General Finishes Exterior 450 Water Based Wiping Stain
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General Finishes Exterior 450 Water Based Wiping Stain




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General Finishes Exterior 450 Stains are premium quality, pigmented wood stains designed for outdoor projects with vertical surfaces such fences, patio furniture, garage doors, entrance doors, outdoor kitchens and interior windows. These water-based outdoor wood stains are not recommended for a deck finish. Exterior 450 Stains contain U.V. absorbers to protect the finish and mildewcides to slow mold and mildew growth.

Please click the below headers to reveal the instructional info for this product.

Step 1: Preparation of Raw Wood for Water Based Stain

Before applying stain, all raw wood projects require preparation sanding, and all existing finishes require prep cleaning and sanding. If you skip this critical step, your finish may fail.

Prep Sanding for Raw Wood Projects

  1. Sand open-grain wood (e.g., oak, ash, mahogany, parawood) with 120-grit sandpaper, followed by 150-grit, then 180-grit.
  2. Sand closed-grain wood (e.g., cherry, pine, maple, birch, alder) with 150-grit sandpaper followed by 220-grit.
  3. Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.
  4. Do not over-sand with fine-grit sandpapers; this will close and seal the wood grain, preventing ideal color absorption.
  5. Do NOT use steel wool with water-based finishes; the particles will get trapped in the finish and rust.

Prep Sanding for Existing Finish

    1. Remove any existing finish by sanding with 120-grit-sandpaper & scuffing with a wire brush if needed.
    2. Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.

Reducing Grain Raise on Raw Wood

To reduce grain raise, dampen the wood with water after prep sanding. Let dry completely, then lightly sand with fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad.

Step 2: How To Apply General Finishes Exterior 450 Stain

General Finishes Exterior 450 Water Based Wood Stain Application Steps

  1. Stir stain to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can before and throughout the application process.
  2. Thin as desired with distilled water; start with 5%, increase up to 10% by volume.
  3. Increase open time, if needed, with up to 5% General Finishes Extender if allowed by local regulations. GF Extender will improve flow and leveling and increase open time, which is helpful in dry climates. California Residents: Adding more than 2% of GF Extender will make the products non-compliant per SCAQMD Regulations. GF assumes no liability for the improper use of these products.
  4. Test your complete finishing process before starting. Stain color is affected by variances in wood and deepened by the application of topcoat.
  5. Divide your project into manageable sections: top, side, drawer, door, table seam.
  6. Hand-Application Over Raw Wood:
    • Apply a LIBERAL amount of stain to ensure easy workability using a synthetic bristle brush, foam brush, pad applicator or short-nap roller. If not enough stain is used, the surface may dry too quickly, causing an uneven appearance. On large projects, leave wet edge between sections to prevent lap lines between sections.
    • Wipe off the excess evenly with the grain using quality paper towel or shop towel. Check for missed spots and lap marks before moving to the next section. Do NOT use cotton t-shirts to wipe away stain because they will "push" the stain around and not absorb it.
    • Immediately correct lap marks by rewetting the entire working area with stain and wiping off the excess.
    • Pull excess stain out of corners and detail with a synthetic bristle brush.
    • Let the stain dry 2+ hours when applying 1 coat in ideal conditions, 70°F/20°C, 50-70% humidity. Increase dry time if:
      • Humidity is over 80%
      • A second coat is applied
      • Thick coats are applied
      • To accelerate drying in humid conditions add General Finishes Accelerator to Exterior 450 Stain before applying and work in a space with good ventilation and air movement. If you decide to re-coat before the recommended time, test dryness.
  7. Spray Application:
    • Before spraying, strain topcoat through a fine-mesh filter.
    • Spray wet films at 3-5-mil thickness. HVLP: 1.1mm-1.3mm spray tip, medium air cap. Verify tip sizes with your equipment supplier. See our general guide for spray tip sizes. Wear a full filter respirator (NIOSH/MSHA-approved) and, if spraying in an interior space, make sure there is good ventilation. Keep your gun at a 90° angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large, flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6-8" wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" wide to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass 50% for even coverage. Wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth.
    • Let the stain dry 2+ hours in ideal conditions (50-70% humidity, 70°F). Increase dry time if:
      • Humidity is over 80%
      • A second coat is applied
      • Thick coats are applied
      • To accelerate drying in humid conditions add General Finishes Accelerator to Exterior 450 Stain before applying and work in a space with good ventilation and air movement. If you decide to re-coat before the recommended time, test dryness.
  8. Optional: apply a second coat to deepen the color. Apply no more than 2 coats.
  9. Finish with 3 coats of General Finishes Exterior 450 Topcoat.

