Sometimes, or what Pete might profess to be a disproportionately large amount of the time, I ignore the easier repairs in favor of more exciting projects. Case in point: we still had some very, very oak-y spots on the kitchen cabinets. These spots were once obstructed by the previous countertop backsplash and overhang support and didn’t see an ounce of gel stain when I had refinished the kitchen in entirety a few months ago.
I had already had quite my fix of staining cabinets, and my fingernail beds had finally returned to a normal fleshy color from being perpetually stained for two months, but these errs couldn’t be ignored:
I had a great experience using the General Finishes gel stain to transform our kitchen from oak-y to espresso brown, and I was confident that the leftover stain that I had would do the trick at patching up these unstained areas evenly.
I started by hand sanding the problem areas. There was a noticeable ridge of stain where the new finish met the old, and by eliminating it by sanding until I could no longer feel any stain ledge, I guaranteed myself a fresh, smooth surface to re-stain.
This is as good as a time as any to note that if you do take sandpaper to your gel stained cabinets, the stain will come right off, and easily too; this was no power sanding effort, but in addition to showing how easily the stain can come off, this post should help you see how easy it is to spot-correct scratches or dents that happen over time.
I stained these trouble spots in the same way that I had the original cabinets (as seen in update #1, in update #2, and in the grand reveal). After one coat, there was noticeable improvement, and after two more there was no sign of the oak.
Three thin coats of stain later (applied with a rag over three days to allow the spots to dry completely between coats), and the only evidence that proved that these spots had been patched was the slight distinction in finishes – you can see it in the above picture even – the stain itself is matte, and the surrounding finished cabinets still glistened of satin polyacrylic.
The larger of the two problem areas was something we had considered back when the countertops were installed; at that time, our installers had suggested that we leave that small piece of countertop loosened so that it could be removed when the time was right.
Removing the small section of countertop eliminated the need for us to stain uber-carefully up against our new white acrylic countertops, which made the job way easier and less horrifying.
With a light coat of poly applied to the top of the new stain, you’d never know this was a patched job.
The only remembrance of the old countertop is two small screw holes from the supporting brace, and while they’re slightly visible here (in a good way, since it helps you to see where the cabinet had been previously unstained) they really sit at about knee-height, and we never notice them on a day-to-day basis.
Looking for the Gel Stain that I used to stain the kitchen cabinets? I could not find it in stores, and my best resource was General Finishes via Amazon. Learn more about the product and purchase it for yourself right here.