Cabinet Staining

BEFORE STAINING

To successfully stain cabinetry or any millwork, it is best to start with previously unfinished surfaces. If your current cabinetry is painted, we do not recommend stripping to attempt staining for natural grain appearance. If your current cabinetry is stained, Empire is able to re-stain or clear-coat after assessment. Sometimes all your cabinets require is a fresh clear-coat to recondition and extend longevity. This is achievable in most cases.

Cabinetry staining varies in success rate. As such, Empire collects a door to perform a sample test once a proposal is accepted. The reason for varying success is due to how the wood grain absorbed the first clear-coat or stain application. Wood is a porous surface and does not evenly absorb. When sanding to prepare the surface for fresh stain or clear-coat application, this can reveal blotchiness inherent to the wood grain due to the first finish process. If your sample test reveals any possible issues, we will not recommend that finishing method. Instead, painting would be the suggested finish option.

STEP 1: SURFACE PREPARATION

Doors and drawer fronts are removed and finished at Empire’s Delafield workshop. We perform a light sanding to abrade and ensure proper stain or clear-coat adhesion. This does not entail heavy sanding or “stripping” as some think it may. If cabinetry or millwork is new, it will be a quicker process than removing an existing clear-coat.

STEP 2: STAIN AND SEAL

Empire will apply two coats of toned Sherwin Williams Sher-Wood Catalyzed Lacquer (Precat) if darkening an existing stain. This will be followed by one coat of clear Sherwin Williams Pre-Cat lacquer to seal the exterior of cabinet boxes and both sides of doors and drawer fronts off-site. Each project varies slightly, and our Empire estimator will recommend the appropriate products and process for your vision.

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