Water Based Stains

14 Water Based Stain Video Lessons

8 Water Based Stain FAQs

What are the Renewable Resources in General Finishes Products?

General Finishes Renewable Resources - Water Based FinishesRenewable resources are a recent, eco-friendly advancement in the paint and coatings industry. 

They are comprised of plant proteins such as corn; as well as conventional and innovative oils derived from plants such as Euphorbia lagascaeVernonia galamensis from the sunflower family, and Calendula officinalis, aka marigold.

General Finishes products formulated with renewable resources meet the standard of excellence you have come to expect---including adhesion, coverage, color and durability---with all benefits of water finishes.

GF coatings made with Renewable Resources are: Enduro-Var II, Milk Paint, Water Based Wood Stain, Exterior 450 Stain and Wood Turner's Finish. Look for the green icon!

How Can I Get GF Water Based Finishes Off of a Mirror?

Any GF water-based finish can be removed from a mirror using 0000 steel wool and Windex.

Wet the steel wool with Windex and buff the glass. (The steel wool won't harm the mirror but make sure that you don't apply so much liquid that it seeps into the backing.) Wipe the mirror down with a clean/dry paper towel.

However, you can prevent a mistake from happening by applying Frisket to your mirror BEFORE applying finish to the frame. Frisket is a clear finish that brushes on, dries and peels off when you are done painting.

*Windex Warning: Make sure you do not get Windex on water-based finishes. The ammonia in Windex may cause a cloudy appearance to the finish.

How Do I Apply White Milk Paint Over Cabinets That Have Been Burned?

GF recommends that you replace the doors if you want to use a white paint like General Finishes Antique White Milk Paint. Some things are not meant to be and painting charred doors is a recipe for trouble. The charring will bleed through.

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.

Will Stripping and Sanding an Existing Finish Affect How the Stain Performs?

Possibly - it will depend on the quality of the stripping and sanding.

If done correctly, and all of the existing finish is removed, the stain will penetrate the same as on raw wood.

If the sanding and stripping are incomplete, the grain and pores of the surface are sealed more, and will not accept stain as easily. More stain may be needed to accomplish the same color as on original raw wood, and longer dry times will be required, especially for thick stains, such as General Finishes Gel Stain.

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

Why or When Should I Use a Dye Stain?*

There are several reasons to choose Dye Stain. Here are a few.

  1. Use dye stain when you have beautiful wood grain, pattern or burl and you want to show it off! GF Dye Stains are like ink and penetrate deep into the wood grain, revealing the figure of the wood with beautiful transparency.
  2. They are a great way to layer and intensify color. We often use a yellow or amber dye stain under another type of darker stain, such as Yellow Dye Stain under Java Gel Stain. The combined colors create a lovely depth and glow.
  3. Dye stains create a brilliantly colored project while maintaining the look of the wood. They come in a range of colors from traditional wood tones to brilliant primaries and can be applied to raw wood or combined with clear coats to make a toner.

Look at this piece that Jilian Moncada of ReFind Design by Coco Clare shared. When Jilian discovered this elegant burled wood under the old finish, she wrote and asked what to use - we recommended dye stain and just look at her result! 

We do not recommend the use of a wood pre-conditioner with dye stains. It is a matter of personal preference, but conditioners diminish color saturation, defeating the purpose of dye stains.

GRAIN RAISE: Water-based dye stains pop the wood grain more than solvent-based versions, but like all water-based stain products, it will raise the grain of the wood a bit. You can reduce this effect by raising the grain before applying dye stain. First, dampen the sanded surface with a cloth moistened with distilled water (tap water can contain minerals that may affect the finish). Let the surface dry and then sand lightly with the grain using 220-grit sandpaper. Never over-sand before applying any stain, as you may seal the surface so much that stain will not be able to properly penetrate. Alternatively, grain raise can easily be knocked down when finish sanding the first layer of topcoat.

CAUTION: Test the color in a hidden area before you begin your project. Once you use a Dye Stain, that is the color you are going to get. Apply liberally and evenly with a foam applicator and wipe off any excess immediately. There won't be much to wipe away; it penetrates fast.

Please share your completed Dye Stain projects on our Facebook page and in our Design Center.