DIY Church Pew Refinishing vs. Professional Church Pew Refinishing

Refinishing old, worn church pews is an exceptional way to update your sanctuary while preserving your church’s history. DIY refinishing is an option for skilled craftspeople, but many churches rely on professional refinishers to complete their pew restoration project. Trusting the right company with your treasured pews results in beautiful, long-lasting furniture for your faith-based gathering space.

Importance of Church Pew Refinishing

Church pew refinishing allows you to update your sanctuary’s interior while keeping a vital part of your church’s history. Because pews provide a place for so many people to pray, rest, praise, learn and comfort each other, they become sentimental pieces of your weekly gatherings that you want to preserve.

Refinishing your pews is also a cost-effective solution if they have become worn or discolored because it saves you money on brand-new pews. The cost of wood can increase with inflation, making new furniture an expensive investment. Rather than purchasing or building new pews, consider refinishing your existing ones to give them a beautiful, fresh look.

DIY Church Pew Refinishing vs. Professional Church Pew Refinishing

You have a couple of options when it comes to refinishing church pews. You can take a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach or opt for professional refinishing. The right option for your church depends on your personal skills and desired timeline.

DIY Refinishing

DIY refinishing can be cost-effective if you have the skills, experience and equipment to finish wood properly. It also provides a bonding opportunity if several members of your congregation have wood finishing experience because you can complete this project together. 

This type of project can help you and others in your congregation feel a strong sense of accomplishment and connection to the pews. It’s a great way for members to contribute their skills to the church and find meaning in their efforts. When individuals work together, the pews become a reminder of their hard work, camaraderie and devotion.

Professional Refinishing

DIY refinishing is an excellent option if church or congregation members are passionate about woodworking and have strong craftsmanship. However, hiring a professional company is ideal if you lack the experience, time and equipment to refinish wood properly.

Essential Supplies for Refinishing Pews

The tools and supplies you need depend on the condition of your pews. For example, you may need additional tools if your pews require extensive repairs. Most projects require the following tools, supplies and equipment:

  • A palm sander and sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Wood filler to repair cracks
  • Putty knife set
  • A screwdriver to disassemble pews
  • A hammer, nails and screws if you need to make small repairs
  • Lacquer
  • A stain brush
  • Woodstain polishing cloths
  • Plastic or fabric protective sheets to protect your building’s floor from stains
  • A power drill to secure pews to the floor if applicable
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a respirator to protect your lungs during sanding

PPE is especially important when sanding and refinishing old furniture because wood and wood stains may contain potentially harmful chemicals. Wearing the appropriate PPE prevents you from inhaling dust and chemicals or absorbing them through your skin.

DIY Church Pew Refinishing Steps

If you choose to complete a DIY church pew refinishing project, follow these steps to ensure your pews turn out how you want them to:

  1. Create a floor plan detailing the pews’ current locations in the room or new locations if you plan to change your sanctuary’s layout.
  2. Catalog your pews according to the floor plan.
  3. Remove each pew’s fittings and mounting hardware carefully, and label each component so you can reassemble the pews after refinishing them.
  4. Check pews and hardware, and make repairs as necessary.
  5. Remove each pew’s existing finish at the deepest penetration level.
  6. Sand seat edges and balance surfaces with gentle wood removal techniques.
  7. Apply and remove your desired wood stain by hand.
  8. Apply four pre-catalyzed lacquer coats, and sand surfaces between each coat.
  9. Repeat steps 5 through 8 on each wooden pew attachment or fitting.
  10. Reassemble pews, and replace hardware, fittings and accessories if necessary.
  11. Reinstall pews according to your floor plan after the lacquer coats are dry.

Benefits of Professional Church Pew Refinishing

Professional church pew refinishing services offer the following advantages.

Beautiful Outcomes

A professional wood refinishing company has the skills and resources to ensure your pews look elegant and rejuvenated. While DIY refinishing may improve a pew’s look, professional work is more likely to deliver the highest-quality results. The Keck Group offers expert refinishing services to restore your pews, extend their longevity and give them a beautiful, uniform look to complement your sanctuary. 


Hiring a professional company to refinish your church pews can save you significant time. It gives your church staff and congregation more time to focus on other tasks such as preparing sermons, holding meetings and planning events. Professionals can work with your schedule and complete pews in batches to ensure your services and gatherings continue as normal.

Cost Savings

While DIY church pew refinishing may reduce upfront costs, it can cost you more money in the future if the results turn out differently than you expect. For example, you may need to redo your project or hire a professional to redo it if you skip a step or make a mistake. Trusting professionals with refinishing from the beginning allows you to avoid unexpected project delays, errors and costs.

Hiring Professional Church Pew Restoration and Refinishing Services

Hiring a professional pew restoration company is easy. Once you check reviews and contact a reputable company, professionals can pick up your pews, restore them and return them to your facility safely. The Keck Group offers excellent refinishing services to restore your sanctuary’s beauty. With a quick consultation, you can learn more about our services and schedule our team to begin the process.

To ensure you can continue church services, we finish a portion of your pews at a time or provide temporary seating if we complete all of your pews in one batch. This ensures you still have pews for your congregation to sit on until we finish your project. The Keck Group typically refinishes and reinstalls pews within 30 days of starting a project, and we complete quality work with the following benefits:

  • Experience: Our skilled refinishers are highly experienced, and some members of our team have been with our company for 25 years or more.
  • Equipment: We have top-quality tools and equipment to complete each job, and we outfitted our trailers specifically for transporting pews.
  • State-of-the-art facility: We own a 22,000-square-foot refinishing facility, allowing us to work efficiently and handle your pews with care until we return them. After the restoration process, we can store and protect your pews for as long as you need.
  • Reputation: Our experienced craftspeople have refinished pews successfully for over 3,200 religious buildings, and our employees take pride in their work. 

Restore Your Church Pews With The Keck Group’s Professional Refinishing Services

Professional refinishing is a fantastic way to restore your church pews and reinvigorate your sanctuary. While DIY refinishing is a great option for skilled craftspeople, most facilities trust professionals for the benefits they offer. When you hire The Keck Group to refinish your pews, you can expect stunning results at a fast turnaround time.

Our experienced refinishers will handle your pews with care and fine attention to detail, returning them to your church in excellent condition. Request a consultation or contact us to learn more about our refinishing services.