastic spreader.

 Oil Based Wood Bowl Finish is:

  • A pure urethane formulation.
  • Highlights figured wood beautifully
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.
INTERIOR MAINTENANCE PRODUCTS

Butcher Block Oil is:

  • A mineral oil formulation.
  • Meets all requirements for use on wooden surfaces that come in contact with food.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a cloth.

Orange Oil is:

  • A routine cleaner for cured wood finishes
  • Non-combustible with a fresh orange scent
  • Apply with a cloth

Satin Finishing Wax is:

  • A blend of waxes.
  • Produces a soft sheen and feel over any wood finish.
  • Can be used as a polish for rubbing out new finishes OR as a scratch-remover.
  • Apply with a cloth.

No matter what your project is, General Finishes has the right product for you. General Finishes is dedicated to using the highest-quality ingredients in all our products, while testing and advancing our water-based finishes with leading-edge technology.

Learn more about GF’s products at Generalfinishes.com. 

General Finishes: We make tomorrow's finishes today.

 

Related Categories


Gel Satin Topcoat

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*How Can I Reduce the Sheen of an Oil-Based Topcoat? I Used Semi-Gloss and It's Too Shiny.

You can rub down the finish with 0000 steel wool and General Finishes Orange Oil to lower the sheen.

Pro Tip: GF does not recommend using steel wool with water-based finishes because the particles can become embedded and rust.

Related Categories


*How Do I Reduce the Sheen of an Oil Based Topcoat?

Rub down the finish with 0000 steel wool and General Finishes Orange Oil to lower the sheen.

Liberon 0000 Steel Wool is a good choice for steel wool, as it does not shred as easily as the hardware store brands.

Never use steel wool with water-based finishes. The steel wool particles can become embedded into your project and rust.

Related Categories


*How Do I Correct the Haze That Appeared When I Applied Gel Satin Topcoat Over 3 Coats of Gel Stain?*

Haze (the technical term is blush) is caused by too many coats applied too quickly. A recoat time of 12 hours is not enough dry time when applying over an EXISTING finish. To remove the blush or haze, you can either wipe the area with a strong solvent, like xylene or lacquer thinner, or you can try sanding out the haze and then reapply the topcoat.

Always allow more dry time when applying oil-based products over an existing finish. Here are General Finishes recommended dry times for applying multiple coats of Gel Stain and Gel Topcoat over an existing finish.

  • Dry-Time to Touch: 4-6 hours
  • Dry-Time to Recoat with Stain When "Wiping Off": 72 hours. Do not recoat until you are sure the stain is dry. If in doubt, wait longer. Humidity or cold temperatures will increase dry times.
  • Dry-Time to Recoat with Stain When "Painting On": 72 hours. Do not recoat until you are SURE the stain is dry. If in doubt, wait longer. Humidity or cold temperatures will increase dry times.
  • Dry-Time to Apply Oil-Based Topcoat over Gel Stain: 72 hours
  • Dry-Time to Apply Water-Based Topcoat: 72 hours
  • Dry-Time for Light Use: 7-10 days
  • Dry-Time Over Laminate or Other Non-Porous Surfaces: At least 72 hours, likely more. Test to your satisfaction before proceeding.
  • CURE TIME: Cure time for all General Finishes oil-based products is about 30 days. During the curing process, protect your flat surfaces and avoid placing heavy items on horizontal surfaces or sliding anything across the surface.

Dry time and cure time are unrelated. In simplest terms, here is the difference between drying and curing: Drying is the evaporation of solvents in oil-based products, and water in water-based products. Curing is when the product hardens for full use.

Related Categories


What Finishes & Coatings does General Finishes Offer for Retailers, Homeowners and DIY??

General Finishes offers water, oil, and maintenance finishes that meet the needs of homeowners, woodworkers, and DIY’ers. Comprehensive videos are available for each product on YouTube, plus dynamic comparison charts at GeneralFinishes.com/COMPARE.

All General Finishes water-based finishes are:

  • VOC compliant in all 50 states
  • Water cleanup 
  • Low odor
  • Non-flammable
INTERIOR PRIMERS

Water Based Stain Blocker is:

  • An epoxy acrylic formulation.
  • Prevents tannin bleed-through & discoloration.
  • Has high build with excellent adhesion properties.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
WATER-BASED TOPCOATS & PIGMENTED FINISHES

High Performance Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An Interior polyurethane/acrylic blend.
  • Clear drying.
  • highly resistant to water and household chemicals.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Flat Out Flat Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior acrylic formulation.
  • Clear drying.
  • provides an extremely flat finish with high durability.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Enduro-Var II Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior oil-modified water-based urethane.
  • Dries to a light, amber tone.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Is made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Is available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Water-Based Glaze Effects is:

  • An interior oxidating acrylic formula.
  • Available in 6 colors, including a Clear Base.
  • Is a decorative specialty finish.
  • Can be intermixed to create custom colors.
  • It requires a topcoat
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer

Pro Image Water-Based Flooring Topcoat is:

  • An interior polyurethane.
  • Clear drying.
  • Levels to a smooth, hard, durable finish.
  • Provides excellent slip and black heel mark resistance.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or pad applicator.
INTERIOR WATER-BASED STAINS

Water-Based Wood Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • It’s available in 18 deep brilliant colors.
  • And provides universal coverage on many wood species.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Used to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And to reduce Water Based Wood Stains.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Dye Stain is:

  • A penetrating stain with ink-like consistency.
  • It is available in 14 vibrant colors.
  • And can be used as a toner.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer or wiping on.

Water-Based Dye Stain Reducer is:

  • The clear base used to reduce Dye Stain colors.
WATER & OIL EXTERIOR FINISHES

Exterior 450 Clear Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • A polyurethane formulation.
  • Tintable to dark colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & Mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Clear drying.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

 450 White Water-Based Topcoat is: 

  • A pigmented polyurethane formulation.
  • Is tintable to light and pastel colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Exterior 450 Water-Based Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 10 colors, including a clear base.
  • Contains U.V. absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium Interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.

Outdoor Oil is:

  • A penetrating oil wood preservative.
  • Contains UV absorbers and mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • This finish will amber as it ages.
  • A maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.
INTERIOR OIL STAINS & AMBERING TOPCOATS

Gel Satin Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip oil and urethane formula.
  • Designed to provide a hand-rubbed look.
  • Will amber as it ages.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Gel Oil-Based Stain is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip formula.
  • Available in 14 deep, rich, uniform colors.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or wipe on.

 Arm-R-Seal Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A penetrating sealer with a high-quality urethane formulation.
  • It provides long-lasting, durable protection.
  • and works beautifully on projects with detail.
  • This finish will amber as it ages
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Liquid Oil-Based Wood Stain is:

  • a traditional, pigmented liquid wiping stain
  • Available in 14 colors
  • Can be used as a toner with Arm-R-Seal
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Designed to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And penetrates the grain to promote uniform acceptance of oil stains.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Seal-A-Cell Clear is:

  • Formulated with a blend of oils, urethanes, and wax.
  • Is GF’s deepest penetrating close-to-the-wood sealer.
  • And the best choice for highlighting figured wood.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Hard Wax Oil is:

  • A urethane-solids polymer in a blend of oil & wax.
  • Enhances the natural look of wood.
  • One of our easiest finishes to use.
  • It’s best used with optional GF Hardener to shorten dry time and provide superior durability.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a white pad or plastic spreader.

 Oil Based Wood Bowl Finish is:

  • A pure urethane formulation.
  • Highlights figured wood beautifully
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.
INTERIOR MAINTENANCE PRODUCTS

Butcher Block Oil is:

  • A mineral oil formulation.
  • Meets all requirements for use on wooden surfaces that come in contact with food.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a cloth.

Orange Oil is:

  • A routine cleaner for cured wood finishes
  • Non-combustible with a fresh orange scent
  • Apply with a cloth

Satin Finishing Wax is:

  • A blend of waxes.
  • Produces a soft sheen and feel over any wood finish.
  • Can be used as a polish for rubbing out new finishes OR as a scratch-remover.
  • Apply with a cloth.

No matter what your project is, General Finishes has the right product for you. General Finishes is dedicated to using the highest-quality ingredients in all our products, while testing and advancing our water-based finishes with leading-edge technology.

Learn more about GF’s products at Generalfinishes.com. 

General Finishes: We make tomorrow's finishes today.

 

Related Categories


Gel Stains (Oil Based)

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*Can I Mix Gel Stain Colors Together to Achieve Other Colors?

Yes, you can mix similar products together at any ratio to make more color options.

You can also mix with 10% General Finishes Liquid Oil Based Wood Penetrating Stains to obtain a slightly thinner stain than the normal Gel Stain formula.

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Can I use GF Dyes Stains under Gel Stains?

Yes, many professional finishers use Dye Stains to increase the depth of the grain, to even out color saturation, and to achieve deeper colors. Use Amber or Yellow for a golden glow under any gel stain.

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*What is the Best Topcoat to Use over Gel Stains?

You can use any of our topcoats.

Water-based products include General Finishes High Performance or General Finishes Flat Out Flat.

Oil-based products include General Finishes Gel Topcoat or General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. Gel Topcoat is thick, while Arm-R-Seal is much thinner, and is easier to apply large projects.

Always allow 72-hour dry time when applying water-based products over oil-based products.

Find more information about Oil Based Gel Stains here.

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*Will Gel Stains Darken with Another Coat?

Yes, each layer will darken your project even more. You can also start with a lighter color Gel Stain and layer on darker colors.

Related Categories


Can Gel Stain be applied over a high gloss paint finish?

Possibly but not recommended - the high gloss is an issue.

Folks have successfully put Gel Stain on more surfaces than we ever dreamed of including fiber glass but if you want to proceed, TEST your procedure on the inside of a door first, let the door cure for 14 days. Then further test the finish by duplicating normal wear and tear: washing, scrubbing, scratching, etc to see if the finish bonds to the surface. It might not adhere.

