Painting Wood Furniture
LESLIE: Jennifer in South Carolina is having some trouble with a painting project. Tell us what’s going on.
JENNIFER: Hi. Last spring – about nine or ten months ago – I painted several pieces of wooden furniture with latex paint and I have done this in the past many times.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
JENNIFER: In the past, I’ve used semi-gloss and flat paint. This time, the only thing I did differently was I used satin and because I live in a very humid climate, I did even do this in a room there was a dehumidifier running 24 hours and waited a long time between coats.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. OK.
JENNIFER: Here I am almost a year later and everything is still sticking.
TOM: Oh, that’s weird. Was it new paint?
TOM: It was brand-new paint.
TOM: What was the finish? Was the finish consistent amongst all the pieces?
JENNIFER: Yes. I did probably four to six – I think probably more like six coats.
TOM: Oh, wow. That’s a lot of coats.
LESLIE: Yeah. (Jennifer laughs)
TOM: I never put that many coats on.
JENNIFER: You think that’s the problem?
TOM: I think you … (chuckles)
TOM: That might be part of the problem. Usually, one to two coats – a primer coat and a top coat – is all you need. I think you overdid it here.
JENNIFER: Well, I’ve never used primer. Maybe that’s my problem. (laughs)
JENNIFER: Because I had to ….
TOM: It’s always a good idea. You know, primer is the paint that makes the top paint stick, especially when you’re painting furniture or something of that nature.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah.
TOM: It’s a good idea to sand lightly and then prime the whole thing. You get a really good solid surface to adhere the top paint to; then, one more coat and you’re done.
TOM: I think, in this situation, she’s going to have to strip it down, Leslie.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Especially if, Jennifer, when you painted that piece of wood furniture, there was already, say, a finish on it. You need to make sure that you either sand that finish off or use a liquid sand.
JENNIFER: I did use a liquid sander.
LESLIE: Sometimes the liquid sander isn’t aggressive enough, depending on what’s on there – especially if it’s, you know, like a super-high gloss; almost like an enamel but it’s a clear gloss on it, almost like a resin coating. So you really need to make sure that you get down to some sort of raw wood and that you can feel it.
I think the best thing for you to do now is to buy a chemical stripping agent. Spray it on or roll it on – whatever the proper application is, per that manufacturer that you pick up – and let it do its job and then scrape off that old finish and start from scratch. And I really would not do more than two coats.
JENNIFER: Mm-hmm. OK. Well, wonderful. That’s why I called you all. Thank you so much. (chuckles)
TOM: Alright. You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.