Can I stain over kitchen cabinets without stripping off old varnish?

  8 answers
  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Oct 05, 2018

    Hi Kelly,

    You'd have to use a paint and even then you'd need to lightly scruff the surface of the varnish. Then clean with TSP, use a primer, then paint. Stain won't be absorbed into the wood if there is varnish on it so it has to be removed in order to use stain. There are some stains that are more like paint due to heavier pigment. You could look at them, but they aren't a true stain. I hope that helps you decide what to do. Wishing you the best.

  • Gk Gk on Oct 05, 2018

    No. The stain has to be able to soak into the wood. It would just lay on top of the varnish. If you did put it over the varnish it would eventually dry--it would take a long time--but it would come off if you wiped the cabinets down. If you want to restain your cabinets without taking off the old varnish you would have to use a product like Minwax Polyshades or a General Finishes product. This is a product that is compromised of both stain and poly. You can go darker with this product but not lighter. You will have to determine if you have varnish on your cabinets or poly. I am not sure if this product can be applied over "varnish"--but it can be over poly. You will have to do some prep work--sanding--but not down all the way to the wood.

  • Morgan McBride Morgan McBride on Oct 05, 2018

    No. If the cabinets are sealed, they will not take the stain well. You need to sand everything evenly and then clean it thoroughly before staining.

  • No, nothing will stick to it. You have to remove the old stuff first.

  • Eloise Eloise on Oct 06, 2018

    Yes! Check out Rustoleum's Cabinet Transformations on their website. I had great success with a bathroom cabinet. It can be used on wood, melamine, and laminate. The kits come in both light and dark colors. There is no sanding and no "use with proper ventilation" making this a great winter project. Clean up with soap and water. The kit comes with everything you need: cleaner, cleansing pad, stain, glaze, cheesecloth. You will need to purchase either a brush or sponge applicator. I used a sponge applicator. Years later, the cabinet still looks great. For some reason, I cannot post the link to the website, but there are several videos that will give you some idea of what's involved.

  • William William on Oct 06, 2018

    YES YOU CAN! You can stain over stain with gel stain. Any brand will do. You can go darker but not lighter.

  • Gene Gene on Oct 06, 2018


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