Best Stain For Kitchen Cabinets


Best stain for kitchen cabinets is a terrific method to give them a rich, dark tone that makes them appear more expensive and impressive. Staining is a great way to transform oak cabinets into cherry cabinets with a cherry wood finish!

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen or getting new cabinets on a tight budget, staining the cabinets is a common option for many homeowners. It’s simple to do at home if you use the correct color stain and tools.

The process of staining cabinets is a simple DIY activity that may transform your kitchen’s dull cabinet boxes into colourful centerpieces.

Best Stain For Kitchen Cabinets

Things You’ll Need to Complete This Task

It’s possible to substitute some of these goods for items you already have at home or at the hardware store.

How To Stain Wood Cabinets Yourself – 6 Steps?

When it comes to DIY projects, this is one of the easiest with minimal prep work and a set of instructions that can be followed by anyone.

However, if you’re not familiar with cabinetry and a woodworking job sounds daunting, consider asking for assistance from an experienced friend or relative.

Step: 1 Prepare your cabinet surfaces

You’ll need to conduct some preparatory work before you can begin.
Use a method to ensure that you know which cabinet door handle or hinge screw goes where when you remove the hinges and fittings from the wood cabinets. Ziplock bags and post-it notes can be used to separate and arrange cabinet door fittings, although some individuals prefer to use ziplock bags.
Remove it if you find an adjustment screw that is used to adjust the height of cabinet shelves and doors.
As soon as your wood cabinets have been correctly disassembled, use appropriate coverings to keep your house and work space safe. Drop cloths are fantastic, but you can also use several layers of old newspaper to shield your home from dust and stains at a low cost.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so find an area of your home that is acceptable and well-ventilated.

Step: 2 Sand the surfaces with 220-grit sandpaper

Preparing your wood cabinets for staining isn’t always a necessity—but in most cases, it’s worth it. Wood that has been sanded is slightly porous, allowing stain color to more easily penetrate the grain of the wood.
In order to get the best results, sand the wood cabinets in the direction of the grain with a sanding block and 220-grit sandpaper. Follow the grain of the wood for all the cabinets, if required, going back over particular areas.
The first sanding with 120-grit sandpaper, followed by a second sanding with 220-grit sandpaper, is preferred by certain people.
It’s up to you to make it happen.
A manual sanding block can be used instead of an electric sander for this phase, and that’s just fine if you’re an experienced sander. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as the sanding is correct.

Step: 3 Vacuum away sawdust & prepare for staining

After sanding, the wood will produce a lot of sawdust. Use a “shop vacuum” to remove any dust from the cabinets, and then use a tack cloth to remove the residual dust.
Using a tack cloth, which is a special “sticky” cloth that can be purchased at a hardware shop, is the best way to remove errant wood dust from the surface of the wood you’re working on.
You must take special care of your cabinetry!
Before moving forward, you’ll need to utilize some wood pieces of a comparable size to support the cabinet door. Using this method, you can quickly paint both the cabinet door’s top and its sides at once. Aside from that, you might use anything from giant stones to unwanted tiny items of the same size.

Step: 4 Use cotton rags to apply wood conditioner to the wood

The white cotton rags must now be cut into 6-inch squares, or something close to that size. Make 6-inch squares out of an old white T-shirt if you have one. Having a tiny piece of white cotton in your hand is all that is required.
Rags should be well soaked in pre-stain wood conditioner. To make application easier, most people roll the rags into balls.
It’s important to thoroughly clean the cabinets before applying the stain. Make sure there is sufficient of product and that it is applied freely, but don’t worry about being too neat with the application.
Remove any excess conditioner with a cotton towel after letting the conditioner sit on your hair for around 15-20 minutes (see the bottle for instructions). A single coat of primer is generally sufficient, but if you think the wood needs more, feel free to add a second coat.

