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General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Satin, Pint
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Satin, Pint Item #82313
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$17.99 Pint
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Satin, Quart
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Satin, Quart Item #82321
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$27.99 Quart
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Satin, Gallon
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Satin, Gallon Item #88915
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$74.99 Gallon

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General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Satin

Get one of the hardest, most durable satin polyurethane topcoats available – along with the convenience of easy water cleanup.
Item #
94% of 100

This is one of the hardest, most durable consumer polyurethane topcoats on the market today. It is non-yellowing and offers easy water cleanup. It contains all the consumer-friendly characteristics of PolyAcrylic Blend. In addition, it contains a UV Stabilizer to protect it from breaking down in sunlight and to protect the underlying stains from fading. With its pure polyurethane durability, it's a great choice for hardwood floors.

Direction for use:

  • Oil-based stains must be completely dry before using a water based topcoat. Wait a minimum of 48 hours before applying General Finishes High Performance.
  • Use a foam brush or paint pad applicator. Apply liberally, using smooth, even strokes with the grain. Use enough material to provide a wet film.
  • Sand between coats using 320- or 400-grit sandpaper. Remove dust before recoating.
  • A minimum of 3 coats is recommended. Additional coats may be applied to increase durability and depth.
(1) General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane Top Coat-Satin
More Information
Brand General Finishes
Weight 8.2700
Tech Spec
  • Coats: Normally 3
  • Coverage: 75 sq. ft./pint; 150 sq. ft./quart; 600 sq. ft./gallon.
  • Dry Time: normally 2-4 hours under ideal conditions (70°, 70% humidity). Cooler temperatures and higher humidity will prolong drying time up to 8-10 hours.
  • Suggested Application: Brush, cloth, foam brush, wipe on, spray or pad applicator
  • Suggested Surface Prep: Apply to clean dry wood, wait 10-15 minutes then remove excess
  • Mixing: Do not thin
  • Use: Interior
  • Clean up with warm, soapy water
Finish Satin
Color Clear
Size Gallon, Pint, Quart
4.7 / 5.0
178 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Great product
Easy to use & beautified my project!
June 27, 2020
1 month ago
Woodworking Experience:
Great product
Sanded and refinished and old very expensive office furniture set. The set was originally a darker color and the finish was very worn an scratched up. The pics speak for themselves. Thist pic is the re finished one using the General Finishes product
Just Like Brand New
Just Like Brand New
June 23, 2020
2 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Go to Finish System
General Finises water based polyurethanes have been my go-to-finish for many years. They are super easy to apply with professional looking results and the brushes clean with soap and water. Highly recommended.
May 29, 2020
2 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Looks very nice when I was finished
April 12, 2020
4 months ago
Great topcoat finish!
I’ve used this topcoat several times. It has become my “Go To” product. It works extremely well with an HVLP sprayer.
March 22, 2020
4 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Awesome finish
March 20, 2020
5 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Finish was easy to apply and cleanup was very simple. Attached picture shows the geometry of the project coated. I was pleased with the results, and would recommend to others.
Grandson's Rocking Motorcycle
Grandson's Rocking Motorcycle
February 19, 2020
5 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
General Finishes High Performance Top Coat
It took some time to become comfortable using this product. I now add water to extend the working time and allow for a smooth finish. This is a great product.
January 4, 2020
7 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Love this poly
I refinish furniture as a hobby and use chalk paint. I don't like the wax finish and this is one of the brands that Annie Sloan recommends. It doesn't smell, goes on and dries quickly and has the softest most beautiful sheen that looks like a professional finish. Easy clean up. This is my new finish for all furniture going forward.
September 29, 2019
10 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Superior top coat
Beautiful, durable finish. It is my go to top coat for all of my fine furniture refinishing projects. It is easy to use and has a beautiful luster.
AFTER - shellac primer, GF Tuscan Red (3 coats), Black Glaze, High Perf Satin (4 coats)
BEFORE - pine end table
August 11, 2019
1 year ago
Woodworking Experience:
Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 69 questions Browse 69 questions and 119 answers
Why did you choose this?
Rockler Store
Tried and true. My favorite finish to spray when I need more than shellac.
Ben B on Aug 7, 2018
used before
Lewis H on Jun 26, 2018
Tried and true. My favorite finish to spray when I need more than shellac.
Ben B on Aug 7, 2018
Wanted to try a water based topcoat for a project painted with BM Advance. I have used Arm R Seal for a while now with great results but didn’t want it to amber over time over my linen white colored paint.
