Stripping and Refinishing

Stripping and Refinishing is often referred to as ‘the original recycling’. Stripping and Refinishing is a very common process that is used for a wide variety of reasons in the furniture industry. It can be used to correct damages, restore worn finish, repair water or fire damage or to change the color or sheen of the finish.

There are so many questions surrounding stripping and refinishing that we want to try to answer a number of them for you here.

What is the process of Stripping and Refinishing?

We strip furniture in a number of ways.

The first method is traditional chemical stripping where the finish is removed using a stripping agent. We use what is referred to as Flow Over or Hand Stripping. WE DO NOT “Dip” furniture! Your furniture will be taken from your home or office where the items are set on a large table. The stripping agent is pumped up through a scrub brush and the finish is removed. Once the finish has been removed, the stripping agent is rinsed off and neutralized allowed to dry and then sanded and stained. We then spray sealer and topcoat onto the piece sanding between coats resulting in a ‘like new’ piece in the color and sheen of your choice.

Another method is when we strip an item on site. Generally, this is restricted to commercial settings but we have made occasional exceptions. In on-site situations, we only strip the top of a table as stripping legs is difficult to do without risking damage to the flooring. After carefully protecting the surrounding areas a Water-Based, environmentally friendly stripping agent is applied to the top and then covered with a sheet of plastic. This helps minimize odor but more importantly speeds up the chemical reaction that removes the existing finish. Once the finish is removed, the stripping agent is flushed in a controlled manner and then neutralized. After it has dried we sand (using a double HEPA filtered, vacuum attached sanding system) the tabletop preparing it for color. The stains, sealers and topcoats are all high performing, proven, Water-Based products that are safe to use in areas as sensitive as hospitals and cancer treatment facilities.

In some cases, mechanically removing the existing finish is the most cost effective method. In these cases the existing finish is cleaned extensively and the allowed to dry. The vacuum assisted, double HEPA sanding systems are employed to remove the finish. Staining, sealing and finishing are handled in the same manner as described above. This is commonly done when only the top of a piece requires service – a dining room tabletop, a sofa table with minor water damage or a nightstand with a fingernail polish remover accident are all good examples of when this may be the most appropriate and cost effective method.

Will stripping damage my furniture?

In a word, no. Done properly, stripping is a wonderful way to restore, repair or renew a piece of furniture. Hand stripping or ‘top only’ refinishing does no damage to joints and is more like a face lift than major surgery for your furniture.
Will refinishing reduce the value of a piece of furniture?

Well…this is a tough question because the short answer is – it depends! I guess if pressed I would have to say both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. If you have an investment piece of furniture (typically around $3,500.00 or more accompanied by a professional appraisal and statements regarding the heritage of the piece) you can experience a loss of value if the original finish is completely removed. That said, if only part of the item has been damaged, saving the entire piece – and using period appropriate materials and methods of application – can actually preserve value. If the existing finish is in poor condition, refinishing can in some cases add to the value as well. We try to offer genuine, honest advice to our customers and promise to give you as many options as possible.

There are a couple of very typical scenarios that we find where refinishing is a very good option;

  • An item has been damaged in a move or through a fire or flood and refinishing will put them back into pre-loss condition.
  • The pieces are in disrepair but are heirlooms that have been handed down. Refinishing will put them into better condition, ready for full use and ready to be handed down to the next generation

If you have any questions about Stripping and Refinishing or to arrange for a quote please give us a call or send us an e-mail at your convenience.