If you want to proceed with your project, the cabinets need to be sanded with 150-180 grit sandpaper before attempting to apply the Gel Stain. If you cannot achieve enough abrasion by sanding, apply a De-Glosser, available at any paint store. We think Milk Paint would be a better choice as paint is more flexible and tends to adhere well to many surfaces, but test to your satisfaction before proceeding. Milk Paint is available in Dark Chocolate, a very close color match to Java Gel.

More information about Oil Based Gel Stains.

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*Can Gel Stain Be Used Over Laminate?

GF advises extra care and prep when applying any finish over laminate surfaces because they are specifically designed not to mar and therefore they are not very "sand-able", making adherence difficult.

In addition to this non-permeable surface factor, General Finishes Gel Stain is an oil-based product, and it is more difficult to obtain proper drying characteristics over a dense manufactured surface such as laminate. Gel stains, as all wood stains, were formulated to go over raw wood which has an "open" surface and can absorb some of the stain.

Customers have reported the successful use of Gel products over laminate surfaces. Here are two techniques:

  1. Using Dark Chocolate Milk Paint as a Base under Gel Stain (Dark Chocolate Milk Paint was formulated to mimic the color of Java Gel Stain)
  2. Several techniques using only Gel Stain/no paint or primer

SOME NOTES:

  • If you can abrade the surface by sanding, you will increase your chances of success. If you choose to proceed, test for adhesion on a hidden area of your project before getting started.
  • If you are applying GF Gel Stains over existing "sealed" finished wood or any impenetrable surface, TRIPLE OR QUADRUPLE the drying times of all the finishes used because the stain cannot soak into the surface.
  • De-Glossers: GF does not recommend the use of a de-glosser as a REPLACEMENT for prep sanding and cleaning. They are sold by manufacturers that advocate that it is ok to cover up dirt and grime, which can create a problem. GF feels that appropriate cleaning and sanding delivers a better result and saves money.
  • If you have physical issues with the labor of sanding, at least clean the project before using a de-glosser.

APPLYING GEL STAIN DIRECTLY TO LAMINATE:

  • “Power clean” by scrubbing with a solution of water and a strong detergent such as Dawn or Spic & Span, using a Scotch-Brite pad. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Then follow with a second scrubbing with a 50:50 mix of denatured alcohol and water, also using a Scotch-Brite pad. Let dry completely.
  • Sand with a power sander. 150-grit followed by 180-grit sandpaper. (some users reported using 220 grit sandpaper). Wipe off the dust.

You can apply Java Gel Stain several ways:

  • With a roller for a painted effect (from ABHall), painting on with a chip brush followed by pouncing with a plastic bag for a textured effect.
  • Brushing on followed by a mineral spirit dry-brush technique. See mineral spirits dry-brushing technique in this video
  • Apply a slip-coat of mineral spirits first using a chip brush to give you more open time. While the mineral spirits is still wet, paint the Gel Stain on using a chip brush. While the Gel Stain is still wet, GENTLY smooth out the surface with a folded blue shop towel going in the direction of the grain. 
    Tip from Andrea Allred: Dry brush Gray Gel Stain on top the next day for a weathered look. 
  • Paint on two coats of Gel Stain, letting each coat dry 72 hours. Create the look of faux wood by sanding each coat lightly.
  • Allow the Gel Stain to DRY 72 HOURS. If it is still tacky and cool to the touch, let it dry for days. Let it dry, let it dry, let it dry. Lack of dry time over existing surfaces is the number one reason for Gel Stain failure!
  • Seal with 3 coats of topcoat, allowing triple dry time. As previously stated, you can use Arm-R-Seal over dark colors and High Performance over light colors.

NOTE: When using fine wood finishes, water and spills must be wiped up in a timely fashion. If this a high-use area near a sink, consider replacing the countertop instead. If this a low-use area such as a bedroom dresser that needs a tune-up, you will be fine.

ADHESION TEST:

Test your entire procedure (preparation to topcoat) on a hidden area first and let it cure for 7-10 days. Then further test the finish by duplicating normal wear and tear: washing, scrubbing, scratching, etc. to make sure the finish bonds to the surface.

See more General Finishes FAQs here.

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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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*I Just Watched Your Video on Dry Brushing Gel Stain. Can I Use Ethynol Alcohol Instead of Mineral Spirits to Keep the Brush Discharged During Application?

Yes, but it will evaporate much more quickly so you will need to re-wet the discharge pad more frequently.

See the video below for how to update existing finishes using a dry brush technique.

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How can I thin Gel Stain?

Gel Stain can be mixed with up to 50% Liquid Oil Stain but be aware that this will thin the viscosity.

We recommend starting with 10% Liquid Oil Stain and testing to your satisfaction. Add more Liquid Stain as needed up to 50%. The mix will be thin and more translucent with less color saturation and intensity, but will not lose any of its properties for adhesion and curing.

How to thin Gel Stain to create a glaze

We recommend adding up to 10% mineral spirits. You can add more mineral spirits, but test first. The mixture will thin out quickly and also reduces color intensity. Using more than 10% can affect the performance and durability of the finish, but as a glaze, this is not as critical an issue because your topcoat will protect the finish.

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Can GF’s Gel Stain be used outdoors?

Do not use General Finishes Gel Stain or any oil based finish outside where this direct exposure to water. If your furniture will be resting under a cover and not exposed to direct water, you may have a successful result. We recommend our Milk Paint or Exterior 450 products instead.

Watch Exterior 450 Topcoat Overview Video Here

Watch Exterior 450 Stain Overview Video Here

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Do Gel Stains Require a Topcoat?

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 thick 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 drying out.

Think of stain as the color and top coat as the sealer and protectant.

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Can Gel Stain be sealed with wax instead of top coat?

Wax can be used over Gel Stain, if you prefer. Just let the Gel Stain dry 24-48 hours before applying the wax. Note: wax is not a durable product. It needs yearly reapplication, will show daily use (finger marks and smudges) and may be very difficult to remove if a future topcoat application is desired.

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*How Do I Create a Glaze with General Finishes Gel Stain?

Yes - we recommend adding up to 10% mineral spirits. You can add more mineral spirits, but test first. The mixture will thin out quickly. Using more than 10%  can affect the performance and durability of the finish, but as a glaze, this is not as critical an issue because your topcoat will protect the finish.

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*How Can I Lighten the Color of the Java Gel Stain I Have Applied?

It's always possible to darken a stained surface, but you cannot lighten a stained surface after the finish has dried.

When the surface is still wet, you can try to lighten the color by scrubbing with mineral spirits. If the finish has hardened, you will need to sand down your current stain and start over or use one of our paints.

You can mix GF Gel Stain colors to create a custom color.

You can also thin Gel Stain with 10-15% mineral spirits.

Always test our color on a hidden area of your project before beginning.

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Should I use a coat of Gel Topcoat on raw wood to achieve an more even color before staining?

While Gel Stain can be applied over an existing finish, it was originally engineered for raw wood surfaces. We prefer applying the Gel Stain over a slip coat of mineral spirits instead of topcoat as shown in this video, "How to Apply Gel Stain to Raw Wood"

The slip coat will reduce the drag and help the stain "glide on" easier. The other important technique shown in this video is to apply the stain liberally in sections and remove the excess quickly. Gel Stain is so pigment rich you will get an uneven application if you try to dab it on with a dry rag.

Applying over a layer of top coat is acceptable, but there are two big benefits of applying the stain directly to the wood or over a slip coat.

  1. The beauty of the grain is highlighted. This effect will be greatly diminished if the stain is applied over an existing finish.
  2. Less coats are required to obtain a dark color.

Preparation and application techniques along with dry time between coats are all different when applying Gel Stain over raw wood vs. an existing finish.

Dry time differences

Related Categories


*How Do I Correct the Haze That Appeared When I Applied Gel Satin Topcoat Over 3 Coats of Gel Stain?*

Haze (the technical term is blush) is caused by too many coats applied too quickly. A recoat time of 12 hours is not enough dry time when applying over an EXISTING finish. To remove the blush or haze, you can either wipe the area with a strong solvent, like xylene or lacquer thinner, or you can try sanding out the haze and then reapply the topcoat.

Always allow more dry time when applying oil-based products over an existing finish. Here are General Finishes recommended dry times for applying multiple coats of Gel Stain and Gel Topcoat over an existing finish.

  • Dry-Time to Touch: 4-6 hours
  • Dry-Time to Recoat with Stain When "Wiping Off": 72 hours. Do not recoat until you are sure the stain is dry. If in doubt, wait longer. Humidity or cold temperatures will increase dry times.
  • Dry-Time to Recoat with Stain When "Painting On": 72 hours. Do not recoat until you are SURE the stain is dry. If in doubt, wait longer. Humidity or cold temperatures will increase dry times.
  • Dry-Time to Apply Oil-Based Topcoat over Gel Stain: 72 hours
  • Dry-Time to Apply Water-Based Topcoat: 72 hours
  • Dry-Time for Light Use: 7-10 days
  • Dry-Time Over Laminate or Other Non-Porous Surfaces: At least 72 hours, likely more. Test to your satisfaction before proceeding.
  • CURE TIME: Cure time for all General Finishes oil-based products is about 30 days. During the curing process, protect your flat surfaces and avoid placing heavy items on horizontal surfaces or sliding anything across the surface.

Dry time and cure time are unrelated. In simplest terms, here is the difference between drying and curing: Drying is the evaporation of solvents in oil-based products, and water in water-based products. Curing is when the product hardens for full use.

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Can I use denatured alcohol mixed with shellac to condition raw wood before applying Gel Stain?

Yes. Denatured alcohol is the solvent used in Shellac. A 50/50 mix is commonly used when conditioning wood before staining.

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Can gel stain be used on ceramic tile around a fireplace?

Gel Stain is engineered for wood, but it has successfully adhered to more surfaces than we could have imagined. However, since tile cannot be abraded properly though sanding,  lasting adhesion may be difficult if not impossible. 

Milk Paint will have a better chance of adhering than Gel Stain. Dark Chocolate Milk Paint was created to match the color of Java Gel stain, for example. Both products are more likely to adhere if they are applied over a tile-appropriate primer. 

Contact a tile store for recommendations regarding a primer that can help finishes stick to ceramic tile. 

