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General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Semi-Gloss, Pint
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Semi-Gloss, Pint Item #35818
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$17.99 Pint
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Semi-Gloss, Quart
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Semi-Gloss, Quart Item #35572
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$27.99 Quart
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Semi-Gloss, Gallon
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Semi-Gloss, Gallon Item #37245
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$74.99 Gallon

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General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Semi-Gloss

Get one of the hardest, most durable semi-gloss polyurethane topcoats available – along with the convenience of easy water cleanup.
Item #
96% 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-Semi-Gloss
More Information
Brand General Finishes
Weight 9.5000
Tech Spec
  • 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.
  • Clean up with warm, soapy water
  • Coverage: 75 sq. ft./pint; 150 sq. ft./quart; 600 sq. ft./gallon.
Discountable No
4.8 / 5.0
57 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Dries very fast, easy to sand and ultra smooth- used it for drawer slides and applied 3 coats with light sanding (320 grit) between applications
January 28, 2020
1 month ago
Woodworking Experience:
Repair maple pass-through, crosscut slab
Repair job for a 3" thick crosscut maple slab a client had made before adequate drying. The slab was cut, coated on edge and one side only and was in pretty rough shape. He wanted to keep the original finish of THICK poly but I advised I couldn't inlay the necessary butterflies without refinishing the top and bottom.

The General Finishes Semigloss was very easy to work with. Cleanup was super easy. This was a rush to be completed in a week or less. Drying under warm indoor conditions went quickly with NO fumes at all.

