LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

clear coat over latex paint to protect buffet table

864 Views 15 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  controlfreak
Hello Everyone:

I've renovated this buffet table for my daughter.

Before pictures

Furniture Table Plant Wood Drawer

Furniture Wood Wood stain Trunk Rectangle

I've painted with latex pain (Ace Hardware says this is made for them by Benjamin Moore)

Tin Fluid Tin can Liquid Ingredient

After picture (still working on the door on the right)

Cabinetry Furniture Table Wood Drawer

I'm thinking of adding a protective layer to that top surface.

Would a coat of Johnson Paste Wax do any good?

A quick google search led me to this article
that suggests using this product

Rectangle Tin Paint Wood stain Font

What do you think?

regards, Kerry


See less See more
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
It looks like you used a good quality paint and I note on the label it is "stain resistant". Personally I would not add a clear top coat. After is drys for a couple of weeks you could put a coat of paste wax if you want. I would look for a high carnauba based wax….Crystal Clear is one carried by Wood Craft.

Basically it is paint so you can easily re-paint it fairly easily. If you wax it you will have to strip the wax before re-painting.
Agree with LesB.
You could make a template of the top and take it to a glass company. They can cut and grind the edge smooth. I have done this twice recently, one has photos under it and the other has lace fabric under. Both tops looked like crap before. Just an idea.
If you want a top coat, rather than oil based urethane (which will add a yellow tint), go with a water based acrylic, which will be colorless. Also, easier to apply with less odor.
First, I would not have chosen to put acrylic or latex paint on a piece of furniture. And, I am skeptical about the need and potential success of putting a clear coat over latex or acrylic paint. Before you decide what to do, I suggest you re-read the article with a critical eye and read other similar articles looking for consistency and corroboration. I found the article you cite to be poorly written with inconsistencies, contradictions, and improper use of terms. it appeared to me to be a compilation of information pulled from a variety of sources by someone that didn't fully understand the subject matter. Grammar and syntax issues also make me suspicious. I'm finding this more frequently with internet articles.

I recommend that, before you do anything, contact the paint and clear coating manufacturers and get their opinions on whether coating is necessary and which are compatible.
Using Helmsman as a "clear" coat is likely to leave you fairly unhappy. I'll skip the part about what a totally awful finish it is and get to the root problem: it's oil based. Anything you use that's oil based will have an amber cast (that "warm" look, and it will gte darker with age. Almost certainly that will make your white paint look like chit (at least IMHO). Same with anything else that's oil based. So that pretty much leave you with the water borne finishes (regardless of what they call themselves) that are crystal clear (some of them are tinted to mimic the oil based counterparts…so read the label). Waterborne finishes may call themselves "lacquer" or "polyurethane" or something else, but they are almost predominantly acrylic finishes. The issue with them may be adhesion to your latex. I guess I'm agreeing with bilyo, contact the company and see what they say…..but I don't see a win-win using a clear coat.
You all might have missed this but it says "WaterBased" right on the Helmsman can.
Another clear coat on latex thread? :-(

Random misc comments:

- Most waxes add some color. Even in a perfectly clear conservators wax (carnauba), will change surface color when the solvents pick up embedded dirt and oils from surface.

- Never used water based Spar Varnish. Sounds like an oxymoron. May have to buy some for chits and grins.

+1 use a glass top if want to protect the latex top surface.
- Acrylic clear top coats are soft, tend to be easily damaged, and are not good for table top. The drawbacks of acrylics are the primary reason that automotive and furniture industries primarily use 2 part WB polyurethane clear coats in production.

- Acrylic Latex is a good top coat for walls, but a lousy top coat for furniture. It is designed to be stain resistant. This means it is harder for anything to stick on the surface. NO clear coat will stick well to surface long term, without very careful surface prep. This means sanding/scuffing until the surface is rough, cleaning oils/fingerprints, and making sure surface has zero shine or imperfections.
This process is no different when adding any top coat, but with latex there are no prep shortcuts. Scuffing a soft latex is PITA compared to pigmented lacquer, pigmented varnish; or something else designed for furniture use.

