When Refinishing Wood, How Do You Apply Paint?

When refinishing wood, how do you apply paint? This article describes the uses of paint on furniture. When it comes to furniture, most consumers have learned how to make repairs and changes on their own....

When it comes to furniture, most consumers have learned how to make repairs and changes on their own. One of the most popular changes that furniture can undergo is having the wood refinished. Having a piece of furniture refinished is a very easy process that should return the original luster and color to any wood piece. But when it comes to applying paint to a refinished piece, most experts will side against that step.


Dean Camenares is the owner of East End Wood Strippers in Holbrook, NY, a family-owned business since 1959. He is an expert woodwork restoration specialist who has more than 20 years experience. Camenares is just one of the many experts who strongly recommend against painting over refinished wood.




"Paint is opaque," he said. "Paint is hiding wood and there are very valid reasons to paint wood. It has been done for years. But by painting it, you are hiding the actual wood. So if you have a nice hardwood with fine figuring on it, a beautiful crouch, a mahogany piece or something similar, you generally do not want to paint that because you are going to hide the beauty."

One of the biggest misconceptions about painting furniture is that the new coat of paint will add a sense of beauty to the piece. But as Camerares states, the beauty in wood pieces comes solely from the luster that shines from the original wood finishing. If consumers want to enhance that finish, try adding a clear coat of paint.

"The purpose of the finishing is to enhance the beauty of the wood itself," Camenares said. "Sometimes all you need to do is to put clear coats on it and the wood has its own natural coloring that is very attractive. By adding a clear coat of paint, you are just enhancing that beauty."

Other ways of painting finished wood include adding dyes. Most experts will give consumers the same information when it comes to dye as they would with paint on refinished wood. In Camerares's opinion, dyes are not good for refinished wood either.

"Dyes actually go into the wood fiber and change the wood," he said. "If you want to use a dye stain or a pigmented stain or both, you may need to use a pigment color to help even the color out. On certain woods, you might want to first use the dye stain to help prevent it from blotching."

"There are old methods of coloring woods too," he added. "I do not see any advantages to them right now, but you can expose oak to ammonia and it is going to change the color of the wood. You can expose oak to lye and it is going to change the color of the wood too."

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