If your oak kitchen cabinets are looking tired and worn, you may be tempted to embark on an expensive refinishing or painting project. But before taking on a major renovation, consider revitalizing your existing cabinets with a simple Briwax treatment first. Briwax can give dingy oak cabinets a luxurious, polished makeover while protecting the wood beneath. Read on to learn how you can use this miracle product to make your cabinets look professionally finished.
Bring Dull Oak Cabinets Back to Life
Oak is a popular wood for kitchen and bathroom cabinets thanks to its attractive grain pattern and rich, warm reddish-brown color when stained. But over time, that luxurious oak finish can start to look faded, cloudy and generally lackluster. Daily wear and tear takes its toll. Spills, grease splatters and scrubbing all degrade the protective sealant on the wood. Plus, oak tends to soak up liquids, resulting in stubborn stains and watermarks.
Don’t despair if your once-beautiful oak cabinets now sport a tired, worn and dirty look. Often the wood itself is still in fine shape – it’s just the finish that needs reviving. While refinishing or repainting are options, you can also breathe new life into your existing oak cabinets with a smart product like Briwax.
How Briwax Enhances Oak Cabinets
Briwax is a furniture wax that cleans, enriches and protects wood surfaces in one easy step. It’s been used for over 50 years by antique dealers, woodworkers and others seeking to enhance and preserve wood finishes.
When used on oak cabinets, Briwax offers several benefits:
- Enriches existing stain color – Briwax accentuates the natural variations in the wood grain to achieve a deeper, richer color.
- Removes grime and residue – It cleans away dirt, sticky build-up, grease and grime that has accumulated.
- Conceals small scratches – The wax fills in tiny dents and scratches to give a smooth, flawless look.
- Protects from further damage – It seals the existing finish to help prevent future stains and daily wear.
- Polishes to a smooth sheen – With buffing, Briwax leaves a soft glowing luster.
- Creates a luxury finish – The results look like expensive professionally refinished cabinets.
Briwax allows you to capitalize on the existing oak wood while taking the finish to the next level. Unlike paint or stain which totally transforms the color, Briwax offers a subtler enrichment. It brings out the beauty in the oak rather than covering it up.
Briwax Accentuates the Wood Grain
One of the standout features of natural oak is its attractive grain patterns. The wax permeates the porous oak surface to accentuate the natural variations and figure in the wood. It highlights the medullary rays that give oak its distinctive flecks.
Rather than masking the wood grain like paint would, Briwax allows it to take center stage. The resulting finish celebrates the oak rather than camouflaging it. Your cabinets will look like fine oak furniture.
Warms Up Oak’s Reddish Brown Color
Oak cabinets are prized for their warm, inviting reddish brown hues when stained. But environmental factors can cause oak stain to look faded and muddy over time. Years of sunlight, grease buildup and daily use slowly strip away the rich color.
Briwax removes the accumulated grime and enhances the oak’s natural reddish undertones. It livens up the existing stain and saturates it with a deeper, richer brown color. The results look like new cabinets in a warm, reddish oak tone.
Preparing Cabinets for Briwax Treatment
Briwax is designed to work right over existing finishes, so no stripping or sanding is required. However, properly preparing the surface will ensure you achieve optimal results.
Clean Cabinets Thoroughly
Start by washing cabinets with a mild detergent and warm water to remove any built-up grease, dirt or residue. Pay special attention to commonly handled areas. Allow cabinets to fully dry before applying Briwax.
Sand Down Any Rough Spots
Lightly sand any areas where the finish has worn down or feels rough. This helps the wax fully penetrate. Focus on frequently used cabinet doors and drawers. Smooth any scratches by sanding lightly in the direction of the wood grain.
Tape Off Surfaces Not Being Treated
Use painter’s tape to cover any nearby walls, countertops or surfaces not being waxed. Taping them off prevents drips and smears of Briwax where you don’t want it.
Ensure Adequate Ventilation
Open any doors and windows in the room to allow for ample airflow as you apply the wax. Proper ventilation lets any mild solvent fumes dissipate.
Applying Briwax in Simple Steps
With the right techniques, applying Briwax is easy. Follow these steps to get flawless results:
Stir the Briwax Before Using
Gently stir the tin of Briwax with a clean stick prior to applying. This ensures the wax consistency is optimal and that any settled pigments get incorporated.
Work in Small Sections for Control
Wax and polish a few drawer fronts or cabinet doors at a time. This prevents the wax from drying too quickly before you can buff it out.
Use a Soft Cloth to Apply Thin, Even Coats
Dip a clean, soft lint-free cloth into the Briwax and wipe a thin coat onto the cabinet surface using a circular polishing motion. Uneven application can lead to a splotchy finish.
Allow Proper Drying Time Between Coats
Let the Briwax dry for about 20 minutes before applying another coat. This allows it to soak into the wood. Two to three coats are recommended for optimal results.
Buff Off Excess Wax Between Coats
Use a fresh clean cloth to gently buff off any excess wax residue after 20 minutes of drying time. This preps the surface for the next coat.
Buff Cabinets to Desired Sheen
After the final coat has dried, buff the cabinets with a clean cloth to remove any last traces of wax. Polish to your desired luster – a subtle sheen is recommended.
Caring for Cabinets After Briwax Treatment
To keep your cabinets looking revitalized after Briwax, follow these maintenance practices:
Keep Cabinets Out of Direct Sunlight
Direct sun exposure can cause the Briwax finish to fade over time. Install window treatments to block sunlight hitting the cabinets.
Dust Cabinets Regularly
Use a microfiber cloth to dust cabinets often. This prevents dirt and grime from building up and dulling the finish.
Reapply Briwax Annually
Plan on recoating your cabinets with Briwax once a year. This maintains the protective seal and rich color it provides.
Spot Treat Any New Stains
Promptly use a damp rag to wipe up any water or food spills on the cabinets. Spot treat stains by gently reapplying Briwax to the affected area.
Tips for Applying Briwax
Keeping these helpful pointers in mind will lead to flawless Briwax results:
Test Briwax on a Hidden Spot First
Before waxing all your cabinets, do a test patch on an inconspicuous area, like the inside of a door. Make sure you are happy with the finish before proceeding.
Store Briwax in a Cool, Dry Place
Heat and humidity can damage the wax over time. Keep the lid tightly sealed as well.
Dispose of Cloths Properly to Avoid Fires
The wax can spontaneously combust when left on rags. Immediately dispose of cloths safely in soapy water or sealed metal containers after use.
Avoid Applying Too Much Wax
Using too much Briwax or insufficient buffing can leave a thick chalky residue. Very thin coats are best.
How Briwax Compares to Refinishing Oak Cabinets
While Briwax can breathe new life into your oak cabinets, determine if it meets your needs versus refinishing or repainting them instead.
- Much more affordable option than refinishing
- Dramatically quicker and easier to apply
- No stripping or sanding required
- Enhances beauty of oak grain
- Totally transforms color and finish
- More options for customizing color
- Provides much more durable finish
- Handles severe damage better than Briwax
Those on a budget may favor the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of Briwax for maintainable cabinets. Refinishing makes sense if your cabinets require extensive repairs or you want a radical new look.
Reviving worn oak cabinets is possible without the cost and mess of refinishing. Briwax offers an easy upgrade that cleans, polishes and protects your existing oak finish beautifully. Just a few thin coats and some buffing transforms dull, dirty cabinets into professional-grade luxury. With this miracle product, you can quickly restore oak cabinets’ signature warmth and richness. Your kitchen will look refreshed in a matter of hours, not weeks.