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Thread: Water Base Poly over Water Base Stain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Central, PA

    Water Base Poly over Water Base Stain

    Can I use a water based poly finish over a water based dye or stain?
    Ed Gibbons

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Shoreline, CT
    The answer is: it depends. Water based stains (really water borne) have pigment (and/or) dye in a binder. The binder cures and after that occurs there is not problem applying waterborne acrylic (with or without poly) as topcoat. However, dyes mixed with water whether TransTint or similar universal solvent concentrates, or water soluble powdered dyes remain soluble in water even after it has dried. In that case using a waterborne topcoat can cause the dye to lift. This is especially true with hand applied finishes. Sprayed waterborne finish, with initial coats applied quite dry, can likely be used without causing the dye to run, assuming the applicator is sufficiently skilled.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    If the dye is soluble in water only, like Transfast, and you don't have spray equipment, you can first seal the dye with a coat of dewaxed shellac then apply your WB topcoat w/o fear of it lifting the dye. If you have spray equipment, you can just spray on your WB topcoat. As long as you avoid runs the dye will stay put. It the dye is soluble in both water and alcohol, like Transtint, then you can either seal and topcoat with oil based products applied anyway you want, or you can spray shellac and water based ones, at least for the first coat.


  4. #4
    I've had both water-based dyes and stains lift with water-based top-coats. The advice to spray the top coat is good advice.

  5. #5
    John hit the nail on the head, use a coat of dewaxed shellac over the stain. A one lb. cut is all you need, all you want is a barrier coat over the stain.
    Last edited by Don Selke; 02-20-2014 at 8:56 PM.
    Good Luck:
    Don Selke

    Julius A. Dooman & Son Woodworking
    My Mentor, My teacher. "Gone but not forgotton"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    When in doubt dewaxed shellac

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