Even with primer, we cannot give any guarantees that the finish will adhere properly or last. Always test for compatibility between your primer and Milk Paint or Gel Stain before beginning.

If you choose to proceed, test your procedure on a hidden area first and let it cure for 7-10 days. Then further test the finish by duplicating normal wear and tear: washing, scrubbing, scratching, etc. to make sure the finish bonds to the surface.

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*How Can I Get Stain and Topcoat to Adhere to Knots on Pine? When I Apply the Topcoat, the Stain Starts Pulling Off.

Uneven Gel Stain on Knotty Pine

Pine is full of pitch (rosin or tar) and stain alone will never adhere to these areas. The knots are so dense and hard there is no grain to hold the stain in place

To fix, sand the table lightly with 120-grit sandpaper and restain the table. To improve adherence of the stain, mix 2 parts Gel Stain with one part Gel Satin Topcoat. Apply as many coats of the mix as needed to obtain the desired color, allowing 24-hour dry time between coats.

Note: The stain may never adhere well to the knots because they are too dense to hold a stain. You can try dry brushing the knots with the stain to deepen the color and the protect with topcoat.

Note: Pine knots will always continue to bleed through a light paint. You must incorporate the knots as part of the finish design.

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*Is Topcoat Required Between Gel Stain and Water Based Glaze Effects?

Yes - this is not a good place to take shortcuts. GF Gel Stain gets its deep rich hue from a large number of colorants. Seal the stain with a topcoat before applying glaze to prevent "color pull."

The glaze will also glide more easily over the surface after topcoat is applied, allowing you greater control of how much color you want to use. Be sure to wait 72 hours when applying water-based finishes over oil-based finishes.

Here is a sample finish schedule:

  1. Prep sand and clean
  2. Apply stain
  3. Apply a layer of topcoat to prevent color bleed thru and make glazing easier
  4. Apply Glaze Effects
  5. Apply 2-3 coats of topcoat to protect the entire project

Related Categories


*Can I Use Interior Wood Stains Outdoors If I Coat With an Exterior Topcoat?

Interior wood stains are formulated for interior use and do not contain UV absorbers, mold retardants or HALS (Hindered amine light stabilizers used to protect the polymers from the effects of photo-oxidation.) Waterbased interior stains are much more likely to fail.

You could try this look on an exterior door that will not receive a lot of sun, but be prepared for more maintenance than usual. It is not recommended.

Everyone should note that all exterior finishes need to be maintained at some point - MOTHER NATURE wins the longevity war

Watch Exterior 450 Topcoat product overview video

Watch Exterior 450 Stain product overview video

Related Categories


What Finishes & Coatings does General Finishes Offer for Retailers, Homeowners and DIY??

General Finishes offers water, oil, and maintenance finishes that meet the needs of homeowners, woodworkers, and DIY’ers. Comprehensive videos are available for each product on YouTube, plus dynamic comparison charts at GeneralFinishes.com/COMPARE.

All General Finishes water-based finishes are:

  • VOC compliant in all 50 states
  • Water cleanup 
  • Low odor
  • Non-flammable
INTERIOR PRIMERS

Water Based Stain Blocker is:

  • An epoxy acrylic formulation.
  • Prevents tannin bleed-through & discoloration.
  • Has high build with excellent adhesion properties.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
WATER-BASED TOPCOATS & PIGMENTED FINISHES

High Performance Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An Interior polyurethane/acrylic blend.
  • Clear drying.
  • highly resistant to water and household chemicals.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Flat Out Flat Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior acrylic formulation.
  • Clear drying.
  • provides an extremely flat finish with high durability.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Enduro-Var II Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior oil-modified water-based urethane.
  • Dries to a light, amber tone.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Is made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Is available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Water-Based Glaze Effects is:

  • An interior oxidating acrylic formula.
  • Available in 6 colors, including a Clear Base.
  • Is a decorative specialty finish.
  • Can be intermixed to create custom colors.
  • It requires a topcoat
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer

Pro Image Water-Based Flooring Topcoat is:

  • An interior polyurethane.
  • Clear drying.
  • Levels to a smooth, hard, durable finish.
  • Provides excellent slip and black heel mark resistance.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or pad applicator.
INTERIOR WATER-BASED STAINS

Water-Based Wood Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • It’s available in 18 deep brilliant colors.
  • And provides universal coverage on many wood species.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Used to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And to reduce Water Based Wood Stains.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Dye Stain is:

  • A penetrating stain with ink-like consistency.
  • It is available in 14 vibrant colors.
  • And can be used as a toner.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer or wiping on.

Water-Based Dye Stain Reducer is:

  • The clear base used to reduce Dye Stain colors.
WATER & OIL EXTERIOR FINISHES

Exterior 450 Clear Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • A polyurethane formulation.
  • Tintable to dark colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & Mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Clear drying.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

 450 White Water-Based Topcoat is: 

  • A pigmented polyurethane formulation.
  • Is tintable to light and pastel colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Exterior 450 Water-Based Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 10 colors, including a clear base.
  • Contains U.V. absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium Interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.

Outdoor Oil is:

  • A penetrating oil wood preservative.
  • Contains UV absorbers and mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • This finish will amber as it ages.
  • A maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.
INTERIOR OIL STAINS & AMBERING TOPCOATS

Gel Satin Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip oil and urethane formula.
  • Designed to provide a hand-rubbed look.
  • Will amber as it ages.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Gel Oil-Based Stain is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip formula.
  • Available in 14 deep, rich, uniform colors.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or wipe on.

 Arm-R-Seal Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A penetrating sealer with a high-quality urethane formulation.
  • It provides long-lasting, durable protection.
  • and works beautifully on projects with detail.
  • This finish will amber as it ages
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Liquid Oil-Based Wood Stain is:

  • a traditional, pigmented liquid wiping stain
  • Available in 14 colors
  • Can be used as a toner with Arm-R-Seal
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Designed to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And penetrates the grain to promote uniform acceptance of oil stains.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Seal-A-Cell Clear is:

  • Formulated with a blend of oils, urethanes, and wax.
  • Is GF’s deepest penetrating close-to-the-wood sealer.
  • And the best choice for highlighting figured wood.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Hard Wax Oil is:

  • A urethane-solids polymer in a blend of oil & wax.
  • Enhances the natural look of wood.
  • One of our easiest finishes to use.
  • It’s best used with optional GF Hardener to shorten dry time and provide superior durability.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a white pad or plastic spreader.

 Oil Based Wood Bowl Finish is:

  • A pure urethane formulation.
  • Highlights figured wood beautifully
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.
INTERIOR MAINTENANCE PRODUCTS

Butcher Block Oil is:

  • A mineral oil formulation.
  • Meets all requirements for use on wooden surfaces that come in contact with food.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a cloth.

Orange Oil is:

  • A routine cleaner for cured wood finishes
  • Non-combustible with a fresh orange scent
  • Apply with a cloth

Satin Finishing Wax is:

  • A blend of waxes.
  • Produces a soft sheen and feel over any wood finish.
  • Can be used as a polish for rubbing out new finishes OR as a scratch-remover.
  • Apply with a cloth.

No matter what your project is, General Finishes has the right product for you. General Finishes is dedicated to using the highest-quality ingredients in all our products, while testing and advancing our water-based finishes with leading-edge technology.

Learn more about GF’s products at Generalfinishes.com. 

General Finishes: We make tomorrow's finishes today.

 

Related Categories


Glaze Effects

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*How Can I Create a Custom Glaze, Wash, Varnish or Stain?

You can design your own custom glazes, stains, washes, and varnishes with General Finishes intermixable water-based products. **Do not mix General Finishes Glaze Effects with General Finishes Water Based Stain (including Pre-Stain Natural) See tips and recipes below.

For all of the following mixes, GF recommends the following two steps:

  1. Applying a base layer of High Performance Top Coat before applying your custom glaze.
  2. Protect all of these finishes with 2-3 coats of top coat when you are finished.


PASTEL GLAZE/WHITEWASH:

Milk Paint + Winter White Glaze Effects OR Milk Paint + Water Based Whitewash Wood Stain

NOTE: Do not add more than 50% paint. If you add more than 50% you will have so much pigment that it will be difficult to wipe away the finish. **Do not mix Glaze Effects with Water Based Wood Stain. 


CUSTOM GLAZE:

For example, Pitch Black Glaze Effects + Winter White Glaze Effects

Experiment with proportions and colors.

WOOD STAIN AS A GLAZE:

Water Based Wood Stain + 10% High Performance Top Coat
OR
Oil Based Wood Stain + 10% Mineral Spirits

Note: Make sure that you wait 72 hours before applying a water-based topcoat on top of an oil-based stain.

AGED/VARNISH GLAZE:

Water Based Wood Stain  + High Performance Top Coat 50:50 ratio
OR
Dye Stain + High Performance Top Coat 50:50 ratio

CUSTOM STAIN COLORS:

1 part Milk Paint + 1 part Pre-Stain Natural [50:50 mix]
OR
1 part Milk Paint + 1 part Glaze Effects - Clear Base [50:50 mix]
OR
1 part Milk Paint +  2 parts Water Based Stain Natural [1:2 parts]

Note: Proportions are relative to the color you are reducing. Some colors may require 2 parts clear base to reduce strength, others may require 1. Begin with a 50:50 mix, and add more clear base if necessary.

You can further increase the color palette by mixing 2 or 3 Milk Paint colors together before adding the clear base.

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*Does Glaze Effects Require Topcoat?

Absolutely. All stains and glazes require a sealant. Think of the stain or glaze as the color and the topcoat as protection.

Related Categories


Can Glaze Effects be sealed with wax instead of top coat?

Yes, you can use Satin Wax instead of top coat if you prefer. Although GF loves the look of wax, we recommend using top coat because wax is not as durable. Wax requires annual maintenance and it must be removed if you want to apply topcoat in the future.

Related Categories


*Is Topcoat Required Between Gel Stain and Water Based Glaze Effects?

Yes - this is not a good place to take shortcuts. GF Gel Stain gets its deep rich hue from a large number of colorants. Seal the stain with a topcoat before applying glaze to prevent "color pull."