I've continued to use this and would recommend the product. Label says avoid back brushing, true. Also, don't flood too deep, this is best applied in thin steps and can be gray/white bad buffed between coats.
Wet, first coat
How it started
January 6, 2020
2 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Great product. Easy to apply.
User submitted image
Added Dec 8, 2019
December 8, 2019
2 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
I love GF products
I have switched from minwax to the high performance from GF and absolutely love it. Sprays beautifully.
August 15, 2019
1 year ago
Woodworking Experience:
Easy to apply, dries quickly. You can easily do a finish job in the same day.
August 14, 2019
6 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Supburb Finish
I have used this for years. In past I have applied by hand but I bought a HVLP sprayer and it works and looks even better.
August 11, 2019
6 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
I used for a table top to protect finish.Used Gel stain under it.This is my second project using this product.I will buy again
July 29, 2019
7 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
I strongly recommend General Finishes products. Have been a solid performer for me over the last several years. I use them daily.
I use General Finishes 450 Exterior most of the time due to my work on the exterior surfaces. I do like General Finishes High Performance on interior surfaces that don’t need any UV protection. Solid performance.
May 16, 2019
9 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Worked fine with HVLP
I'm happy with the product, although I only used it since no one wants to sell a lowly homeowner catalyzed lacquer around here. Nothing sprays better than shellacs and lacquers. I used it to topcoat 5 maple doors. It rolls out well (door edges). Even though GF recommends a 1.5mm HVLP tip, I could not get enough flow through the tip, even when thinning with 15% water as instructions state. It would barely run out of the tip when the trigger was pulled without air hose.
I moved up to a 2mm tip and it worked fine. This was a Neiko gravity feed gun. I used the satin sheen which may be more viscous than semi / gloss due to matting agents added.
April 8, 2019
Woodworking Experience:
Excellent water based top coat.
Super hard when dry. Nice polished looking finish.
March 2, 2019
over 2 years ago
Woodworking Experience:
Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 13 questions Browse 13 questions and 24 answers
Why did you choose this?
Rockler Store
Im spraying so I read good stuff about this.
Christopher J C on Jun 13, 2018
I have been using this product for quite a while and it always produced a nice hard finish. With easy clean up.
Roger K on Mar 25, 2018
Im spraying so I read good stuff about this.
Christopher J C on Jun 13, 2018
Dries clearer than the other brands.
Hope R on May 27, 2018
I have been using this product for quite a while and it always produced a nice hard finish. With easy clean up.
Roger K on Mar 25, 2018
Have used the gloss and it is a great product.
Linda M on Feb 19, 2018
I have used it on a crib I built with great results. Easy application and cleanup. Fast drying, good coverage
Bob A on Jan 22, 2018
excellent ratings
Christopher W on Jan 21, 2018
Have used before easy to spray and a great finish
Dan R on Jan 6, 2018
Same as above.
Lona L on Jan 4, 2018
I have used it before and it is a good product.
Charles S on Dec 21, 2017
I have used it before
carole f on Sep 25, 2017
This is the most highly recommended top coat I found during my research.
Leah H on Sep 21, 2017
Gail B on Aug 18, 2017
RICHARD A on Jul 31, 2017
not a better sealer made, no runs dries quick and clear.
mark k on Jul 30, 2017
Durable, easy clean up
Bernie K on Jul 16, 2017
used before great product
Thomas L on Jul 7, 2017
superior finish
Jeffrey J on Apr 22, 2017
high quality wood finish
Dennis C on Mar 18, 2017
This product is EXCELLENT! Least yellowing of all topcoats in a trial by Fine Woodworking Magazine.
Kay S on Sep 28, 2016
Steve H on Jul 23, 2016
Found a blogger who painted her kitchen cabinets using General Finishers milk paint and high performance top coat. Her tutorial was simple to follow, less time consuming and results were incredible. From her tutorial I decided to follow what she did and use General Finisher milk paint and top coat.
Christine G on Jul 21, 2016
Goes on easy, dries fast and leaves a great finish!!
Gary H on Dec 14, 2015
A water based finish that works very well with a HVLP sprayer
Bernie K on Nov 1, 2015
Already using the product on a current project. Seems decent quality.
Gregory W on Oct 6, 2015
I heard good things of this product so I want to try it out.
William Q on Aug 26, 2015
I need it
Bryan D on Aug 19, 2015
I wanted a hard surface that would be resistant to water and alcohol stains for a coffee table made of solid cherry. I used a tampon type applicator and gave it 25 very thin coats then finished with silicone car polish and it looks fantastic
Charles C on Aug 4, 2015
ease of application and cleanup.
David L on Jul 29, 2015
My passion is wood turning, I have found this product to suit my needs for finishing my projects. I have used a number of different top coats and this is by far the best for me. Beautiful finish,quick & easy clean up.
Mark K on Jul 2, 2015
long time satisfaction with the General water based finishes. spray paints great, dries quickly for multiple coats
John D on Jun 22, 2015
I have had excellent results with this product before. Sprays very well.
Algun on Jun 11, 2015
I have used General finishes in past and I have always been very happy with my finished pieces
Robert N on May 31, 2015
I find genera finishes have very good water based varnishes. I have been using them for ten years or so.
James K on May 16, 2015
Great reviews and General Finish makes a great product.
BW on Apr 19, 2015
Dries clearer than the other brands.
Hope R on May 27, 2018
Have used the gloss and it is a great product.
Linda M on Feb 19, 2018
Is the high performance the same as enduro pre cat polyurethane?
Keith M on Apr 13, 2017
Can ef high performance be applied with a sprayer?
A shopper on Apr 21, 2015
BEST ANSWER: I am currently spraying this product straight from the can with a conventional gravity spray feed gun with a 1.4mm cap and needle. Sprays well and flows out beautiful.
Should I use satin or semi gloss top coat for my kitchen cabinets or does it make a difference. What do you recommend.?
A shopper on Jun 12, 2015
BEST ANSWER: It's all about personal preference. The gloss is obviously going to be a lot more shiny than the semi gloss or satin. The gloss is a traditionally more durable surface but this is a quality product so you can't go wrong with any of them. My advice would be just as buy a small can of each put it on some test pieces and then make your decision.
Can I use a roller to apply high performance water based semi gloss poly over my kitchen table with just as good success?
Lisamp7 on Apr 26, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Yes you can. I would suggest a small foam roller or a very short nap roller. I would spread it out with the roller and the use a very good foam brush like the better foam brushes Rockler sells to back brush and ensure that there are no lap marks. You can also get a foam Sureline spreader from Rockler as well, but I would still get good foam brushes for finishing touches. You may also need some sandpaper (220 or higher grit) to sand between coats and some lint free cloths to wipe down once you sand. You with probably need to apply at least a couple of coats to get the desired mil thickness on that table top. Hope that helps.
Can it be used on top of semi gloss poly that's already applied
Connie M on Mar 8, 2016

