Touching Up a Water-Based Clear Finish

Finishers suggest products and methods for spot repairs of minor scratches and mars. March 2, 2006

What's the best way to touch-up scratches left behind by countertop installers and electricians? I use Enduro poly (flat) over Zinsser Seal Coat. Scuff sand and brushing over the scratch doesn't blend in very well. Water base doesn't seem to brush very well. What do other WB users do?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Sand it down through the scratch and then re-spray it on site. You can get a little touchup gun for about $20 that will work nicely and can run off a very small compressor.

From contributor B:
WB polys like Minwax now come in aerosol cans. Itís only good for minor touch-ups though.

From contributor C:
A lot of companies such as Fuhr, Crystalac, etc. now sell brushable versions of their sprayable finishes. Buy a quart can just for touch-ups.

From contributor D:
Mohawk has a wipe-on poly that is among the best of any wipe-on touch-up system. It is called Finish Up and is available in various sheens. You can also use Mohawk's precat aerosol for touch-up. This is solvent based precat but it lays out so nicely. This precat will not lift waterbase coatings. I cannot tell you about aerosol precats from other manufacturers, only the Mohawk precat. It is one of the very best aerosols that I use as a furniture technician when I need to do some spot finishing.

From contributor E:
Konig has a W/B aerosol available. I believe it comes in 4 or 5 different sheen levels.

From contributor F:
I've used the Oxford USL Lacquer (water-based) for touch-ups on my WB urethane finishes and it blends in very well. Take a look at the Oxford Lacquer from Target Coatings. It melts into many different waterborne systems. I donít know exactly how they engineered this product but it works on all of the drop-fill repairs that I've had to do over the years on their WB urethane base coats.

From the original questioner:
I'll check into the options that were posted. Do you usually finish the entire stile, rail or panel that's damaged or is a spot repair just around the scratch ok?

From contributor A:
Finish up from Mohawk may work for touchups in other rooms, but I would never use it in a kitchen for touchups. I used to work for a Kitchen Tune-up franchise and the guy we had in charge of the tune-ups did loads of kitchens with the stuff, which does work well as a sheen adjuster, but it gives very little protection and rarely lasts in a kitchen. I am working right now on a kitchen that had the tune-up with finish up about 5 years ago and I had to sand and strip the doors down to bare wood to get them to a place where I had something to work with. This is just my opinion, having worked with it and around it and also from having fixed enough of them a few years later to know. Of course if it is just a small spot, not a whole kitchen, that is one thing, but even then I would go for something else.