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FAQ

How does Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner work?


Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner penetrates the pores of the wood, reducing the amount of stain the larger pores will absorb. This evens out the absorption of stain, preventing streaking and blotching.


Not sure what type of finish you have?


There's an easy way to tell whether an old finish is going to need  Minwax® Antique Furniture Refinisher or Formby's® Paint & Poly Remover.
1) Dampen a cotton ball with acetone-based nail polish remover.
2) Choose an inconspicuous test spot and dab it with the cotton.
If the cotton sticks or the finish softens, it's varnish, lacquer or shellac. Use  Minwax® Antique Furniture Refinisher.
If there is no effect, it's a polyurethane finish. Use Formby's® Paint & Poly Remover.


How long should Minwax® Wood Finish™ wood stain be left on the wood?

 

Anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes. The longer the stain is left on the wood, the deeper it will penetrate. For a light tint, wipe the excess stain off after a few minutes; for deeper, richer color, wait as long as 15 minutes.


Is it necessary to sand after the Minwax® Wood Finish™ has dried?


No. In fact, we advise against it. Sanding will result in the removal of some of the dyes and pigments in the stained wood. Since Minwax® Wood Finish™ does not raise the grain, no sanding is necessary before top-coating.

 

What is Minwax® Sanding Sealer?

 

Minwax® Sanding Sealer is formulated to work as a base coat under any Minwax® oil or water-based polyurethane finish. It seals the wood grain, and is designed to be easy to sand, providing an ultra-smooth finish. It is formulated for use on unstained, interior, bare wood surfaces including floors, furniture, doors and cabinets.


What kind of stain does Minwax® Stainable Wood Filler accept?

 

Minwax® Stainable Wood Filler has been formulated to accept all Minwax® penetrating stains, including Minwax® Wood Finish wood stain and Minwax® Gel Stain.


What makes Minwax® Gel Stain different from traditional stains such as Minwax® Wood Finish™?

 

As its name implies, Gel Stain has a gelled consistency. The non-drip formula makes it an ideal choice for vertical surfaces. Because it is thick-bodied, it stays more toward the surface of the wood, allowing greater color control during application. In addition, Gel Stain can be applied to non-wood surfaces, including metal and fiberglass, to give them a beautiful wood appearance.


Should Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner be used with Gel Stain?

 

Yes. Some woods, such as pine and maple, tend to absorb stains unevenly. Before using Gel Stain, Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner should be applied to ensure even stain penetration.


What is the best way to select a sheen for my polyurethane coating?

 

Sheen choice is a personal preference. Satin sheens reflect less light and gloss sheens reflect more light.


What can be done to avoid bubbles in the polyurethane coating finish?

 

There are four ways. First, stir, don't shake, the can. Second, use a high-quality, natural bristle brush. Third, work the finish into the wood, but don't create excess foam. Fourth, "tip-off" the finish before stopping, carefully running the brush at a 45-degree angle the length of each board in one unbroken movement. This will burst and smooth out any bubbles that may have been created.


How does Helmsman® Spar Urethane differ from other polyurethanes?


Helmsman® polyurethane coating contains special ultraviolet absorbers to help protect wood from the graying and fading effects of the sun. Helmsman® also contains special oils that allow it to expand and contract with seasonal temperatures changes.

 

Is Helmsman® polyurethane coating suitable for decks and fences?


No. Decks and fences have special requirements for protection against the elements. Use an exterior waterproofing product such as Thompson's® WaterSeal® Waterproofer Plus Clear Wood Protector.


What is the benefit of using Minwax® Wipe-On Poly versus a traditional polyurethane?


Minwax® Wipe-On Poly is easily applied with a cloth, without any drips or brush marks. It is the perfect choice for furniture, interior doors, trim and other woodwork.


How is Minwax® Wipe-On Poly applied?


Minwax® Wipe-On Poly is easily applied by hand, using a soft, lint-free cloth. Put a liberal amount on a clean cloth and rub into the wood. Since it is applied with a cloth, there is no need to worry about drips or brush marks.


Should Minwax® Wipe-On Poly be sanded between coats?


