Can I Glaze Over Stained Glossy Cabinets?


A popular way to punch up plain wood cabinets is to apply stain and gloss. Stain brings out the grain of the wood, and a gloss coat protects it. If you're tired of the traditional look of your cabinets, you can add a glaze coat to give your kitchen's look personality. The key to a professional-looking job is knowledge and proper preparation. Before you begin this project, take the time to get to know and prepare your cabinet's surface.

Cure Time

  • Once your cabinets are stained and covered with a glossy, clear coat, you must wait for the last coat on the cabinets to cure. Cure time is the time it takes for a fresh layer of paint to mature and firmly adhere to the surface. This is not the same as drying time. Your cabinets might be dry to the touch several hours after you complete the job. However, the paint is not cured or dried all the way through. This happens after the cure time listed on the gloss coat's container. Cure times vary and can be anywhere from 72 hours to one week. Leave the cabinets undisturbed during this time. Once the cure time is over, you are ready to proceed to the glaze coat. If you go forward too early, your paint coats could mix, creating a muddy mess.

Surface Texture

  • Paint cannot adhere to a smooth surface. The top coat of your layer of gloss paint is likely too smooth to properly absorb a layer of glaze. For a lasting glaze layer, roughen up the smooth coat of the gloss just slightly. Use a sheet or block of extra-fine grade sandpaper. Sand the surface lightly, just enough to roughen the surface of the gloss coat. The new surface will be slightly rough to the touch. This rough surface will better absorb the glaze coat but won't take away from the depth and beauty of the final product.

The Right Glaze

  • Glaze coats are made up of clear-drying liquid glazes mixed with household paint. Like paint, glazes come in oil-based and acrylic-based varieties. The type of glaze that goes on your cabinet depends on the type of paint used to create the gloss coat on top of the cabinets. Oil-based glazes go on top of oil-based gloss coats. Acrylic-based glazes go on top of acrylic-based gloss coats. Mixing oil and acrylic can result in a patchy-looking paint job.

Stains Bleed

  • The stain on your cabinets will bleed through your glaze coat significantly more than a standard layer of paint. Take this bleeding into account by choosing a glaze color to complement your stain. If you just want to highlight the stain and simply give the cabinets another layer of texture, choose a glaze color that is close to the stain. A glaze one or two shades darker than the stain will deepen the stain's color. For an antiqued look, choose black, brown or grey paint. For a rustic look, cover the stain with a gray glaze whose tones match the stain underneath.

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