The glaze will also glide more easily over the surface after topcoat is applied, allowing you greater control of how much color you want to use. Be sure to wait 72 hours when applying water-based finishes over oil-based finishes.

Here is a sample finish schedule:

  1. Prep sand and clean
  2. Apply stain
  3. Apply a layer of topcoat to prevent color bleed thru and make glazing easier
  4. Apply Glaze Effects
  5. Apply 2-3 coats of topcoat to protect the entire project

Related Categories


What Finishes & Coatings does General Finishes Offer for Retailers, Homeowners and DIY??

General Finishes offers water, oil, and maintenance finishes that meet the needs of homeowners, woodworkers, and DIY’ers. Comprehensive videos are available for each product on YouTube, plus dynamic comparison charts at GeneralFinishes.com/COMPARE.

All General Finishes water-based finishes are:

  • VOC compliant in all 50 states
  • Water cleanup 
  • Low odor
  • Non-flammable
INTERIOR PRIMERS

Water Based Stain Blocker is:

  • An epoxy acrylic formulation.
  • Prevents tannin bleed-through & discoloration.
  • Has high build with excellent adhesion properties.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
WATER-BASED TOPCOATS & PIGMENTED FINISHES

High Performance Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An Interior polyurethane/acrylic blend.
  • Clear drying.
  • highly resistant to water and household chemicals.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Flat Out Flat Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior acrylic formulation.
  • Clear drying.
  • provides an extremely flat finish with high durability.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Enduro-Var II Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior oil-modified water-based urethane.
  • Dries to a light, amber tone.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Is made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Is available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Water-Based Glaze Effects is:

  • An interior oxidating acrylic formula.
  • Available in 6 colors, including a Clear Base.
  • Is a decorative specialty finish.
  • Can be intermixed to create custom colors.
  • It requires a topcoat
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer

Pro Image Water-Based Flooring Topcoat is:

  • An interior polyurethane.
  • Clear drying.
  • Levels to a smooth, hard, durable finish.
  • Provides excellent slip and black heel mark resistance.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or pad applicator.
INTERIOR WATER-BASED STAINS

Water-Based Wood Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • It’s available in 18 deep brilliant colors.
  • And provides universal coverage on many wood species.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Used to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And to reduce Water Based Wood Stains.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Dye Stain is:

  • A penetrating stain with ink-like consistency.
  • It is available in 14 vibrant colors.
  • And can be used as a toner.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer or wiping on.

Water-Based Dye Stain Reducer is:

  • The clear base used to reduce Dye Stain colors.
WATER & OIL EXTERIOR FINISHES

Exterior 450 Clear Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • A polyurethane formulation.
  • Tintable to dark colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & Mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Clear drying.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

 450 White Water-Based Topcoat is: 

  • A pigmented polyurethane formulation.
  • Is tintable to light and pastel colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Exterior 450 Water-Based Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 10 colors, including a clear base.
  • Contains U.V. absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium Interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.

Outdoor Oil is:

  • A penetrating oil wood preservative.
  • Contains UV absorbers and mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • This finish will amber as it ages.
  • A maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.
INTERIOR OIL STAINS & AMBERING TOPCOATS

Gel Satin Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip oil and urethane formula.
  • Designed to provide a hand-rubbed look.
  • Will amber as it ages.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Gel Oil-Based Stain is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip formula.
  • Available in 14 deep, rich, uniform colors.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or wipe on.

 Arm-R-Seal Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A penetrating sealer with a high-quality urethane formulation.
  • It provides long-lasting, durable protection.
  • and works beautifully on projects with detail.
  • This finish will amber as it ages
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Liquid Oil-Based Wood Stain is:

  • a traditional, pigmented liquid wiping stain
  • Available in 14 colors
  • Can be used as a toner with Arm-R-Seal
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Designed to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And penetrates the grain to promote uniform acceptance of oil stains.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Seal-A-Cell Clear is:

  • Formulated with a blend of oils, urethanes, and wax.
  • Is GF’s deepest penetrating close-to-the-wood sealer.
  • And the best choice for highlighting figured wood.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Hard Wax Oil is:

  • A urethane-solids polymer in a blend of oil & wax.
  • Enhances the natural look of wood.
  • One of our easiest finishes to use.
  • It’s best used with optional GF Hardener to shorten dry time and provide superior durability.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a white pad or plastic spreader.

 Oil Based Wood Bowl Finish is:

  • A pure urethane formulation.
  • Highlights figured wood beautifully
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.
INTERIOR MAINTENANCE PRODUCTS

Butcher Block Oil is:

  • A mineral oil formulation.
  • Meets all requirements for use on wooden surfaces that come in contact with food.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a cloth.

Orange Oil is:

  • A routine cleaner for cured wood finishes
  • Non-combustible with a fresh orange scent
  • Apply with a cloth

Satin Finishing Wax is:

  • A blend of waxes.
  • Produces a soft sheen and feel over any wood finish.
  • Can be used as a polish for rubbing out new finishes OR as a scratch-remover.
  • Apply with a cloth.

No matter what your project is, General Finishes has the right product for you. General Finishes is dedicated to using the highest-quality ingredients in all our products, while testing and advancing our water-based finishes with leading-edge technology.

Learn more about GF’s products at Generalfinishes.com. 

General Finishes: We make tomorrow's finishes today.

 

Related Categories


High Performance Water Based Top Coat

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*How Can I Tell if a Water Based Topcoat is Dry?

If the finish feels cool to the touch, it's not ready. When you can sand it to a dry powder, it is ready for the next coat. Dry times will be longer if it is raining, cold, or humid. When in doubt, waiting longer is always better.

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*What is the Best Applicator to use for Milk Paint and Water Based Topcoat?

Either bristle or foam brushes will work well with Milk Paint and Top Coat. The folks at GF might use several types of brushes for a project.

For example:

  • We like to use a bristle brush (which loads up more paint) to get Milk Paint on the surface, and then use a water or Extender dampened foam brush to smooth out the finish.​
  • ​​​​​​Bristle brushes are particularly helpful on vertical and detailed surfaces but they can produce subtle texture.
  • Foam brushes tend to produce a smoother finish which can be particularly helpful on flat horizontal surfaces.
  • Pad Applicators or paint rollers are also helpful on larger horizontal surfaces such as a table top.

For folks who don't want to invest in several brushes, the foam brush is our recommendation.

The very best application method is spraying.

 

Related Categories


Which Topcoat Should I Choose?

General Finishes offers a complete coatings system with a finish for every objective.

General Finishes Professional, Industrial, and OEM Water-Based Topcoats

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Enduro Professional 1K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 1K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pro Series White Poly
  • Enduro Professional Pre-Cat Lacquer

General Finishes Retail Water-Based Topcoats:

  • High Performance Topcoat
  • Flat Out Flat
  • Enduro-Var II Topcoat
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Exterior Water-Based Topcoats:

  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K Clear Poly
  • Enduro Professional Tintable 2K White Poly
  • Enduro Professional 2K Conversion Varnish
  • Exterior 450

General Finishes Oil-Based Topcoats

  • Arm-R-Seal 
  • Gel Satin Topcoat
  • Wood Bowl Finish
  • Butcher Block Oil
  • Outdoor Oil

GENERAL PRACTICE:

  1. Oil-based topcoats and ENDURO-VAR II will amber over time.
  2. All other water-based and High Performance top coats dry clear.
  3. Never use any water-based topcoat with long oils such as Danish, Tung or Linseed.
  4. Water-based top coats clean up with soap and water. Oil-based topcoats require mineral spirits for cleanup.
  5. If you use water-based topcoats over oil-based finishes, make sure that you wait 72 hours between the two products. It is essential to let the oil finish dry longer.
  6. For more complex projects with many details and corners or large surface areas such as cabinets, we recommend either ARM-R-SEAL liquid oil-based topcoats or water-based topcoats. Large surfaces such as cabinets or tables and complex projects with lots of detail are easier to cover with a liquid topcoat rather than a GEL SATIN topcoat.
  7. Enduro Professional Topcoats are thinner and intended to be sprayed
  8. HIGH PERFORMANCE can be brushed or sprayed. It can be thinned by adding 5-10% distilled water if needed. 

Compare all topcoats

Related Categories


*Which Is Better as a Sealer? Topcoat or Wax?

It depends on whether you are looking for aesthetics or durability.

A topcoat will provide greater durability and protection than wax finishes over time.

While wax finishes are lovely, they typically show wear (fingerprints) and are not permanent, requiring semi-annual to annual maintenance.

Wax is a low durability finish. It’s fine for a decorative piece that will receive light traffic. It is absolutely not strong enough for tables, kitchen cabinets, or other surfaces that will see frequent use.

Wax takes a bit of elbow grease to apply.

Furthermore, nothing adheres well to wax, which can impact future finish changes. Even though there is internet chatter about removing wax with 3rd party products or mineral spirits, the risk of a failure in re-coating over a wax finish is very high and sometimes impossible.

If you love a wax finish, try General Finishes Satin Finishing Wax. If you want the look and feel of wax with more durability, use our General Finishes Flat Out Flat Topcoat. For even more protection, use General Finishes High Performance Topcoat.

Related Categories


*Why Did the Finish On My Piece Become Cloudy After Top-Coating Milk Paint with High Performance?

The term for a cloudy, milky appearance in the finish is Blush. There are three causes:

     1. The most common reason is an incompatible stain. For example, using a water-based topcoat over an oil-based based stain. When the top coat is applied, the oil in the stain seeps up through the finish and reacts with the acrylic causing a chemical blush.

To prevent this, either use a quick-drying water-based stain or allow the oil-based stain to dry for 72 hours. You can also seal an oil-based stain with a coat of shellac or lacquer sealer to provide a barrier between the oil and the acrylic.

     2. Another cause for blushing is high humidity. Applying a water-based finish in humidities of over 75% may cause blushing because moisture becomes trapped beneath the finish and cannot evaporate.

You can prevent this condition by increasing air movement in the finishing area with a fan. All water needs to evaporate is sufficient air movement. You can also improve drying conditions by increasing the temperature in the drying area.