- As stated above, Oil based Spar Varnish is supposed to have heavy dose of UV blocking additives for out door use. These additives make it more amber, than a varnish without UV additives; and 'warm' the color tone. As these UV blockers, or the oxidation absorbing agents are consumed; they chemically change to a darker amber shade. The darker color is by design a replacement for used up UV chemicals.
Why add this history?
Water clear WB finishes use different UV protection chemistry. This new chemistry still turns amber over time, so mfg add very small amounts of dye to counteract the change. Most common dye is blue. If you see a pink tone, the WB has been designed to mimic oil based amber change over time. The intention of blue dye is to push yellow one into a 'cool' green tone, which turns into a 'cool' tan when UV additives are used up; avoiding the normal warm color change with oil based finishes.
When freshly applied, these WB clear coats look clear on most woods; but have strong color tones in off axis lighting. These tones can be really annoying when clear is applied to bright WHITE surface. Over time the uneven color shifts with UV exposure are even more annoying.

- When using a new finish, or new finish schedule; direct testing in your environment is best way to learn if the results will be satisfactory. Finishes behave differently based on local environment; both when applied, and during use. Only you can decide what kind of surface protection is acceptable, which might be different than commercial furniture made in Mexico, and shipped around world; or what I need in a house full of Klutz kids.
Don't forget use testing.
If you are looking to prevent white turning into yellow, this testing should include weeks/months sitting outside in sunshine. If you want tough surface, test clean the cured finish with Fantastic cleaner, and a magic eraser. Fair warning, IME no single part WB finish survives a magic eraser cleaning without scratches and/or a change in sheen. :-(0)

Thanks for reading to end.

Best Luck on your finishing experiment, and YMMV
See less See more
Thanks Everyone:

It's very kind of you to share you experience, information and opinions with me. I've decided to leave it as-is. No clear coat.

regards, Kerry
First, I would not have chosen to put acrylic or latex paint on a piece of furniture.

- bilyo
Hi bilyo:

What kind of paint do you prefer for a furniture project?

regards, Kerry
First, I would not have chosen to put acrylic or latex paint on a piece of furniture.

- bilyo

Hi bilyo:

What kind of paint do you prefer for a furniture project?

regards, Kerry

Two of the best that are frequently cited are Benjamin Moore "Advance" and Sherwin Williams "Pro Classic". My understanding is that they are a water based alkyd hybrids. Some on this forum have touted color tinted lacquer and polyurethane somewhat similar to automotive paint. Others with more knowledge can be more specific, I'm sure.
Paint for furniture?

There are many companies that sell; pigmented lacquer, pigmented conversion varnish, and pigmented polyurethanes; when you want solid color furniture coating. These are not available at local big box store, and require a trip to your local industrial/commercial wood finishing supplier.

Not all brands have distributors in every city; which means it is difficult recommend ONE brand. There is a lot of similarity between brands, making any almost brand manageable to use.

For solvent based pigmented/tinted top coat, look for: Sherwin Williams, ML Campbell, Benjamin Moore Lemar wood coatings, Lorchem, Mohawk, Sikkens, or Chemcraft (in random order).
Acrylic modified lacquers are most popular due clarity, flexibility, and ease of application. If you need a durable coating for bath cabinets or table top, then likely want a 2 part conversion varnish. If you need the most durable 'bar top' finish, 2 part polyurethanes are common recommendation.

Water based finishes can be more challenging to locate as they are relatively new (compared to SW conv varnish used as an industry standard for over 2 decades). Beyond the companies mentioned above, can also get WB top coats from; General Finishes, Target Coatings, Renner, Milesi, and IC&S-ILVA.
Water based top coats have been inferior to solvent based coatings in past; as they all use 'softer' acrylic polymer instead of harder resins found in solvent coatings. The newest WB 2K polyurethanes from several Italian mfg (last 3 in WB list) are some the most durable finishes in market, even when compared to gold standard solvent based 2K conversion varnish. Just like a solvent based top coat, the most durable WB coating will be a 2 part system.

IMHO - Instead of asking random forum for wood finish recommendations, suggest you ask your local professional finish supplier. They will work with you to ensure success, just like they do with any other furniture maker in the area.

There are a lot of existing finish top coat threads on LJ.
Can search for the mfg names listed above to find them more quickly, and to help you learn more.

As always with finish recommendations, YMMV.

PS - None the the above are automotive paints. The automotive finish distributors and products are completely different, even if a company above sells into both markets.
See less See more
My mom is a really talented decorator. Literally she should be in a magazine or something. She always uses some lacy throw over the top of the furniture that she's trying to protect. Glad you decided not to coat the top, my worry was it changing color.
You all might have missed this but it says "WaterBased" right on the Helmsman can.

- wildwoodbybrianjohns
I certainly missed that, and truthfully didn't even know they were marketing a water based version.
For me latex is kind of sticky and attracts & holds finger prints. If I am going to paint furniture I will use oil based primer followed by semi-gloss oil top coat.
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.