Restaining Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Restain Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Solid wood kitchen cabinets are usually quite valuable and will last longer than the other types of kitchen cabinets if you know how to take care of them. They can normally be painted, refinished or restained in order to make the wood look like a brand new piece of wood. Moreover, it makes a lot of difference to your kitchen area.

What you need:

  1. Electric drill
  2. Gel paint/varnish stripper
  3. Newspaper
  4. Inexpensive paintbrush
  5. Fine steel wool
  6. Sandpaper
  7. Scraper
  8. Stain finish
  9. Polyurethane finish
  10. Gloves
  11. Mineral spirits


  1. Firstly, remove the cabinets from your wall and for convenience of easy installation of the cabinets, label them accordingly using a piece of tape on the inside of the cabinet and its doors.
  2. You also need to unscrew all its hardware which includes the hinges, knobs and other metal work. Always place them in a container so that you will not lose or misplace them. If you are not changing your cabinets\’ look to a new hardware, the accessories can be reused again unless it is in a bad condition.
  3. You can use the paintbrush to paint on the gel stripper. Place the doors and cabinets in a different area and always work on the doors or cabinets one by one when applying the stripper because if it is left for too long, it will dry out. Only allow the gel to sit for at least 10 minutes or until you are able to see its surface bubbled up and softened.
  4. Then, scrape the old surface using a scrapper and ensure that you work in accordance to the direction of the grain. You can use an old coffee can to fill in the softened varnish that you have scraped. Remember to wear gloves because the stripper gel is quite caustic that can burn to your skin and do your work in a well- ventilated area.
  5. Next, use a rag dipped in mineral spirits to wipe the newly stripped surface in order to remove the residue left on the wood before allowing the wood to dry thoroughly. Then, you need to sand smooth its surface with sandpaper and once finished, wipe it clean with a tack rag.
  6. Then, proceed by brushing the cabinets with the new stain finish using a paintbrush. Remember not to paint on the areas that you have already coated and have started to dry. To stain the second coat of paint, you need to let it dry for at least six hours and do light sanding in between coats.
  7. You also need to apply two coats of protective polyurethane varnish to finish the cabinets which is commonly seen in satin or glossy finish according to your preferred choice. Bear in mind that the glossy finish usually shows fingerprints and dust. Polyurethane can be applied using a brush or paint sprayer and once finished, you have to apply one thin coat and leave it to dry for 24 hours. Then, use a fine steel wool to lightly sand your first coat and make sure to remove all the dust with a damp cloth before applying the second coat.
  8. Once the surface has thoroughly dry (at least for 24 hours), you can re-install back all the accessories and its hardware, plus screwing back the cabinets onto the wall according to the labels that you have marked earlier.

Image Credit:

Flickr CC

Additional Reading:

The House That Faux Built

Building Kitchen Cabinets