     3. Another common cause is a wet object or a water spill left two long on the surface. In most cases, the white mark will recover and fade within an hour if the spill is cleaned up in a timely manner. If the water has been sitting on that area for an extended period of time then it might not be able to bounce back.

To fix this, the surface needs to be scuffed and sanded first. Second, we recommend applying a sanding sealer to protect the top. Sanding sealer has a larger resin particle, so it will provide a better build for the next sanding step. Then finish with your topcoat.

 

Related Categories


What is the difference between professional Enduro Clear Poly and High Performance Topcoat?

Enduro Clear Poly is designed for professionals that routinely spray their finishes. High Performance is formulated for the retail market so it can be sprayed or hand applied.

  • Enduro Clear Poly is slightly more durable than High Performance in the categories of wear, water, and chemical resistance.
  • Even though Enduro Clear poly is more durable and more water resistant than High Performance, High Performance is extremely durable and also recommended for high-use surfaces like kitchen cabinets and table tops.
  • Both products can be sprayed.
  • High Performance can also be applied by hand with a foam/bristle brush.
  • Clear Poly and High Performance are both Urethane/Acrylic blends.
  • High Performance is sold in Pints, Quarts & Gallons by GF Retailers, Clear Poly is Gallon, 5-gallon pails and 55-gallon drums by GF Distributors. Cost is determined by Retailer/Distributor.

Compare all General Finishes Topcoats in our comparison chart.

Related Categories


Can High Performance polyurethane be used instead of Modge Podge?

No, it is too thin. And High Performance is not thick enough for transfers either. Stick with Modge Podge.

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What is the difference between Flat Out Flat and High Performance Topcoats?

Flat Out Flat is a matte water based topcoat with a velvety feel and was developed as a durable alternative to our Satin Wax.

Choose this product if you want a finish that looks more like wax and your project will not require high use. Like wax, it dries softer to the touch than High Performance when completely cured, and it will show more marring and fingerprints. Flat Out Flat is made with a stable self cross-linking acrylic instead of urethane.

High Performance is urethane based and contains less matting agents which result in a slightly harder finish.

For that reason, High Performance is the best choice for high use areas such as table tops and kitchen cabinets. Both topcoats have similar water resistance, but High Performance offers greater clarity. To achieve the matte aesthetic without sacrificing durability or clarity, try High Performance Dead Flat.

Use with Oil Based Finishes: Let oil-based finishes dry for 72 hours before applying High Performance or Flat Out Flat top coat.

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*Why is High Performance Streaking When Applied over Annie Sloan Chalk Paint?

This is a guesstimate as GF cannot assist with the performance of another manufacturer's product used in conjunction with our own finishes.

It looks like Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is absorbing some of the topcoat because it is so porous. High Performance does not streak over a sealed surface when properly applied. Most likely the chalk paint is so dry it is pulling some of the solvents away from the High Performance, causing an uneven finish or the appearance of streaking. This happens on the original powder Chalk or Milk Paints also.

Possible solution: Porous paints such as chalk paint may require additional coats of High Performance Topcoat to seal off the paint. If the first coat absorbs into the paint it will require multiple coats of High Performance to build a film of sealer above the paint. Using a foam brush will accent the streaking due to the number of strokes needed. We suggest a fairly liberal application with a large applicator such as a foam roller or a pad applicator.

Always test before proceeding with the entire project when using General Finishes projects with other manufacturer's products.

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Can I use a cross linker with High Performance Topcoat to improve performance?

GF has improved the High Performance formula and Cross Linker would not provide an added benefit.

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*Can I Change the Sheen of the Topcoat? The One I Applied Is Too Shiny.

If you want to change the sheen, you can re-coat with a different sheen over top. The second layer of top coat will replace the appearance of the first.

Sand lightly with a used 220 sanding PAD to knock down the original finish before re-coating. It may take two or 3 coats to get complete coverage.

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*How Do I Correct Color Lift when Applying High Performance Over GF Water Based Dye Stain?

It is normal to see a bit of stain on the brush when applying the first coat of topcoat. Topcoats often pull a bit of color on the first pass, but good preparation will minimize this.

To prepare open grains woods such as raw Oak for a water-based stain, we recommend sanding with 180-grit followed by no more than 220-grit sandpaper.

300-grit or 400-grit sandpaper is too fine for preparing raw wood. Too fine of a grit changes the wood from a porous surface to one that is too smooth to absorb the stain, which causes the first top coat application to pull excessive color (it is like trying to apply stain to glass).

There is always a small amount of color pull when using water-based stains, but the smooth surface escalates this condition. This was evident in the areas that you used the brush to remove excess topcoat.

See recommended sanding schedules here.

Instructional Video: How to Prep Sand New or Raw Wood

Here are some options to try. Always test a small area before proceeding with your entire project.

  1. TONING: Lightly sand the light areas with a 220-grit sanding foam pad to open up the pores of the wood.
    Create a toning mix of 10-20% Dye Stain to 80-90% topcoat. Using a small brush, apply this mix over the light areas to blend with the darker areas.
    Let this dry 3-4 hours. Then apply another coat of the mix over the entire surface. If this is successful, then apply 2-3 coats of the topcoat.
  2. GLAZING: Glaze the light areas. This will change the look of your doors but is an easier remedy.
  3. START OVER: Optimally, you should sand down to bare wood and start over with this prep sanding schedule indicated able.
    You can apply the Dye Stain directly to the wood, or mix in 10% topcoat to help lock in the color.

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*How Do I Buff Out High Performance Water Based Topcoat to a High Gloss?

There are several techniques by Jeff Jewitt of Homestead Finishing Products:

DRY BUFF WITH MIRKA ROYAL MICRO PAPER

Using Mirka Royal Micro sandpaper, always start with 1500-grit sandpaper. Begin with a small area, make 2-3 passes, then evaluate results. Go to a heavier grit if surface irregularities are not fully removed. Finish with 1500-grit paper.

DRY/WET BUFF WITH ABRALON POLISHING DISCS

Start by dry sanding with Abralon 2000-grit, and then 4000-grit. Start slowly, monitor to see if buildup is occurring. A large sized table might take 5-25 sheets of paper.

If needed, lubricate by moistening with General Finishes Satin Finishing Wax, mineral spirits, or naphtha. Never use water as a lubricant.

If lubricated, one sheet of 1000-grit or 1500-grit should do the entire table.

BUFFING/POLISHING WITH PRESTA POLISHING KITS

Spray Presta polish on buffing pad stuff to lubricate the pad. Apply a quarter-sized dab of polish to sand one section. Spread with pad. Continue section by section. Mist buffing pad with Presta lubricating material when it gets too dry. You should be able to use a buffing pad on 10-20 tables before washing and reusing.
 
When done, mist entire surface with and buff with a micro-cloth to remove splatter

NOTE: Never wet sand a water-based finish.

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*How Do I Prevent Light Colored Paint from Yellowing When Applying Water Based Topcoat?

All bright white paint will yellow slightly with time, even without topcoat. You have probably tried to touch up white woodwork in your home after several years and noticed that the new paint is brighter.

But white and light paints can react if clear coated with a waterbased finish; water-based topcoats are reactive and may draw out substances in the wood such as tannins, dyes or unknown substances in existing finishes causing the topcoat to yellow. This is an industry-wide issue and can happen right away, years later or never.

There is no way to reliably predict yellowing ahead of time. Every existing finish is different and we rarely know the finishing provenance on a previously finished piece. Every tree is different; every piece of wood is unique. Wood can bleed tannins immediately after the topcoat dries or months later with a change in temperature that comes with a change in seasons. Oak, pine, mahogany, and Douglas Fir are particularly prone to bleed-through.

Throughout all of our testing, General Finishes water-based topcoats are clear drying over a non-reactive substrate such as plastic or metal but when applied to something as unpredictable as wood, it is best to play it safe.

To reduce the occurrence of yellowing, we formulated Stain Blocker, a chemical stain and tannin blocking primer, and Brushable White Enamel. But the safest route is no use of topcoat over whites and light paint. As all of our white pigmented paints are self-sealing and do not require a topcoat, we warn users as follows:

CAUTION: Do NOT use any water-based clear coat over bright whites such as GF Snow White Milk Paint, or GF White Poly as it may cause yellowing. Lighter-colored paints may alter slightly with a topcoat application, but the color shift is less noticeable. Any clear coat can become reactive over wood substrates or existing finishes, causing tannin or dye bleed-though regardless of priming. All of GF's white paints do NOT require a topcoat.

TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF AND PREVENTING YELLOWING

  1. Don't apply any clear coat when using light or white paints. Topcoat is perfectly fine over darker colors.
  2. Always prime white paint with a paint system: Gf recommends either 2 coats of Stain Blocker or White Undercoat.
    • Over raw wood: Apply two coats of Stain Blocker or Enduro White Undercoat, then 1-2 coats of Brushable White Enamel, White Poly (spray only), or Milk Paint.
    • Over an existing finish: Apply two coats of Stain Blocker, then 1-2 coats of Brushable White Enamel, White Poly (spray only), or Milk Paint. Always let any primer dry overnight. Many primers suggest a 3-hour dry time and that is not enough.
  3. We offer three types of self-sealing pigmented paint.
    • Milk Paint: A clear topcoat is not required on our Milk Paint for increased durability. It is a self-sealing, exterior rated coating with very high-performance properties. However, higher sheen topcoats provide a smoother surface that is easier to clean for high use projects such as tabletops and kitchen cabinets. Topcoat is fine for darker colors, but not for light or white Milk Paint. In those cases, use Brushable White Enamel (available in Satin or Semigloss) or spray our pigmented White Poly (available in Flat Satin or Semigloss.)
    • Enduro White Poly: Use a professional sprayable "white coat" such as our professional Enduro White Poly. It is a white paint with "increased topcoat properties", is a stand-alone finish when 3 coats are applied and does not require sealing with a topcoat.
    • Brushable White Enamel was developed as a stand-alone finish for those who want a bright white but do not use spray equipment.
  4. Use disclaimers in your contracts. Upcharge for the extra coats needed and never guarantee a white finish over a piece when the customer wants a topcoat. Here is a suggestion for your contracts: 

