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Staining/Painting my 90's light oak kitchen cabinets-similar to Rustoleum Cab. Transformations

Hi All,  I am changing the color of my light oak (kind of a honey color) kitchen cabinets.  They are well made, furniture grade raised panel (yep, with the Cathedral Arch) cabinets from the early 90's.  They have lots of curves and corners.    I have lots and lots of them (over 50 cabinets/drawers) just in my kitchen.  Originally, I wanted to use Rustoleum's product since it was opaque, but still allowed the texture of the oak to come through,  however, since I am product hog, I want to be able to purchase what I use separately, so I have no worries about using too much or too little or buying something I wont use (not going to use the glaze since I am mostly going quite dark).

 

My question is this, what do I get?  I know to get TSP to get any crud off of the cabinets and to degloss them.  what about the "primer" coat?  is this just a paint that is thinned?    and the topcoat...is this simply a urethane?  And, do I get water-based? or oil-based? 

 

Someone had suggested in an unrelated earlier post to use Minwax Polyshades.  I would prefer to use two separate products (i like the control of doing it separately).

 

Help would be so appreciated.  Thank you so much!

 

ps  I am sure this is posted somewhere in this forum, but i didn't find it...so sorry if this is a duplicate.   :smileyhappy:

 

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Posted 2012-02-10T04:28:01+0000  by richlisarad richlisarad
 

Hi Rich – thanks for stopping by the community.

 

   I get this question a lot whenever I am working at my store.  There are always customers wanting to upgrade their kitchens without having to replace all the cabinetry.

  

   The most important factor involved with a stained and sealed cabinet surface is that it is stained and sealed.  There are very few options when attempting to change the appearance of the wood from a light to a dark stained look.  You will either have to strip off the finish down to the raw wood or give the impression of that process by way of certain techniques.

 

Here are some of the techniques I have learned:

 

  • Strip off the present finish.  This involves using a paint stripping compound to aid in breaking down the top clear coat. The secret is to let the product do its work (follow the instructions).  Next you will sand off the layer of wood that is stained – exposing the new wood below.  Now simply stain and apply two coats of polyurethane over the new raw wood.
  • Cabinet Transformations.  Rust-Oleum has an awesome product that will completely change the appearance of your cabinets.  I find that this product works best over oak. The glaze coat becomes captured inside the wood grain and gives the appearance of a stained surface. There are lots of color options available.
  • Glaze coat.   This is usually done by professionals - because it can be a little tricky. After preparing the surface (cleaning and de-glossing), a solvent based glaze coat is applied over the surface of the wood.  The glaze coat varies with each professional.  Some will use a colored poly/stain mixture found at a flooring supply provider. This technique is usually applied with a super fine spray tip and with several thin coats until the desired effect is reached.   After it has had time to dry – you then apply a coat of polyurethane over the top.    

Hope this helps.:smileywink:

Posted 2012-02-12T15:46:08+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL

richlisarad wrote:

 

My question is this, what do I get?  I know to get TSP to get any crud off of the cabinets and to degloss them.  what about the "primer" coat?  is this just a paint that is thinned?


In the case of the Rust-Oleum product, it comes with a deglosser... Think something like Kleen-Strips Liquid Sandpaper...

 

As for the primer coat, it is indeed a primer, not thinned paint. In the Rust-Oleum product, the bond coat, I think they call it, is a tinted primer. It sticks to the surface of the cabinet and provides a color base from which to start.

 


and the topcoat...is this simply a urethane?  And, do I get water-based? or oil-based? 


In the case of the Rust-Oleum product it is a water-based poly coating, applied over the base or bond coat and glaze if you choose to use it.

 

If you want to go this route, just keep in mind that paint is opaque. If you want to see the grain, not just the texture of the grain, painting the cabinets is not the way to go, unless you are going to glaze or use something like a gel stain as a glaze, to highlight the wood texture to make it stand out.

 

If you just want to stain the cabinets darker so that you still see the wood grain, it's just a simple matter of time, patience and a bit of elbow grease to refinish the cabinets.

 



Someone had suggested in an unrelated earlier post to use Minwax Polyshades.  I would prefer to use two separate products (i like the control of doing it separately).

 

 


You are right about the Polyshades and similar products. You will have more control of the outcome by staining and then finishing. Convenience means a compromise somewhere along the line. You lose the ability to minutely control color and shading using an all-in-one type product. The more coats you put on to build the finish also adds more color, potentially obscuring the grain you want to keep visible.

 

Here is a response to a post about changing the color of a dresser- Re: Changing the color of a wood dresser

 

It should give you some insight into staining a different or darker color.

Posted 2012-02-14T23:49:26+0000  by Paul

Hey Rich,

 

You are soo right!

 

HDAnswerman, also known as Mike, and I co-answered this questions when another Community Member attempted to stain over an existing finish on their cabinets.

 

Mike covers the traditional approach, which I love as well, and then I followed Mike with a brief and link to the Polyshades post.

 

Have a look!

 

 When it comes to Customer Service, Orange Aprons are available to show you numerous options and allow you to choose which suits your budget, timeline, and project goals best.

 

When you complete your project, be sure to post photos so we can share your success with other Community Members!

 

Posted 2012-02-16T17:17:01+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
 
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