Kid-Friendly Finishings for Furniture
LESLIE: Jamie in Nebraska needs some help with a furniture refinishing project. What’s going on?JAMIE: Hi. I have a couple of old pieces of furniture, a pie hutch and a table …LESLIE: OK.JAMIE: … that are painted and, you know, they have the really need patina of age. But I also have two little kids. I’m worried about lead paint.LESLIE: OK.JAMIE: So my question was if I should maybe put a polyurethane on it or if I could repaint it; if that’s enough for the lead paint. And I don’t know that it’s lead paint but because it’s so old …LESLIE: And it’s chipping and your kids will probably pick it up and put it in their mouths …JAMIE: Could be. But right now it’s in storage but I would like to see them someday.LESLIE: Is the paint so loose in a lot of areas that it’s just constantly falling off or is it just a couple of little problem areas where you see the paint lifting?JAMIE: Well, you know, it’s not really like falling off. It’s just – it’s kind of – you know, it’s got probably a couple layers of paint, so it’s kind of – you can see other colors coming through.LESLIE: But you like that look, right?JAMIE: I’m sorry, what?LESLIE: But you like that look, right?JAMIE: Yeah, I like the look but I didn’t know if I should just kind of forget it and repaint it or polyurethane it or …TOM: Well, I think if you take the piece out and you lightly sand it …LESLIE: I would sand the edges that are sort of picking up. I wouldn’t sand the whole thing; I would just sand where you think your kids could get a nail hold underneath.TOM: Right.JAMIE: OK.TOM: And then prime it. Use a good-quality primer.JAMIE: OK.TOM: Then you should be able to repaint the whole thing and have no worries.LESLIE: (groans) No paint.TOM: No paint?LESLIE: I say don’t paint it. I say …TOM: Well, she said it already has paint on it.LESLIE: I know but if she likes the look – because I know exactly what she’s talking about. There are areas where there’s sort of different washes of color and then there’s natural wood showing through and it has this really interesting, age-y look that people like long for when it comes to sort of this country decorating style.JAMIE: (overlapping voices) Right. Yes.LESLIE: So what I would do is lightly sand, like Tom suggested, but just in the area where anybody could sort of get a nail-hold underneath and pick off a chunk of paint. And then I would get a water-based, clear topcoat and I would do it in a flat finish. Don’t get a gloss; don’t get a semi-gloss. Get flat as flat can be; matte is what it’s probably going to be called. And then put it over that and that’ll seal those edges down so that it’ll take a good bit of work to get under there. But having a one-year-old, I know that their magic fingers can take apart anything – I don’t know how. (Jamie chuckles) But I think if you put that clear coat on it, it’ll seal everything in there as best as it can and, this way, they won’t be able to pick the paint off and you’ll still have that look.JAMIE: OK. Good to know. Well, thanks so much.TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.