    Terms of Agreement and Warranties: ________ (Initials) I have been informed that more coats are required when painting with bright whites, reds, greens or yellows. I understand that white paint can yellow over time and water-based topcoats can react with the substrate or existing finish under white paints causing yellowing, even if a stain-blocking primer is used. I have been informed that topcoat over white or light paints should NOT be used.
  5. Always test your project's ENTIRE finishing schedule (from cleaning to topcoat) on an inside door or a more hidden area of the piece. This does not help if the yellowing occurs later but you will at least know if there is an immediate problem.
  6. If you are working on period pieces such as a 1940's serpentine mahogany desk which were often finished in stain containing aniline dyes that cast a pinkish bleed-through under light paint, stay away from light colors. Not every piece of furniture is suitable for up-cycling with a light paint color. Pine, Mahogany, and furniture of the 1940's and 50's are a red flag.
  7. Last, not all manufacturer's topcoats are compatible with other finishes and may react with a color change. Always follow best practices by not rushing, and testing to your satisfaction first.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHITE PAINT:

  • Bright white paints can yellow over time with or without topcoat. It is the nature of oxidation.
  • The underlying finish or wood species can affect the final color of light paint.
  • Details and inside corners are difficult to cover with any paint color, but this property tends to be more noticeable with whites. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon in paint application and does not necessarily constitute a defect in the paint finish or your technique.
  • The more porous the paint (chalk paint vs an acrylic paint), the more likely that yellowing will occur. The topcoat is actually seeping through the spaces caused by the larger particles of filler that give chalk style paints their texture.
  • Whites have a lower “hide” quality and are more transparent than other colors. Most bright whites require additional coats to achieve the desired color and minimize color variation. This can increase the cost of paint finishing. Always include a clause in your contracts addressing the need for additional coats to achieve coverage.

IF YOU ARE A PAINTING PROFESSIONAL, DO NOT CARRY THE COST OF WHITE PAINT YOURSELF

Include the cost of the increased labor for applying white paints with a fair, reasonable up-charge. White paints, even if they did not yellow, require more coats and high-quality primers to achieve coverage. See our video How to Achieve a Bright White Finish that Lasts for more information.

If your white cabinets have yellowed, we recommend prep cleaning and scuff sanding, applying a coat of General Finishes Stain Blocker primer, finish sand and re-coat with another coat of paint.

Watch "How to Get a Bright White Finish" to learn more.

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*How Do I Remove Brush Strokes from the 3rd Coat of High Performance Polyurethane?

Sand down the final finish with a 220-grit foam sanding pad, and then add another layer of General Finishes High Performance PolyurethaneTopcoat. Apply liberally than you did previously without heavy back-brushing.

Let the topcoat self-level a bit - it will tighten down as it dries.

If it's above 80°F or if the humidity is less than 70% in the space you're working, we recommend adding 10% GF Extender to the topcoat to improve open time.

Watch how to apply a water-based topcoat to a large surface with a paint pad applicator here.

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*Can I Mix General Finishes Flat Out Flat and High Performance Topcoat?

No, you should not mix Flat Out Flat and High Performance topcoats. They are engineered with different resin systems.

You can mix High Performance topcoats to adjust sheen. For example, you can mix HP Flat and HP gloss to obtain a different sheen.

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What is toning finishes?

General Finishes Dye Stain

Toning is the process of adding colorant, either dye or pigmented stain into a top coat and then applying over an entire piece in order to subtly deepen the color. All of our stains can be used: Stock base colors of RTM, Water-Based Wood Stains or Dye stains. If you are new to toning, we recommend starting with Dyes stains, which can be easier to use as they only contain dyes and no pigments. 

All of General Finishes water-based topcoats with the exception of Conversion Vanish can be tinted to create lightly colored finishes for toning.  It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TEST to your satisfaction before application to your entire project. 

There are limits anytime you add pigments or dyes to water-based topcoats. Toning should always be done in small increments to achieve the desired color. If you are starting with a light honey tone door and you want to create an Espresso color this will take multiple coats of color including base coat of stain followed by several toning coats. It is impossible to achieve a radical color change with just 1 coat of toner.

A good rule to follow when toning is starting with a minimal amount of stain or dye, 5-10% by volume. Some colors work better than others. Normally 1-2 ounces or stain per quart of clear topcoat is sufficient to create a toner. Always test color first and strain material through a fine mesh filter to remove any undissolved particle of pigment. Once you have achieved the desired color tone apply a clear topcoat to lock in the color. Toner made with water based wood stain should be used at point of use only. Do not store for extended periods of time. 

 

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How Do General Finishes Water Based Topcoats Differ?

GF recommends using the least expensive product that will provide the needed performance characteristics. We offer a range of products designed for professional spray applications and brush-on finishes for consumer use.

Compare all GF Topcoats Here

Watch Video: Comparison of All GF Water Based Finishes Here

PROFESSIONAL TOPCOATS

ENDURO PRE CAT LACQUER (Spray only)

Looking for hardness, clarity and fast stack time? Pre Cat Lacquer is the choice. Use in applications where there is little risk of chemical contamination issues from substances such as ketchup, soap, chemical cleaners, or ammonia. This is the perfect spray finish for interior doors, casing, moldings, door jambs and furniture that receives light use. When you think about it, interior doors don't take a lot of wear. You might wipe them down or dust them once in a while but that is about it. PreCat Lacquer is a hard finish that provides excellent build and superior clarity at a phenomenal price point. If you are not finishing a surface such as a tabletop where you anticipate chemical contamination during use, why pay for a more expensive finish?

Dries clear.

Watch Pre Cat Lacquer Product Overview Video Here

ENDURO CLEAR POLY (Spray only)

Poly is the go-to cabinet finish. It has all the durability you need at a lower price point than Conversion Varnish. It is similar to High Performance in test measurements for chemical, water and wear resistance, but HP can be brushed and Clear Poly can't - it is already thinned for spraying. Clear Poly has a bit of an edge over High Performance in overall chemical resistance, a 98 rating vs 92.

Dries clear.

Watch Clear Poly product overview video here

ENDURO CONVERSION VARNISH (2K-Spray only)

This is our top of the line. Conversion Varnish is a post catalyzed high solids, two component urethane formulated for professionals who need the highest level of durability and chemical resistance. Varnish will cure the fastest. Requires NCO Catalyst. It is recommended for commercial applications or extremely high-wear surfaces such as countertops and bar tops

Dries clear.

Watch Conversion Varnish Product Overview Video Here

RETAIL TOPCOATS

HIGH PERFORMANCE (Brush or Spray)

GF's best performing brush on finish with very similar performance testing as our Poly. (High Performance can be thinned for spraying).

Dries clear.

Watch High Performance Product Overview Video Here

FLAT OUT FLAT (Brush or Spray)

Flat Out Flat is formulated with a self cross-linking acrylic, and is designed to mimic the look and feel of a wax finish. Because of the increased matting agents used to create the "Flat look", this finish will have less clarity. Like wax, it dries softer to the touch than High Performance when completely cured, and will show more fingerprints. FOF finish will mark up more easily because of increased matting agents used to reduce the sheen, so it is not recommended for high-use tabletops.

Dries clear.

Watch Flat Out Flat Product Overview Video Here

BOTH PROFESSIONAL AND RETAIL TOPCOATS

ENDURO-VAR (Spray or brush)

Enduro-Var is an oil modified water-based alternative for customers that want the warm look of an oil finish in a water based coating. It looks more like an oil finish than a water coating, and can be sprayed or brushed. The original Enduro-Var adheres well ONLY over WATER STAINS, DYE STAINS, and RAW WOOD. Use over other finishes at your own risk. The new formula of Enduro-Var II is compatible with all GF products and dries to a lighter amber than the previous formula.

Dries Amber

Watch Enduro-Var II Product Overview Video Here

EXTERIOR 45O TOPCOAT

Exterior 450 provides a clear drying tough, protective finish that will withstand the rigors of the sun, rain, and wind. It is suitable for vertical surfaces such as fences, patio furniture, garage doors, entrance doors, outdoor kitchens and interior windows. It is not recommended as a deck finish. Fortified with UV absorbers to stabilize the finish, Exterior 450's built-in mildewcide retards mold and mildew growth.

Dries Clear

Watch Exterior 450 Topcoat Overview Video Here

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What is the best way to obtain a more durable finish with a flat sheen?

The popular flat sheens are lovely but they have different attributes than glossy finishes. The flatting agents required to reduce sheen in flat or matte topcoats also slightly reduce clarity, water resistance, durability and resistance to chemicals such as ketchup, soap, chemical cleaners, or ammonia. This is not much of a concern in low use areas but is important for table tops or kitchen cabinets.

Here is a tip to improve the performance of your finish and still obtain a matte sheen: Use a semi-gloss sheen for the first two coats and a flat for the third for optimum performance.

General Finishes is constantly seeking new resins and additives to improve the performance of our finishes.

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What Causes Orange Peel When Spraying A Water-Based Product?

Orange Peel while Spraying

Orange peel over a stain application

One of the causes of orange peel is the application of too much fluid and not enough atomization to break the product up into smaller droplets. It's similar to putting your finger over the end of a garden hose. Increase the atomization by using smaller fluid tips or a larger spray unit. See General Finishes comparison chart for generally recommended spray tips. Contact your spray equipment manufacturer's recommendations as well.

Another cause can be temperature. Refinishing furniture in a space that is below or above the 65-75 degrees F range can lead to problems, and a space below 55 degrees F is definitely too cold.

 

 

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*How Do I Spray Water Based Finishes?

Spray Tip Guidelines from General Finishes
Click the image to download a PDF of this chart

General Finishes water-based products can be sprayed through compressed air, HVLP, airless or C.A.S. units.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF 

SURFACE PREPARATION:

All surfaces should be clean and free from dirt and oil and sanded.

