Want to give a new look to an old, tired piece of furniture? Refinish it. You don’t need special equipment and you can finish in a weekend. Learn how to refinish a dining room table with the simple steps below.
1. Clean the Surface
Use gentle soap and water to remove dirt and oils from the table’s existing finish. This will prepare the surface to be sanded if it’s a stained table, or stripped if the table was previously painted or varnished.
2. Apply Stripper
If the table is painted or varnished, you’ll need to strip the surface. There are a variety of chemical stripping agents available at your local home improvement store. Whichever you use, follow manufacturer’s instructions and protect yourself from chemical burns by wearing proper protective equipment, like chemical-resistant gloves, a long-sleeved shirt and eye protection. Also, be sure to work in an area with proper ventilation. Leave the stripper on as long as recommended by the manufacturer to soften the existing finish before removing with a wide putty knife, following the grain of the wood and with the putty knife at a low angle to the table’s surface to prevent gouging the wood. Wipe the putty knife clean between with a cloth between scrapes. A second or third coat of stripper may be required if the previous finish has penetrated fine cracks in the wood. After removing the paint or varnish, wipe the table down with fine steel wool.
3. Clean With Mineral Spirits
Once you’re done stripping and the surface is dry, wipe with mineral spirits using a clean cloth to remove any residual stripper. Allow the table to fully dry before moving on to sanding.
4. Sand Table Surface
Sand the table following the grain of the wood to smooth the surface once you’ve stripped paint or varnish, or to remove a stained finish. If choosing to use an orbital or belt sander, be very careful not to gouge the surface. Do most of the initial sanding with 100-grit sandpaper, then step up to 150-grit and do a final pass with 220-grit to smooth out the grain. Finish to a smoothness that makes you happy. Carefully remove all sanding dust with a tack cloth.
5. Apply Stain
Apply stain with a disposable brush, following the wood’s natural grain. Apply stain liberally, allowing it to soak in for a few minutes, then wipe off excess stain with a soft cotton rag (synthetic rags aren’t going to soak up excess stain), using the rag to rub the stain into fine cracks in the wood. Tip: The longer stain sits on the wood before wiping, the darker the final color will be. For an even finish, apply stain a little at a time so you can be sure to wipe it off before it soaks in too long. Apply at least two coats of stain. Depending on the desired color depth and richness, apply more coats. Lightly sand with 220-grit paper (a very fine steel wool works, too) and clean with a tack cloth between coats. Note: Staining the wood causes the wood fibers to swell as they soak up the stain. The reason for sanding between coats is to knock down the swollen fibers to maintain a smooth surface.
6. Apply Finish
After the final coat of stain has thoroughly cured (typically overnight or 24 hours), apply polyurethane, according to the manufacturers’ instructions, or Tung oil. Apply at least two coats, since dining room tables get a lot of use, allowing each coat to fully cure before applying the next one. Buff a Tung oil finish with a cotton rag. Allow the final coat of polyurethane or Tung oil to dry for at least 24 hours before using the table. We’re sorry, there seems to be an issue playing this video. Please refresh the page or try again in a moment.
If you continue to have issues, please contact us here. The ease of some furniture DIYs might surprise you. There’s one in particular that requires minimal tools and investment, and the elbow-grease portion of the work can be completed in a few hours. (Then it’s just a matter of practicing your patience while things dry—which is probably the hardest part!) No, we’re not talking about reupholstering your favorite chair, though that’s doable, too. Instead we mean refinishing a piece of wood furniture—like that worn-out, beat-up wooden table you’ve been eyeing for months. Sure, you could always brush on a coat of paint without the hassle of sanding (more on that in a minute) or even consider whitewashing the table, but sometimes a room needs the warmth of natural wood, and refinishing with the stain of your choice is the way to get it. Read on for the short list of helpful tools you’ll need, a step-by-step breakdown of how to to refinish a wooden table, and answers to common questions like whether you can paint over varnished wood (yep) or refinish without sanding (also yep). Once you see how easy refinishing wood tables can be, you’ll be tempted to try your hand at refinishing other pieces in your home that have been waiting for facelifts.
Tools You’ll Need
- Brush for applying the stain
- Stain in your desired color
- Sandpaper in 100, 150, and 220 grit
- Tack cloth
- Rubber gloves
How To Refinish a Wood Table
- Move the table to a ventilated area, like a covered porch or garage, where you can work without worrying about the mess. Sand the table, beginning with the coarsest-grit sandpaper (100 grit) and sanding in the direction of the wood grain. Next, sand the table with the 150-grit paper, and finish by sanding with the 220-grit paper.
- Wipe the surface of the entire table using the tack cloth. Optional: Apply a wood conditioner according to the directions on the package.
- Brush the stain liberally onto the table, following the natural direction of the grain. Let the stain soak into the wood for just a few minutes before wiping it off with a clean towel. Let the table dry according to the directions on the stain’s packaging.
- Reapply the stain to reach the desired depth of color.
- Optional: For an extra-smooth finish, sand your newly stained table using fine 420-grit paper and using a hand sander.
- Apply polyurethane according to package directions, applying up to four coats for durability. Let the table dry for at least 24 hours before using.
Pasuk Lertbuaban / EyeEm
How much does refinishing a table cost?
If you happen to have the tools you need (see above) already on hand, then the cost of refinishing a wood table or other piece of wooden furniture is your time. If you don’t have these items, expect to spend around $60 at your local hardware store gathering supplies.
Can you paint over varnished wood without sanding?
Yes. Use a product called TSP, available at your local hardware store. Apply the product, rinse, and let it dry completely. Then prime your furniture and paint as desired. Don’t skip priming, or the grain from the wood may show through.
Klean-Strip Liquid Sandpaper Cleaner & Deglosser
Klean-Strip Liquid Sandpaper Cleaner & Deglosser
Can you refinish furniture without sanding?
As long as you aren’t staining it, yes. Certain types of paint will adhere to painted or stained furniture without sanding. Check out milk paint (like Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint), Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, or a mineral paint. Or use a good-quality primer that’s labeled for no sanding. You can also try a liquid deglosser (sometimes called liquid sandpaper), which, when applied to the surface of the wood, will remove the paint/finish. Be warned that it does smell, and is best done outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.
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