Tacky Gel stain and high humidity

Noelle Hansen · Jun 4, 2021, 10:38

I am trying to stain my oak cabinets with General Finishes Carbon Grey gel stain.

I prepped well, and tried two methods on different surfaces: painting on the stain and wiping it off. I far prefer the look of the stain painted on, but was concerned about the thickness and drying time.

Well, it doesn't seem to matter whether it's on thick or thin, because that was 3 days ago and both surfaces are still as tacky as they were after 8 hours. Even the rag and foam brush I used and left out to dry are still sticky.

The weather here right now is very hot, humid, and rainy. Do I just have to wait it out?? The summer's here are generally humid, so I feel like this will take many months and months to complete, if they ever do dry.

It's definitely not my prep job, or any residue left on the doors or anything like that, because I've tried a bunch of surfaces, including cardboard, and it's tacky on everything.

Is there anything I can do? Should I be using a different product? Is it possible the product is defective? Can rainy weather alone really prevent it from ever drying???

Any help would be appreciated.

Marilyn · Technical Support · Jun 4, 2021, 11:19


The Gel Stain should be applied in VERY thin coats and the excess stain should be removed with a cloth or paint brush.

There is a note on the Technical Data Sheet stating NOT to apply a thick coat like a paint without removing excess.

Humidity will be a factor for drying time.

All that can be done now it to wait until it cures. It will dry but it will take time.

Hope this helps!

Noelle Hansen · Jun 4, 2021, 11:30

Hi Marilyn,

That doesn't help because I did wipe off the excess stain on some of the surfaces and they have not dried either. They are exactly as tacky as the paint-type layers.

Is it normal for even the thin layers to need upwards of a week to dry between coats??

Marilyn · Technical Support · Jun 7, 2021, 13:41

Hi Noelle,

This is the response that I received from our supplier for your issue.

Black Gel stain and Carbon Black have a lot of black pigment in them which slows down the dry times.

Usually it's not a problem unless you get high humidity. When used as a stain on raw wood we never see the problem.

Most of the issues are when your going over any existing finish. Just need to wait. Air movement will help as well.

Kind Regards

Noelle Hansen · Jun 7, 2021, 22:44

Thank you for following up.

I've wiped all the doors down with mineral spirits and removed almost all of the stain. I'll see if the miniscule amount of stain that's left will now dry.

I only chose this product because it says it can be used over existing finish. I'm now wishing I had just done the stripping and used water based stain instead.

Oh well, you live you learn. Never oil stain during a humid heat wave. Now I know.


Terms of Sales · Privacy · En français