Quick Answer: Do You Have To Sand Before Using Gel Stain??

Gel stain will not require you to sand the product to a raw wood finish.

It can be applied over only lightly sanded pieces just as well.

I found gel stain to be more forgiving; because you will need to do multiple coats, you can even out the finish over time.

How do you prep cabinets for gel stain?


  • Remove cabinets and hinges with screwdriver and clean hinges with dish soap diluted in water.
  • Scrub/clean all cabinet surfaces and allow to dry.
  • Sand all surfaces with the sanding block.
  • Wipe dust away with a damp cloth.
  • Wipe cabinets with deglosser.
  • Allow cabinets to dry in dust-free environment.

How can I stain my kitchen cabinets without sanding?

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Without Sanding or Priming

  1. Remove Any Dirt and Grime. Using a scrubbing sponge, thoroughly wipe down each cabinet surface with a grease-cutting cleaner, making sure to remove all dirt and grime.
  2. Apply Liquid Deglosser.
  3. Label Doors + Remove Hardware.
  4. Clean Out the Inside.
  5. Paint the Back.
  6. Insert Thumbtacks.
  7. Paint the Molding.
  8. Paint the Front Side.

Can I use gel stain on finished wood?

It’s not a common practice, but you can apply stain — if it’s gel stain — over polyurethane. It won’t penetrate like stain, so you won’t get the same grain patterns. Think of gel stain as a type of opaque paint. If you really want to change the color without stripping, gel stain can do it.

Photo in the article by “Wikimedia Commons” https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kitchen_cabinet_display_2009_with_bend.jpg