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Furniture Top Coat Comparison

If you have followed some of the projects I have worked on recently, you would know I am a HUGE General Finishes fan. I love the milk paint and their top coat. I recently tried some different types of paint to see if I would like something different.

For this project, I used Rust-Oleum Chalk paint and Minwax Polycrylic finish. I have never been a huge fan of sealing furniture with wax, which is what a lot of people use when they use chalk paint. It has never been a permanent or durable finish for me and because I live in Arizona, I have found that dust LOVES to stick to wax.

Since I only spent $20 on this dresser, I figured I would venture out of my comfort zone and use some different products:


The biggest pain in the butt when it comes to refinishing furniture is the cleaning process. If you are getting old, used furniture you will want to make sure to clean it thoroughly. I also removed the hardware. After it was cleaned up, I took a steel wool pad and de-glossed the dresser. You don’t need to spend too much time on this. You may be able to see the wood get less shiny but sometimes it looks the same. Just give the piece a good wipe down.




I gave the dresser two good coats of chalk paint and let it dry before I applied the finishing coat. I also used the General Finishes stain for the top of the dresser. I used a microfiber cloth to apply.


When I compare the chalk paint to the General Finishes Milk Paint I have been using, the chalk paint comes out a lot more streaky and you can see every imperfection. The Minwax finish then just enhances the streaks and imperfections even more. Although the Minwax finish says it is a matte finish, it is still glossy compared to the General Finishes Flat Top Coat.


In conclusion, I probably will stick to General Finishes even though these products were a lot cheaper. I think chalk paint is better used for projects where you would do light coats and have the colors underneath come through – very rustic and worn pieces would do fine with chalk paint! Hands down, the Minwax top coat does not even come close to the durability and look that General Finishes gives.

Here are the top coats that I normally use:




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