Brushable White Enamel

Brushable White Enamel is a premium, pigmented water-based wood enamel ideal for cabinets, furniture and millwork. Acting as a 2-in-1 paint and topcoat, this enamel is perfect for those who want to work with Enduro White Poly, but do not own a spray gun. 

FAQ's

  • Can BWE be tinted? Yes, but only to a light neutral or pastel shade with a Colorfal Zero VOC UTC colorant.
  • Sizes and sheens? Quarts and Gallons; Satin and Semi-Gloss.
  • Can be BWE be applied over existing finishes? Yes, it may be used over an existing finish after proper surface prep and testing.
  • Can BWE be used over raw wood? Yes, but GFs Stain Blocker should be applied first to prevent potential wood tannin bleed-through.
  • How many coats of BWE are required? 2-3 coats.
     
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General Finishes Water Based Brushable White Enamel Satin, Quart

Instructions

Step 1: Preparation

All wood projects require preparation sanding, and all existing finishes require prep cleaning and sanding. If you skip this critical step, your finish may fail.

Preparation for Raw Wood or Raw Wood Projects That Are to be Stained 
See our video: How to Prep Sand Raw Wood

  1. Sanding Schedule: 120-grit followed by 150- or 220-grit sandpaper.
  2. Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.
  3. Let dry completely before applying GF product.
  4. Do not over-sand with fine-grit sandpapers; this will close and seal the wood grain, preventing ideal color absorption.
  5. Do NOT use steel wool with water-based finishes; the particles will get trapped in the finish and rust.

Preparation for Projects with an Existing Finish (Sealed Surface)
For high-use areas with heavy grime build-up and oil from hands, give your project a deeper cleaning.
See our video: How to Prepare Existing Finishes

  1. Scuff clean with a Scotch Brite pad and a 50:50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. Dry 1-2 hours. Avoid cleaning with products containing phosphates (salt), which can linger in the substrate and produce a white haze. If your project requires a deeper cleaning, see Power Prep Cleaning Highly Used Existing Finishes below.
  2. Sand lightly with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad.
  3. Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.
  4. Let dry completely before applying General Finishes product.

Power Prep Cleaning Highly Used Existing Finishes
For high-use areas such as kitchen cabinets or table tops with heavy grime build-up and oil from hands, give your project a "Power" clean. See our video: How to Power Prep Existing High Use Finishes for Stain or Paint

  1. Scrub clean with a detergent, such as Spic and Span or Dawn, using a Scotch Brite pad.
  2. Rinse well with water.
  3. Scrub clean with a Scotch Brite pad and a 50:50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. Dry 1-2 hours.
  4. Sand lightly with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad.
  5. Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.
  6. Let dry completely before applying General Finishes product.

Alternative Cleaning Solutions For Existing Finishes (Not as aggressive or effective as denatured alcohol; requires rinsing.) 

  • 50:50 mix of bleach and water 
  • 50:50 mix of vinegar and water
  • Mineral spirits can be used when working with water-based products, but only if the surface is thoroughly rinsed and allowed to dry for 72 hours.
  • If you use with products containing phosphates (salt), which can linger in the substrate and produce a white haze, be sure to rinse thoroughly.

Step 2: Priming

When applying Brushable White Enamel over raw wood, apply 2 coats of Stain Blocker FIRST.

When applying Brushable White Enamel over an existing finish, apply 2 coats of Stain Blocker FIRST.

Causes of bleed-through:

  1. ​​​​​​Raw Wood Tannin Bleed-Through is unpredictable; yellowing can appear immediately or months later with seasonal temperature changes. Oak, pine, mahogany, and Douglas fir are particularly prone to bleed-through. 
  2. Knots in Wood tend to bleed and are dense, making paint adhesion a challenge. Stain Blocker may improve adhesion and prevent bleed-through.
  3. Existing Finishes Bleed-Through may be caused by wood tannins, previous stains or aniline dyes, surface contamination, and incompatibility between brands.
  4. ALWAYS apply 2 coats General Finishes Stain Blocker before applying Brushable White Enamel over an existing finish for adhesion and to prevent bleed-through.

Non-Wood Surfaces may be able to take paint if primed first. Primer may improve adhesion over laminate and prevent bleed-through from MDF. Metal requires a primer made specifically for metal.

NOTE: Do not tint or use General Finishes Stain Blocker on projects that will be stored outdoors.

Priming Non-Wood Surfaces
Always test for adhesion on a hidden area of your project before getting started.

Metal: Brushable White Enamel is engineered for wood surfaces, but may adhere to metal, such as aluminum or steel, if a metal primer is applied first. 

  1. Clean surface well.
  2. Apply primer.
  3. Dry 48-72 hours before painting.

Laminate: Brushable White Enamel MAY adhere to laminate with a bonding primer; however, we cannot guarantee it. You may increase your chances of success by abrading the surface.

  1. Prep: Deep clean, dry thoroughly, sand with 150- then 180-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust.
  2. Prime: Apply bonding primer, dry 12+ hours before painting.

MDF: Brushable White Enamel can be applied directly to MDF, but the MDF may cast a brown color if not primed first. Two base coats of white-pigmented shellac-based stain-blocking primer, or Stain Blocker, may prevent bleed-through. Alternatively, one base coat of General Finishes Seagull Gray Milk Paint may block brown tone caused by MDF.

MDF is not as absorbent as natural wood. Let each coat of primer and paint dry at least 48 hours before recoating.