Warning: Do not use water-based products with Linseed Oils or Danish Oils.

Topcoat Over Exterior 450 Stain

Always seal General Finishes Exterior 450 Stain with 3 coats exterior-rated topcoat. We recommend General Finishes Exterior 450 Topcoat, which is formulated to be compatible with Exterior 450 Stain.

Exterior 450 Topcoat is designed to allow water permeate the finish and, as it dries, the water releases back out to allow the finish to tighten down again.

Horizontal surfaces and uncured surfaces with sitting water may cloud or blush temporarily as the finish dries. Once fully cured, any blushing that occurs should be minimal.

Storage of Water-Based Products

Please be mindful of the manner in which water-based products are stored and how long they have been in storage. They are not a forever product.

Life of Product

Water-based products do not last forever, even when unopened. General Finishes products are best used within 1 year of the manufacture date listed on the can. However, the life of the product may be extended with proper care and storage (see Storage Tips below).

Water-based products can last 3-5 years if the can is unopened, in good condition and stored in correct temperatures.

Product that is 3 years old will not look like product that is 6 months to 1 year old. You will see more stratification or separation as the product ages. Always stir thoroughly before using.

Foul Smell

If your product has a foul smell, it is contaminated and no longer in useable condition.

Clumps & Settling

Gravity can cause some solids to settle on the bottom of the can and slight separation on the top. This is normal. If working with older product stir with a paint mixing attachment on a drill.

If the solids dissolve and clumps smooth out after mixing from the bottom, the product is in good condition for use.

Inability to reincorporate large, chunky lumps after stirring for several minutes is an indication that the product has frozen and can no longer be used.

Storage Tips

Water-based finishes crystalize and form a skin due to evaporation when the air-tight seal on a can is broken at first use. The following best practices will increase the life of your product:

  1. Pry open sealed lids with a paint can opener by hooking under the lid's rolled edge. The use of a screwdriver can disfigure the rim and lid, impairing a complete seal.
  2. Keep lid closed while working. Pour what you will use into a bowl, paper cup, or plate, and close can lid as you work.
  3. Clean the chime of the can thoroughly with a paper towel before closing to create a complete seal. Product falling into the chime can be minimized by using a pouring lid, such as Fitsall. Avoid wiping used brushes on the lid.
  4. Pound the lid in place using a rubber mallet to avoid distorting the chime or lid. Dents in the lid from direct contact with a hammer can impair a complete seal. Alternatively, place a flat piece of wood over can lid and firmly pound shut.
  5. Store in moderate temperatures. Avoid temperatures below 50°F/10°C or above 100°F/26°C. Keep from freezing. Frozen and heat-damaged product cannot be revitalized. Temperature-controlled spaces, such as a basement, are ideal for storage. Do not store product in an attic, garage, in direct sunlight, or next to something warm like a water heater or furnace.
  6. Store can upside down to create a liquid seal, minimize evaporation and reduce the chance of crystallization. Decant remaining product from the can before stirring.
  7. Decant leftovers to a smaller container when the finish is almost used up. Alternative storage containers for water-based products are plastic FIFO bottles or glass bottles. Do not fill metal-lidded containers completely to prevent them from rusting.

The following water-based product mistures can be stored:

  1. Product thinned with up to 15% General Finishes Extender or General Finishes Accelerator, with the exception of thinned General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain.
  2. Mixtures involving colors & sheens within the same product line, such as:
  • High Performance Satin + High Performance Gloss
  • Snow White Milk Paint + Coastal Blue Milk Paint
  • Amber Dye Stain + Merlot Dye Stain

The following product mixtures should NOT be stored:

  • Any water based product with thinned tap water; water often contains bacteria that will adversely affect stored paint.
  • Topcoat + Stain or Paint
  • Milk Paint + Chalk Style Paint
  • Water Based Wood Stain + Dye Stain

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