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Old 03-07-2011, 12:52 PM   #1
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Stain or Paint Maple Cabinets


I just bought a home and want to refinish the cabinets. They are right now very much a blond maple, and I've heard that staining maple dark is just not that easy. Any opinions? So, if I choose to paint them instead, which is what I'm leaning toward, what are the steps to doing this? Obviously, I have to strip the current finish, but is that using a stripper, sand paper and elbow grease? And once they are ready, what are the steps to paint - I don't want to do this by trial and error!!

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Old 03-07-2011, 01:00 PM   #2
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Stain or Paint Maple Cabinets


You can't restain sealed cabinets unless you strip the entire finish off, which on cabinets is a VERY time consuming and messy job. It also carries a lot of risk since parts of your cabinets will undoubtedly be made from a thin veneer which can easily be damaged or sanded right through to the mdf underneath.

That said, you have a few options:

You can paint them, which involves a very thorough cleaning, sanding with 120 grit, priming with an oil primer, and painting with a cabinet paint;

You can spray them with solid colour lacquer, which looks sharper but is too difficult for most DIY to do;

You can strip the boxes and face frames "carefully" and get new doors and drawer fronts;

or you can buy new veneer to stick on top of the existing veneer, replace all doors and drawer fronts, and stain and finish all to the colour of your liking.

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Old 03-07-2011, 02:07 PM   #3
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Stain or Paint Maple Cabinets


Thanks for the input. I'll run with it. I had intended on refinishing, but painting will work fine as well, and sounds a little easier. Easier is gooder.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:25 PM   #4
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Stain or Paint Maple Cabinets


You could also give the cabinets a stained look using a gel stain. The prep work involved would be the same as painting, minus primining.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:39 AM   #5
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Stain or Paint Maple Cabinets


I had a similar situation at my house but was dead set on refinishing. I am handy being a contractor, but a rookie when it came to refinishing. I took my doors to a place that dipped them and stripped the finish perfectly. Cost me $500, but well worth it. Used a little elbow grease striping the frame and box sides. It wasn't too bad though. Mostly flat surfaces. One time around with the stripper, then followed it up with an orbital sander(220,400). I replaced the crown which I can imagine would have been tough cuz of the detail. A little trial and error with the stain. The cheap stuff gets blotchy on the maple I found. I ended using Mohawk stain and water based lacquer. A lot of work, but turned out nice. Good luck, which ever method you choose. By the way, I was told nothing sticks very well to those factory finishes, so even if you paint, sand it really good before you prime.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:34 PM   #6
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Stain or Paint Maple Cabinets


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Originally Posted by SoCalLivin View Post
. I took my doors to a place that dipped them and stripped the finish perfectly. Cost me $500, but well worth it.
I've got maple cabinets and am in the initial phases of deciding to refinish or paint them. I'm very interested in paying someone to "dip and strip" them, as you mentioned you did, but I'm having trouble finding a place. How did you find them? What would they be listed under in the phone book or on the Internet? I'm in Northern California (near Sacramento).
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:09 PM   #7
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Stain or Paint Maple Cabinets


Usually furniture refinishers will dip them or if you have a custom molding shop nearby they may have one as well.

And, if you don't have those types of shops........ask your local antiques dealers......they may have some info.
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:15 AM   #8
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Stain or Paint Maple Cabinets


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Originally Posted by demichae View Post
I've got maple cabinets and am in the initial phases of deciding to refinish or paint them. I'm very interested in paying someone to "dip and strip" them, as you mentioned you did, but I'm having trouble finding a place. How did you find them? What would they be listed under in the phone book or on the Internet? I'm in Northern California (near Sacramento).
I too live in the Sacramento area. Did you find someone to help you with this? I have the same question.
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Old 04-13-2013, 02:33 PM   #9
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Stain or Paint Maple Cabinets


Do note that if the chemicals are not fresh, some of those dipping places will hand you back nicely stripped but badly discolored wood you then have to stain darker than you may have had in mind.

You might look into renting (or buying if you have other uses for it) an infrared stripper and doing the cabinets yourself. It really is wonderful technology. No getting around the fact you are still in for some work though.

Before you put everything in high gear here I would suggest you strip (and maybe refinish) the inside of door or a corner somewhere to see for sure what you are likely to end up with as a starting point for new stain. If it is not to your liking you might as well proceed with painting the cabinets from the start.

Blonde maple by the way? You sure you want to darken it?

Last edited by user1007; 04-13-2013 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:10 PM   #10
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Stain or Paint Maple Cabinets


I have one question whice may affect the answer. Are they solid wood? If so they are worth refinishing. If not you need to know what they are if they are particle board with contact paper you can't do anything but replace. If they are MDF probably paint because the veneer is so thin same for plywood.

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