Step: 5 Apply wood stain in multiple coats- excess stain

Apply your chosen stain color like light gray stain to the kitchen cabinets with a foam brush and stain them as desired. Mask off any portions of the wood that you don’t want painted – there is no turning back once you get stain color on an undesirable part of the cabinets! Using painter’s tape.
For oil-based stains, it’s best to apply the stain directly in line with the grain, but you generally won’t notice any brushstrokes because stains don’t leave brushstrokes behind. For a do-it-yourself project like this, it’s ideal.
Once the stain has been applied, allow it to dry for about 5 minutes, and then use a cotton rag to remove the remaining stain residue. It’s fine to leave the stain on for longer than 5 minutes, however the darker stain the wood will become as time passes.
You should stain the wood several times, and after each layer, wait 5 minutes to evaluate if it has darkened enough. A gradual darkening process will allow you to avoid making your maple cabinets dark stain than you wanted.
Remove the excess stain with a cotton rag and allow the wood to cure for an average of 4-5 hours after applying the stain. When the wood is completely dry, flip it over so that you can easily stain the opposite side.

Step: 6 Use polyurethane for the perfect stain finish

To finalize the effect, apply a final coat of varnish or lacquer.
Apply a wipe-on polyurethane finish to one of your white cotton cloths. Apply the finish directly to the stained surface, making sure to get into every nook and cranny of the wood design.
Sand the wood with a 220-grit sandpaper after it has been finished. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to achieve the desired effect on the wood. However, once the final coat has been applied, leave the wood as is.
This is the greatest way to obtain the best outcome.
Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying the wood after each coat of finish is applied. Depending on the sort of finish you’re dealing with, drying times can vary significantly (oil-based, water-based, etc.)

Which Kitchen Cabinet Stain Is the Best?

You can stain and polish your wooden cabinets in a myriad of ways, but how are they all different? Is there a certain stain you should use on your cabinets?

Here, we describe the main differences between the various stains you might use for this woodworking project.

Oil-based Stain

If you’re looking for a stain product, oil-based is the most common type accessible. Linseed oil is commonly used in oil stains, which are very popular among do-it-yourselfers.

You can quickly remove this type of wood stain if you’re doing a DIY project in which mistakes are likely to occur.

Because oil-based stain and oil-based finish might combine in unexpected ways, it’s best to stick to using oil-based stain with an oil-based finish, rather than the other way around.

These types of stains come with a protective coating that makes them extremely durable and easy to clean. For example, a lot of outdoor decks use oil-based polyurethane stains because they are very resistant whatever the environment throws at them.

These stains are typically black or brown but can also be found in different colors. They have a tendency to produce fumes so make sure you have good ventilation while applying these types of cabinets.

Oil-based Stain

Varnish Stain

Varnish stain dries hard, making it tough to use if you aren’t an expert at home DIY work.

If you don’t apply this type of stain correctly, brush strokes and tiny lines will be visible.

Varnish stain is extremely difficult to remove from wood, so make sure you pick a color and finish that you really enjoy!

Varnish Stain

Water-based Stain

Staining cabinets with a water-based polyurethane finish is best done with a water-based stain. Because oil and water don’t mix, you should always match your stain type to the finish you’re applying.

These stains dry quickly, thus they should only be used by those who are familiar with dealing with fast-drying stains.

Evaporation takes place quite quickly!

If you’re a beginner, stick with oil-based products rather than water-based ones, which use special slow-evaporating solvents to extend the drying period.

Water-based Stain

Gel Stain

Gel stain, when it comes to wood treatments, isn’t exactly a household name.

In contrast, gel stains are a great option if you’re working with woods like pine that are prone to color blotching and patches of discolouration when the color doesn’t soak in effectively.

When it comes to DIY projects, gel stains are an excellent choice for those with limited staining knowledge because of their uniformity.

This type of cabinet stain works great because it won’t drip and it’s so easy to apply. It comes with a protective coating and doesn’t require any special equipment to apply the coatings onto your cabinets. This type of stain has no pigments, solvents or additives that could damage your cabinets – it just requires some time for the moisture from the gel to evaporate into the wood material before fully drying .

