Sealers, Topcoats and Varnishes

If painting, for an ultra-smooth finish, first make sure your paint layer is painted using a brush designed for a smooth application such as our Flat Brush or Oval Brush. If the paint layer is not smooth, the sealer and varnishes will highlight any inconsistency and texture in the paint.

For a super ultra-smooth paint layer use a finishing sandpaper (500 - 1000 grit) and very lightly sand the painted surface by hand to remove texture before sealing.

Apply sealers using a high-quality varnish brush like our 37mm Flat Brush or 37mm Oval Brush. Both brushes were designed for smooth application and are fine tipped to lessen the chance of brush strokes.
White rings and spots are typically the result of water and/or condensation. To avoid water rings and spots be sure to use proper care. Wipe up spills, condensation, and liquid as quickly as possible. Protect tabletop surfaces with coasters, heat and place mats.

If wiped up quickly, most rings and spots will disappear once the surface dries.
If Clear Finish has a hazy or cloudy appearance, it is typically the result of trapped moisture. Occasionally this will happen if the first coat was applied over the second coat too soon or water/moisture was introduced to the surface before it dried or cured. The moisture/excess water is usually from wet tools or using the surface before it has cured fully. Extend the dry and cure time until surface no longer looks cloudy.
If the Clear Topcoat sealed surface feels “moist” or “tacky” one of the following reasons could be the cause:
  • Too much product has been applied. A common issue usually stemming from the use of an improper tool for application or not off-loading excess product from the tool before applying the sealer to the surface. Always use a quality varnish brush or varnish roller. Sealer should go on looking “wet”, not white “milky” with proper application. If too much Clear Topcoat was used extend the dry and cure time until surface no longer feels moist or tacky.
  • Humidity and temperature can affect the dry time. Allow an extra 24 – 48 hours if conditions are particularly cold or warm + humid.
  • Not enough dry time between coats. Be sure to allow 24 hours between each coat of Clear Topcoat.
  • Too many coats have been applied. Only two coats of Clear Topcoat are needed for full coverage.
Helpful hint: If you live in a region with humid warm months a dehumidifier or moisture absorbers (like the kind used for basements) can help pull moisture from the surface and help maintain cure times.
Clear Topcoat can be diluted up to 10% but all dilutions will change the characteristics of the sealer. Meaning, the dry times, cure times, durability and sheen maybe different after dilution. If diluting, we recommend starting with a 5% dilution of water on a test sample.

Clear Topcoat Sealer can be sprayed. But requires a quality sprayer, fine mist nozzles, and sometimes a bit of dilution (but only if needed). Always be sure to test your spray pressure, your mist setting, and dilution before attempting on a piece.

Paint sprayer pressure: 1500-2500 psi
Paint sprayer nozzle: 0.013 - 0.017

Clear Finish cannot be diluted or sprayed. If a sprayed finish is desired, we recommend using Clear Topcoat.
Yes! Both Clear Topcoat and Clear Finish can be applied with a brush or a roller. The basic brush application can be found on the tip sheets for both Clear Topcoat and Clear Finish. If applying sealers with a roller, we recommend a high-density foam roller (often called “smooth”, “cabinet/door” or “varnish” roller). High-density foam rollers produce a smoother finish. High density foam rollers are less likely to leave lint, fibers, and texture in the final coat of varnish/sealer.
Clear Topcoat sealer is a soya oil "penetrating sealer" which means Clear Topcoat penetrates deep below the painted/stained layers to the surface. Clear Topcoat creates a high-performance durable bond between the layers of paint/stain and surface. As the sealer soaks into the layers and surface, occasionally the sealer will re-wet or activate things such as tannins or cleaner residue below the paint or stain (sometimes invisible to the naked eye). If painting then sealing with Clear Topcoat, we recommend the surface be sealed and cleaned first with mild cleaner followed by warm water to remove any cleaner residue prior to painting. After painting, we recommend a small test spot of sealer to look for potential bleeds and surface reaction.
Clear Topcoat sealer can be used as an alternative to shellac to seal porous surfaces (like concrete or raw wood) or to prime surfaces prior to painting (great for surfaces susceptible to bleed through or have an odor). We recommend using two thin coats of Clear Topcoat sealer for a full coverage seal. Apply one thin coat of sealer and allow it to dry 24 hours before applying a second coat. Allow sealed surface to cure 72 hours before painting.
Clear Topcoat sealer can also be used as a clear barrier layer BEFORE applying tinted and colored waxes. Apply 1 thin coat of Clear Topcoat Sealer BEFORE applying waxes. Allow sealer to dry for minimum of 48 hours before applying waxes.

We do not typically recommend applying Clear Topcoat OVER waxed finishes. With waxed surfaces there are a lot of variables – thickness of wax, type of wax, solvents used in wax formula, number of layers of wax, dry time between layers, how much the wax was buffed, and cure time of wax. All of these variables make layering another product over wax potentially problematic. For most wax products, an additional sealer is not required over the layer of wax. In most circumstances, if using wax to seal, wax should be the final layer to seal chalk painted surfaces.

Some painters like the additional layer of sealer for peace of mind OVER wax. Although we do not specifically recommend it, Clear Topcoat sealer can be used over some waxes. However, we cannot guarantee the results or performance of Clear Topcoat over wax due to variation in different wax formulas and application methods. If applying Clear Topcoat OVER wax, wax must be fully buffed and fully cured (per the wax manufacturer’s instructions) before applying Clear Topcoat. Only apply one thin layer of Clear Topcoat over wax. Allow a minimum full 72 hour – 1 week cure time before use of surface.

Clear Finish can not be used with wax.
Clear Topcoat is our recommended sealer for outdoor applications. Before surface use outdoors, allow sealer to cure for 1 week before exposing to the elements. For best results, avoid excessive long-term exposure to moisture. Allow surfaces to dry out before repeat exposure to moisture.