joel p on Jul 25, 2018
used before
Lewis H on Jun 26, 2018
Reviews. Haven't used this product yet.
Wallace F on Jun 2, 2018
Goes on easily with foam brush or sprayer. Looks very good!
James K on May 16, 2018
We have used this on every piece of furniture we flip. It is the best product we have ever used!!!
Maria H on May 14, 2018
Previously bought from this company and I love it.
Kaisha E on May 7, 2018
Heard that, although this is water based, that this would work well if I let the oil based gel stain dry completely first. Also it would take less time to dry and water cleanup.
Cynthia P on Apr 10, 2018
Works great easy to use easy to clean up best product on the market
Michael D on Mar 9, 2018
did a lot of research and this product was highly recommended.
Janine W on Feb 24, 2018
Low order, fast drying, good reviews
Kim K on Feb 23, 2018
I attended to you finishing class in Phoenix. The teacher recommended the brand and etc
Ralph L on Feb 19, 2018
I like this brush-on clear poly coating. Easy to work with, brushes on smoothly and produces a nice clear poly finish. Brushes clean up easily. Overall great product and I'll keep using it. <br />Thanks ...John Page
John P on Feb 6, 2018
Easy no run application allows me to clear coat 6 panel doors after they are hung.
Michael K on Feb 5, 2018
excellent ratings
Christopher W on Jan 21, 2018
Its an excellent easy to use product
Thomas D on Jan 18, 2018
Works great. Easy to use and clean up is a breeze.
Debbie C on Nov 29, 2017
General finishes has quality products that I don't have to wonder or worry about when I use them. Peace of mind is important to me when I refinish client projects.
Jennifer P on Oct 5, 2017
I have used it before and love it!
Linda L on Sep 17, 2017
It seemed the most appropriate to go will your Espresso & it's water-based.
Sandy S on Sep 15, 2017
flawless performance. just perfection!
Denise R on Sep 14, 2017
Best water based I know of. Imperative in order to maintain color of wood.
William L on Sep 13, 2017
Better than most other brands. Have used it before and have been pleased with the results.
R P on Aug 29, 2017
Watched one of your videos about using glaze and they used this after the paint before the glaze. I am just using chalky paint this project but might try glaze if it's too plain so figured it's a good top coat to use.
Cristi M on Aug 16, 2017
water-based, fast-drying, durability, recommended in the video for what I was looking for.
Julie H on Aug 15, 2017
going to be the topcoat of newly constructed heirloom piece of furniture
David S on Aug 3, 2017
clear and tough finish
Richard L on Aug 3, 2017
This product was recommended for the stain that I chose.
Robert R on Jul 24, 2017
Been wanting to try this finish and compare it to minwax
Joshua W on Jul 24, 2017
Store Recommendation
DAVE R on Jul 23, 2017
dries clear and will not turn amber
GREGORY G on Jul 17, 2017
Have had success using this product.
Jim M on Jul 14, 2017
Ladies love this finish.
Kyle C on Jul 11, 2017
It has gotten really good reviews and I wanted to try a water based product.
Jim H on Jul 8, 2017
Had great luck with this
Michael B on Jul 7, 2017
Have been using this product on all my projects. Dries quickly for additional coats. Very hard protective finish that is easily applied and produces a smooth finish.
Carl A on Jul 3, 2017
Supposed to be a top quality finish for table top and this is what I needed. Going to give it a try.
Benny S on Jun 25, 2017
reviews fine woodworking
carey on Jun 18, 2017
Kevin M on May 24, 2017
Non yellowing and can spray with HVLP
Chuck S on May 21, 2017
The Wood Whisperer recommended.
Ed L on May 7, 2017
Sounds good; want to try it before ordering more, so ordered the pint
Arthur R on May 3, 2017
Can't buy locally.
Jeff on Apr 10, 2017
I want to stay with the same brand
MICHELE A on Apr 8, 2017
Highest rated
Howard B on Apr 6, 2017
I read a lot of good comments about this product and wanted to try it
Lyle G on Apr 2, 2017
Recommended to apply on top of chalk style paint.
Danette M on Mar 13, 2017
This is the BEST clear top coat on the market!
Michele P on Mar 1, 2017
To seal the stain
Benjamin M on Feb 23, 2017
top coat for milk paint.... on Feb 19, 2017
Wanted to try a water based topcoat for a project painted with BM Advance. I have used Arm R Seal for a while now with great results but didn’t want it to amber over time over my linen white colored paint.
joel p on Jul 25, 2018
Reviews. Haven't used this product yet.
Wallace F on Jun 2, 2018
When spraying this with a HVLP sprayer, what is the recommended mixture ratio of water to thin the liquid for spraying? At what air pressure (psi) do you have the sprayer set?
Robert H on Jan 7, 2016
Can you spray this with HVLP sprayer?
A shopper on May 1, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Yes this can be sprayed in the HVLP sprayer
Can I use the Java Gel Stain to pain over an alarde piante dresser,or can I use the waterbase top coat only over the old piano? The dresser is an old piece and has some cigarrete burnts.
Silvia F on Jun 19, 2016
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Satin
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Satin
General Finishes Gel Stain, Java
General Finishes Gel Stain, Java
i am planning to use this on hardwood floors that have already been stained with a driftwood gray color. Has anyone used this on floors? If so, what have you found to be the best method of application?
M LOVE on Jan 27, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Haven't used on a floor but it is as hard as other polyurethanes. I have sprayed and brushed. Very forgiving on flat horizontal surfaces.
