How Many Coats Antique Walnut General Finishes Gel Stain Do You Need?

This isn’t necessarily a full version of a General Finishes gel stain tutorial, but we’re going to answer one of our most frequent questions about one of our most popular gel stains:
How many coats do you need to apply of General Finishes Antique Walnut gel stain?

The “too long, didn’t read” version: 2.5 coats, when using light coats.

Keep in mind, while we’re specifically talking about Antique Walnut gel stain here, this advice works for any General Finishes gel stain color lighter than Java.

Because of its color, we get a lot more questions about how to apply General Finishes gel stain as it relates to Antique Walnut than Java. Java is darker and the results can be seen quicker, so it’s a bit more straightforward.

For those working with Antique Walnut, immediate results can vary. And that can make it tricky to get the exact look you want.

DIY Cabinet Antique Walnut Gel Staining

Let’s say we’re refinishing kitchen cabinets and have two identical doors. When we apply the first coat of antique walnut to each door, one may appear a little darker than the other at first
glance. This is okay. They’re not going to necessarily match perfectly right away, and we know going in we’re going to use more than one coat.

Because gel stain has a long drying time (normally 12 hours, longer if it’s humid), you have to convince yourself to walk away.

Don’t overwork the gel stain. No really, this is important.

Apply a full coat to each cabinet door and walk away. Binge watch some Netflix or enjoy some wine.

When you return to the dry doors, don’t panic. It may be streaky. It may be uneven. It’s part of the process. Once you apply the second coat, and you’ll see the doors become matching masterpieces.

Antique Walnut Gel Stain and Java Gel Stain - General Finishes

What Does “2.5 Coats” Mean?

Whenever I’m doing cabinet refinishing with Antique Walnut gel stain, I plan on 2.5 coats. I like to say it requires 2.5 coats of antique walnut gel stain because I know it always requires at least two. Sometimes, you may have to go to three, but that is rare. Two usually does it, with a little leeway because sometimes you need an ever-so-slight additional amount.

Want more? Looking for step-by- step instruction to learn exactly how Restyle Junkie applies gel stain for a professional finish? Check out our DIY Video Tutorials for the exact process and supplies we use here at Restyle Junkie.

Recent Posts