Y’all, I have a new water-based polyurethane over paint favorite! It’s General Finishes High Performance Top Coat and it is WONDERFUL! Let me back up a little bit and tell you how I got here…
In my last post, I said that I was going to paint all of my cabinets with a brush because I couldn’t stand the thought of taping and draping everything for spraying indoors.
And now two days later, my kitchen looks like this…
Yes, that’s right. I’ve spent the last two days covering everything — walls, floor, countertops, doorways — so that I can spray my cabinets. And let me tell you, taping around those cabinet feet was a huge pain in the butt.
Why did it take me two days to do a one-day job? Because I absolutely hate doing it!! So I took a hundred breaks a day, made excuses for why I needed to stop and look things up online (very, very important things, I’m sure! 😀 ), ate way too many Sun Chips and Fig Newtons and drank way too much tea (because as long as my hands are busy doing something, then I can trick myself into thinking I’m working hard and making progress), spent way too much time on Instagram during the day, and stood around listening to podcasts while staring at my kitchen and dreading the job .
But I finally got it done. And I also got the rest of the sanding done, which means that this morning I’ll be ready to paint right from the start. And by the end of the day, I’ll finally see some major progress.
So why the change of heart? Well, I like a job done right. That doesn’t mean that painting with a brush is wrong, by any means. Sometimes it’s the only option, and if that’s the case, you can get a beautiful finish with a brush with some patience and attention to detail. Click here to see how I get a near-flawless finish with a brush...
But I’ve already sprayed the doors, and they have the most beautiful finish on them. Click here for more info on the paint sprayer I use…
And I worked hard to get those doors as close to perfect as I could, starting with hours of grain filling and sanding. So I couldn’t bear the thought of wimping out on the actual cabinets just because I don’t like taping and covering everything. I don’t plan to paint my cabinets again for a very long time, so taking the extra time to do the absolute best job I can this go ’round is worth it.
Yes, I dragged my feet, and I procrastinated, and I took way too many breaks. But I did it. And I’m going to be very glad I did in the long run.
And speaking of finishes, this time around has been a repeat of the last time I painted my cabinets. I used Benjamin Moore Advance, which is really high-quality paint developed specifically for cabinets. It dries hard, cleans easily, etc. It really is amazing paint, and it’s pretty pricey. (About $65/gallon.) Unfortunately, the lowest sheen it comes in is satin. Or at least that’s what it says on the can. Their idea of satin is quite different from mine, and it always seems more like a semi-gloss to me.
Well, I much prefer a true satin or matte finish, but having gone through this before, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I needed to just put a clear water-based polyurethane over the paint. Last time I used Rust-Oleum water-based matte polyurethane. It was fine, but I wasn’t impressed enough with it to use it again. Minwax Polycrylic is junk, in my humble opinion. It dries way to fast, does not self-level, and has ruined more than one project of mine, so that wasn’t even an option.
So I decided to try a brand that many of you have recommended to me over the last year — General Finishes High Performance Water-Based Top Coat in a flat finish. It’s not available locally, so I ordered mine on Amazon. (Click here to see the one I bought.)
Y’all, this is absolutely THE BEST water-based polyurethane I’ve ever used over paint. Check out this gorgeous finish…
That’s a sprayed finish. It still has a sheen to it, and in my mind, it’s not really flat. I’d call that satin, but it’s absolutely gorgeous.
I actually ordered a quart of satin last year when I was having so much trouble with that one table I refinished/painted over and over. After having so much trouble with the Minwax Polycrylic, someone suggested General Finishes Top Coat, so I ordered it for Round 7 of table refinishing, but Round 7 never came (and aren’t we all glad about that?). 😀
But that quart of satin finish came in handy when I refinished my dining chairs.
I sanded those chairs and painted them with a sample size of Sherwin Williams paint that I had on hand. I don’t know what kind of paint they use for their samples, but I was disappointed because it didn’t seem like the finish would be easy to clean. It felt like a really porous matte finish that would be scuffed and stained easily, which isn’t quite what I needed on dining chairs. So I got out that General Finishes satin top coat (this is the one I used) and brushed the polyurethane on over the paint… and it totally transformed the finish on those chairs. Now the finish feels so silky smooth, and it’s very durable and easy to clean.
And I also used it on the breakfast room table before I went back and darkened the finish with my stain/oil-based poly mixture. That was the true test because I brushed the General Finishes polyurethane on the top of the table. That’s where Minwax Polycrylic fails me every time — when using it on large flat surfaces. It dries too fast for brushing, and it doesn’t self-level when rolling with one of those small rollers, so you’re either left with a finish with drag marks and uneven sheen from brushing, or a bumpy finish from rolling. Polycrylic doesn’t even spray well, again because it dries too fast. I always get an uneven sheen on large flat surfaces even when spraying Polycrylic. (Can you tell I think that stuff is junk?)
Anyway, I brushed the General Finishes top coat onto the table top, and to be honest, I expected the same disappointing results that I always get from Polycrylic. But it was so different. It acted more like an oil-based poly in that it stayed wet much longer, brushed on beautifully, and self-leveled so that brush strokes are minimized, but it did that without the smell, hassle of clean up, or yellow/amber tint that you get with oil-based poly. I’m telling you, this is my new favorite clear coat finish. It’s amazing stuff! I highly recommend it.
If you can’t find it in your area, you can click here to get it on Amazon, which is how I buy mine. I have an Amazon Prime membership, so it gets to me within a day or two.
So, since I used my new favorite polyurethane over the paint on my cabinet doors, naturally I’ll be using it on my cabinets, too. And since this is my last time painting my kitchen cabinets for many years, they deserve the nicest sprayed finish I can give them.