Hello, I recently painted a hutch with General Finishes Milk paint in Antique White. I am going to purchase the high performance top coat in satin to apply today. I have read on some tutorials to sand in between top coat layers. Is that necessary? and why would it need to be sanded? Also, what kind of brush do I use, or does it matter? Thanks
Tiffany D on Jan 26, 2016
BEST ANSWER: The reason to sand between each coat applied is to remove any imperfections. Dust, bristles from the brush your using, and even your brush strokes will leave your topcoat with unwanted blimishs. Just like a quality automotive paint job. You lightly sand between every coat to get the best finish possible. As far as what brush to use. I have abandoned traditional brushes and have had great results with using a "Woster" brand foam brush. They work icreadibly well if applying your top coat isn't done with a HVLP Spray System. Which is really the best finish you can get. HVLP Spray systems have gotten very affordable these days. And Rockler has a wide variaity of them to choose from. Besides sanding between each coat it's a great idea to use a tack cloth to prep the surface before applying your next layer of finish. I like using my sop vacume and then compressed air to get the bulk of the debris prior to using a tack cloth.
Hello, has the High Performance water based top coat replaced the Polyacrylic water based top coat?
matt a on Apr 21, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Not sure if it has eplaced it but I had been using this for sometime and have been pleased with the results! I have sprayed it as well as brushed it . I thin it to spray and will thin final coat when brushing because it lays out nice for final coat. The folks at Rockler says it has a harder surface than polyurethane. Hope this helps.
The first layer of general finishes high performance water based satin top coat on my antique white milk paint cabinets made them have a darker yellowing coloring effect on them. Not sure what i did wrong?
Lisa M on Oct 27, 2015
BEST ANSWER: It is very likely that when you applied the top coat it pulled through some stain from the original surface. You can paint over again and you should find it is OK. You can prevent this in future by sealing any previously stained or painted wood with shellac or a good sealer (e.g. Zinsser).
Can this be applied over the gel stains for a good table top with high usage?
Julie G on Apr 27, 2015
BEST ANSWER: To be safe do a seal coat with shellac then apply the general finish. I have applied the water base general finish satin directly over a gel stain and it worked fine the water base finish I like even more than the mineral spirit base finish! It brushes and sprays great & easy cleanup.
Can this be applied over an oil based stain?
Christian H on May 26, 2020
BEST ANSWER: I’ve used this product over an oil based gel stain and I’m very happy with the results. An important thing To do when using a water based topcoat over aN oil based stain is to be certain the stain has dried completely ( at least 72 hours).
General Finish has lots of good info on their web site including helpful YouTube videos
I have streaks almost like ridges when using satin. What am I doing wrong?
Paige F on Jul 11, 2020
BEST ANSWER: Use a quality synthetic brush, lay the finish on and do not over brush. It will dry too quickly and not flatten out if the temperature is too high. I like to apply it under 75F.
Do I sand after the last coat of GF High Performance Water Based Top Coat (flat if it matters)? I have noticed how well lightly sanding with 0000 Steel Wool has helped between coats so I'd like my last coat to leave the table top just as smooth but don't know what to do after my last application. Thanks.
Janet B on Mar 18, 2016
BEST ANSWER: After your last coat you are done. I use a shellac based sanding sealer and then three coats of the High Performance finish. Sanding between each coat. You mentioned you use steel wool between coats. I would not recommend that with a water base finish. Steel and water create rust and can cause discoloration of lighter woods as a result of leftover steel wool fibers. I recommend 400 sand paper between coats. You will smooth out the finish but it is not so smooth that the next coat will not adhere.
How many coats should I apply to a dining table in order to not have water marks from a cup?
A shopper on Jul 27, 2015
BEST ANSWER: I use three coats. Lightly sanding with steel wool in between each coat. After the last coat I use steel wool and Johnsons paste wax and then buff out. I really looks great. Highly recommend the product.
Dry time says 2-4 hrs but under technical details it says dry time 24-36 .. ? And a little lower .. dry time 24hrs. I'm confused.
A shopper on May 26, 2015
BEST ANSWER: In my experience, this product dries to the touch in less than an hour. I live in Arizona, which is a dry climate, so maybe 2-4 would be more accurate in other parts of the country. And I imagine it has the 24 hr disclaimer because it may take that kind to fully cure. FYI- This is my absolute favorite top coat- I think it works beautifully.
I applied this top coat to our exterior porch columns two years ago. After 2 years, should I lightly sand and reapply? What is the best way to maintain these looking great?
JeanB on Mar 30, 2020
BEST ANSWER: This is a wonderful, water-based finish. It's my go-to finish when I want minimal color change to the wood coupled with some water resistance. It's such a good product is able to be applied over a previous oil finish. But that is limited to interior projects. It's clearly labeled "FOR INTERIOR USE ONLY", and I do follow the instructions for my stuff.