Yes. A light sanding with very fine sandpaper (#220) or fine steel wool will remove any fine particles of dust that may have settled on the finish while it was wet. Allow Minwax® Wipe-On Poly to dry 2-3 hours before applying the next coat. If a third coat is desired, repeat the same procedure.

 

What is the benefit of using Water Based Wipe-On Poly versus a traditional polyurethane?


Water Based Wipe-On Poly is easily applied with a cloth, without any drips or brush marks. It is the perfect choice for furniture, interior doors, trim and other woodwork. Because it’s water based it has little odor, dries quickly and cleans up easily with warm water.


Can Water Based Wipe-On Poly be applied over Minwax® Wood Finish™ or other stains?


Yes. Water Based Wipe-On Poly is a great way to protect stained wood. Be sure to allow the stain to dry completely before top coating with Water Based Wipe-On Poly.


Can I apply Water Based Wipe-On Poly over the traditional Minwax® Wipe-On Poly oil-based finish or vice versa?


Yes. The two products can be applied over each other as long as the first has fully cured. Follow the directions for the product you are using. Be sure to apply each coat with only one product. Do not finish part of a surface with one topcoat and part with the other as this could result in an uneven appearance across the surface of the wood.

 

Why does Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish appear milky in the can?


The milk-white appearance is caused by the scattering and reflection of light striking the liquid and the particles suspended in it. The slight haziness disappears on the wood leaving a crystal clear finish.


Does Minwax® Clear Brushing Lacquer require sanding between coats?


No. Since one coat melts into prior coats, there is no need to sand for adhesion. Also, since each coat dries to the touch in 30 minutes or less, there is less time for dust and debris to fall into the wet coating.


What is Minwax® Lacquer Sanding Sealer? How is it used?


Minwax® Clear Brushing Lacquer acts as its own sealer and can be used alone. However, applying Minwax® Lacquer Sanding Sealer provides added smoothness. Minwax® Lacquer Sanding Sealer is formulated to work as a base coat under Minwax® Clear Brushing Lacquer. It is easy to sand, dries quickly, and seals the wood in just one coat. Once sanded, it provides a smooth, even surface that is ready to be top coated with Minwax® Clear Brushing Lacquer.


Can lacquer be used over polyurethane? Can polyurethane be used over lacquer?


No, polyurethanes and lacquers are not compatible with each other. Applying one over the other may cause problems with adhesion.


What type of applicator works best with Minwax® Clear Brushing Lacquer and Sanding Sealer?


Brushing lacquers work best with either a natural bristle or a synthetic bristle brush. When choosing an applicator, the most important factor is selecting a high quality brush with tapered bristles that will enable you to “flow” the lacquer onto the wood. Avoid over-brushing, which can leave brush marks in the dried film. Do not use a foam brush, since it will dissolve!


What surfaces is Minwax® Teak Oil recommended for?


Minwax® Teak Oil is great for indoor and outdoor furniture made from hardwoods and on marine wood surfaces above the waterline.


How do I apply Minwax® Teak Oil?


Minwax® Teak Oil can be applied with a clean cloth or a brush.  Apply Minwax® Teak Oil to bare wood or to wood that is free of old finishes, then wipe off any excess moving in the direction of the wood’s grain.


What is the difference between Minwax® Super Fast-Drying Polyurethane for Floors and Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane?


Minwax® Super Fast-Drying Polyurethane for Floors is a durable protective finish specifically formulated for use on hardwood floors. Its professional formula provides superior durability. Its optimized drying technology provides a 25% faster recoat time than regular polyurethanes, and does not require sanding between coats. It applies more easily than regular polyurethane on floor surface, with an advanced anti-settling formula that needs less stirring and has fewer "highs and lows", resulting in an even sheen across the floor surface.


Can Minwax® Super Fast-Drying Polyurethane for Floors be used over Minwax® stains?


Yes, Minwax® Super Fast-Drying Polyurethane for Floors has been formulated to work within the Minwax® system. It can be used over Minwax® Wood Finish™ Stain and Minwax® Gel Stain.


How durable is Minwax® Water Based Polyurethane for Floors?


Water Based Polyurethane for Floors provides durability that is comparable to oil-based polyurethanes. It is significantly more durable than most water-based finishes available to consumers.

 

What is the difference between Minwax® Water Based Polyurethane for Floors and Minwax® Super Fast-Drying Polyurethane for Floors?


