Good Vibes Blog, Paint & Products

Why I love General Finishes Top Coat Over Chalk Paint

-I love it so much I bought a bunch to sell-

The first attraction to General Finishes Top Coats was the sheen choices, specifically FLAT. Until I heard about it, I was stuck in satin sheen land and not loving it. The main attraction of painted furniture is the matte look of chalk paint. Using wax was the only other option to get that non-shiny look and I do not like applying it at all!

My Wish List for Best Top Coat

  • Water Based,
  • Flat Sheen, I mean FLAT
  • Not so thin in foams up like spit,
  • Not so thick ya can’t get an even stroke,
  • Long enough wet edge for minimal brush marks (how porous of chalk paint used makes a difference),
  • Durable to take regular household wear,

No more searching for the right topcoat to use on my painted furniture. GF Flat is the only product I buy now. It meets everything on my wish list, just sayin’.

Available in Jackson MI inside Windy Hill Market – 217 N. Jackson Street DOWNTOWN Jackson next door to Pedal & Tour.

Roots & Wings Furniture LLC

Stories About Other Brands I’ve Tried

My experience with over-the-counter brands very hopeful to start turned into disappointment over time. Min-wax Polycrylic only comes in satin but even so, its wet edge over chalk paint is super short, meaning significant stroke marks are left behind.

I fought those things trying everything I could to minimize them and still not liking the sheen, so I tried the next product that came out; Rust-o-leum Chalked Top Coat. Again, an over-the-counter product saves money so I was excited it came in Flat finish! Super hopeful again thinking I had found top coat mecca until I used it on a piece with lots of edges and detail.

Black, Copper, Wine Bar, Painted TV Cabinet, Jackson MI

I wish I had a picture of the horrifying white foam that looked the spit that developed in the corners. The brush movement in corners and edges caused the product to foam up like meringue. I got rid of most of it but some remained looking like spit after it dried. The only thing that saved me was having a black piece and using a black marker to cover the white spit. Ug, never again.

A friend recommended Gator Hide by Dixie Belle but before I could try it, she recanted the advise. It is a terrific product for durability, but it applies thick and hard to work with, thick and thin areas. I’ve also tried Country Chalk Defender and I like it but t it is difficult to locate for purchase.

UPDATE 6-2021: GF Topcoat Yellows Over White Paint

During the Covid shut-down here in Michigan, I took a brush to 4 significant pieces of furniture in my house. They would have never gotten painted otherwise!

A year and a half later, I can see the aged effects of GF Top Coat. The makers say it yellows and it does. 3 of the 4 pieces the yellowing isn’t noticeable but one piece is significant. The only difference is the one piece is old, almost antique. All pieces were primed using oil based primer. Yeah, it could be bleed through but the yellowing is across the piece, not just in a spot or two.

Solution: GF Brushable White Enamel requires no top coat. It’s made to not need a topcoat therefore no chance of yellowing. The can says top coat is not recommended. I’ve used it before in my war with white and share my tips here. So, I’ll use it for all white pieces I paint however, it is so tough distressing is not an option. It’s enamel made to take all the scratching a user can deliver.

8 thoughts on “Why I love General Finishes Top Coat Over Chalk Paint

  1. Hello, My name is Kelly Sharrer. My daughter is wanting to paint her existing kitchen cabinets. So you have the Milk paint and finishes for sale in your store? If yes are you open tomorrow at all? We wanted to get started tomorrow morning. Can you email me or show me a text? 517-914-6066.
    Thanks so much! Kelly. Also is your name Kelly Miller? If yes did you graduate from Jackson High in 1985?

  2. Kelly – thanks for the great question. GF Milk Paint is excellent and highly recommended for kitchen cabinets/cupboards. It’s a tough mineral acrylic paint which is why it’s best for your application. It was made for woodworkers and cabinet makers. It’s smooth not gritty like chalk paint. It is not latex – which tends to peel and is softer. Get it at Painted Plethora located 1208 Wildwood, open Saturdays 10-5.

  3. Hi Maureen. Thanks for visiting and for the good question. Flat out flat gives a the buttery soft look of a wax finish but is a polyurethane top coat. It gives a hard, easy to clean finish and doesn’t need to be reapplied year after year like wax. Any application over existing wax can be a bit tricky since wax is a resistor. If it’s fresh wax perhaps not yet . . but if the wax has cured and hardened over time then it could be okay to apply top coat. Clean first with a mild soap, like Dawn, and a damp cloth not super drippy wet. I hope this helps!

  4. How do you repair kitchen cabinets painted with GF snow white milk paint and High performance top coat where the paint is turning translucent and yellow. Can you paint over the top coat with another product ?

  5. Hi there Gary: Yeah, painting white requires very good priming with 2 coats of the GF stain Blocker product OR an oil based primer. Otherwise, the yellow can occur. I LOVE using the GF brushable white enamel instead of the milk paint. Why? It doesn’t require top coat! It is a hard and durable product that comes in Flat or Satin finish. Priming over your top coat to block the yellowing then repainting is the only thing I can think of to save the piece.

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