For your off-label, exterior-use application, lightly sand and reapply may be good enough. Exterior finishes do need more maintenance than interior surfaces. There are more variables in outdoor situations - you know, sun, weather, bugs, exposure, things like that.

I respect this General Finish product too much to undermind it by recommending an off-label application.
I used water based stain on cherry wood coffee and end tables. Can I use High performance water based polyurethane finish on it. Also, is it wipe on?
Radha R on Sep 24, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Yes you can use it over your water base stain. Brush, spray, foam brush. I’m not sure what you want to wipe it on with a cloth rag, I would say no. I know some people who have used a foam applicator that you get at an automotive store. It’s used to put wax on cars.
Can this be used over GF gel stain?
Lawrence R on Jun 5, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Yes, this is exactly what I’ve used it for numerous times and have been very happy. Super easy.
If a quart will cover about 150 sq/ft is that one coat? I have a project that's about 100 sq/ft so I'm curious about how much I'm going to need.
Tara W on Aug 20, 2017
BEST ANSWER: This product goes a long way! The consistency is more runny than the gel stain so you don't have to put as much on to fully cover. For a project that is 100 sq ft, I feel one quart should cover you!
Does this finish tend to
display white scratches on the product due to it being waterborne?
Jordan M on Jan 29, 2017
BEST ANSWER: No, I've had it on a coffee and end tables for a couple years, with heavy use, and never seen such scratches.
I'm new to woodworking and am trying to get info about finishes. Can this be applied by itself directly to wood?
Brian F on Aug 5, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Yes it can. I do it just like that to bare unstained wood to give natural color.
If I were to use this on a dining room table, what kind of cleaner can be used on it daily?
Heather W on Dec 7, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Just use a damp dish cloth or if you need something more use Dawn on a dish cloth then rinse with damp cloth wet with water
Is high performance top coat heat resistant, such as a dining room table top?
Carol T on Aug 15, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Carol; It is heat resistant to a certain point. If you set dishes that are extremely hot on the finish you will most likely burn the wood underneath before the finish. I would suggest to always take care when putting hot dishes on a table. A good practice is to always use hot pads.
Can it be applied over Krylon lacquer spray paint?
Tricia F on Jul 11, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Yes. Here are the instruction from GF's website.

