Church Pew Refinishing

Our Church Pew Refinishing Process

At The Keck Group, we specialize in church pew refinishing contractor services along the East Coast and beyond. In most cases, our craftsmen can refinish and install your pews within 30 days from start to finish. Keep church services going in the meantime with temporary seating, delivered and installed by us. 

We approach larger projects in sections, leaving other sections of the pews on-site while we refinish others, continuing this process until completion. We are happy to store your pews as long as necessary. We have a large storage facility and will keep them protected well after your refinishing project is complete. Browse our completed projects to see more photos of our work.

The Refinishing Process

wooden church pew before and after refinishing

Our refinishing and restoration process ensures that your wooden pews return to you in mint condition. For every refinishing and restoration project, we work through a meticulous 14-step process designed to leave you with a perfectly finished pew.

14 Steps to Refinishing Your Wood Church Pews

  1. Floor plan existing pews to existing locations.
  2. Catalog each pew for identification to the floor plan.
  3. Load pews in air ride trailers for a safe trip to the plant.
  4. Remove all existing mounting hardware, attachments (hymnal racks, etc.), fittings (bolts, plates, etc.) and complete necessary repairs.
  5. Remove existing finish by the flow-over system that removes finish to the deepest level of penetration.
  6. Sand seat edges random orbitally, balance surfaces with a palm sander. The intent is to restore, not make the pew look new, hence no belt sanding, planning, or other harsh wood removal techniques.
  7. Apply stain (if desired) by hand. Remove excess.
  8. Apply four coats of pre-catalyzed lacquer, sanding between coats. (AWI System 11, Architectural Woodworking Institute).
  9. Finish attachments separately for re-installation at the job site.
  10. Final inspection of finished product prior to shipment.
  11. Re-pack pews for delivery.
  12. Re-attach accessories, install pews as existed (unless a new floor plan is in place) using new hardware and fastening devices. Scribe pews to the new floor plan as required.
  13. Clean pews to remove dust from travel.
  14. Review maintenance guide and warranty with maintenance personnel.

Church Door Refinishing

In many instances, church doors were exquisitely fashioned to provide a grand entryway for parishioners into their house worship. However, over the years, extreme temperature fluctuations, sunlight, and other weather conditions can wreak havoc on the wood, wood finish, and hardware.
In many cases, The Keck Group can restore these doors to their original natural beauty. When the doors are beyond repair, however, we also offer new solid mahogany doors or new metal doors, both available with a choice of glass design.

Furniture Refinishing

Most pew refinishing projects also include refinishing altar furniture and other items throughout the church to match the refinished pews. Furniture pieces purchased over the years, many times in unmatched colors, can be finished to match. Repairs, missing parts and pieces, upholstery, and new matching furniture are also within our expertise.

Total production at our 18,000 sq/ft refinishing facility averages 300 to 400 linear feet of pews per week. Typically, church pews are removed in one piece. Benches in two halves are separated at the joiner. We have trailers designed for the safe transport of church pews. Our sixteen specially equipped air ride trailers are capable of transporting full pews without the risk of damage. 

There are many benefits to keeping your pews intact during transportation, refinishing and re-installation. These include:

  • Safer transport: Keep your pews safe from damage.
  • Simple removal: Keep all the original hardware intact.
  • Mirror installation: Reinstallation will match the original layout.

Before the refinishing process, we perform all necessary repairs to improve the integrity of your wooden pews. We also remove any aftermarket hardware from past and temporary fixes, and apply professional repairs in their place. We remove all existing pew hardware, including anchors, hymnal racks, cardholders and kneelers and refinish them separately, as required.

Generally, around 80% of church pew refinishing services follow this process. Extended seats, re-angled backs, cut down ends and removal of divider walls fall more into the category of pew restoration — a separate service we offer. 

When You May Need Church Pew Refinishing Work

worker refinishing a wooden church pew in shop

Generally speaking, church pews produced after 1940 require a full, professional refinishing service every 30 years. The craftsmen at the time were limited to nitrocellulose lacquer finishes. Today’s finishes offer immensely greater benefits and protection. Modern pre-catalyzed finishes create strong chemical bonds for stronger protection that lasts much longer. 

In many cases, these old church pews have been over-coated at least once by the time they reach our facility. Over-coating trades quality for savings, applying a new layer of finish over the old. This process produces a faster but weaker finish, generally peeling or cracking within a few years.

Your pews may be hiding beauty underneath. Many older benches are coated in a limed oak finish, popular during the 1950s. This creamy, milk-colored finish conceals the majority of the beautiful wood grain. We will remove the old finish and apply a brilliant new one, accenting all the beauty of your pews. 

Signs a Church Pew Needs Refinishing

Church Pew Refinishing before and after

Church pews receive a lot of use. After decades of countless congregants sitting, kneeling and standing with the aid of your pews, they will show signs of wear, such as:

  • Pew capping: Pew capping becomes worn from years of gripping while standing and sitting.
  • Pew upholstery: Over time, upholstery becomes worn, damaged and even sticky — leaving visible imprints on clothing. 
  • Kneelers: Kneelers see a lot of scuff marks and damage over time, requiring refinishing. 

Refinishing church pews is an excellent opportunity to change the color of your pews and their upholstery. We want to help you uncover the beauty your church pews have to offer. To speak to our team about refinishing your pews, give us a call at (888) 253-KECK. We will answer any questions you may have and help you create an estimate for refinishing your pews. 

Our Church Pew Refinishing Services

The Keck Group Team

Scheduling professional church pew refinishing services is simple. Send us a message or give us a call to get started. To help expedite the process, have your pew count and sizes ready. Any pictures you can send will be helpful and appreciated, but we can get started with a phone call or email. We will create a personalized estimate around your specific project with detailed timelines and payment terms included.

Following estimate approval, we will come to your church to look at your pews and their hardware. During this visit, we will explain our refinishing process and how it applies to your pews, and answer any questions you may have. Our team will take measurements and notes for our delivery and installation teams. We can also refinish a small pew at a nominal cost for a preview of our services. This cost is applied toward your final invoice, taken off the final total.

Color choice is an important and fun part of the refinishing process. We will give you a list of options you can select from. If you’re not sure which is best for you, let us put our 40 years of experience to work. Our experts can help you find the right color to match your church and upholstery for a tasteful, vibrant new look. After we complete and deliver your sample pew, you can request changes or offer final approval. Once you are comfortable with how your pews will look, we get to work.

Request a Budget Quote From The Keck Group, Your Pew Refinishing General Contractor

We want you to be fully satisfied with our church pew refinishing services. Every pew we refinish will meet the quality standard of your sample pew, guaranteed. We will communicate your project timelines, our scope of work and ensure all payment terms are understood before proceeding. Call us at any time during your pew refinishing for updates or questions. 

Since 1972, we have built our reputation by delivering the best service possible every time. We’ve refinished pews and furniture in a wide range of locations, from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast to the New England States. We believe every church deserves to look its best, starting with the seating. To learn more about pew refinishing and how we can help you with your next project, contact us online or call The Keck Group today at 888-253-5325.

Have your project details on hand? Request a budget quote below! Our team will receive notice in real-time and provide you with a prompt budget estimate for your pew refinishing project!

Request a Budget Quote

Request a Budget Quote

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