Bathroom reno: Stage 2

 

Wanna know how to get brand-new-looking cabinets for $12? Polystain! Another discovery from the lovely Katie Bower’s blog, Polystain is exactly what I was looking for as a solution to my old, ugly, and water-damaged bathroom cabinet problem. Katie- I am officially on your Polystain Chain Gang. It’s a slightly time-consuming process, but, if you give yourself a week and just do a few coats every night, it will definitely be worth it.

Here is a lovely “before” shot of the cabinets (excuse the mess, we were working on stage 1 when I took this).

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See that water stain?

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So that’s what I had to work with. I grabbed some Cabot Polystain in Dark Oak from Lowes, a sanding sponge, paper towels, and 3 foam brushes and got to work. Here’s a step-by-step guide to polystaining cabinets the Team Vincent way.

1. Remove cabinet doors and drawers from cabinet box. Make sure to take off the door hinges as well, you don’t want to get stain on those.

2. Lay the doors and drawers out so that you can get to all sides of them without them touching the floor. I took them to our guest room, spread out plastic sheeting (cause I’m messy), laid the doors out on folded up drying racks and laid the drawers across empty soda boxes so that the bottom lip didn’t touch the floor. Because you can only get to one side of the cabinet doors at a time, I just did all the coats on one side, then flipped it over when it was completely dry and did all the coats on the other side.

3. Clean the cabinets. I used a water/vinegar mix to get any dust, dirt, and grime off the cabinets. Make sure you clean both sides of the cabinet doors.

4.  Lightly sand the cabinets. I used a sanding sponge to make sure I could get in all the crevices and rounded edges of the cabinet doors and drawers. I highly recommend this- it was much easier than sanding by hand with a piece of sandpaper, and, when the sponge starts to get full, you can just take it outside and beat it and it’s ready to go again! Be sure to use a fine grain sandpaper/sponge so you don’t wind up with a scratchy finish on the cabinets. You want to sand enough so that the finish is no longer glossy- and sand a little extra on the water-damaged areas- but don’t worry about getting all the past polyurethane off the cabinets. That is the beauty of Polystain!

 At this point, the cabinets are gonna look like poop. This is when you will start to get nervous, but don’t!

5. Brush on light, even coats of Polystain. I took Katie Bower’s advice and used foam brushes so that I would not have to spend extra time cleaning out my brush after each coat. The foam brushes worked like a charm- just make sure you don’t push down too hard or  you will wind up with bubbles that you have to smooth out. The drying process between each coat is 1-2 hours, so I did an additional coat every 90 minutes (always making sure that it didn’t feel tacky before I started the next coat). Squeeze out your foam brush with a paper towel after each coat. I got through 10 or so coats using the same brush this way. Once the brush starts to get  hard, you’ll want to pitch it and grab a new one. To get from the natural cabinet color to the dark espresso color that I wanted, it took 17 coats. It sounds bad…but not nearly as bad as spending a couple hundred on a new vanity! Just plug in some tunes and think about all the money you’re saving while applying each coat.

6. Your cabinets are now stained and gorgeous! Now go pick out some new hardware for the doors to show off your beautiful work…and give yourself a pat on the back….you just DIY’ed yourself some brand-new-looking cabinets on the cheap!

Here’s the cabinet base after 5 coats…

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After 10 coats…

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And here’s a cabinet door with 17 coats of Polystain next to one with no polystain. It’s crazy the difference it makes!

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And for all you “I-just-can’t-visualize-the-end-result-in-my-head” types, you’ll just have to wait…we still have a lot of work to do on the bathroom before the cabinets can be put back together!

Anyone else used Polystain in the past? Got any tips, tricks, or other ways you made your old, water-stained cabinets look brand new? Wanna join me and Katie in the Polystain Chain Gang?

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6 Responses

  1. Welcome to the gang girl 🙂 Isn’t Polystain so fun? It’s amazing the difference it can make…and you are right about the thin coats…it is time consuming but dries quickly and is sooo much cheaper than replacing a cabinet. Can’t wait to see the finished product!
    XO – Katie Bower

  2. wow, I can’t wait to see it, it’s all going to look so great (and it might be done by the time we visit next)

  3. Hey there! I just found your blog, and I love it! It looks like you guys are doing the same sort of stuff we are doing to our own home. 🙂 It’s good to know we’re not the only crazy DIYers out there!

    That vanity is gonna look amazing! I agree with the cheap factor – paint/stain is the cheapest and easiest way to update something, vanities included. I wish I could do some sort of stain on our bathroom cabinet, but it’s a laminate-type cabinet thing, so I think I might just have to stick with paint.

    Anyways, hello and I’m happy I found your blog! 🙂

  4. so, how bad does this stuff smell?

    • About the same as stain. It’s stinky, but not unbearable. I would wait til you don’t have a bun in the oven…or just employ Kyle!

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