It is my experience that you can apply similar substances to similar, once the initial coat is dried, even if the manufacturer is different. You can also mix finishes for a stunning look...for instance I made my wife a Chinese tea table for her birthday and covered wiTh satin poly. The finish didn't quite pop as wanted so I over covered the satin with gloss poly (both general finishes WIPE ON poly) and the combined finish is perfect, a deep poly that isn't blindingly glossy. I also recommend you consider the wipe on finishes, takes longer because you have to put on additional coats to get the thickness, but there are never any brush marks

Bill B, Las Vegas
Is this recommended for a kitchen table top?
Tazzie on Mar 13, 2016
BEST ANSWER: HP Poly is a great product, but it is badly attacked by common household cleaners that contain ammonia. I would not use it for a kitchen table top. General Finishes EnduroVar is far more resistant to most chemicals and would be a much better choice.
Can General Finishes High Performance Semi-gloss water-based top coat be used on interior wood windows?
David W on Aug 28, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Yes it can, it’s a durable finish and is easy to work with. I’ve used it on my wood shop cabinets and it holds up extremely well which isn’t always heated in the winter with no issues. I recommend using a foam brush to apply.
Do I need to apply a sealer prior to the top coat. I am refinishing a kitchen table that has been sanded?
Paul B on Aug 30, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I use this finish all the time as a UV protection over an epoxy resin coating. Though, it's my understanding that you'll only really need a sealer coat on bare wood if the wood you are coating is very porous and will absorb the finish at unpredictable rates. I wouldn't hesitate to use this finish as the only coating on bare, freshly sanded wood as you've described. (Several coats, sanding in-between, of course.)
What is the recommended process for dust removal before application of the finish? I have seen the use of mineral spirits on a dust free cloth to wipe down the work written elsewhere. Is this appropriate?
Kevin H on May 31, 2017
BEST ANSWER: That would probably work just fine but seeing it's a water based finish, I'm not certain it is 100% safe. I like to use a dry tack cloth without any solvents. I also use a tack cloth between each coat after very light sanding.
Can this be used outdoors?
Susan S on May 5, 2015
BEST ANSWER: I would not recommend it. There are better products for outdoor. I recently used a product by Sikkens called Cetrol SRD on a front gate and a picnic table. It is not a polyurethane, it is a blend of penetrateing oils and a uv protectant. Unlike polyurethane, you do not have to strip to refinish, just clean and apply. There is no perfect outdoor finish. They will all fail in the elements eventually
Can this be applied over oil base urethane ?
D B on Nov 17, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Should be fine as long as the urethane is fully cured, more that just dry. If that's the case a lite sanding and you should be good to go.
Can this be used to seal painted countertops? If so is it non-yellowing?
Micky on Oct 9, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Hi! I use it to seal chalk paint furniture. Doesn’t yellow. It depends what material the countertop is made of. They also make a super duper sealer that is much stronger, that might work better.
would this Arm-R-Seal top coat work well over a mahogany gel stain on stairs or would the EF High Performance Polyurethane top coat work better?
Paul S on Jun 4, 2017
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Semi-Gloss
General Finishes High Performance Water-based Top Coat Semi-Gloss
General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Urethane Top Coat, Semi-Gloss
General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Urethane Top Coat, Semi-Gloss
BEST ANSWER: I would go for the High Performance on stairs and use the Arm-r-seal on furniture
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.