Asked on Aug 16, 2018

How do I gel stain a kitchen island?

Sharon RoscherGKathy Gunter Law


I'm expecting the arrival of a new mobile kitchen island in a few days. It's a blah maple (but has all the elements that I want/need) and I want to change the color to a more vibrant cherry. I'm sure it must have some sort of finish coating on I need to sand it all off or can I use TSP and then gel stain it?

7 answers
  • Kathleen Basiewicz
    Kathleen Basiewicz
    on Aug 16, 2018

    If it isn't shiny you can probably assume that there isn't a finish on it. But to be sure just get some 150 sand paper and lightly sand it all over where you are going to stain or paint.

  • Mona Blake
    Mona Blake
    on Aug 16, 2018

    I would sand it so the cherry sticks.

  • Sharon Roscher
    Sharon Roscher
    on Aug 16, 2018

    Oh shoot! I thought that would be the answer. I think I'll sand it down before we even put it together...that should make it a bit easier to gel stain it once it's built. BTW, the reason I wanted this particular island is because it was the perfect size and comes with a knife holder on the side (instead of a block on top of the island taking up space) and the cost wasn't prohibitive like some are.

    Anyway, thank you so much for the feedback Kathleen & Mona.

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    Kathy Gunter Law
    on Aug 16, 2018

    It depends on the finish and material as to how well it will take the stain. I would either use a fine grit sandpaper or steel wool to rough the surface if you are sure there is no finish (doubtful that is the case) then clean with TSP, denatured alcohol. Then proceed with the new finish.

  • G
    on Aug 16, 2018

    Even if it has a finish on it you can use a darker gel stain and put it on with a paint brush & drag a clean paint brush thru it & it will look like wood planks. If you plan on cutting on it you will have to use a cutting board. I used this on my laminate kitchen cabinets to make them darker & look like wood.

  • Sharon Roscher
    Sharon Roscher
    on Aug 18, 2018

    Thank you, G. I'm gonna see if I can find an inconspicuous spot and give that a try before having to sand everything down. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

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