Asked on Apr 12, 2017

Can you re-paint/stain prefinished cabinets without sanding them?

Jeanne Campbell
by Jeanne Campbell

I have a prefinished bathroom cabinet from Lowe's, which were installed while I wasn't home. Love the cabinet, but didn't realize they were finished natural pine. I'd like to stain or paint the cabinet for some color, but am not physically able to sand it. Is there a way to pretreat it somehow so it will hold paint or stain? Thanks.

  18 answers
  • Mike B Mike B on Apr 12, 2017

    I have redone kitchen cabinets without sanding and the paint went on ok but soon started to peel off and looked terrible so I had to sand them down to bare wood and then the paint took nicely and has lasted a long time. I wish you luck!

  • William William on Apr 12, 2017

    Remove the doors and hardware. Mark the doors and cabinets with tape where they go. Lightly sand the doors and cabinets to remove any gloss. Prime with a stain blocking primer like Zinsser 123. Then paint with your color. Seal with at least three coats with a water based polyurethane. Use a small foam roller and foam brush for a smooth finish.

  • Anne Doyle Anne Doyle on Apr 13, 2017

    It us possible to paint them without sanding by using Fusion mineral paints. They must be very clean and free of oils or dust though so some prep work is required. A light sanding to remove glossiness is best too. Then wash them

    really well, dry them and paint them. You will still need to remove the doors to do the best job. It's also IMO easier to paint them flat than attached

  • Beverly Auteri Austin Beverly Auteri Austin on Apr 13, 2017

    Don't paint , I did my kitchen cabinets , they look GREAT and don't peal. I used pollyshades from Minwax . you can go over wood , laminate , anything and NO sanding. Was SO....................easy.

  • Pati Pati on Apr 13, 2017

    Paint won't adhere properly without sanding first. You can wipe down with a product called Liquid Sand Paper, but since it is a bathroom, sanding would be better.

  • Erin Hugar Chavez Erin Hugar Chavez on Apr 13, 2017

    I have heard that cleaning the cabinets with a de-greaser will take off the thin layer of protective coating. You can get it at Home Depot.

  • Fran Leaky Fran Leaky on Apr 13, 2017

    I did my kitchen cabinets with chalk paint. I purchased TSP-PF, at Homedepot. It's is a deep cleaner and removed all grease kitchen cabinets accumulate, and I'm a clean freak and was amazed how effective it was. You can only use it at full strength if you plan to re-do the surface. Then I removed the doors, never took off the hardware, they will never close the same if your not and expert in reinstalling. I gave the cabinets 3 coats of chalk paint since kitchen cabinets take a lickin. After they were completely dry! I applied 2 coats of polyurethane low gloss. My kitchen is amazing. That chalk paint comes in many colors and a little goes a long way. It is quite thick so I added water to give it a smoother consistency. The cabinets clean up well will diluted Mr Clean. Again don't be fooled by the small bottles the chalk paint comes in, it goes a long way, covers great, and is quite inexpensive. Just check the exporation dates on the bottles. I bought them from Michaels, Joanne's, and Amazon. I have used this paint for so many projects, it's amazing. Also bought the wax they recommend, wasnt happy with the work and and finished product. I'd stick with water based polyurethane. Hope this was helpful. I know you'll be happy, my son saw my kitchen and had his done they same way. Guess who did it, right, Mom.

  • 17sunshine 17sunshine on Apr 13, 2017

    I did an entire dining room in chalk paint, one coat, because it was a dated light finish, then finished with low lustre varnish, same brand as chalk paint, and it's beautiful! Before the final varnishing, I sanded it in areas to look sort of shabby chic. Changed the look of the set and saved me lots of money buying a new set.

  • 17sunshine 17sunshine on Apr 13, 2017

    Forget to mention, no sanding whatsoever!

  • Jen Jen on Apr 13, 2017

    Chalk paint is my VERY best new friend! 3 bathroom cabinets done and will be doing my kitchen soon! NO PREPPING!!!!

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Apr 13, 2017

    I'd suggest cleaning the cabinets with hot water and tsp (non phosphate). Let dry, then apply polyshades in color of your choice. Best of luck.

  • Charb Charb on Apr 14, 2017

    i did not sand my cabinets

    they were fairly new

  • Eloise Eloise on Apr 14, 2017

    Yes, and pretty easily. I used Rustoleum's Furniture Transformations kit that worked beautifully on my bathroom vanity.

  • C.B. C.B. on Apr 16, 2017

    Your best 'non-sanding' bet is to stain them a deeper color & that doesn't take much of a color change because you are adding to a color that is already there. I would suggest washing the surfaces down well with soapy water to remove any sign of grease [hand grease or cooking grease]. Then apply a darker stain to what you already have...I did a table top that was stained pine & changed it to a red-brown [it looked cherry] to match a corner cabinet.

  • Diana of all Trades Diana of all Trades on Apr 16, 2017

    As some of the other answerers said, it is a MUST that you clean the cabinets really well before applying paint. While I'm chemical sensitive and don't really like it, TSP is the way to go for this job. I use and recommend Heirloom Traditions chalk based products. Use code DSD to get 10% off at

  • Mary M Braunlich Mary M Braunlich on Apr 21, 2017

    Just my can paint them but you CANNOT stain them without sanding them.

  • Mogie Mogie on Dec 14, 2022

    Clean the cabinets well and look and see what you have to work with. Realistically do you need new cabinet doors? It is much cheaper then replacing the entire cabinet.

  • A light scuffing with sandpaper is best for good adhesion of your paint.