Preparation for Projects with an Existing Finish (Sealed Surface)
For high-use areas with heavy grime build-up and oil from hands, give your project a deeper cleaning.
See our video: How to Prepare Existing Finishes

Scuff clean with a Scotch Brite pad and a 50:50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. Dry 1-2 hours. Avoid cleaning with products containing phosphates (salt), which can linger in the substrate and produce a white haze. If your project requires a deeper cleaning, see Power Prep Cleaning Highly Used Existing Finishes below.
Sand lightly with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad.
Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.
Let dry completely before applying General Finishes product.
I’m using this on top of oil based wiping stain. Is it best to seal it first? I know it says it’s fine as long as you wait at least 48 hours, but I had a problem with a different brand. I probably should have sealed it before the water based topcoat
Cara J on Jun 8, 2019
BEST ANSWER: I’ve used the chalk paint, directly on top of current stain on my cabinets, without sanding. Then applied top coat, and we haven’t had issues, so I would be inclined to say that it won’t be a problem. We loved the results. Hope this helps!
I tried varathane water based spar urathane, and I hate it, I cant get it to lay flat and smooth. Can I put this on top of that to finish my topcoating? Im using a fuji hvlp
Cara J on May 25, 2019
BEST ANSWER: I don't see any issue since the original varathane coating was water based. Be sure to sand with around a 320 grit sandpaper before using the General Finishes coating. I get beautiful results spraying with the General Finishes High Performance Satin.
Covering wenge hardwood with deep grain, how many coats can i apply???
Ken M on Jan 27, 2019
BEST ANSWER: When I did my project it was on a semi smooth finish but did 3 coats since it was a dinning table. I would say a minimum of 2 coats, 3 if you will be using that item often.
Can I wipe on Arm r seal finish? I’ve used this before but only with a foam brush.
cr180 on Sep 30, 2018
Yes, you can wipe on Arm R Seal. I have found it best to use a foam brush for the first coat and then wipe on the next two coats. This helps ensure less stain or gel stain comes back off the first coat.
PAULA W on Mar 1, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I used the high performance top coat over chalk paint and had no issues. I used a barn red chalk paint on the oak legs of a farm house table and it worked great.
What finish can be used on infant wooden blocks?
MikeB on May 7, 2017
BEST ANSWER: General Finishes makes several products that would be safe for children's' toys. the High Performance water based poly is one of the most user friendly topcoat that I can recommend. It is low odor, dries quickly, covers latex, oil, and acrylic paint with great results. Actually most topcoats are safe once they are dry, but GF's High Performance is my favorite.
Can I paint over general finish high performance top coat if milk paint got scratched and original cabinet color shows?
Charity W on Mar 26, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I have never painted after using General finish. I see no reason that you could not paint over the general finish as long you have let the finish cured
I would like to coat a particle board over the toilet, put together at home, shelving system. The finish is a laminate. Will General Finishes High Performance water based Satin help the shelving unit last longer in a bathroom with no ventilation. Will it work on the laminate surfaces or only on the back raw edges?
Thank you for your assistance!
Jude M on Feb 19, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Coating the raw edges will help to keep moisture out but you do not need to do the laminate side , it is not real wood so moisture will not affect it.
WARNING: This product can expose you to Ethylene oxide, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. This product can expose you to chemicals including 1,4-Dioxane, Ethylbenzene, Dibromoacetonitrile, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer.