Water-based conversion Varnish is a clear drying, two-component, post-catalyzed urethane topcoat for use when ultimate durability is necessary. Use this wood finish for high-use projects that receive a lot of wear, such as bars, commercial tabletops, bathroom vanities, around dishwashers, kitchen cupboards or high-moisture areas. Spray tip recommendations. Download Professional Water Based Product catalog here.
General Finishes Conversion Varnish is a clear drying, post-catalyzed, high-solids, two-component urethane formulated for ultimate durability and chemical resistance, and requires General Finishes NCO Catalyst. READ PROTECTION INSTRUCTIONS IN WARNINGS SECTION BELOW BEFORE USE.
CAUTION: Do NOT use GF Conversion Varnishor any other clear coat, over white or light paints such as GF Milk Paint, or GF White Poly as it may cause yellowing. 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.
Stir thoroughly to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can using a power drill and mixer (recommended) or by hand with a paint stick. Do not shake. See this video here: How To Mix Conversion Varnish
Test for adhesion when applying over an existing finish.
Thinas desired, with distilled water (before or after mixing with NCO catalyst); start with 5%,adding up to 10% by volume.
Increase open time,if needed, with 10-15% by volume of General Finishes Extender if allowed by local regulations. GF Extender can be used to improve flow and leveling, and increase open time, which is helpful in dry climates. California Residents: Adding more than 2% of GF Extenderwill make the product non-compliant per SCAQMD Regulations. GF assumes no liability for the improper use of these products.
Slowly add up to 10% NCO Catalyst by volume (3.2 oz. per quart; 12.8 oz. per gallon) to Conversion Varnish while stirring thoroughly. Allow 2-3 minutes when mixing with a power drill, or 5 minutes when mixing by hand with a paint stick. Use gloves and protective eyewear when mixing. Mix only what you are going to use and clean spray gun immediately after use. The finish can only be mixed once, and the leftover product will solidify after 6-8 hours. DO NOT store in a closed container to avoid pressure build-up.
Let Conversion Varnish sit for 15 minutes.
Apply 3 coats. For high-moisture areas, apply 4 coats. Additional coats will not improve durability.
Spray application: Before spraying, strain topcoat through a fine-mesh filter. Spray wet films at 3-5-mil thickness. HVLP: 1.1mm-1.3mm spray tip, medium air cap. Verify tip sizes with your equipment supplier. See our general guide for spray tip sizes. Keep your gun at a 90° angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large, flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6-8" wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" wide to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines. NOTE; Conversion Varnish is used with NCO catalyst. When using a spray-gun, wear self-contained breathing apparatus. In the event of insufficient ventilation: Wear self-contained breathing apparatus. When respirators are required, select NIOSH/MSHA approved equipment and work in a ventilated space. READ ALL PROTECTION INSTRUCTIONS IN THE WARNINGS SECTION BEFORE USE.
Face frames on cabinets: Enduro professional products are engineered to be spray-only but can be successfully applied by hand to cabinet face frames or edges with a pad applicator or small, cabinet-specific roller such as Whizz Velour brand. Larger areas may not level with a hand application.
If a faster build is desired when applying clears over raw wood, use General Finishes Sanding Sealer for the first coat, followed by 2 coats of Enduro Conversion Varnish.
Finish sand between coats with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad to improve smoothness and adhesion.
Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.
Conversion Varnish cannot be used as a toner and is not tintable.
Warning: Do not use water-based products with Linseed Oils or Danish Oils.
Dry 1-2 hours between coats in ideal conditions: 70°F 21°C; 50% humidity.
Tack-free: 5-10 minutes.
Ready to Sand: 30-45 minutes.
Be sure to allow adequate dry time. You can tell if a water-based finish is dry if it forms a powder when lightly sanded with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper. If in doubt, wait longer. Rushing the dry time can cause "blush," which is clouding in the finish due to moisture trapped between the layers.
Increase dry time if:
Humidity is over 80%
Temperatures are cooler.
