How to Refinish Wood Vanities


If you plan to remodel your bathroom but don't want to buy new cabinets, consider staining or painting them. Bathroom vanity refinishing is a relatively simple project. When you finish, the vanity will look like it's new. Refinishing a bathroom vanity is like redoing any other piece of furniture. Just make sure you use products designed to retard mildew growth. The products should also be moisture-resistant.

Things You'll Need

  • Cleaning product
  • Sponge
  • Soft cloths
  • Screwdriver
  • Painter's tape
  • Sandpaper, various grits, or paint stripper
  • Hand sander
  • Shop vacuum
  • Stain or primer and paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Polyurethane finish
  • Go over the bathroom vanity with a cleaning product designed for wood. Remove all signs of hairspray, deodorant and other products that may accumulate over time.

  • Remove drawer pulls and doorknobs with a screwdriver. Put the hardware inside a cabinet for safekeeping while you refinish the vanity.

  • Place painter's tape on the wall around the vanity.

  • Use coarse-grit sandpaper to remove old stain and paint from the vanity. Use either a small hand sander, or sand the vanity by hand. If you prefer not to sand as much, use a chemical paint stripper to remove the paint or stain. Apply the paint stripper, let it set the recommended time, and then wipe it off with a soft cloth.

  • Sand the entire surface with fine-grit paper to make the surface satin smooth.

  • Remove dust from the vanity, using a shop vacuum. Go over the vanity with a tack cloth to remove any dust that remains.

  • Apply stain to the vanity with a soft cloth or a brush. Allow it to soak into the wood, and then wipe it off. Repeat if you want a darker stain. Skip this step if you are painting the vanity.

  • Paint the cabinet with a primer. Allow the primer to dry. Give the vanity two coats of paint, allowing it to dry completely between coats.

  • Apply a polyurethane finish designed for bathroom use, using a paintbrush. Brush with the grain. Allow the polyurethane to dry.

  • Sand the surface lightly with fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe off the grit with a tack cloth.

  • Apply another coat of polyurethane. Let it dry before you reattach your cabinet hardware.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take steps to contain the sawdust. Tape plastic sheeting around the bathroom door while you're working to seal off the room.
  • Use a face mask, protective goggles and gloves when you use sandpaper.
  • Allow plenty of ventilation when you use chemicals of any kind.
  • Read and follow all directions on all refinishing products.

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