Indicated below are instructional videos we have for preparing a surface for a new coat of paint or finish:

SPRAY APPLICATION OF GENERAL FINISHES WATER-BASED FINISHES:

All General Finishes water-based topcoats and wood stains are ready to spray from the container without additives with the exception of Conversion Varnish. Always strain material through a medium to fine mesh filter before spraying. If necessary, in hot or dry climates, reduce 10 to 15% with General Finishes Extender to extend the open time.

PRE SEALING:

Softwoods such as Pine absorb stain at an uneven rate and may respond better to staining if the wood is pre-sealed. General Finishes Pre-Stain Conditioner Natural can be applied to raw wood to condition the surface for uniform penetration of the stain. Pre-sealing will cause the final stain to be lighter so you may need to use a darker color. Always test your color on a hidden part of the furniture. Allow the Pre-Stain Conditioner to dry 30 minutes before applying your final stain color.

If you are using a sprayer that has been used for oil-based or lacquers, clean the unit thoroughly with acetone followed with hot water to purge the fluid passage. Apply a thin coat first that will dry and harden faster. Sand this first coat down to a smooth base on which to build your finish coats with a 220-320 grade foam sanding pad or #400-grit sandpaper. It is better to spray 2 thin coats rather than 1 heavy coat.

Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment. GF's general recommended fluid tips for Wood Stains and Top Coats are Compressed air - .040 and Airless - .009.

DOWNLOAD SPRAY TIP CHART PDF

This PDF lists general guidelines for several different types of sprayers with specific General Finishes product recommendations for HVLP listed below.

RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR GENERAL FINISHES PRODUCTS USING HVLP:

  • Milk Paint: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Brushable White Enamel 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Stain Blocker: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Pearl Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Glaze Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • High-Performance Topcoat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Flat Out Flat Top Coat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro-Var 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Wood Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water-Based Dye Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Topcoat:1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Sanding Sealer: 1.3-1.4mm
  • Enduro White Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro Black Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro White Under Coat 1.5mm-1.8mm
  • Enduro Clear Poly: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Pre Cat Lacquer: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Conversion Varnish: 1.1mm-1.3mm

Air caps should be medium size. Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment.

Break your work into sections such as dresser top or drawer fronts. Spraying too large of an area can result in a textured grainy surface. A correctly sprayed finish should appear even and glossy. It is important to spray enough material to allow proper flow and leveling of the finish.

Spray medium wet films at 3-5 wet ml thickness. Practice makes perfect. If you have never sprayed finishes before, take a large piece of cardboard and practice your technique first. Spray water on the cardboard to learn how the gun works. Check your fluid settings and adjust the controls to get comfortable with the spray angles and to develop your technique.

SPRAYING TOPCOATS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. For topcoats, overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines.

Watch our video how to spray water-based topcoats here.

SPRAYING WATER BASED WOOD STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage and wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

SPRAYING WATER BASED DYE STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage. If coverage is even, there is no need to wipe. If you have issues with uneven coverage, wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray.

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What makes GF's Dead Flat sheens different?

 

General Finishes Water Based Topcoat High Performance Dead FlatGeneral Finishes Water Based Topcoat Enduro Clear Poly Dead Flat

Until now, Matte sheens always came with a compromise in durability. Consumers have been asking for an ultra-flat topcoat that is as durable as our other sheens, and we are finally able to deliver!

Thanks to brand new patented polymer technology, we are now able to create a Matte sheen without waxes and matting agents that decrease durability.

Defining Durability
All of our testing shows High Performance Dead Flat is as durable as High Performance Satin, which is a drastic improvement over Flat Out Flat topcoat.

Flat: (degree sheen)
Flat Out Flat: <5
High Performance Dead Flat: <5

Water Resistance: (max 5)
Flat Out Flat: 2
High Performance, Dead Flat: 4

Chemical Resistance: (0-100)
Flat Out Flat: 82
High Performance, Dead Flat: 92

Scratch Resistance and Marring:
Scratch Resistance is strong with both products.
Marring is better than Flat Out Flat and comparable to the Satin and Flat.

High Performance vs. Clear Poly
The main differentiator between these products is that Clear Poly is a spray-only product and High Performance can be applied with a brush or sprayed. Clear Poly is popular among high production contractors but both products produce professional results.

Upgraded Features

  • Patented self-matting polyurethane
  • Uses renewable resources, with no Prop 65 chemicals
  • Meets KCMA standards
  • VOC compliant nationwide

Warning: Do Not Mix!
Topcoat with a Dead Flat sheen CAN NOT be mixed with another sheen because a completely different polymer is used and the combined formulas will not perform well as one.

Leaders in Water-Based Finishing Innovation
General Finishes actively works to improve our products on an ongoing basis. As new finishing technology is released, we test and experiment to stay on the leading edge. Our chemist travels around the world and is sent new ingredients when they are discovered on a regular basis. We are one of the rare companies capable of incorporating new innovations and ingredients into our products, no expense spared, because of our dedication to staying on the leading edge and providing the highest quality product on the market. 

Ordering soon?
High Performance Dead Flat is available in pints, quarts and gallons. Clear Poly Dead Flat is available in gallons. 5-gallon pails may be delayed due to label production and Canadian labels are pending translations.

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Can the Dead Flat sheen of Enduro Clear Poly be tinted?

 

Yes! Enduro Clear Poly in Dead Flat can be tinted in the same way as other sheens. The color may be softer, but it can be done. 

As always, we recommend that you test on a hidden area of your project or a test board to make sure you are happy with the result before starting your project.

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How do you maintain clarity of a Dead Flat sheen over dark colors?

Traditionally, flat topcoats were created by adding matting agents to gloss topcoat. These agents decreased the durability of the topcoat and produced a slight haze that reduced the vibrancy of an underlying stain or paint. 

Using newly patented polymer resin technology, matting agents are no longer required.  Our new Dead Flat topcoats produce a brilliant clear finish while providing significant improvements to chemical, water and mar resistance.

The new Dead Flat Matte sheen formula is available in the High Performance and Clear Poly lines. You can now achieve the look of our original Flat Out Flat while maintaining clarity and GF's high performance standards.

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What Finishes & Coatings does General Finishes Offer for Retailers, Homeowners and DIY??

General Finishes offers water, oil, and maintenance finishes that meet the needs of homeowners, woodworkers, and DIY’ers. Comprehensive videos are available for each product on YouTube, plus dynamic comparison charts at GeneralFinishes.com/COMPARE.

All General Finishes water-based finishes are:

  • VOC compliant in all 50 states
  • Water cleanup 
  • Low odor
  • Non-flammable
INTERIOR PRIMERS

Water Based Stain Blocker is:

  • An epoxy acrylic formulation.
  • Prevents tannin bleed-through & discoloration.
  • Has high build with excellent adhesion properties.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
WATER-BASED TOPCOATS & PIGMENTED FINISHES

High Performance Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An Interior polyurethane/acrylic blend.
  • Clear drying.
  • highly resistant to water and household chemicals.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Flat Out Flat Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior acrylic formulation.
  • Clear drying.
  • provides an extremely flat finish with high durability.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Enduro-Var II Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • An interior oil-modified water-based urethane.
  • Dries to a light, amber tone.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Is made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Is available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Water-Based Glaze Effects is:

  • An interior oxidating acrylic formula.
  • Available in 6 colors, including a Clear Base.
  • Is a decorative specialty finish.
  • Can be intermixed to create custom colors.
  • It requires a topcoat
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer

Pro Image Water-Based Flooring Topcoat is:

  • An interior polyurethane.
  • Clear drying.
  • Levels to a smooth, hard, durable finish.
  • Provides excellent slip and black heel mark resistance.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or pad applicator.
INTERIOR WATER-BASED STAINS

Water-Based Wood Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • It’s available in 18 deep brilliant colors.
  • And provides universal coverage on many wood species.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Used to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And to reduce Water Based Wood Stains.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Dye Stain is:

  • A penetrating stain with ink-like consistency.
  • It is available in 14 vibrant colors.
  • And can be used as a toner.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer or wiping on.

Water-Based Dye Stain Reducer is:

  • The clear base used to reduce Dye Stain colors.
WATER & OIL EXTERIOR FINISHES

Exterior 450 Clear Water-Based Topcoat is:

  • A polyurethane formulation.
  • Tintable to dark colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & Mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Clear drying.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

 450 White Water-Based Topcoat is: 

  • A pigmented polyurethane formulation.
  • Is tintable to light and pastel colors.
  • Contains UV absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Exterior 450 Water-Based Stain is:

  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 10 colors, including a clear base.
  • Contains U.V. absorbers & mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer.

Water-Based Milk Paint is:

  • A premium Interior and exterior-rated acrylic formulation.
  • Self-sealing and does not require topcoat.
  • Made with over 50% renewable resources.
  • Available in 12 popular colors, plus two tint bases.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.

Outdoor Oil is:

  • A penetrating oil wood preservative.
  • Contains UV absorbers and mildewcides to protect the finish.
  • This finish will amber as it ages.
  • A maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a brush, roller or sprayer.
INTERIOR OIL STAINS & AMBERING TOPCOATS

Gel Satin Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip oil and urethane formula.
  • Designed to provide a hand-rubbed look.
  • Will amber as it ages.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Gel Oil-Based Stain is:

  • A heavy-bodied, no-drip formula.
  • Available in 14 deep, rich, uniform colors.
  • Apply with a brush, roller, or wipe on.

 Arm-R-Seal Oil-Based Topcoat is:

  • A penetrating sealer with a high-quality urethane formulation.
  • It provides long-lasting, durable protection.
  • and works beautifully on projects with detail.
  • This finish will amber as it ages
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Liquid Oil-Based Wood Stain is:

  • a traditional, pigmented liquid wiping stain
  • Available in 14 colors
  • Can be used as a toner with Arm-R-Seal
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner is:

  • Designed to control blotching on hard-to-stain woods.
  • And penetrates the grain to promote uniform acceptance of oil stains.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Oil-Based Seal-A-Cell Clear is:

  • Formulated with a blend of oils, urethanes, and wax.
  • Is GF’s deepest penetrating close-to-the-wood sealer.
  • And the best choice for highlighting figured wood.
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.