3+ coats are applied
Thick coats are applied
Applying over an existing sealed finish
Applying over products from other brands
Layering General Finishes water- and oil-based products:
Water over oil: Let oil-based products dry 72+hr before applying water-based products
Oil over water: Let water-based products dry 24+hr before applying oil-based products
To accelerate dry time in humid conditions, add General Finishes Accelerator and work in a space with good ventilation and air movement. If you decide to re-coat before the recommended time, test dryness.
As is true of most "water-white" topcoats, General Finishes water-based topcoats dry clear over non-reactive substrates, such as plastic or metal, except General Finishes Enduro-Var, which ambers. When white paint sealed with a water-white topcoat is applied to something as unpredictable as wood, all bets are off and the reason for yellowing is often unknown. It can be caused by topcoat activating tannins in raw wood or aniline dyes, stains, or contaminants in a pre-existing finish. This is most evident when using BRIGHT WHITE paint and most prevalent in sculpted details of furniture where the topcoat can collect, intensifying color change to an unacceptable level.
There is no reliable way to predict whether yellowing will occur and to what degree. Every existing finish is different and we rarely know the finishing provenance on an existing piece. Every tree is different and every piece of wood is unique. Raw wood can bleed tannins immediately after the topcoat dries or months later with seasonal temperature changes. Oak, pine, mahogany, and douglas fir are particularly prone to bleed-through.
Whites have a lower “hide” quality and are more transparent than most other colors. Nearly all 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.
All bright white paint will yellow slightly with time, with or without topcoat. You have probably tried to touch up white woodwork in your home after several years and noticed the new paint is brighter.
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 it 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, such as a chalk paint, the more likely that yellowing will occur. The topcoat is seeping through the spaces caused by the larger particles of filler that give Chalk Paints their texture.
Tips to Prevent Yellowing
If it is a low-use project, use a premium white paint that is self-sealing and does not require a topcoat. A clear topcoat is not required on General Finishes Milk Paint for increased durability, as it is a self-sealing, exterior-rated coating with high durability and chemical and water resistance. However, topcoats do provide a smooth surface that is easier to clean and boosts durability for high-use projects, such as tabletops and kitchen cabinets.
Use a professional spray such as General Finishes Enduro White Poly. It has "increased topcoat properties," is a standalone finish when 3 coats are applied, and does not require sealing with a topcoat.
Stain Blocker does not adhere to melamine cabinet veneers.
Stain Blocker cannot be tinted.
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 will not help if the yellowing occurs later, but at least you will know if there is an immediate problem.
Avoid painting period furniture, such as a 1940s serpentine mahogany desk, with light colors. The pieces were often finished in stain that contained aniline dyes, which cast a pinkish bleed-through under light paint. Not every piece of furniture is suitable for upcycling with a light paint color. Pine, mahogany, and furniture of the 1940s and 50s are a red flag.
Last, not all manufacturers' 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.
Knots in wood tend to bleed and are dense, making paint and stain adhesion a challenge. Stain Blocker may improve adhesion and prevent bleed-through for painting projects. Pine knots are especially difficult to cover with white or light paints. If you decide to paint over them, apply 3 coats of Stain Blocker first; however, we cannot guarantee adhesion or bleed-through blockage. You are better off using a dark paint on pine.
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 with proper care and storage.
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 Conversion, use 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.
The finish can only be mixed once, and the leftover product will solidify after 6-8 hours.
DO NOT store in a closed container to avoid pressure build-up.
Store in moderate temperatures. Avoid temperatures below 50°F/10°C or above 100°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.
Store can upside down to create a liquid seal, minimize evaporation and reduce the chance of crystallization.
You have just finished applying a fine furniture finish. Treat gently until the paint or topcoat have fully cured. Allow 21 days for a water-based finish to cure and 30 days for an oil-based finish to cure before cleaning.
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Remove dust with a water-dampened cloth. Dust can build up over time and may scratch or dull finishes if not removed regularly.
Remove fingerprints, cooking fumes and smoking residue with mild soap and water. These contaminants will not harm the finish, but they accumulate on surfaces and dull the original luster.
As with all fine furniture finishes, avoid using furniture polish, cleaners or dusting sprays that contain silicone, alcohol, ammonia and anything acidic. Exception: We have successfully cleaned with Clorox wipes for occasional cleanups.
