The average cost to refinish furniture is about $500. The price can range from $358-$582, depending on the size of the piece, the intricacy of the item itself and the finish you choose.
Furniture refinishing cost:
|National average cost||$500|
|Average cost range||$357-$582|
Refinishing furniture is an excellent way to bring an old piece back to life or keep that antique family heirloom looking its best. Keep reading to learn how to estimate prices and hire a local furniture refinisher for your project.
What’s in this cost guide?
A dining room table measuring approximately 3 feet by 5 feet costs $500-$600, according to Sterling Customs in Denver, Colorado. This includes completely sanding and refinishing the tabletop with up to four coats of finish and touching up the legs as needed. Sevega Adriano Antiques Restoration and Wood Finishes in Los Angeles also charge $600 to refinish tables.
Several factors impact the overall cost of refinishing your furniture. Because each piece of furniture is unique, the amount of work that must go into a piece will greatly affect the price. Even if an item is small (such as an end table or a child’s chair) and has intricate details in the design, it might take longer than you’d expect.
The materials needed to refinish the item may also affect the price. For example, if you have an antique that needs a specialty stain or a rare color, that could add an additional cost. A spokesperson at Sevega Adriano Antiques Restoration and Wood Finishes says that 5 percent or less of a customer's total bill reflects the cost of materials.
Your cost may go up depending on difficulty, too. If an item has multiple layers of old stains or paint that must be removed before staining, it means added time and work for the professional.
There are a few other factors, such as your local costs for labor and how quickly you need the job done, that could affect your total cost for the job.
While each professional may have a particular process they follow, there are several steps in furniture refinishing that are generally incorporated into every job. Your furniture pieces may need a slightly different technique or additional steps, but your professional will do everything they need to make your piece look new.
Clean the surface & check for repairs
The first step is to clean the overall surface of the piece of furniture. This is typically done using simple soapy warm water and a sponge to remove any dirt, grime or sticky adhesive that may be present. The professional will also inspect the piece closely to see if there are any dents or repairs that need to be addressed.
Remove the old finish
There are two main ways to remove the finish on your wood furniture — sanding or chemical stripping. A heat gun can be used on particularly stubborn finishes, but typically the other two options are enough. A belt and disk sander can easily remove finishes from flat surfaces. Harder-to-reach areas such as spindles or decorative wood details may be removed using sandpaper or chemical stripping.
Chemical strippers are a very effective way to easily remove paint or varnishes. There are a variety of strippers such as liquid, gel, spray, semi-pastes and pastes. Your professional will have experience using these strippers and can choose the correct one to complete your refinishing properly.
Fill in the grain and cracks
To achieve a smooth finish for your wood furniture, the professional may need to fill it before applying the finish. Woods such as mahogany and oak have an open grain structure that can be filled using a putty knife to apply a pigmented paste.
Seal the wood
To avoid discoloration and dark spots on your furniture, a professional will apply a sealer to the entire surface of the furniture. This will create a smooth base for the stain or paint to adhere to.
Paint or stain the wood
The next step will be to apply the paint or stain you have selected to finish your furniture. There are several types of stains, and a professional can guide you through the options, including oil-based, gel and water-based stains.
Apply the finish
A layer or two of finish will then be applied to your furniture. This will help protect your furniture from moisture and give your piece a beautiful shine. Talk to your professional about adding a lacquer, oil-based, polyurethane or water-based polyurethane finish.
There are several reasons you may refinish a piece of furniture instead of buying something new. For example:
- Cheaper than buying new furniture. Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on new furniture, compare the cost of refinishing your current pieces. You may end up saving a lot of money.
- Hold onto sentimental items. A piece passed down in your family or given to you by someone special will have sentimental value that makes it worth the little extra work to refinish.
- Make used furniture look new. You may have bought used furniture items at a thrift store or garage sale. And they need a little cleaning up to bring back their original shine.
- Bring life to old, beloved pieces. You may have a treasured antique showing its age but just needs a touch up to give it new life. Some very high-quality and well-built pieces may look like they are on their way out, but with some refinishing, they can last you years to come.
Whatever the reason, refinishing your furniture can be a worthwhile investment.
Regular cleaning is key to keeping your wood furniture looking its best. Wood finishes such as stains and paints should be cleaned gently to avoid doing any damage to the finish. Using simple dish soap with warm water and a sponge or rag to wipe down regularly will help keep the surface clean.
If your wood has an oil finish on it, any minor scratches can be easily fixed by gently sanding the spot and applying more oil. You can also apply the oil to the entire surface periodically to freshen it up. Applying furniture wax can also provide added protection.
After you have your furniture refinished, ask your professional for cleaning and maintenance tips.
Refinishing your furniture can be a tricky and time-consuming job, so hiring a local professional is a great option. Research their online profiles to check out photos of their past work and learn more about their specialties.
Furniture refinishing is typically done by master woodworkers or carpenters who have experience in revitalizing old or damaged wood. Because each piece of furniture is unique, send the professional a picture of your item(s) and ask for a free cost estimate.
Refinishing old furniture can bring it back to life and give you a piece to be proud of. Hire a professional in your area to handle this messy, time-consuming project and enjoy the finished product: a beautiful item to show off in your home.
Can you refinish furniture without sanding it?
Yes. Chemical strippers can remove previous finishes. If you’re using paint for the final finish, you may also use a bonding primer, liquid sander or a more adhesive-type paint such as mineral or chalk to paint directly over the old finish, according to Architectural Digest.