6 Compatibility FAQs

Can I Mix GF Milk Paint into Exterior 450 Topcoat To Tint The Final Coat?

Yes, you can. The resin systems for General Finishes Exterior 450 Topcoat and Milk Paint are the same.

What Wood Finish Would Be Best to Use On an Existing Wicker Finish?

It would depend on whether you plan to use the furniture outside or under the protection of a roof. Theoretically, both water and oil-based products could be used.

For example, you could "antique" wicker with thinned Gel Stain to pop up the color depth on an aging piece of natural wicker. However, Gel Stain is not exterior-rated and is very thick, making it cumbersome to apply and wipe off on a highly textured surface such as wicker.

In general, we would recommend using water-based finishes on wicker because they can be spayed.

For an exterior finish, use our Milk Paint because it is an exterior rated paint, does not require a topcoat, and has superb adhesion and color longevity characteristics. If using in an exterior space, clear coating with Exterior 450 is optional.

One challenge would be proper preparation over an existing surface. Prep sanding is not effective because of all the varied surfaces of wicker, so thorough cleaning would more essential. Use a brush and a 50|50 mixture of denatured alcohol and water.  

The second challenge is that wicker moves when used so be prepared for cracking if you are using paint. Fortunately, a casual look is a popular one for porches and cracking would be acceptable.

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.

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

Will Milk Paint Adhere Over a Paper Veneer Finish?

We cannot guarantee that our paints will adhere well to a paper veneer - we have no idea what the actual material is or what adhesives were used to apply the veneer to the surface. The resins and additives in our paints may break down the adhesives used for the veneer.

General Finishes Milk Paints have an excellent adhesion factor and might well be successful.  If you can abrade the surface with sandpaper, you will increase your chance of success. 

For best possible results, follow these steps:


VIDEO: How to Prep Sand Raw Wood
VIDEO: How to Prep Clean an Existing Finish
VIDEO: How to Power Prep Existing High Use Finishes


Test your procedure on a hidden area first and let cure for 7-10 days. Then further test the finish by duplicating normal and tear such as washing, scrubbing, scratching, etc to see if the finish has bonded to the surface.  


If your finish adheres well, you should be ok to continue.  If the finish comes off easily, we recommend trying a sealing binder primer before you apply the paint, such as XIM 400 White Primer Sealer Bonder or whatever is recommended for paper veneer at your local hardware or paint store.  Again, TEST!


Apply product directly over the primer and seal with 2-3 coats of GF Top Coat. We recommend using General Finishes High Performance Topcoat over Milk Paint because it's water-based and dries clear.

Can Oil and Water Based Products Be Used Over Each Other?*

Yes! But you must follow ONE simple rule to ensure the best possible finish: the underlying finish must be absolutely dry.

  • When using a water-based product over an oil-based product, such as water-based High Performance Topcoat over oil-based Gel Stain, wait 72 hours before applying the water-based product.
  • When using an oil-based product over a water-based product, such as oil-based Arm-R-Seal Topcoat over Water Based Wood Stain, wait 24 hours before applying the oil-based product.


  • You cannot mix water- and oil-based products together.
  • General Finishes Enduro-Var Urethane Topcoat can only be used over raw wood or General Finishes water-based wood stains or dye stains. Enduro-Var cannot be used with any oil-based product, sanding sealer or shellac.
  • Oil-based finishes amber over time; do not use them over white or very light colors.

VIDEO: Can oil and water based products be used over one another?