Kitchen Remodel Phase 1- dated light oak to elegant espresso!

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Project by Ronysue posted 08-04-2013 11:22 AM 6008 views 4 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Poly Shades uses it’s powers for good instead of evil in our kitchen!!
Problem; Outdated light oak, peeling and water damaged but good quality. Replacement not an affordable option.

After A LOT of sanding and prep we were ready to get to the process of UPDATING the style. This was accomplished by adding bead board. What a difference! We are really pleased with the result.
Now, what to do for the finish… We wanted to go dark, but a practice sample using traditional stain on bathroom cabinets of the same design resulted in the blotchy ‘zebra stripes’ I now know to be a common problem with oak.
Thus began the quest for a product that would give us an even dark finish without completely hiding the grain. We were striving for a dark lightly distressed/antique as opposed to a flat black. I have found ‘General finishes gel stain’ to be the most user friendly wood finishing product known to mankind, but unfortunately it doesn’t come in the color we had our minds set on. I tried the java gel stain, gorgeous color, but too reddish for the finish we sought, and still a little blotchy. However it made a great under coat! The reddish brown shows through (tho not in the pictures of course), keeping it warm and traditional.
After trying several methods, none adequately covering the grain evenly without hiding it completely, and in spite of forum advice warning against it, we tried the ‘Min-wax Poly Shade Espresso Satin’. One coat over the java color looks gorgeous!
Perhaps the reason Poly Shades has such a bad reputation is due to the misconception that it is easier because it combines color and topcoat. It is NOT real easy to work with, but no worse than traditional products. Like all clear coats it requires patience and time to get a quality finish. However, for addressing the uneven grain issue this product proved to be THE SOLUTION. A good finish brush worked much better than a sponge. I was careful to go back often and check for runs/drips. When it was completely dry I lightly sanded with a ‘between coats’ block/sponge, and touched up as needed. Not wanting it any darker I used only one coat of the poly shade. However, being a kitchen we felt it needed a really good top coat so I added two coats of ‘General Finishes Satin Top Coat GEL’ (which, as previously mentioned, is the most user friendly wood finishing product known to mankind =)
Crown molding will top off phase one of our kitchen remodel (pictures to be posted soon), with counters and new fridge being phases two and three.

-- RonySue in Sunny California

5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5036 days

#1 posted 08-04-2013 04:00 PM

this turn out very well.


View gsimon's profile


1338 posts in 3572 days

#2 posted 08-04-2013 06:45 PM

Huge improvement
The bead board is best bang for your buck
Way to stick to your original idea and see it through!

-- Greg Simon

View jim1953's profile


2744 posts in 5300 days

#3 posted 08-05-2013 01:28 AM

Great Lookin Job

-- Jim, Kentucky

View joegard's profile


16 posts in 3205 days

#4 posted 08-14-2013 12:57 PM

These look great. We have a similar color in our kitchen and have been thinking about how we could extend the life by refinishing. One question, how did you get the bead board installed? in our cabinets the raised panel is buried in the frame and i think we would have to disassemble the doors to replace. I’m hoping you have some trick to simplify that.


View Ronysue's profile


3 posts in 3216 days

#5 posted 08-17-2013 04:19 PM

Hi Joegard! Using paneling adhesive we glued the bead board right over the existing flat recessed panel. No disassembling required in our case, but if you have a raised panel may not be so easy.

We are sure pleased with the result! Gave us a lot of ‘UMPH’ for not a crazy amount of $$.
Good luck, & keep us posted on your solution =)

-- RonySue in Sunny California

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