While both products provide superior durability for protecting hardwood floors, Water Based Polyurethane for Floors has little odor, dries in 2-3 hours and application tools clean up with warm water.


How many coats of Water Based Polyurethane for Floors do I need to apply to protect my floor?


Three coats of Water Based Polyurethane for Floors are recommended. Additional coats may be applied for added durability.


What is the purpose of Minwax® Water Based Polyurethane Base Coat?


The Base Coat seals the wood to prevent a tannin reaction between it and Minwax® Water Based Polyurethane for Floors. Many water-based finishes have higher pH levels than oil-based finishes. When they come in contact with the tannins that exist naturally in wood, a discoloration can occur. Water Based Polyurethane Base Coat must be applied on unstained floors prior to applying and Minwax® Water Based Polyurethane for Floors. Applying a base coat may be unfamiliar to DIYers but not to flooring contractors. When using water-based floor finishes, professionals almost always apply a base coat.


How is Minwax® Water Based Polyurethane Base Coat different from Minwax® Professional Formula Sanding Sealer?


Water Based Polyurethane Base Coat is formulated for use with Minwax® Water Based Polyurethane for Floors. Its main function is to seal the wood, preventing a tannin reaction. Applying Water Based Polyurethane Base Coat is required on all unstained floors. Water Based Polyurethane Base Coat should never be sanded. Doing so can expose bare wood and a tannin reaction may result. In contrast, Minwax® Professional Formula Sanding Sealer is formulated for use with Minwax® Super-Fast Drying Polyurethane for Floors (oil based). Its function is to provide a first coat that is then sanded smooth to remove any imperfections.


How important is it to properly clean my deck before applying a waterproofer?


Proper surface preparation is necessary for the best waterproofer application and performance. All exterior wood—from decks to fences to siding—should be cleaned before sealing, staining or painting to remove dirt, stains from mildew and mold, waterproofers, wood stains, paint and other contaminants. Even new wood can have dirt or other invisible barriers to the penetration of a coating.


How do I know which type of cleaner to use for my wood before applying a waterproofer / decking oil?


It's important to choose the right cleaner for your project to ensure the best adhesion during the waterproofing process. Use the below guide as a reference when selecting a surface cleaning product:


To remove stains from dirt, mildew, algae & fungus stains and there is little or no trace of a residual finish, use Thompson's® Water Seal® Deck Wash.


To remove weathered clear & tinted waterproofers or semi-transparent stains in addition to stains from dirt, mildew, algae & fungus, use Thompson's® Water Seal® Heavy Duty Deck Cleaner.


On EXTERIOR SURFACES such as Wood & Composite Decks, Fences, Concrete & Masonry, Outdoor Furniture, Roofs & Siding, to remove stains from dirt, mildew, algae and fungus with a non-bleach, chlorine-free oxygenated foaming formula, use, Thompson's® WaterSeal® Oxy Foaming Action Exterior Multi-Surface Cleaner.


Does water beading prove a surface is waterproofed and protected from water damage?


Beading alone is not a measure of water repellency. It is just a surface phenomenon - remember, water will even bead up on a dirt field when it starts to rain. Some products are formulated to produce water beading on wood but do not effectively protect the wood from water penetration and damage. The best way to tell if a surface is waterproofed is to use the "Splash Test." Pour a little water on the surface. If it darkens, the water is penetrating and the surface needs to be protected. If it beads, rolls off or stands on the surface, but does not darken the surface, it is protected. Thompson's® WaterSeal® waterproofers penetrate the wood so that even after the beading is gone, the waterproofing protection lasts.


Can water-based waterproofers work as well as oil/solvent-based waterproofers?


Yes. Thompson's® WaterSeal® Advanced waterproofers, which are water-based, offer the highest level of waterproofing protection available. In fact, they far exceed the industry standard for waterproofing wood.


Where else can Shield-Crete™ Epoxy be used besides garage floors? 


Shield-Crete™ is also great for basement floors, laundry room floors, storage areas, patios or landings.


Why does Shield-Crete™ not require acid etching while most other epoxies do?


Shield-Crete™ Garage Floor Coating is an industrial strength epoxy available to use.