Will I have problems if I apply a water-based topcoat over an oil-based stain? How about an oilbased finish over water-based stain?

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Check the stain and topcoat containers for guidelines about waiting times. The label of this product recommends waiting 48 hours after applying an oil-based stain.

Q:

Will I have problems if I apply a water-based topcoat over an oil-based stain? How about an oil-based finish over water-based stain?
—Bill McTaggart, California City, California

A:

No problem in either case, Bill, as long as you allow the stain to dry thoroughly. Wait as recommended on the stain and topcoat containers and then put your face next to the surface and sniff. If you smell the stain, give it more time.

Whether you start with oil- or water-based stain, switching to the other type of topcoat actually helps avoid trouble. If you brush or wipe on a topcoat that contains the same solvent as the stain, you might dissolve the stain and cause smearing.