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Refinishing apartment woodwork - mismatch11/22
I recently bought a 100 year old building with 2 apartments. The woodwork in the bottom apartment is mostly intact - yellow pine floors, doors, wainscotting and trim.
Some of the woodwork was stripped bare, some is partially stripped, some was painted white, some replaced with crappy pine,
and some has the original finish - which is high gloss and dark red-brown - perhaps shelack?
Glossy finish trim.jpg
My dilemma is what to do? Try to get everything to match the original dark finish? Strip everything and leave a kind of semi-distressed bare wood (which looks like fir) with perhaps a clear matt finish? Or just paint everything and walk away.
painted doors and kit floor.jpg
If I do go with the dark red look or the stripped wood, what colors would look good with the walls?
I appreciate any help or comments.
I have a floor guy who will sand the floors and put on a semi-gloss finish. That paneling will all be removed and replaced with plastered blueboard.
Sorry for this comment, but the best solution is to hire a great trim carpenter, (remove all that old wood trim) then go to a mill shop and select your 'new' moulding profile, then paint or stain to your choice.
The old trim is beat to hell and not worth the time or material for restoring. Also, that trim may contain lead.
I've had it tested for lead - there is none.
By all means keep the old trim. Wood should not be considered a disposable material. In fact, good materials age well and develop colors and a patina that is a testament to both its quality and life, and unobtainable any other way.
Have it stripped of the current finish if it is in bad shape and then try various finishes on samples. Avoid stain if you can, and let the wood be wood. Perfect for that industrial look, also.
How many chemicals will it take to effectively strip the woodwork.....have your lungs checked after the process. You tell me if you think it is worth it! I am all for salvaging wood from the 16th and 17th century....not ordinary pine from the twentieth century!
Totally agree with David. What you have is not a diamond in the rough....its what a diamond wants to be. Great find McPetruk!!
Thanks for all the comments. I've already stripped those white doors you see - using citrus-based stripper from Home Depot - actually worked as well as the chemical variety and no problem with fumes or toxicity. Stripping remaining moulding might be more than I want to do - and there are always little streaks of paint remaining. Might mill some new stuff.
Have a toner blended to the color you want. Mix it with sealer and spray it on the millwork as is. With the right toner you can blend very different looking stained woods to a consistent color. Then choose an appropriate spray glaze color to highlight the dings and dents and after you have that done spray a clear coat to seal it.
Thanks Denny J. I'm going to see if I can find someone in my area (Plymouth MA) who can do this kind of work. (I don't even know what search words to use - "refinishing" "Architecture"?
Check out the Yellow Pages under "furniture repair and refinishing". Try a Google search too. Check out a prospective craftsman prior work. I would explain precisely and exactly what my expectations were going to be. The reason I mention this is because in a 100 year old dwelling is bound to have some lead in it. I know you mentioned that there was not any present in what area you worked on...but it might/should be a red-flag to the Company you decide on hiring. Don't go "cheap"
Lots upon lots of Government hoops to jump through now a days to do this kind of work. Have all you ducks in order !!
I have been renting out apartments and houses for over 20 years. If you are worried to this degree about the finishing on the trim, you are in for a world of pain.
There is no lead, except on one baseboard - I had a full lead inspection, and I am certified to remove it via Osha and MA regulations (which are tougher).
It's quite possible that it's a shellac finish. Try a little alcohol on it, it'll soften right up if it is. Simple to strip.
First, 100 year old yellow pine these days is known as heart pine and as reclaimed lumber (not reclaimed molding) is very expensive. I have it on the second floor of my house and I'm in the process of refinishing it. Mine has shellac on it and has never been touched since it was put in. I will put shellac back on to achieve the patina of it.
I've removed all of the trim from one room and it is currently in my shop for restoration. (The paying jobs keep getting in the way though). It's much easier to work on it on a bench or horses than in place on the wall. Goes quicker too. If you remove it make sure you mark where it came from.