How to Hand Apply Topcoat

Water Based Topcoats are a finishing favorite. Formulated to be durable and consumer friendly, these “green” wood finishes are continuing to earn high marks in the wood finishing world, and we’ll show you how to apply them with ease.

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Tom Monahan shows how to hand apply our water-based topcoats for indoor projects. This demo is a small pine bench that has been painted in our new Midnight Blue Chalk Style Paint.

Find out more about our NEW Chalk Style Paint →

TWO WATER BASED TOPCOAT CHOICES

High Performance was voted the hardest, most durable consumer polyurethane topcoat by Fine Woodworking among all products tested. It is available in Flat, Satin, Semi-Gloss and Gloss.

Flat Out Flat is a “flat” water based topcoat with a velvety feel. It was developed as a matte topcoat that mimics a wax finish. Flat Out Flat contains more matting agents than High Performance Flat and is slightly less durable than High Performance.

ABOUT WATER BASED TOPCOATS

•They are low odor, spray beautifully and clean up with water.
•Appear milky white in the can, but dry clear.
•Never shake water-based topcoats. Shaking creates bubbles that will mar the finish.
•To increase open time add 10 to 15% Extender.
•Temperature and humidity impact the flow and dry time of your finish.
•Do not dry brush water based topcoat.

APPLICATION

Mix the contents thoroughly and continue to stir throughout your project. Use foam brushes and/or a pad applicator covered with a nylon footie to apply the topcoat. The footie keeps the loose fibers contained and reduces bubbles during the application.

Apply the topcoat liberally so you have an even, wet film. If needed, come back and feather it out with a second foam brush. Don’t worry if you see bubbles or foam, they will dissipate as the product dries.

ADDITIONAL COATS

After the first layer has dried, use a 220 sanding pad to lightly sand the topcoat. This is a light buffing that will produce a light powder, indicating the finish is completely dry. When you run your hand across the surface it should feel smooth. Use an oil-free tack cloth to wipe off the powder. Make sure there is no debris left on the surface before applying the next coat.

Whatever your application method, apply 3 to 4 layers of topcoat.

Let each coat dry 2 to 4 hours and sand in between with a 220 sanding pad.

SPRAYING

For large projects we use a sprayer with a medium-sized fluid tip.

How to Spray Water Based Topcoat with a HVLP Sprayer →

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GENERAL FINISHES PRODUCT LINKS:
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Chalk Style Paint →
Milk Paint →
Glaze Effects →
Pearl Effects →
Oil Based Gel Stains →
High Performance Topcoat →
Flat Out Flat Topcoat →

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WHERE TO BUY GF PRODUCTS:
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