staining oak cabinets

marinesgirlFebruary 3, 2012

I have builder's grade oak cabinets from the 70s. I was considering painting them but someone suggested that I stain them instead to a darker color (right now they are the standard yellow "oaky" color). The cabinets do not have a shiny finish on them so I assume all I need to do is clean them and sand them. I am worried that the new darker stain will not soak in evenly. Is there any way I can avoid this problem other than sanding them thoroughly? Has anyone tried to stain their cabinets darker with good results? Thanks in advance for any assistance!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Rachiele, LLC

If the doors have a bit of detail, you might have problems sanding all the finish off. If these are factory cabinets, they often have a catalytic finish which is quite durable. I suggest trying the back of a door that is not used much, or better yet, take a false drawer off and try staining the back. If it is not working, no one will see the mess!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 2:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks. trying a false drawer first is a good idea. I keep toying with the idea of painting the cabinets but it seems like a lot of work. At first I thought staining them would be easier but if I have to clean and sand them either way now I'm not sure which way to go. I really want creamy white cabinets but havent totally convinced DH. Our cabinets are solid wood and other than the color we like them. DH wants a darker richer color stain. I will be the lucky one painting or staining while he is deployed. I just don't want him to come home to ruined cabinets!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 3:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

marinesgirl, I understand your dilemma about changing your cabinets. My golden oak cabinets were builder's grade, so I opted for new paint-grade maple doors (not a great expense) and had everything professionally painted. I felt there was just no way I could have taken on the task of prepping and painting them by myself. I personally don't think the oak grain looks bad when well painted, but it does take more work. Looking back, I wouldn't have minded so much staining the oak a darker color on the lower cabinets. But I didn't want dark on top.

I have the same golden oak vanities in my bathrooms and I might try staining them darker myself, once I get this blasted kitchen done and I feel ready to take on a new project. Good luck making your decision, and let us know what you decide.

And thanks to your DH for his service to our country.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 3:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

marinesgirl--if you search this forum for 'gel stain' you should pull up some threads about what people did to darken their oak cabinets.

linelle--where did you buy your doors? I'm considering doing the same (replacing the doors & having them painted).

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I prefer the idea of gel staining oak rather than going
with white paint. Oak is a beautiful wood that gets beaten
down because of the golden 80s-90s look. Gel staining
shows the wood to it's finest glory.

There are a handful of GWebbers who have gone down this
beautiful gel stain path. It is not easy! However, There
are also companies that can do this too.

I am in the process of tryng to decide if I want to hire
someone to tackle a small bathroom project or DIY. I am in
the very early stages of removing wallpaper so I will let
you know in weeks how this project unfolds.

Meanwhile here are some pictures that might inspire.

GW post Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

Gel Stain on Stock Kitchen Cabinets

gel stain on oak?

Gel stain vs. Polyshades

Here is a link that might be useful: scroll down to find link to Celtic Moon's beautiful space

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 8:26AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Can you help me make an idea board?
After looking more realistically at our kitchen renovation...
Any reason a DW couldn't go next to a fridge?
We need to pull the trigger on our cabinets next week,...
Help on Cabinet Approach / Selection
Hi, I've actively scoured the forum for useful tidbits...
Prep sink location
After a lot of talking on another thread, I took sena01...
Jennifer Weinman
Sexist or Fun?
Trouble from young feminists over this billboard.
Joseph Corlett, LLC
Sponsored Products
Hampton Bay Under Cabinet Lighting 3-Light Brushed-Steel Under-Cabinet Light
$25.47 | Home Depot
Hughes Chair - Key Largo Grass Green
Joybird Furniture
Funtime FT2518 Rock'n Popper 2.5-oz Hot Oil Popcorn Machine
Acacia Hardwood Folding Ladder Back Armchairs (Set of 2)
A & E Montecito Bookcase - Mademoiselle Pink - MONT3636 MP
$610.99 | Hayneedle
Westek Incandescent Nickel Slim Pic Light PC16KB
$34.97 | Home Depot
Three-Drawer Wood Chest
$219.99 | zulily
Virtu KD-70090-S-ZG Vanity Set in Zebra grey with White Marble Countertop
Blue Bath
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™