Cost to Stain Kitchen Cabinets

Lauren Murphy
Written by Lauren Murphy
Updated October 29, 2021
Modern kitchen interior with stained cabinets
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

The cost to stain cabinets typically ranges from $1,500 to $5,000

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

If you want to completely transform your kitchen, consider refinishing and staining your cabinets. That process involves removing the old stain, sanding and repairing the cabinet surface, and applying a new stain onto the wood. This simple process can give your kitchen a brand new look in just a weekend. 

Prices to stain your cabinets typically range from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on how many cabinets you have and their material, but can go up from there based on many different factors.

How Much Does It Cost to Stain Cabinets per Square Foot?

Professionally restaining and refinishing old cabinets will cost between $4 and $10 per square foot. That includes labor and materials (stain). Prices will vary depending on who you hire and where you live, so ask around to determine prices for cabinet refinishing near you.

How Much Does It Cost to Stain Cabinets Yourself?

Staining your kitchen cabinets yourself will save you money compared to hiring a pro, but the process is time-consuming. It will take about 30 to 50 hours for you to complete, which equals three to five full days. If you’re working around a nine-to-five job, this project could take weeks. And not having a functional kitchen for weeks in a house full of hungry kids (and parents) may be a recipe for disaster.

That said, going the DIY route will save you money, so if budget is a concern, this is the way to go. Professionals can refinish and stain your cabinets in two to three days on average, or about 14 hours, charging between $35 and $75 per hour. That means that by putting your DIY skills to the test and staining your own cabinets, you could save somewhere between $500 to $1,000.

Staining cabinets yourself will require tools, patience, and space. You will also need a large, well-ventilated space to strip and refinish cabinet doors, like a garage or backyard.

Staining Cabinets Cost Breakdown

Cherry stained cabinets
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

The cost to stain cabinets can vary depending on how much the professional you hire charges, the quality of materials used, the complexity and design you choose for your new cabinets, and how many cabinets need staining. While all of these factors have some effect on the total price, nothing is set in stone. The best way to determine how much your project will cost is to contact a professional cabinet refinisher near you.

Cabinet staining costs include number of cabinets, and labor averaging $35 to $75 per hour

Labor

Most professional cabinet refinishers will charge between $35 and $75 per hour, with total labor costs averaging $500 to $1,000 per project. Costs can vary slightly based on the material of your cabinets and the complexity of the desired design. Whatever your needs, make sure you hire the right cabinet company for you.

Materials

Simply put, some materials are easier to stain than others. For example, it’s significantly easier to refinish and stain solid wood compared to veneers or other box materials. Refinishing and staining those materials will require stripping the clear coat of varnish and reapplying another coat, which means increased labor.

Stain adheres well to solid wood and not-so-well on other materials. If your cabinets are made of a non-wood material, like laminate, it will be more expensive to stain them.

Complexity

The complexity of the cabinets’ design will somewhat influence the total cost to stain them. If your cabinets have trim, detailing, or carving, expect to pay more for increased labor. Cabinets with intricate designs will require more time and skill and can be slightly more expensive to stain than basic ones.

Number of Cabinets

The number of cabinets you have will certainly determine the total cost of the project. Expect to pay between $4 and $10 per square foot. If you have a sweeping kitchen with storage space galore, you’ll end up paying much more to stain your cabinets than you would if you had a simple galley kitchen.

FAQs About Staining Cabinets

How do I stain cabinets?

First, sand the wood to remove any existing stain/varnish and make the cabinet’s texture smooth and ready to absorb the stain. Clean off any dirt or dust from the cabinet, and then apply a coat of wood conditioner if needed, as well as a layer of stain. Allow it to dry and add more layers of stain depending on how deep you’d like the color. Lastly, apply a finish to protect the wood.

Should I paint or stain cabinets?

When deciding to paint or stain or cabinets, consider your budget, design style, and lifestyle. The cost to stain cabinets is slightly lower than the cost to paint them. Plus, stain is more long-lasting and results in a more natural finish. But if you prefer more modern cabinets with solid colors, choose paint.

Should I refinish or replace cabinets?

Depending on how damaged or worn your cabinets are, you may decide to fully replace them. However, it can cost twice as much to replace cabinets than it would to refinish them. Cabinet refinishing costs an average of $2,500, while replacements can cost from $5,000 up to $18,000 or more.

What other projects should I do at the same time?

Whether you’re DIYing or hiring a pro to stain your cabinets, you’ll need to remove doors and drawers, and you won’t have a functional kitchen until the job is done. Use this time to complete other kitchen projects, including taking on the cost of appliance repair or replacement, installing a new kitchen backsplash, and pricing out the cost of painting your home interior.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.