Disclaimer
Although Stain Blocker is engineered to prevent the most persistent bleed-through when 2 coats are applied, General Finishes cannot guarantee prevention of bleed-through or yellowing on every project. Unknown factors and assiduous bleed-through can impact results. Stain Blocker is the strongest option we are aware of at this time and has performed extremely well in our tests.

Step 3: How To Apply General Finishes Brushable White Enamel

General Finishes Brushable White Enamel Application Steps

  1. Stir to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can before and throughout the application process.
  2. If desired, thin with up to 15% distilled water or General Finishes Extender. Start by adding 5% in increments until you reach the desired consistency. GF Extender will improve flow and leveling and increase open time, which is helpful in dry climates.  
  3. Apply as many coats as needed for desired coverage. Additional coats are often required when applying white colors. Test fo adhesion over existing finishes before completing the project.
    • Hand application: Use a synthetic bristle or foam brush, pad applicator or roller with smooth, even strokes.
    • Spray application: Before spraying, strain through a medium-mesh filter. Spray wet films at 3-5-mil thickness. HVLP: 1.8mm-2.0mm 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. Wear a mask and work in a ventilated space. Read here for more information on spraying techniques.
  4. Dry 2+ hours between coats in ideal conditions: 70°F/20°C; 50-70% humidity. 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. 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%
    • 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.
  5. Finish sand between coats with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad to improve smoothness and adhesion. Do not use conventional steel wool. 
  6. Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.
  7. A topcoat is not required or recommended. The use of clear topcoat, even when the surface is primed, may cause yellowing. If you choose to topcoat, apply no more than 2 coats and apply Brushable White Enamel over 2 coats General Finishes Stain Blocker. 

Cure Time
Water-based finishes cure and harden for full use after 21 days in ideal conditions. Avoid placing heavy objects on surfaces that have not completely cured. Treat gently, and do not clean with commercial products during the curing period.

Warning: Do not use water-based products with Linseed Oils or Danish Oils.

Cleanup of Water Based Products

Application tools and materials containing water-based products can be cleaned with soap and water or GF Brush & Gun Cleaner immediately after use.

Product Spills
Spills may be able to be removed from fabric and carpet if cleaned immediately with soap and water.

Storage of Water Based Products

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.

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

The following water-based product mixtures can be stored:

  1. Product thinned 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 Based Wood Stain + Dye Stain

Furniture Care and Maintenance

Cure First
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.
  • 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.

Warnings and Warranties

Compatibility: Do not use water-based products with Linseed Oils or Danish Oils.

Limited Warranty
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. 

Danger: Contents are COMBUSTIBLE. Keep away from heat and open flame. Application materials or other waste soaked with this product may spontaneously catch fire if improperly discarded. Immediately after use, place rags, steel wool or waste in a sealed, water-filled, metal container. Dispose of in accordance with local fire regulations.

CAUTION: Contains ALIPHATIC HYDROCARBONS. VAPOR HARMFUL. Use only with adequate ventilation. DELAYED EFFECTS FROM LONG-TERM OVEREXPOSURE. Contains solvents which can cause permanent brain and nervous system damage. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating & inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal.

Warning
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.

Do not swallow; first aid: drink water to dilute product. May cause eye and skin irritation; first aid: flush eyes thoroughly with water.

FIRST AID: In case of eye contact, flush thoroughly with large amounts of water for 15 minutes and get medical attention. For skin contact, wash thoroughly with soap and water. In case of respiratory difficulty, provide fresh air and call physician. If swallowed, do not induce vomiting. Get medical attention immediately. 

Warning
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.

Specifications

Basic Features
Product Colors White
Base Type Water
Ambering No
Sheen Satin (45-55), Semi-Gloss (50-60)
Interior or Exterior Interior only
Type Pigmented Enamel
Application
Application Method Brush
Brushable Yes
Usable over existing finishes Yes - see product page application instructions.
Sprayable Yes
Spray Tip Sizes HVLP 1.8mm-2.0mm
Topcoat Required Self-Sealing
Dry Time
Dry Time - Touch 2-4+ hr
Dry Time - Recoat 2+ hr
Dry Time - Light Use 12-18 hr
Dry Time - Cure 21 days
Contents
Can Sizes Quarts, Gallons
Coverage 100-125 sq.ft./quart, 400-500 sq.ft./gallon
Technical Data
Viscosity Thick
Viscosity (cPs) 1500-2000
Weight Solids 25%
VOC <80 g/L. Varies by color. See color-specific SDS for exact number.
Durability
Durability (Highest, High, Medium, Low) Highest

FAQs

Brushable White Enamel FAQs

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. A clear base would be required when tinting to a mid-range or darker color. 

Relevant Videos

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

Relevant Videos

Can I use an Additional Topcoat over Brushable White Enamel for Added Durability?

No, an additional topcoat is not recommended over Brushable White Enamel.

Relevant Videos

How Does Brushable White Enamel Compare to Enduro White Poly?

White Poly and Brushable White Enamel have similar durability, but different polymer systems. The ingredients that make Brushable White Enamel brushable cause it dries slower than White Poly, making it an impractical choice for professional cabinet refinishers who require fast dry stacking ability. Brushable White Enamel is designed for DIY'ers who want a professional type finish, similar to White Poly, but don't have the equipment to do so. 

Relevant Videos

What Shade of White is Brushable White Enamel?

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

Relevant Videos