How To Stain Cabinets Without Sanding? [Do It Like A Professional]

A good home upgrade is never complete without doing the cabinets as well. It would be absurd to have a modern look with outdated cabinets. The main reason people hesitate to upgrade their cabinets is the workload involved. Having to sand the cabinets to get a good adhesive surface and get rid of the old paint is the most boring part.

Staining has never been this easy. Luckily, new technologies have emerged and aided in the production of strong stains. Are you still wondering about the process? Then this guide serves as the answer to that question. Here, I am going to address how to stain cabinets without sanding. If you want to know how then stick with me to the end.

As I am a self-proclaimed woodwork specialist. Here, I am going to give you a step-by-step guide and tips on how to stain cabinets by minus sanding.

7 Steps You Should Follow To Stain Cabinets Without Sanding

Sanding is a tough and dusty workload. Avoiding this step would make painting quite an easy task. Luckily, this article brings a new way to stain cabinets without sanding. Let’s get started. 

Step 1: Materials Required

For you to be successful in this task, preparation is the key. This gives an easy time working through the task. One doesn’t have to stop in between to get something. Your work will have a nice flow and it will give you an easy time.

The following is a list of materials required to stain cabinets without sanding:

  • sponge brush;
  • stain;
  • cleaner;
  • Degloser;
  • wooden putty knife;
  • gloves;
  • piece of clothing; 
  • Screwdriver;
  • sandstone;
  • Paint striper;
  • painters tape;
  • Newspapers.

Step 2: Prepping The Working Area

Even though stains can be removed, try and avoid staining the surrounding areas. Cover these areas with newspaper and masking tape. When painting new cabinets, it is advised to stain them before screwing them on the wall. 

If you are updating old cabinets, use a marker to draw the numbers of each cabinet and its doors, and also do the same for drawers. Unscrew the doors and the front of the drawers. Use the masking tape to stick the corresponding numbers to their doors and cabinets.

Step 3: Cleaning The Surface 

Over time the cabinets can have accumulated dust particles.  Use a damp cloth to wipe off the dust from the new or old cabinets. Ensure to remove all the residuals on the surfaces and focus more on removing greasy stains. Cleaning helps ensure the stain adheres to the right surface. 

This increases the durability and quality of the stain. No one wants to keep redoing their stained surfaces, one wants something that will last for quite some time.

Step 4: Applying The Paint Stripper

If applying a new color from the old one, it is best to remove the old stain. Apply a paint stripper to the cabinets and the front of the drawers and doors. Allow for it to work as specified on the tins instruction. Later use a wooden putty knife or a plastic one to scrape off the paint and clean the surface. Make sure all the stain is removed and there is a nice surface to work on.

Step 5: Cleaning With The Deglosser

After removing all the previous stains, apply the deglosser to the exposed areas of the cabinet. Rub it using a scouring pad and clean off the cleaner with an old piece of cloth. Be sure to remove all the leftover paint strippers and any paint residuals. Allow for the surface to dry.

Step 6: Staining 

Put on the gloves and open the stain can. Using a sponge brush, apply the first coating on the cabinets and doors. Always follow the direction of the grain for a more smooth finish. The first coat doesn’t do the trick. Allow for the first coating to dry. It takes about 24 hours. Once dried, apply a second coating and allow to dry.

Depending on the area and the time you want it to serve, it is recommended to apply a third layer for maximum efficiency. This comes in handy for both bathroom and kitchen cabinets that are prone to water damage. Also, apply a top coat to add a glaring sheen and some protection to the cabinets

Step 7: Cabinets Reassembly

After the stain has completely dried, it is time to re-screw the cabinets and doors back in place. Use an electrical screwdriver for easy work or just use the manual one. Replace damaged hinges or old rusty ones at this stage. Place the doors according to the numbers and letters as had previously been marked for fast replacement. With that the task is complete.

4 Mistakes Needed To Avoid While Staining Cabinets Without Sanding

For one to have maximum stain efficiency, some procedures must be observed. This helps to have quality staining. Avoiding the following mistakes will give you that professional touch of staining the cabinets without sanding.

1. Skipping The Cleaning Process

Cleaning helps stain the right surface of the cabinet. Lack of cleaning can lead to poor stain adhesion and also leave some places unstained. It also means low- staining that is prone to coming off within a short period. Always clean the surface before applying the stain for a quality and durable finish especially when the cabinets have not been sanded. Cleaning will always be worth the effort and time as you glare at the end product.

2. Minimal Stripping

If you decide to use a paint stripper in this project as a way of skipping the sanding process, make sure to remove all the previous paint to the fullest. Failure to do this leads to uneven surfaces for paint application and a poor stain finish. Always follow the guidelines indicated by the manufacturer of the paint stripper you are using.

3. Not Using Painters Tape

If you don’t want to damage the paint on the wall, I suggest covering all the areas you do not want the stain to touch. Stains unlike paints are hard to come off surfaces once they adhere. Rather than facing this disastrous task of having to get stains off the wall and floor, always tape these areas.

4. Not Applying A Topcoat

Stains are mistaken to be protective layers. This is not always the case. Stains are just that, stains. If you need to protect the wood from splash and heat and humidity, apply a top coat specific to the area. I would recommend always using a topcoat when doing this DIY staining project. This comes in handy more so when staining has been done without sanding the cabinets.

