Sacred Heart Church – Haworth, NJ

Light Refinishing vs. Complete Refinishing

Finish-over Existing Finish vs. Removing Existing Finish to Bare Wood & Building New

We are often asked why it is not a good idea to apply a new field applied finish over an existing finish. In most cases, the answer is that the new finish will not bond with the existing finish. Within five to ten years, the new finish and the existing finish will have to be completely removed. This lifespan diminishes even more as churchgoers begin to leave clothing imprints in the seats, or the finish begins to peel off, which is quite unsightly.

There are cases though, that an onsite finish-over can take place. Instances include pews from the late 1990s that have an original lacquer finish that has not been top coated. We ran into an instance in Hayworth NJ, where we were able to topcoat their pews that we had originally been refinished in 1998.

The finish had been partially removed by pandemic sanitizing, and we felt confident that a finish-over would work. Trying a sample of the back of a rear pew, it turns out that the existing finish and our high-strength Magnamax pre-catalyzed lacquer made the perfect bond.

We washed all surfaces with TSP and warm water, toned in the worn capping and end caps, sealed, then top coated the whole pew. As these pictures attest, the pews came out looking as they did when originally refinished.

This is not the normal case, so if you are considering a finish over, please contact us to discuss the pros
and cons of finishing over on your late ninety’s pews.

Sacred Heart Church
Pictured, finished pews at Sacred Heart Church, Haworth NJ.