color pull

*How Do I Prevent Bleed Through When Applying Whitewash Over Espresso Water Based Wood Stain?

Water Based Stains will always exhibit a bit of bleed through. When glazing with any color over water stains, we recommend some type of seal coat is applied first.

Unfortunately, the two colors you have chosen do not work very well together. Expresso will always bleed if Whitewash is applied directly over top. In the future, seal the Espresso stain with a coat of Shellac, and then General Finishes High Performance Topcoat. Allow both to dry, then apply Whitewash as a glaze (1 part stain, 1 part topcoat mix).

Here are two remedies we recommend to fix for bleeding that has occurred:

  1. Strip away finish and start over. 
    Stain with Espresso, top with Shellac, and then with 1-2 coats High Performance. After the HIgh Performance has dried, apply the Whitewash as a glaze (1:1 stain & HPTC). Seal with High Performance.
  2. Paint over the bleeding stain. 
    Seal current finish with Shellac and then paint with Seagull Gray Milk Paint.

Any time you apply a light stain over a dark stain there is a possibility of bleed through. Therefore, it's important to seal off the base color first. 
If the look of the wood grain is not important, Dark Chocolate Milk Paint is an exact match to Java Gel Stain when painted, and it could be used as an alternative base color.

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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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*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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