Why General Finishes Brand is Worth the Extra Money

Do you have a preferred amount of money you spend on stain, paint, or other finishing products? Do you try to find the best deal on something that might work? Are you willing to try something new but you don’t even know what to try and are afraid to waste your money, so you head straight to the big box stores?


I’ve always been conscious of how much I’m spending on my building materials. Just when I would think I was done with a project, I’d need to make another trip to the store for all the finishing supplies. I have a lot of these on hand now, but until you get a few things in your supply stash, you’re left running to the store at the end of every project spending MORE MONEY!

Over the years three things I’ve learned about my finishing process are that 1) you can’t rush it and 2) you can’t go cheap on it 3) use what the pros use.

Think about it… you’ve spent hours and hours and weekends and weeks building that piece of furniture. Or you’ve spent early mornings driving all over town hunting at estate and yard sales. Your hard work is often admired by friends and family but what is it that they’re really seeing? Your solid construction under that table?

Guess again, they’re seeing YOUR FINISH.

Your finish Can and Does make or break a project, the way it looks, the way if feels, the way it functions and how well it holds up over time!

I’m going to tell you about my favorite finishing brand and why I promise you it’s worth the extra money compared to the stuff at the big box stores.

They have so many lines to choose from

Water Based Paints

  • They're environment friendly and easy to brush or spray on. They are really durable and hold up well.  They have beautiful shades of Milk Paint, easy to use Glazes and even a line of Pearl Effects. You can use any of these separate or together to achieve a beautiful finish.

Water Based Wood Stains and Dye Stains

  • Their Water Based Wood and Dye Stains allow you to create the truest, deepest colors possible on any wood species. Their water based line comes in as many colors as their oil based for practically endless options. 

Water Based Topcoats and Sanding Sealers

  • Usually we think of oil based top coats as the most durable, think again. These are formulated to be durable and consumer friendly. They are also considered 'green and eco friendly' which makes washing and cleanup very easy. 

Oil Based Wood Stains & Sealers

  • "As a testimony to General Finishes Wood Stains' overall excellence, several woodworking magazines have awarded GF Stains their highest recommendations in national competitions."

  • General Finishes was the recipient of Woodcraft's "Innovations Award" for their water-based and oil-based finishes:

    "Woodcraft featured General Finishes in their "Top 10 Game-Changing Tools of the Past 10 Years" article, saying; "Water-based finishes have an established reputation for being less odorous and easier to use than oil-based finishes. Today, many outperform their oil-based competition. According to the manufacturers' tests, General Finishes' High Performance finish (a polyacrylic blend) is the hardest, most durable consumer polyurethane top coat on the market... Enduro-Var is an oil-modified alkyd varnish in a water-based formula that dries fast and cleans up with water, yet imparts the desirable amber tone of an oil-based varnish."

Oil Based Topcoats

  • Their oil based topcoat line doesn't disappoint. They have easy to apply Wipe-on Oil based top coats that come in gel or liquid form. They also have a few pre-stain conditioners and lots of other urethanes, urethane combos, and other conditioners for your projects. 

Furniture Oils, Polishes and Waxes

  • Furniture always gets scratched up. If you have a piece that just needs a little touch up this is your line to check out. 

They don’t offer quick fixes

  • One of my first projects turned way south because of some “two in one” stuff, I don’t even like that for my hair products why would I use it for my furniture

  • those products can cause a lot of bad results, thick, uneven color, uneven sheen, just don’t

Seriously you’ve spent so much time on what you’re making, don’t skimp on the last and most important part

Built for the professional, available for the DIY'er

  • If something is professional grade but available to us DIYers it seems like a no brainer to go with that

  • They have an amazing website with tons of videos and detailed information, not built to “sell you” on it but to inform and provide valuable information for using their products

  • “Pro” series in a lot of brands are still available at the big box stores, hint: that’s not where the pro’s go, my nearest “pro” distributer for GF is over 5 hours away!

The cost difference

  • $17 Oil Based Qt. General FInishes vs $8 Minwax Qt. vs $8 Varathane Qt.

(that's a $9 difference over the course of multiple projects)

  • $72 Water based high performance top coat General Finishes vs $48 Minwax Polycrylic Gallon

($24 difference over the course of multiple projects)

Your time- say you spend 8 hours building a console table, you spend another 1-2 hour sanding it, and will spend 2 hours staining and finishing it (minus dry times) to do a proper job.

Buying something cheaper and trying to save $10-25 is great, but if that cheaper product causes you to have to strip (1-2 hours, sand 1-2 hours, and reapply finish 2-3 hours) you could possibly be out the Entire time it took you to build the thing in the first place! Seriously friend, you could have had one for your mother in law for Christmas made already in the time it took you to fix your cheap decision.


Lastly friend, 

Believe in yourself enough to Invest in yourself and your projects!

Even if you are brand new at this, you are gaining skills that will last a lifetime. By even completing one project you are saying "I can do this" and "I believe in myself enough to tackle this". Don't let your product buying decisions affect your final project, get the good stuff!