Dining tables can be expensive, especially if you want a long solid wood table to gather around with friends and family. I purchased this incredible dining table on Facebook Marketplace for $75 dollars. It required a lot of sanding and just a little paint to make it look beautiful again. Here’s how I refinished this table and a step by step tutorial so that you can learn how to refinish your own!
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What you’ll need:
Krud Kutter (or any TSP cleaner)
Sand paper & sanding sponges 120 & 220grit (can be found at your local hardware store)
Tack cloth or rag
Step 1:Repair & Clean
Clean the table well and make any repairs that need to be made first. To clean my pieces I use Krud Kutter. You can also use dish soap and water or any TSP cleaner. Make sure to get all of the dirt and grime off. Even though I plan on sanding, I always clean my furniture a bit (especilly if there’s visible dirt and grime). After cleaning, allow your piece to dry well.
*If you need to take your table apart so that its easier to work on make sure to put all of your screws and any hardware in a ziplock bag. That way you won’t worry about losing any screws when its time to put the table back together.
We removed the leaves from the top and the legs to make it easier to work on.
Before sanding, be sure to check what type of wood your table is made out of. Some tables are solid wood, while others have a thin layer of veneer on the top and then particle board or MDF (medium-density fiberboard) underneath. Some tables are made out of manufactured wood and can’t be sanded. Do your research before you start sanding. You can sand veener, but very carefully. Veneer is pretty thin and if you sand down too much you can cause irreversible damage.
Once you’ve identified that your table can be sanded, start sanding your table top with 120 grit sand paper using an orbital sander. Be sure to wear a dust mask when sanding. I used my SurfPrep 3inchx4inch electric sander which is a little pricey but I’m always refinishing furniture so it’s worth the investment.
Be careful when sanding the corners and edges of your table with your oribital sander. It can chip away some of the wood or sand too much of the veneer. For the areas that you plan on painting, you do not have to sand down to the raw wood. You’ll just need to scuff sand with a sanding sponge so that your paint bonds well. The edge around the top of our table is made of MDF so that was scuff sanded by hand and painted.
Use your sanding sponges for areas that the orbital sander can’t get to. The legs on our table had lots of curves so we sanded what we could with our electric sander and did the rest by hand. To get into the little tight areas I cut a piece paint stirrer and wrapped sandpaper around it. The sanding doesn’t have to be perfect as you want some character to show. Don’t stress if some areas are lighter than others.
After your piece is completely sanded, clean it again. You can clean the sanding dust off using a vacuum and a tack cloth (which is what I do) or you can use a rag. Make sure to clean it well so that your poly goes on nice and clean.
Depending on the finish of your wood and what color you paint, you may have to prime too. Some types of wood release lots of tannins that cause bleed through after it’s painted. For more on that, check out my post on 4 Things to Consider Before Painting Furniture.
You can use BB Frosch paint transformer which you can mix with any latex paint. Other popular paints for refinishing furniture are Melange Paints, Country Chic Paint, Fusion Mineral Paint, Shakteau Interiors, & Dixie Belle Paint.
I mixed BBFrosch paint transformer with a sample of Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige. Check out my post on using BBfrosch for painting furniture. I used painters tape and taped around the area I was going to paint. I painted around the table top and the bottom detail on the legs using my Zibra brush. My favorite brushes to use are Zibra, Wooster, and Pro Grade (all could be found on my Amazon store front)
The last step is applying poly. When applying poly I always apply at least 3 coats. Follow the instructions on the back of the can. Apply your first coat and let it dry for at least 2 hours in between coats. Drying time depends on the humidity in the room. Sometimes it may take longer to dry.
After your first coat of poly is dry, sand using a 220 grit sanding sponge (this ensures proper adhesion of the next coat). Wipe off the sanding dust well, then apply your next coat. Repeat the steps and apply as many coats as you’d like. For higher traffic pieces at least 3 coats is recommended.
If you are sanding a piece down completely and are NOT painting any part of it, you can do a oil based or a water based poly ( I like to use water based). If you are applying poly over paint make sure it is water based. Oil based poly can yellow over time so avoid oil based when applying over paint.
I used Minwax Water Based Polycrylic in satin. I poured a small amount of poly in a bowl and used a round painting sponge to apply it to the top. For the legs, I used a foam brush because its easier to get into the curves. You can apply polycrylic with a synthetic bristle brush or a foam brush. Do thin even coats and do not over brush. Watch for drips.
To apply the poly we put the leaves back on the top. Look at how long this table is! A total 102 inches long!
Here is the final look!
Can you believe this is the same table? (I removed the two leaves to stage and take photos)
If you have a solid dining table that you would like to refinish, give it a try! I hope you found these steps to be helpful! Let me know what you think.
Bond Corp says
Such an informative article! All the information provided by you is really very helpful. By using tack cloth you can easily remove small dust particles from the surface and it also gives you smooth paint finishing. Thank you for sharing! Keep posting!
Thank you so much for your kind words! I love using a tack cloth!
Chetna Patel says
This table looks fabulous! I have been wanting to change my kitchen table for the longest but can’t decide on paint or stain or color 😕. Love this color do you think it will hold up to everyday use?
Hi! Thank you! If it’s a solid wood table then I say sand and stain for sure! Maybe add some color on the legs? Any table can hold up well if properly refinished and protected with several coats of polycrylic.