Wood Refinishing Tips from a Professional Painter

Professional painters encounter problems with wood refinishing all the time. Generally, people choose to skip a few steps in the hopes of having an easier project. However, they soon realize that it does not look as good as they wanted, and they hire a painter to redo it. Use these wood refinishing tips to help you avoid wasting time and money and end up with great looking wood.

Tip #1: Test

First, test out your stain and finish. This is critically important but far too often forgotten. After all, what could be worse than spending a weekend refinishing a door only to realize that the color is hideously ugly next to your walls? Don’t just test one piece of wood for the entire project, either, unless you are only refinishing one type of wood. Get scrap wood of a similar type to what you are planning on refinishing, and try your stain and finish on each piece. A great door might make an ugly table, so test each finish on each type of wood. By doing this, you’ll avoid wasting time and materials.

Tip #2: Strip Old Finishes

If a brand new stain color and finish are what you are looking for, start by stripping the wood of previous finishes and sanding the wood down. It is tempting to skip the stripping and sanding, especially if the finish is clear. However, if you want a new lighter stain color this is absolutely crucial. It takes plenty of patience, but if the old finish is left on the wood, it will prevent the stain from permeating the wood. Not only will this leave ugly spots. It will also degrade the entire quality of the effort and make the stain and finish less effective even in places where you did remove the old finish.

Tip #3: Sand

Make sure to sand the wood first, so that the finish can permeate the wood. Otherwise it will not stay on. This also applies if you are only putting on a fresh coat of clear finish. A light sanding will increase adhesion between the new and old finish.

Tip #4: Choose the Right Finish for Your Conditions

It also helps to use the right finish, in the right amount, for the wood. Wood that is outdoors and exposed to the elements should have a waterproof finish so that it does not peel when it rains. Hot sunshine can also help cause the finish to peel if it’s not suited for outdoors. Research the finish for suitability and quality.

Tip #5: Use Enough Finish

Finally, use enough of it. Most finishes require at least two coats, and Tung oil should have three to four. That will ensure that the finish work is complete to make your wood look more appealing.

Doing a great job refinishing wood takes more time than a haphazard effort. Testing, completely stripping and sanding the wood, and using the right finish in the right amounts takes more time and might seem to cost more than doing a shoddy job. However, doing a good wood refinishing job takes far less time and money in the long run than doing a bad job and having to go back to fix it or hiring a painter to do that. It’s a smart investment in your home to do well the first time.

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