This may fly against the group, but nothing sticks to a finish like
When I have finished out cabinets, I only use seal coat (Zinsser's
Bull's Eye also sold as sanding sealer) if the cabinets have been
handled a lot, seem like they could be dirty, or if they are very open
pored like oak. Under those conditions, sealer is a must.
The unseen dirt is usually my biggest concern. If they are mass
manufactured cabinets that have been shipped to a distributor and
stored in a warehouse, they get sealed. If they are from one of the
big box stores, sealing is mandatory.
Otherwise, no sealer.
If it is a locally produced unit, I will brush them out, blow them
out, then wipe them down with lacquer thinner and rag. I haven't had
any problems doing this.
Sealer adds another coating to deal with when you finish. You now
have another coat to sand, and to clean out the cabinets again after
sanding as if you just started your process. You will be dealing with
nibs, airborne particles, possible runs and sags (say it ain't so!)
and all the other things that contaminate a good finish when you do
seal. As an integral part of your final product, the sealing process
is just as important as the final finishing. It provides a bondable
substrate for your final finish, but more importantly the alcohol
based sealers (like Zinsser) penetrate and stabilize most of the
contaminates, seen or unseen allowing a good bond for your finish.
Oh yeah, besides the unseen fine dirt, you need to watch for dirty
handed cabinet hangers. Sweaty grime seems to go right into new wood
better than the finest stains. A few dirty handprints, and it needs
sealing. Simply sanding off the discolorations won't do it, and the
sanded areas will look different under your finish is you get too
If you can *lightly*
sand and wipe away all the discolorations with
lacquer thinner you should be fine with new wood without sealing.
That's the cabinet part.
You included the a text concerning flooring. It's a different
animal. If it is *brand new*
wood floor, stain it if you must, and
then seal with the proper flooring finish. They are made to be
installed without sealing first. However, you will have the time of
your life if you are inexperienced and stain, then put an oil based
finish over the top of it. You will be lifting dried stain in no
For the exact answer on your flooring, you should identify the finish
manufacturer and the exact product you are going to use. Call them
and ask them the best procedure. Many of the best floor finishes have
aluminum oxide or other abrasion resistant particulates in them that
will defy common sense and require their own application protocols.
That doesn't mean they are hard to apply, you just need to read the