Lacquer Stain

Lacquer, one of the less common alternatives, dries quite quickly.

Professionals typically utilize two people to apply the lacquer, while the other wipes the lacquer off fast behind them.

Additionally, lacquer has an extremely pungent smell that needs to be dispersed by an abundance of air and open windows.

Lacquer stains are best avoided unless you’re a professional or an experienced DIYer who has the assistance of a second person.

Lacquer Stain

Exactly how long does it take to complete the staining process?

In total, staining cabinet doors and frames will take between 15 and 18 hours, including the time it takes to prepare and finish the procedure.

Allow at least 24 hours for the entire process to be completed. Keep in mind that cabinet doors must be allowed to cure for at least four to five hours before staining the other side.

It could take up to two days to prep, stain, and dry your kitchen cabinets, depending on your situation.

Exactly how long does it take to complete the staining process?

Can You Stain Cabinets Without Sanding?

It is possible to stain cabinets without sanding beforehand, but the cabinetry must be in excellent shape. It is a bad idea to stain wood that has been damaged by nicks, scratches, or dents.

The sanding stage may not be necessary if you are using gel-based stains. Having sanded the surface of the wood before applying gel-based stain color allows it to sink into the wood much more effectively, which makes it easier to get a finished look.

Is it possible to re-stain wood that has already been stained?

Yes, you can apply a second coat of stain on stained wood.

Sand the dyed wood surfaces first, treating them as if they were unfinished cabinets.

Staining a piece of raw wood with a mixture of ancient and current stain cabinets colors might result in a unique and intriguing color.

Staining or painting cabinets?

For the most part, it’s preferable to stain rather than paint cabinetry.

This is due to the fact that stain cabinets cabinetry are less likely to display scuffs, dents, and scratches after a few years of use in your kitchen.

On the other side, painted kitchen cabinets are more susceptible to scuffs and scratches over time, revealing the natural wood color behind the paint layer.

Also, staining a cabinet is easy for beginners to do as a DIY project because you don’t need to have a lot of knowledge or skill to make it look professional.

Staining or painting cabinets?

What Is the Longest Lasting Kitchen Cabinet Finish Out There?

To get the look you want and the level of experience you have with wood grain , there are a wide variety of treatments available.

The following is the primary distinction between the two types:

Wipe-on Polyurethane

Mineral spirits are used to thin coats this topcoat, making it more runny than other topcoats in its class.

We recommend applying 3-4 coats of wipe-on polyurethane with a cloth or cotton rag, as the name implies.

Because there are no brush strokes or drips when applying wipe-on polyurethane, amateurs can apply the product in a sloppy manner and no one will be able to tell.

Applying Polyurethane with a Brush

A brush is required to apply brush-on polyurethane to cabinets, which makes it more difficult for amateurs to get the job done correctly.

When using this type of topcoat, you’ll be able to see any brush strokes or drips more clearly.

Because of this, it is best left to those who have experience painting and those who enjoy DIY projects.

But brush-on polyurethane requires just two coats for your cabinets, so the total process might be lot quicker if you’re skillful enough to apply this topcoat correctly.

Satin vs. Glossy Finishes

In terms of finish, polyurethane topcoats are available in a variety of options, including satin and gloss.

It is important to note that satin-finished cabinets have a more subdued and subtle shine, whereas glossy-finished cabinets have a lot shinier and more apparent shine.

Your cabinet doors could benefit from either satin or glossy polyurethane, depending on the space you’re working in. Ask an interior designer if you’re unsure about which style to go with.

Satin vs. Glossy Finishes


As long as you know what you are doing, staining a cabinet is a simple process

This tutorial should have taught you that staining cabinets is an inexpensive and effective approach to give your home’s old cabinets or unfinished wooden cabinets a cool look.

The ease with which staining your own cabinets compares to painting is one of the primary reasons it is so popular among those on a budget. The look and feel of your kitchen will be significantly transformed when you stain your cabinets.