Painting Over Stained Wood

We are in the process of painting out our kitchen. One of the doors looks like it has had a wood stain or has been oiled, it is rather dark and we want to paint it a pastel shade. Can I just use an undercoat and paint normally or will I have to rub it all back?


Sharyl from Adelaide, South Australia


Painting Over Stained Wood

You will need to sand the doors to get as much of the top clear coat off. Then you can paint them with a primer which is specially created for hiding stains and dark colours (like Kilz). Once you do that, you can paint the doors any colour you would like. (07/16/2007)

By Carolynne

Painting Over Stained Wood

I painted my formerly dark wood coffee and end tables this past spring to make them look like a French Country style. They went from dark brown to white. I didn't bother with sanding. I just painted on a primer and then painted with white paint. I think they look fantastic and get compliments about my French Country living room. (07/23/2007)

By Julia

Painting Over Stained Wood

To get the absolute best long term outcome, do the following:

  1. Clean the surface and get rid of all the oils and dirt that have collected on the surface. Because you said it is the kitchen, you really can't skip this step if you want the paint to adhere properly over time.

  2. If the wood has a varnish or gloss sealant over the stain, you'll need to lightly sand and tack the sanding dust off. Wipe down thoroughly to get rid of it all.
  3. If it is an oil base product on there now or an unknown paint or stain then proceed with an oil base primer. Usually the primer can be tinted to get in the shade your top coat will be.
  4. Let primer dry thoroughly. Finish with a good quality top coat. Since this is a kitchen, I would suggest at least a semi-gloss finish so it is washable. If it is a high traffic kitchen, I would go for high gloss.
  5. Apply with good quality natural bristle brushes for the results to turn out well. If you need a second top coat, let the surface dry thoroughly or you will have a disaster on your hands.

I've done this before and you will be amazed at how new your kitchen will feel when your project is complete. If you put on all new hardware it will feel like you got all new cabinets.


When painting walls in a kitchen I suggest at least a semi-gloss finish to make it washable. (07/23/2007)

By Ginger

Painting Over Stained Wood

I had the same situation 3 years ago, also in the kitchen. The cabinets were a dark walnut stain which I wanted to change to off white. I washed each component with a TSP solution to degloss and thoroughly clean the surface. Next I applied a Kilz basecoat tinted to the color of my topcoat, which I call "French Vanilla". Lastly I applied 2 coats of Kilz semigloss latex paint.

New hammered pewter knobs and hinges finished off the job. 3 years later and with much use, the cabinets are still beautiful and a project I continue to be proud of. (02/07/2008)

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