How can I refinish my bathroom vanity without stripping?

Jane Gies
by Jane Gies
My vanity has places where the finish is worn off from water splashes. The current finish is clear on oak and looks yellow. I do not want paint it but would like the finish to be darker. Help!
You can see the way on the drawers and around the hardwear.
The "yellowie" color is so dated.
  15 answers
  • Lisa Lee Bernier Lisa Lee Bernier on Jul 03, 2017

    paint over it

  • Christine Christine on Jul 03, 2017

    if u don't want to paint it your only option is to strip it and restain it. For about $100 Home Depot has out kits to redo cupboard and u can choose colours. It makes a world of difference and looks awesome.

  • Skylar Skylar on Jul 03, 2017

    You can stain it- It's way simpler than painting

  • Dee Dee on Jul 03, 2017

    Buy Minwax gel stain or General Finish gel stain.

  • KattywhampusLOL KattywhampusLOL on Jul 03, 2017

    Jane, I think I found justthe thing for you. Although he talks of kitchen cabinets here, itwould apply to your bathroom cabinet too :) Hope this helps you find the satisfaction you are looking for with your cabinets :) Thanks for using Hometalk for help :)

  • Diana Lewis Diana Lewis on Jul 03, 2017

    Several coats of Tung oil. Remove hardware first though.

  • Birdz of a Feather Birdz of a Feather on Jul 03, 2017

    Jane, I know you don't want to paint it but have a look at the vanity I made over in my Mom's house; paint was such great transformation! Maybe you'll reconsider?

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Jul 04, 2017

    Hi Jane,

    You do not have to strip it. I did my orange-y oak kitchen cabinets in an espresso finish with Old Masters gel stain, and it was my first time. It has been up for a few years and still looks new.

    I used a deglosser (Like liquid Sandpaper)...any generic brand will do. I applied it with steel wool and gave a good scrub, You don't have to push too hard, but make sure to even out the rough spots, and remove the gloss. I wiped off the residue with a damp cloth and let the cabinets dry overnight.

    I applied the satin with old socks on top of plastic gloves. I like it because I could feel all the nooks and crannies. I through out the sock when it became saturated. You can also use a brush (could streak) or rags. I let each coat dry a day. I put about 3 light coats. The cabinets were second-hand and the sink cabinet was really awfull and water damaged. You can't tell the difference now.

    Since I bought the stain at a B.M. dealer, they told me to top coat it with Stays Clear acrylic polyurethane. It comes in flat, low and high gloss finish. I never used it, but in a bathroom it would be important.

    Have fun!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 06, 2022

    Coloured wax finish, or strip/ sand and stain it darker.

  • Mogie Mogie on Dec 07, 2022

    You can stain it darker but without sanding or bleaching the wood you can't lighten the stain.

    But a darker stain with some new brass hardware would be beautiful. You should consider redoing the counter so the two different colors work well with each other.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Dec 08, 2022

    Remove the hardware and give it a good cleaning, then sand lightly (220) grit sand paper, then stain with the stain of your choice. Updating the hardware would help too.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jan 02, 2023

    Hi Jane, hope this helps y7ou out, you can paint it with chalk paint, in your favorite color!

  • A darker shade of gel stain should work.

  • Janice Janice on Sep 28, 2023

    You can just clean the vanity well and then apply a darker stain to get rid of the yellowy look. The grain will still show through which is becoming a trend again now.