4 Effective Tips To Stain Cabinets Without Sanding

When staining cabinets without sanding, these tips will help one have a great classy finish. They are what professionals do to leave you smiling at their quality work. Use them and you won’t regret doing the cabinet staining without sanding. 

Tip-1: Working In Sections

Stains dry out fast when applied to an unsanded cabinet. It is recommended to work in small sections to have time to smoothen out the stain and wipe off any excess before it dries up. This method gives a quality finish and a smooth even stain surface on cabinets. Working in a large area can leave someone disappointed. Take your time to have that classy touch.

Tip-2: Use The Right Materials

When getting the materials for this DIY task, always ensure to get the ones best suited for this task. Failure to use the right materials can lead to low-grade cabinet finishing. No one wants a poorly stained cabinet. Always do your research to get the right tools for a perfect job.

Tip-3: Setting The Right Time For The Job

Staining without sanding is not something to do on a Sunday morning and it is done. Set aside quality time to allow for the paint to dry and also prepare. As you know, good things take time. Do it like a professional, it is all worth it in the end. This will also make the task easy.

Tip-4: Test Your Stain On A Different Spot Before The Application Process

Stains applied to unsanded cabinets unlike paints are absorbed into the core of the wood. They adhere strongly to the wood and take time to come off. It would be a painful site for you to stain the cabinets with a stain thought to be a perfect match. Always test the stain on a small surface to see if it is the correct one. Stain samples are not always exactly as they appear.

Related Questions: 

Can You Stain Over Stain Without Sanding?

When staining with a color shade that resembles the already existing, one can do it without sanding. This acts as a more strong layer for adhesion. These layers of stains together with a topcoat help protect the wood. 

However, if you are staining with a different color shade then it is recommended to sand off the existing stain. This helps expose the new stain more and gives a nice clean finish.

Do Cabinets Need To Be Sanded Before Staining?

Sanding is a tiresome and dusty task that is not needed before staining. Although it helps create an adhesive layer for the stain, with new technology, stains have been developed to be more adhesive to various surfaces.

There is no longer a need to worry about sanding to stain cabinets. One can use gel stains that adhere to unsanded surfaces. This makes staining easy and also less messy. 

How Do You Stain A Cabinet That Is Already Stained?

First, unscrew the doors and the front side of the drawer. Tape the areas you do not want to stain. Sand the previous stain off with sandpaper properly. Clean the dust using a piece of cloth. Clean the surface with a wood cleaning agent and let it dry. 

Apply the new stain with a piece of cloth in the direction of the grains. Apply 2 to three coatings and seal with a top coat specific to the area of installation. Allow to dry and screw the doors back in place.

What Happens If You Don’t Sand Cabinets Before Painting?

Failure to sand may lead to low-quality painting that is prone to coming off over a short period. In case one is looking for a long-term paint update, sanding comes in handy. It helps create an area where the paint adheres strongly. It also removes previous paints and polish. 

However, this step can be skipped if you are just painting for a while before the big upgrade. Thanks to advances in paint manufacturing. Also, purchase paints suitable for varnished surfaces.

Can You Stain Over Varnished Wood Without Sanding?

Although it is not the best practice, staining over varnished wood without sanding is possible. Use a sanding block to rough up the surface just a little to create an adhesive layer. Also, use stains that are indicated to apply to varnished surfaces. 

And most importantly, always follow the guidelines indicated on the container for quality and efficient staining. I would recommend sanding these areas but only when necessary.

Can You Stain Already Finished Cabinets Without Sanding?

Now one can stain on finished cabinet surfaces without sanding. Purchase stains specific to the area to be applied. This task can be done with the right tools and materials within a few days. Also, always follow the guidelines given by the manufacturer on the tin for an easy, effective finish.

However, If it were in the mid-80s, staining on a finished cabinet could have been impossible. Thanks to great advances in stain manufacturing,

How Do You Stain Finished Wood Cabinets Without Sanding?

The first step is to disassemble the cabinet. Remove the doors and the drawers. Rough them just a little with a sanding stone to create a layer for the stain to stick on. Clean the surface with a wood cleaner and allow it to dry. Apply the first coat with a sponge brush and allow it to dry. 

It is recommended to apply more than 2 coats for maximum efficiency. Allow to dry and apply a topcoat specific to the area you are installing the cabinet. After it has dried, reassemble the cabinet and screw it in place.

Is It Easy To Stain Cabinets Without Sanding?

Staining without sanding makes this DIY task easy. Sanding makes the whole cabinet staining task messy, dusty, and tiresome. Having an alternative way to do it minus sanding perfectly is a dream come true for everyone.

This DIY task is becoming even more effortless with advances in tools and stains development. Staining has never been made this easy.  Now that you do not have to sand the cabinets, stain them with that new look you have been yearning for.

Final Verdict:

In the above article, I have explained all about how to stain cabinets without sanding. I have also discussed the steps and tips to aid you in doing this task like a professional. Always follow the simple rules and guidelines on the type of stain you are using. Give those cabinets that classy new modern look.

Wait no more, it is high time you tried out this DIY task. It will be worth the time and effort. Get staining!

About Sam Maxi

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