Wood furniture is a wonderful investment. Through changing home design trends and phases of life, it can be reborn with a fresh coat of paint or by stripping it down entirely and refinishing it. Don't be intimidated by furniture that needs some tender loving care. A little elbow grease and some determination will go a long way to giving your wood furniture new life. Refinishing it can be an eco-friendly process. Using low VOC and non-toxic products is good for the earth and good for your home and family.
One of the most important steps in refinishing wood products is preparation. Evaluating what you have, what it needs, and (the fun part) what you want it to become. On my last project, I was inspired by the mission style VisionDecor dining room sets with their clean lines and naturalistic finishes. Once you get into your project, here are six potential mistakes to avoid:
Clean UpClean up early and often. When you've sanded, be sure you get the particles out of your work area. You do not want to get to the final coat of lacquer only to have sawdust stick to the finish.
Dry TimeGive each step of the process time to dry or cure completely before you go on to the next step. Rushing into adding another layer of paint can lead to a soft finish prone to denting or peeling.
Using the Wrong MaterialsIf you are unsure whether materials are compatible or appropriate, ask before you do! Latex primers and paints, for example, rarely play well with oil-based paints. Before you layer one over the other, consult the expert at the paint counter or find a reliable online source for research. This is important both for the long term success of your project and, potentially, your health - what if two materials used on one project, when mixed, created an unsafe result?
Don't Miss the DetailsWith preparation work especially, be sure to really follow through on each step. It might not seem like a big deal to leave a crevice unsanded, but if you want a good result, you have to get it stripped down to a blank canvas. Take off all the hardware and fill holes, especially if you're replacing it with something new that might not fit in the exact same way the old hardware did.
Eco-UnfriendlyBe cautious when disposing of materials. Paint dust and rags soaked with urethane or paint are considered hazardous materials and should never be disposed of with other standard household waste. Check with your waste management company or local government to find out how to safely dispose of hazardous waste in your area.
Trying to Do Too MuchWith furniture items, it's tempting to try to redo all the pieces or sides at once and then leave them to dry. Unfortunately, in many cases that's nearly impossible to do without damaging what you've just been working on. A little patience will go a long way. Plan out the optimum approach so you can work on a stable surface without putting fingerprints or dents onto your work!
Clara Richman Clara is from Minneapolis, MN, raised by parents at the opposite end of the education spectrum: her father, an elementary school principal; and her mother, a middle school substitute teacher. Now living in San Diego, Clara draws on that dichotomy when writing about education.