Clean up water, alcohol and food spills in a timely manner and use placemats & coasters to protect the finish.
Future finishes or touch-ups may not adhere properly or perform as desired over a contaminated surface. Some contaminants, such as silicone, seep through finish into the wood and often cannot be removed.
Avoid excessive exposure to direct sunlight, high temperatures or high humidity. These can damage furniture and finishes.
Do not use water-based products with Linseed Oils or Danish Oils.
General Finishes products must be tested to your complete satisfaction before using. General Finishes will not be responsible for color satisfaction, misapplication, nor compatibility with other manufacturers' products. General Finishes will be responsible only for the cost of our products, and not for costs such as labor, damage or project replacement.
Contamination and Compatibility
Our finishes are engineered as a system and are compatible with each other. General Finishes cannot guarantee an ideal refinish when applying our products on top of or combined with another company's products or over surfaces that have been in contact with waxes, polishes or sprays containing contaminants such as silicone. Test for adherence and aesthetics before beginning.
If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a NIOSH-approved respirator to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by contacting the National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log onto www.epa.gov/lead.
Seek immediate medical attention if symptoms occur due to the following. EYE CONTACT: Remove any contact lenses. Flush eyes with water for 20+ minutes while lifting upper and lower eyelids. SKIN CONTACT: Wash thoroughly after handling. INHALATION: Move to fresh air and loosen clothing. If not breathing, if breathing is irregular or if respiratory arrest occurs, provide artificial respiration or oxygen by trained personnel. INGESTION: Call physician immediately. Wash out mouth with water. Do not induce vomiting unless directed to do so by medical personnel. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
This product contains a chemical known to the State Of California to cause cancer and birth defects. Do not swallow; first aid: drink water to dilute product. May cause eye or skin irritation; first aid: flush eyes thoroughly with water.
Keep out of reach of children. Avoid contact with eyes. Keep container tightly closed when not in use. Wash thoroughly after handling.
PERSONAL PROTECTION DURING USE:
NOTE: Conversion Varnish Is used with NCO post catalyzer.Do not breathe mist/vapours/spray. Wear protective gloves/protective clothing/eye protection/face protection. Read all protection guidelines below.
Use suitable chemical-resistant protective gloves. The selection of gloves must take into account the extent and duration of use at the workstation. Protective gloves must be chosen according to the function of the work station: other chemicals which may be handled, physical protection necessary (resistance to cutting, puncture, heat), dexterity required.
Eye and face protection requirements will vary dependent upon work environment conditions and material handling practices. Appropriate ANSI Z87 approved equipment should be selected for the particular use intended for this material. Eye contact should be prevented through use of chemical safety glasses with side shields or splash-proof goggles. An emergency eyewash must be readily accessible to the work area.
When using a spray-gun, wear self-contained breathing apparatus. In the event of insufficient ventilation: Wear self-contained breathing apparatus. When respirators are required, select NIOSH/MSHA approved equipment based on actual or potential airborne concentrations and in accordance with the appropriate regulatory standards and/ or industrial recommendations.
Personal protective equipment for the body should be selected based on the task being performed and the risks involved and should be approved by a specialist before handling this product.
Environmental exposure controls:
Emissions from ventilation or work process equipment should be checked to ensure they comply with the requirements of environmental protection legislation.
Appropriate engineering controls:
Good general ventilation should be sufficient to control worker exposure to airborne contaminants.
Ensure good ventilation of the work station. Shower or take a bath at the end of work. Separate normal clothes from work-clothes. Immediately remove all soiled and contaminated clothing.
Other skin protection: Appropriate footwear and any additional skin protection measures should be selected based on the task being performed. Protective clothing with elasticated cuffs and closed neck is recommended when handling NCO catalylst.
Water White in can (dries clear)
Flat (10 or less), Satin (25-35), Semi-Gloss (50-60), Gloss (80+)
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.
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.
that 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
GF recommends our recently improved Pre Cat Lacquer for 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 table top where you anticipate chemical contamination during use, why pay for a more expensive finish?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.