You probably know I make a full line of water based wood finishes – everything from primers and sealers, to stains and topcoats.

And while I’d like to think you’re using all of them, all the time…

I know that’s not the case.

There are some very good wood finishing products made by companies other than mine.

And more importantly, this isn’t about me, It’s about you…

…and helping you produce your best work, regardless if you prefer using someone else’s products instead of, or in combination with, mine.

I get a lot of questions about the latter point, i.e., “compatibility,” so below are some common products that I’ve found “play nice” with Emtech water based wood finishes.

There are definitely others (and I welcome your thoughts on this) but here is a short list of compatible products you may be using or considering right now.

If you’re sealing a clear, non-pigmented finish…

Zinsser SealCoat is a popular product, and I’ve found it works great under all of my clear Emtech topcoats (and sealers, too, for that matter). That said, full-strength Zinsser SealCoat may create a fine craze or crackle effect underneath my (or other) water based finishes. So, to prevent this, I strongly recommend the following three things when using SealCoat under Emtech finishes: One, thin the SealCoat with denatured alcohol at a ratio of 1:1. Two, apply thin coats, averaging 1-2 mils in wet film thickness. And three, do not exceed two coats of reduced SealCoat prior to applying Emtech finishes. Follow these simple adjustments and you will have a magnificent final finish.

If you need a stain-blocking sealer underneath a pigmented finish…

A lot of customers using Emtech 6500 Pigmented Lacquer have success using it over Zinsser BIN Shellac Primer (again, assuming it is reduced with denatured alcohol at a 1:1 ratio to prevent checking and cracking). BIN Primer is an excellent stain-blocking primer for use on woods that are high in tannin or may be saturated with oil, pitch or some form of contamination that may bleed up into the color coat.

If you DON’T need a stain blocker under a pigmented finish…

Try Benjamin Moore “Fresh Start” primers. These primers come in water based and oil based versions and are very user-friendly right out of the can — no thinning required. Yes, I make the high-performance Emtech HSF5000 Primer/Surfacer, but sometimes a heavy-bodied primer is not required, or sometimes you’re in a pinch. When in doubt, yes, it’s safe to use Benjamin Moore Fresh Start – it complements the EM6500 Pigmented Lacquer nicely.

If you need a beautiful, water based furniture or exterior paint…

Try Old Village Paint, they are a boutique paint manufacturer that has been making classic-colored paints for more than 200 years. When you use our Emtech EM9300 water based polycarbonate urethane on top of them, customers report getting a tough, protective shell that can keep the paint looking great for years. Old Village also makes a unique line of specialty finishes for creating vintage/antique effects such as crackle-effect and glazing.

If you need to finish wooden floors or stair treads…

I can’t, in good conscience, recommend ANY of my Emtech products, not as the topcoat anyway. That’s because my water based wood finishes are designed to finish silky smooth and fast/slippery, which is exactly what you DON’T want on floors or stairs. There are, however, some great flooring and stairs finishing products that work well OVER Emtech products, namely, those made by Absolute Coatings. They make an excellent line of waterborne urethane wood floor finishes with the required, slip-resistant properties you want on wood floors and stairs.

These are just a few of the products I’ve found “play nice” with Emtech water based wood finishes. Do you have experience with others? Or, ones that do not play so nice? Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying in the comments section below.

As always, stay safe and stay creative!