General Finishes water-based Pre-Cat Lacquer clear-drying wood finish uses new technology in the polymer manufacturing process. This novel formula produces a smaller and smoother particle, which translates into a big increase in film clarity. The chemical, water and yellowing resistance are superior to competitors, waterborne or solvent. With superior block resistance and stack time at a great price point, this the perfect finish when fast production time is needed. Can be buffed to a high wet-gloss look. Spray tip recommendations. Download 2021 Professional Water Based Product catalog here.
General Finishes Enduro Pre-Cat Lacquer Application Steps
CAUTION: Do NOT use GF Enduro Pre-Cat Lacqueror 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.
Enduro Pre-Cat Lacquer is a hard topcoat engineered for a good price point. If higher durability is needed, use Enduro Clear Poly. See our comparison tool for more information.
Stir topcoat thoroughly to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can before and throughout the application process. Do not shake.
Test for adhesion when applying over an existing sealed surface.
Thinas desired with distilled water; start with 5%, adding up to 10% by volume.
Increase open time, if needed, with 10-15% by volume General Finishes Extender if allowed by local regulations. GF Extender will improve flow and leveling and increase open time, which is helpful in dry climates. California Residents: Adding more than 2% of GF Extender will make the product non-compliant per SCAQMD Regulations. GF assumes no liability for the improper use of these products.
Ready to spray from container. Apply a minimum of 3 coats.
Spray application: Before spraying, strain topcoat through a fine-mesh filter. Spray wet films at 3-5-mil thickness. Medium air cap. Fluid tip sizes: Compressed air: .040, HVLP: .043-.051 or Airless: .009-.013. 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. Wear a mask and work in a ventilated space. Read here for more information on spraying techniques.
Face frames on cabinets: Enduro professional products are engineered to be spray-only but can be successfully applied to cabinet face frames or edges with a pad or small, cabinet-specific roller such as Whizz Velour brand. Larger areas may not level with a hand application. ALTERNATIVE: Use the same sheen of General Finishes High Performance Topcoaton areas that must be brushed.
If a faster build is desired using clears over raw wood, use General Finishes Sanding Sealer for the first 1-2 coats, followed by 2 coats of Pre-Cat Lacquer.
Finish sand between coats with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper to improve smoothness and adhesion.
Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.
Tinting & Toning with Pre-Cat Lacquer
When tinting, we recommend using General Finishes Enduro Polyor High Performance Topcoat for tinting instead of Pre-Cat Lacquer because they have higher solids.
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.
Please be mindful of the manner in which water-based products are stored and how long they have been in storage. They not a forever product.
Life of Product
Water-based products do not last forever, even when unopened. General Finishes products are best used within 1 year. However, the life of the product may be extended several more years with proper care and storage (see Storage Tips below).
Water-based products can last 3-5 years if the can is unopened, in good condition and stored in correct temperatures.
Product that is 3 years old will not look like product that is 6 months to 1 year old. You will see more stratification or separation as the product ages. Always stir thoroughlybefore using.
If your product hasa foul smell, it is contaminated and no longer in useable condition.
Clumps & 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 product stir with 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.
Inability to reincorporate large, chunky lumps after stirring for several minutes is an indication that the product has frozen and can no longer be used.
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:
Pry open sealed lids with a paint can opener by hooking under the lid's rolled edge. The use of a screwdriver can disfigure the rim and lid, impairing a complete seal.
Keep lid closed while working. Pour what you will use into a bowl, paper cup, or plate, and close can lid as you work.
Clean the chime of the can thoroughly with a paper towel before closing to create a complete seal. Product falling into the chime can be minimized by using a pouring lid, such as Fitsall. Avoid wiping used brushes on the lid.
Pound the lid in place using a rubber mallet to avoid distorting the chime or lid. Dents in the lid from direct contact with a hammer can impair a complete seal. Alternatively, place a flat piece of wood over can lid and firmly pound shut.
Store in moderate temperatures. Avoid temperatures below 50°F/10°C or above 100°F/26°C. Keep from freezing. Frozen and heat-damaged product cannot be revitalized. Temperature-controlled spaces, such as a basement, are ideal for storage. Do not store product in an attic, garage, in direct sunlight, or next to something warm like a water heater or furnace.
Store can upside down to create a liquid seal, minimize evaporation and reduce the chance of crystallization. Decant remaining product from the can before stirring.
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:
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:
Chemical-resistant, impervious gloves complying with an approved standard should be worn at all times when handling chemical products if a risk assessment indicates this is necessary. Considering the parameters specified by the glove manufacturer, check during use that the gloves are still retaining their protective properties. It should be noted that the time to breakthrough for any glove material may be different for different glove manufacturers. In the case of mixtures, consisting of several substances, the protection time of the gloves cannot be accurately estimated.
Eye/face protection: Safety eyewear complying with an approved standard should be used when a risk assessment indicates this is necessary to avoid exposure to liquid splashes, mists, gases or dusts. If contact is possible, the following protection should be worn, unless the assessment indicates a higher degree of protection: safety glasses with side-shields.
Based on the hazard and potential for exposure, select a respirator that meets the appropriate standard or certification. Respirators must be used according to a respiratory protection program to ensure proper fitting, training, and other important aspects of use.
Body protection 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.
Wash hands, forearms and face thoroughly after handling chemical products, before eating, smoking and using the lavatory and at the end of the working period. Appropriate techniques should be used to remove potentially contaminated clothing. Wash contaminated clothing before reusing. Ensure that eyewash stations and safety showers are close to the workstation location.
Other skin protection: Appropriate footwear and any additional skin protection measures should be selected based on the task being performed.
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.
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.