Hard Wax Oil is:

  • A urethane-solids polymer in a blend of oil & wax.
  • Enhances the natural look of wood.
  • One of our easiest finishes to use.
  • It’s best used with optional GF Hardener to shorten dry time and provide superior durability.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a white pad or plastic spreader.

 Oil Based Wood Bowl Finish is:

  • A pure urethane formulation.
  • Highlights figured wood beautifully
  • Apply with a brush or wipe on.
INTERIOR MAINTENANCE PRODUCTS

Butcher Block Oil is:

  • A mineral oil formulation.
  • Meets all requirements for use on wooden surfaces that come in contact with food.
  • This is a maintenance product. Reapply when wear becomes evident.
  • Apply with a cloth.

Orange Oil is:

  • A routine cleaner for cured wood finishes
  • Non-combustible with a fresh orange scent
  • Apply with a cloth

Satin Finishing Wax is:

  • A blend of waxes.
  • Produces a soft sheen and feel over any wood finish.
  • Can be used as a polish for rubbing out new finishes OR as a scratch-remover.
  • Apply with a cloth.

No matter what your project is, General Finishes has the right product for you. General Finishes is dedicated to using the highest-quality ingredients in all our products, while testing and advancing our water-based finishes with leading-edge technology.

Learn more about GF’s products at Generalfinishes.com. 

General Finishes: We make tomorrow's finishes today.

 

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Milk Paint

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*Can Gel Stain Be Used Over Laminate?

GF advises extra care and prep when applying any finish over laminate surfaces because they are specifically designed not to mar and therefore they are not very "sand-able", making adherence difficult.

In addition to this non-permeable surface factor, General Finishes Gel Stain is an oil-based product, and it is more difficult to obtain proper drying characteristics over a dense manufactured surface such as laminate. Gel stains, as all wood stains, were formulated to go over raw wood which has an "open" surface and can absorb some of the stain.

Customers have reported the successful use of Gel products over laminate surfaces. Here are two techniques:

  1. Using Dark Chocolate Milk Paint as a Base under Gel Stain (Dark Chocolate Milk Paint was formulated to mimic the color of Java Gel Stain)
  2. Several techniques using only Gel Stain/no paint or primer

SOME NOTES:

  • If you can abrade the surface by sanding, you will increase your chances of success. If you choose to proceed, test for adhesion on a hidden area of your project before getting started.
  • If you are applying GF Gel Stains over existing "sealed" finished wood or any impenetrable surface, TRIPLE OR QUADRUPLE the drying times of all the finishes used because the stain cannot soak into the surface.
  • De-Glossers: GF does not recommend the use of a de-glosser as a REPLACEMENT for prep sanding and cleaning. They are sold by manufacturers that advocate that it is ok to cover up dirt and grime, which can create a problem. GF feels that appropriate cleaning and sanding delivers a better result and saves money.
  • If you have physical issues with the labor of sanding, at least clean the project before using a de-glosser.

APPLYING GEL STAIN DIRECTLY TO LAMINATE:

  • “Power clean” by scrubbing with a solution of water and a strong detergent such as Dawn or Spic & Span, using a Scotch-Brite pad. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Then follow with a second scrubbing with a 50:50 mix of denatured alcohol and water, also using a Scotch-Brite pad. Let dry completely.
  • Sand with a power sander. 150-grit followed by 180-grit sandpaper. (some users reported using 220 grit sandpaper). Wipe off the dust.

You can apply Java Gel Stain several ways:

  • With a roller for a painted effect (from ABHall), painting on with a chip brush followed by pouncing with a plastic bag for a textured effect.
  • Brushing on followed by a mineral spirit dry-brush technique. See mineral spirits dry-brushing technique in this video
  • Apply a slip-coat of mineral spirits first using a chip brush to give you more open time. While the mineral spirits is still wet, paint the Gel Stain on using a chip brush. While the Gel Stain is still wet, GENTLY smooth out the surface with a folded blue shop towel going in the direction of the grain. 
    Tip from Andrea Allred: Dry brush Gray Gel Stain on top the next day for a weathered look. 
  • Paint on two coats of Gel Stain, letting each coat dry 72 hours. Create the look of faux wood by sanding each coat lightly.
  • Allow the Gel Stain to DRY 72 HOURS. If it is still tacky and cool to the touch, let it dry for days. Let it dry, let it dry, let it dry. Lack of dry time over existing surfaces is the number one reason for Gel Stain failure!
  • Seal with 3 coats of topcoat, allowing triple dry time. As previously stated, you can use Arm-R-Seal over dark colors and High Performance over light colors.

NOTE: When using fine wood finishes, water and spills must be wiped up in a timely fashion. If this a high-use area near a sink, consider replacing the countertop instead. If this a low-use area such as a bedroom dresser that needs a tune-up, you will be fine.

ADHESION TEST:

Test your entire procedure (preparation to topcoat) on a hidden area first and let it cure for 7-10 days. Then further test the finish by duplicating normal wear and tear: washing, scrubbing, scratching, etc. to make sure the finish bonds to the surface.

See more General Finishes FAQs here.

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Is GF's Milk Paint a True Milk Paint?

GF's Milk Paint is not a true Milk Paint - it is premixed and does not contain any casein based ingredients. We named our product Milk Paint with the intention of putting a clear, bright, contemporary spin on an old fashioned furniture paint tradition.

It is designed to mimic the low luster finish of old world paints. It is our premium paint, carefully engineered for durability, ease of application and exterior use. All you have to do is prep your piece, stir the can and get started!

Here are some other qualities that make our Milk Paint stand out:

  • Extremely durable with great adhesion properties.
  • It is self-sealing. Additional sealant is not required if low to medium wear is expected. If extra durability is desired in high use areas or if you want a glossier sheen, GF recommends applying High Performance or one of our Enduro Professional Topcoats as a sealant.
  • Performs well on outdoor projects.
  • It's UV resistant, water resistant and scratch resistant.
  • Sprays beautifully.
  • It can be intermixed with other General Finishes Glaze Effects and Milk Paint colors to create custom colors. It is also a great companion to our water-based Stains, Dyes, Pearl Effects and Topcoats.

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Do I need to add a wetting agent such as Floetrol to General Finishes Milk Paint?

No. General Finishes already adds excellent wetting and flow agents to our Milk Paint. Adding another wetting agent is superfluous, and it may even be harmful to your finish if the formulas don't coordinate.

Milk Paint can be thinned if desired with 5-10% distilled water. You can increase "open time" if needed with 10-15% GF Extender. GF Extender will improve the flow, leveling and give more working time in hot, dry climates. 

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*Is General Finishes Milk Paint Different From Their Professional Paint Line?

Both products are exactly the same - the only difference is size. Professional paints are sold in gallons for use in spray applications, whereas Retail Milk Paints are sold in pints and quarts.

General Finishes are particularly durable because they were originally created for commercial use.

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Does GF Milk Paint require primer?

GF Milk Paints are self-sealing so it is not necessary to use primer.

You may use a white pigmented stain-blocking primer if you need to cover grain, paint light or white color on dark wood, or if you're painting a wood that is known to bleed, such as pine or mahogany. We recommend using General Finishes Stain Blocker, Kilz or Zinsser white pigmented shellac-based primers.

Warning: sometimes it is impossible to block bleed through. Always test. Not all projects with existing finishes are candidates for light paint colors. If this happens, start turning your thoughts to Lamp Black Milk Paint - that will cover a lot of problems.

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*What is the Best Applicator to use for Milk Paint and Water Based Topcoat?

Either bristle or foam brushes will work well with Milk Paint and Top Coat. The folks at GF might use several types of brushes for a project.

For example:

  • We like to use a bristle brush (which loads up more paint) to get Milk Paint on the surface, and then use a water or Extender dampened foam brush to smooth out the finish.​
  • ​​​​​​Bristle brushes are particularly helpful on vertical and detailed surfaces but they can produce subtle texture.
  • Foam brushes tend to produce a smoother finish which can be particularly helpful on flat horizontal surfaces.
  • Pad Applicators or paint rollers are also helpful on larger horizontal surfaces such as a table top.

For folks who don't want to invest in several brushes, the foam brush is our recommendation.

The very best application method is spraying.

 

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*Does Milk Paint Need To Be Sealed with a Topcoat or Wax?

No, General Finishes Milk Paint is premium paint developed for commercial applications and is durable enough to stand up to most wear without top coat.

If increased sheen or maximum durability for high-use areas (cabinets, table tops) is required, GF recommends applying 2-3 coats of GF's High Performance or Enduro professional topcoats.

When working with a white Milk Paint color, GF recommends that you use a wood primer such as General Finishes Stain Blocker beforehand, and seal with General Finishes Enduro White Poly or General Finishes Brushable White Enamel.

General Finishes offers Satin Finishing Wax, High Performance Topcoat in 4 sheens (Flat, Satin, Semi-Gloss and Gloss), Flat Out Flat Topcoat and Glaze Effects to compliment the Milk Paints.

Milk Paint is also a superior exterior-rated finish.

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Can Milk Paint be used outside?

Milk Paint is an exterior rated product and is ideal for outdoor projects. Topcoat is not required.

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Can oil based topcoats be used over Milk Paint?

Oil based top coat can be applied over Milk Paint so long as 24 hours wait time is allowed between the two products. When moving from a water based product to an oil based product it is essential that the first is dry before applying the second.

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Can Milk Paint be applied to an existing Glossy surface?

Glossy surfaces have the most risk of poor adhesion.

  1. Clean your project with a Scotch Brite pad and a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and alcohol. Do not use mineral spirits with a water based product. SECOND, sand with 150 or 180 grit. Sanding is critical to the success of every finishing project as it further cleans the surface and opens up the grain to improve the adhesion of the new paint or finish.
  2. TEST your procedure on the inside of a door first, letting the paint cure for 14 days. Then test the finish by duplicating normal wear and tear: washing, scrubbing, scratching, etc to see if the finish bonds to the surface.
  3. The cabinets may need to be de-glossed with a de-glosser solvent available at any paint store.

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Can I use General Finishes Milk Paint over an existing finish?

Yes. Be sure to prep clean and sand, and test a small area for adhesion.

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