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Forum topic by pontic posted 01-09-2019 04:35 AM 684 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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697 posts in 1114 days

01-09-2019 04:35 AM

Can you put water based poly over water based latex paint? Doing a project and the customer wants a distressed white finish and I want to protect the top since it’s going to be a coffee table.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

13 replies so far

View DocSavage45's profile


8865 posts in 3348 days

#1 posted 01-09-2019 04:59 AM

If I wasn’t sure Id do some test pieces/ May depend on type of water born paint. If I have a question regarding finishes that I don’t remember or can’t find on Google I check with Charles Neil. Happy 2019!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View CaptainKlutz's profile


1883 posts in 2000 days

#2 posted 01-09-2019 07:52 AM

Depends on which latex paint, and type of surface prep before top coat?
Latex with rough sanded surface will provide a mechanical bond for most any coating, except varnish or drying oil like BLO. Key to adhesion is usually sanding. :)

If coatings are not compatible, won’t know about any issue till there is moisture/solvent permeation and base/top coat starts lifting; so testing will be PIA. Suggest the use of a set of products recommended by mfg that work together?

Many of the chalk/milk paint mfg recommend using a WB top coat for durability. If I needed a distressed painted surface and was planning to top coat for a small project; GF chalk or milk paint would be my paint choice .vs. generic latex wall paint. GF WB HP will work on both of them without any color shift. Last time I did something similar, used chalk paint, and sprayed pre-cat lacquer. So many options exist.

FWIW – Target Coatings (and others) offers WB pigmented lacquer often used for kitchen/bath that could be distressed and be WB top coated if need more protection or different sheen. This removes the latex question entirely. :)

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View therealSteveN's profile


3858 posts in 1080 days

#3 posted 01-09-2019 09:04 AM

All brands of finish are not equal. I’ve found staying with a make generally works well. Like just use General Finishes for both paint, and topcoat. You can follow their application tree, and generally do quite well.

In a general sense, Latex wall paints are engineered for a different purpose than wood finishes. Walls generally experience less wear and tear than horizontal surfaces, so they are manufactured without the resin systems that make furniture paint more durable.

General finishes makes “furniture paint” as do a few others.

2 things about finishes in general are pretty hard and fast rules for me.

First before laying on a different finish, make sure the first type of finish is well dried. Because you will often get your best result by scuffing up the first surface, so the second coating will adhere. You can only know if this is true by following as below.

Second, and probably more importantly, ALWAYS do test samples of ANY finish you plan to do. Just don’t slop it on a piece of plywood, but use scrap from the project, and prep it just like you prepped the project itself. This act will keep you from bungling up something you spent hours on, not to mention the cost of materials.

Also know one of the biggest finishing problems isn’t actually the finishing itself, but the prep you’ve done prior to finishing.

-- Think safe, be safe

View pontic's profile


697 posts in 1114 days

#4 posted 01-10-2019 03:09 AM

What is WB?

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View CaptainKlutz's profile


1883 posts in 2000 days

#5 posted 01-10-2019 06:28 AM

What is WB?

- pontic

water bourne or water based

definitions to common abbreviations here:

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View gtrgeo's profile


53 posts in 936 days

#6 posted 01-10-2019 07:02 AM

I have been able to achieve excellent results using General Finishes water based milk paints, glazes, and poly for distressed finishes. Their finishes are easy to use, clean up well, and so far have been durable. I have primarily used a brush, synthetic bristle or sometimes foam, and have sprayed their clear poly on occasion.i have always been pleased with the results. If you can’t tell, I am a big fan of their products.

View BlueRidgeDog's profile


499 posts in 285 days

#7 posted 01-10-2019 10:58 AM

I would use General Finishes for this, but if you want to go latex route, this guy thinks it works:

Personally, if I “had” do do it, I would put on a layer of shellac after the latex was fully fully cured prior to the poly.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2496 posts in 4376 days

#8 posted 01-10-2019 01:52 PM

The short answer is yes
Do it all the time
I usually scuff sand the latex with 320
Just to remove any nibs

View Snipes's profile


432 posts in 2750 days

#9 posted 01-10-2019 03:29 PM

I also have done it many times. puts a nice finish on painted trim

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View SMP's profile


1387 posts in 411 days

#10 posted 01-11-2019 06:07 PM

I’ve done most of my cabinets in my home this way, and all of the kitchen cabinets a few times as my wife changes whim of color she wants. I would recommend a good quality latex that has a very high acrylic content. Don’t go with big box store stuff, as they usually have less acrylic content in order to hit price points. I usually get Sherwin Williams from the SW store or actual paint store. And I use a non-yellowing Poly-Acrylic mix as topcoat (accidentally made the mistake of poly over white paint before). Though the yellowing may not be an issue since you say distressed. I’ve even used the rattle cans of topcoat for smaller projects, like

View LesB's profile


2201 posts in 3948 days

#11 posted 01-11-2019 06:22 PM

Most water based paints now days are usually referred to as acrylic but in any case those paints chemically cure as they dry and are pretty much impervious to most solvents. Because of the chemical bonding that takes place they are not soluble in water after they cure..
So after the paint has cured for a couple of days you can coat them with water base poly or lacquer or varnish.

-- Les B, Oregon

View steve104c's profile


52 posts in 1744 days

#12 posted 01-13-2019 09:55 PM

Water base over water base—yes
Oil base over oil base—————-yes
Oil base over water base———-yes
Water base over oil base———-NO

View pontic's profile


697 posts in 1114 days

#13 posted 01-16-2019 04:25 AM

thanks for all the info. I am going to go with the general finishes system. It seems to be the most foolproof.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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