Wood Refinishing Steps – A Step by Step Guide to Refinishing Wood


Do you have peeling trim and fading doors? It might be tempting to replace them with new wood, or pay a carpenter to do it for you. However, it might be unnecessary. If the problem is just with the color of the wood or the finish, you can save a great deal of money if you refinish the wood.

With proper care, stained and finished wood should last at least five years before needing to be refinished. With a new stain and finish, it’ll be as good as new. Refinishing wood is not only less expensive and easier, but perhaps more importantly, you are not forced to live with a house under construction.

Follow these simple wood refinishing steps to get the look you want and deserve.

Step #1 – Strip Off the Old Finish

To refinish the wood, start by stripping the old finish from the wood. It may be easier to do this with a heat gun or chemical stripper. You’ll need to identify the type of wood and the finish. The right type of stripper is crucial to removing the finish. Steel wool may also be useful for removing thick paint layers.

Step #2 – Sand

Once this is done, sand the wood down. This will smooth out any raised grain from stripping and other problems in the wood and make it more permeable to staining and finishing.

Step #3 – Apply Pre-Stain Conditioner

Before you stain the wood, use a pre-stain conditioner for softer wood. This may be less important for hard woods such as maple, birch and oak but is essential for good results on pine and fir. If you don’t use pre-stain conditioner, any stain you apply will appear blotchy.

Step #4 – Apply Stain

Next, stain the wood to achieve a color you like. Make sure to test the stain out first on a piece of scrap wood similar to the wood you are staining. This will prevent any catastrophic color choices that you might regret.

Step #5 – Apply Sealing Finish

To seal the wood and color against water, sunlight, or other elements of nature, use a finish like varnish, Tung oil, or acrylic urethane. This will keep your wood safe for the long-term.

Performing a test of the finish on a sample piece of wood is a good idea at this stage. You also want to choose the right finish for the conditions the wood will be exposed to.

With those simple steps, you can skip the expense of completely replacing the interior doors and trim. Instead, just refinish them every few years. They’ll look better than ever, and you’ll avoid the cost and disruption of replacing all that wood. And best of all, your home will look far better thanks to a little bit of effort.

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