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I need to re-finish/paint my coffee and dining tables. Do I have to sand first?

I need to re-finish my tables and there is a fair amount of the top coat of finish coming off the tables. They appear to have been stained and sealed and are at least 20+ years old. I want to go from the light brown/blonde color to a black and I was just considering painting them black.


Do I need to sand them down first to remove the cracked and missing finish? And since these are tables we eat at, is there a paint or finish that would be best since we will inevitably have hot items on the surfaces?

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Posted 2013-08-14T15:21:40+0000  by annabliss80 annabliss80

Welcome to our community Annabliss80!


Thank you for your question! If the cracking and missing finish is noticeable to the touch, you will need to sand it smooth. If it is really rough, I would recommend using an electric sander. As far as which kind of paint to use, you can use any paint you desire. Typically when people paint furniture they use a semi-gloss finish. For extra protection against the heat, you can apply Helmsman Spar Urethane .


If you have any more questions, please let us know!


Christine :smileyhappy:

Posted 2013-08-14T16:21:50+0000  by Christine_HD_ATL



No paint or varnish will stand up to hot dishes placed upon them. that is why the trivit was invented!


As to what type of paint to use: Acrylic paints are not particularly well suited to furniture due to their inherent gummy, sticky quality. Perhaps you have had the experience of trying to remove a vase or dish off a surface which had been painted with acrylic / latex paint. A good tug is neccessary to break it loose. Such surfaces also feel sticky to your forearms on the table top, especially when it is humid.


Oil and lacquer finishes  dry to a much harder, non-gummy finish. These can be had in brushing versions or spray cans. Spray cans can actually give an excellent, brush mark free finish. Brushed oil finishes also tend to level themselves much better than arylic paints.


Another possibility for you is the use of Minwax PolyShades in the "Classic Black" color. PolyShades is a pigmented urethane varnish which can be put over an existing finish. Classic Black is particularly highly pigment and two coats results in an almost opague finish, such as is popular right now in furniture stores.


PolyShades can be sprayed, if you have the equipment, or it can be brushed with a quality natural bristle brush.


Whatever finish you use, the standard advice is to clean the surface, scuff sand it with 220 grit paper and prepare any damaged areas. On old furniture, you want to really be concerned with old cleaners that have left a waxy finish on the surface. If water beads on the surface, BEWARE!  Wax is best removed with mineral spirits and fine steelwool.


Hope this has helped somewhat.

Posted 2013-08-15T16:36:42+0000  by ordjen
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