How to Restain Bathroom Vanity - Router Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2012, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Default How to Restain Bathroom Vanity

I want to change the color of my vanity from a golden oak color to something much darker, but I've never attempted something like this before. I've done a lot of googling but I'm still not sure. What does it mean to strip the finish? Is this just a chemical treatment and then you still sand it down before restaining? Would you pull the vanity out of the bathroom to do this work or would you leave it in place? Any other advice or ideas?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 03:00 AM
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I was about to say "That's easy, just stop looking in the mirror" but then I realised I had slightly misread the subject line.

I would certainly pull it out before trying any staining. Essentially you need to remove any glossy topcoat/sealer before applying any additional stain. The problem you have is that you don't have a test piece to judge the final result. Maybe check and see if there is a bit of wood that is hidden which you could use to test the finish.

I don't think it's that complicated.

Good luck.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 03:15 AM
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Hey, Kevin; before you get too deeply into this project please do two things
1) if there's a Mohawk Finishing outlet near you, take a door in and have a chat with the staff. This is precisely what they specialize in!
Lacquer Aerosols, Waterborne Stains, Leather Cleaners & More - Mohawk Finishing

2) check out the price of a new vanity. If you're going to all the trouble of refinishing, you might as well just replace it...they aren't that expensive.
I'm doing two of them as we speak, both will be done in situ. Well masked off, and a drop cloth, but remove the door and hardware first!
Cheers,
-Dan
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cagenuts View Post
I was about to say "That's easy, just stop looking in the mirror" but then I realised I had slightly misread the subject line.

I would certainly pull it out before trying any staining. Essentially you need to remove any glossy topcoat/sealer before applying any additional stain. The problem you have is that you don't have a test piece to judge the final result. Maybe check and see if there is a bit of wood that is hidden which you could use to test the finish.

I don't think it's that complicated.

Good luck.
Would you remove the topcoat by just sanding? Or is there a smarter way to do it?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 01:38 AM
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You could do it with chemicals but sanding gives you more control. I think there must be a point at which building a new case makes more sense.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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You could do it with chemicals but sanding gives you more control. I think there must be a point at which building a new case makes more sense.
I was actually starting to lean towards building a new one. I think it could be fun. The only problem is that I have no experience building a vanity/cabinet. This probably wouldn't be a bad time to start learning since it's a very small vanity, only 24" wide. Can you recommend any good website tutorials for the basics of making cabinets?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 10:51 AM
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I would head over to the various woodworking related magazine sites and go from them.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 05:57 PM
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Try shopnotes.com
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawisser View Post
I want to change the color of my vanity from a golden oak color to something much darker, but I've never attempted something like this before. I've done a lot of googling but I'm still not sure. What does it mean to strip the finish? Is this just a chemical treatment and then you still sand it down before restaining? Would you pull the vanity out of the bathroom to do this work or would you leave it in place? Any other advice or ideas?

Thanks.
This is just one technique that I use.... Tailored instructions to your project.

Disconnect the plumbing. Pull the vanity. Take outside the house. It's going to get a bit messy...

Paint on stripper. I use BIX Varnish and Stain Stripper. I pour from the gallon can into a mason jar and use the brush from there. It will bubble up the finish and takes the stain out. Make sure you wear gloves!!! After it sets, you'll have to scrape the mess off. Seal up the mason jar -- do not pour back into the can or it will contaminate it.

Still wearing gloves... After scraping, mix up some TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) with water and wash the vanity down with it. It comes in a box and will look like laundry soap. This product is strong. It's original use was for cleaning siding and decks. Scrub. This will neutralize the stripper and take out more of the old stain.

If dark wood or you're going to stain dark, rinse with a water vinegar mix. If light wood or you're going to stain light, rinse with a water bleach mix.

Let dry. Then lightly sand. Go over with steel wool. (Will bring out the grain.)

Rub down with a wood conditioner. I use Benite. This will seal the wood and stain will color more evenly. Stain and apply coats of finish. (Appropriate drying times between.) When you get your stain and finish, look at the drying times. Some of each dry in 20 minutes.

Let dry.

Remount vanity and connect plumbing. Check for leaks.

That's a lot cheaper that the $300 I charged for the last custom maple/stainless vanity I built. Besides, you like that one... You just want it a different color, right? Some people would just paint it in place. (cringe!!!) Personally, I think it's a travesty to cover beautiful wood grain with paint.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kawisser View Post
I was actually starting to lean towards building a new one. I think it could be fun. The only problem is that I have no experience building a vanity/cabinet. This probably wouldn't be a bad time to start learning since it's a very small vanity, only 24" wide. Can you recommend any good website tutorials for the basics of making cabinets?
And it's a lot less work and money to refinish than to build another that you'll need to finish...

Example-
If you did go that way, look at yours. You could just reface yours. That means you build the front, doors and drawer fronts // reusing the box. The doors and drawer fronts don't need to be the same style as you have. You might not have the tooling to recreate that. My door bit sets alone are over $150. Then there's drawer pull bits, etc. The face's tools are a "good" table saw, miter saw and pocket screw jig, maybe a router or router table if there is rabbet joint to the box. If you want to built a box, look at what you have and get the measurements of the pieces from that. The tooling might be a table saw, dado or router, etc.

Adds up fast eh?

Last edited by MAFoElffen; 07-03-2012 at 01:02 AM.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2012, 08:10 AM
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lowe's have one vanity with top for $149.00 some higher price, I my self i wouldn't tackel that project, one is because i belive you said it was oak?? If so you will not be able to get all the finish out of oak , than stain will not go on even and wouldn't look that good. I used to refinish lot's of item's yrs ago and the time and the results you get wouldn't be what i want. Go buy one darker and install and you are done?? My 2 cents

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port st. lucie, florida
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