My builder's oak cabinets desperately need a refresh.

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When we moved in, the kitchen was going to be the first thing we remodelled. 8 years later, same kitchen! My husband is open to staining them but we can't find the right product. (It looks too dark on samples, it doesn't finish well, I am scent-sensitive as I get migraines ...)
I have heard of Java Jel but it isn't available in Canada?
q my builder s oak cabinets desperately need a refresh
q my builder s oak cabinets desperately need a refresh
  8 answers
  • Ann Cherkas Halstead Ann Cherkas Halstead on Jun 30, 2018
    First you would need to take the doors off and sand them before doing anything. They are stained and sealed and most likely won’t accept more stain. nake Sure the cabinets are real wood before doing anything.

  • Oliva Oliva on Jun 30, 2018
    If you're not afraid to experiment, add some pickled oak stain (measure, first) to a small, measured amount of whatever stain you've selected, then try it on a piece oc scrap wood on a spot where it won't be seen. It will lighten the stain color.
    Had to do this when baseboard was a different wood from floor. Took time, but got an exact match.

  • You really need to clean them from all the grease and dirt that has accumulated over the years. Before you make any changes to your cabinets take a look at your lighting issues which looks to me like you need to update that first. Go around to open houses and lighting showrooms, look over their demo kitchens and see what is available; what you like what you don't. Take pictures & jot down what you like. When ready to make a change make up a plan step 1. step 2. Then follow it so you don't have to redo something you have already done.

  • ☘️ TxBella ☘️ TxBella on Jul 01, 2018
    Hi Paula Ann And Deborah have some excellent ideas. Be sure you clean your cabinets well and perhaps even strip them.
    I’d use a good primer before painting if you paint them.
    If you decide to restrain them the stripping them will make the stain hold nicer.
    IMHO I’d paint the cabinets .
    If your colors are pastel they make you can get some pretty colors mixed for you at Lowes .
    Ive seen Rustic , paint and chalk paint and two toned paints. I’ve also seen stencils
    ( my personal fav!) and I’ve seen some cabinets with monograms and even painted to show paintings.

    I hope this gives you a few ideas
    Good Luck ☘️!

  • Deb K Deb K on Jul 01, 2018
    If you are planning on painting them make sure they are clean and lightly sanded, prime then paint, if you change your mind down the road, you can strip them

  • Dottie Weirich Dottie Weirich on Jul 01, 2018
    These are really good suggestions, After removing grease and well washed, (paint IF you wish), You could just stencil the middle section, maybe using a single or double thin trim separated line, (darker or antiqued) just inside the deeper design on the doors . Seal with a good grade paint protector for kitchen so you can wipe off.
    Good luck and just remember it's only paint & it can be taken off. I did two designs on two different doors & left them up for a week to see which one "talked" to everyone the best.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jul 01, 2018
    Hello Paula, Consider having a look over this product. I have found it quite easy to work with In other applications.

    Minwax® PolyShades® enhances wood grain by combining beautiful rich stain color and long-lasting polyurethane protection in one easy step. It can also be used over polyurethane finishes, so you can change the color of your finished wood, without removing the existing finish.


  • Debby Debby on Jul 04, 2018
    Rustoleum Cabinet Restoration...... awesome...... NO sanding..... check it out online....... my cabinets turns out beautiful.....