Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>Refinishing trim in old victorian
10 posts / 0 new
Last post
downingvictorian
Refinishing trim in old victorian

We have a beautiful Victorian with wood trim throughout. Currently it is a oak color but there seems to be different tones also in different rooms.

We would like to refinish it all to a darker walnut, and later redo the floors to a darker color as well, but are unsure if we need to strip, sand...

A friend told us Minwax makes a product that you can just rub over the current lighter color and your set. Sounds too easy to me.

What would be the best way to attack it, maintaining the dated character but achieving the new colors????

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Refinishing trim in old victorian

You failed to mention what type of wood is involved. Do you have all oak or is some oak and some cherry or is it all poplar?

Staining is done before finishes are applied so it would require stripping. You stain the wood not the finish.

IMHO you devalue the trim when you try to make walnut out of oak or cherry out of heart pine, plus you devalue the original design and intent .
Jack

downingvictorian
Re: Refinishing trim in old victorian

It is an interesting house, because it appears that we have oak, and some cherry as well. For the baseboard trim I believe it is poplar. Many of the rooms have different wood floors as well (which presents a different problem later when we look to redo the floors.)

Is it possible to go over the existing finish with a darker and achieve what you are looking to without sanding and refinishing?

goldhiller
Re: Refinishing trim in old victorian

Is it possible to go over the existing finish with a darker and achieve what you are looking to without sanding and refinishing?

Yes, it most certainly is. However, the only way I would recommend this be attempted is via spray-gun. Preferably an HVLP gun. So......the first questions are....do you have spraying equipment and are you skillful using it?

You would still need to thoroughly clean and prep the surface for these colorants and the protective clear coats that will go over them. Not necessarily strip though. It depends. What is the current finish on the woodwork? What kind of condition is it in? If it's dried out/alligatored or badly chipped up...there's little sense in trying to apply color and new clear coats over it.

If you or anyone else has used a silicone bearing product such as Pledge on this woodwork, you will likely face another substantial challenge getting your finish to adhere properly. Again, this can be overcome.... but takes more time, skills and efforts.

Yes, Minwax makes a product called Polyshades which is a colorant suspended in polyurethane varnish. (Some other companies also have similar products now.) It can be applied with a brush. The results will be disappointing at best...if you have any sense of what differentiates a quality appearance from ......how shall I say?.......a crappy appearance. Even Polyshades looks much better when applied by spray-gun though. Nonetheless, there are much better and friendlier products for your project......if you have spray equipment and have developed skills using it.

I would not really recommend any of these products for a floor though. Or perhaps only if they are sealed down under numerous layers of an appropriate floor-rated clear coat finish..........such as a floor-rated oil-based polyurethane. (water-based poly would not be appropriate for numerous heavy coats) Even then you might be disappointed when/if the day comes that someone drops a heavy object on the floor and the color coat ships back to the underlying wood.

Here is an example of one of the products I use for what you are considering. http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-8/1069753/M5.jpg

I can give you more info concerning products and applications techniques if you should decide to proceed.

Do not delude yourself into thinking that this won't be alot of work because it is and will be. You will be doing alot of masking for one thing.

itkutch
Re: Refinishing trim in old victorian

Some food for thought as you ponder a very time-consuming project:

Architecture reflects society; Victorian's lived their lives in a compartmentalized manner .. Victorian architects designed individual compartments with individual decors, hence the different woods/tones.

Perhaps part of owning, restoring, and respecting a Victorian home is accepting this sequence of spaces? Let your cherry be cherry, and your oak be oak, whether floor board or door frame.

Perhaps, also, part of respecting history is respecting the future. Should you strip your wood down to raw wood fibers and stain those fibers a non-Victorian tint, no future owner, ever, will be able to restore your home and get that tint out of the wood.

We all hope our historic homes will still be standing in 100 years .. how about 500?

Honestly, I'm a staunch modernist in an 1894 Queen Anne Victorian. My mantra is to restore everything that is original, especially wood- and plaster-work.

In our home, we gain more modern, flowing spaces by keeping the vast sliding doors open between rooms and painting all the rooms on the first floor in a related family of quiet colors.

Should you find a tinted top finish with which you can achieve current fashion, that's infinitely more reversible for a future owner.

No matter what you decide, you'll get a lot of good advice, here, and the end product will be spectacular. Best of luck.

bsum1
Re: Refinishing trim in old victorian
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

IMHO you devalue the trim when you try to make walnut out of oak or cherry out of heart pine, plus you devalue the original design and intent .
Jack

No offense, that's an unusual comment.
When applying any stain to whichever wood doesn't mean trying to make it a different wood;rather you would be just coloring it.

havanagranite
Re: Refinishing trim in old victorian
bsum1 wrote:

No offense, that's an unusual comment.
When applying any stain to whichever wood doesn't mean trying to make it a different wood;rather you would be just coloring it.

well its how you stain it you can make it have the color and apperance of another more expensive wood

bsum1
Re: Refinishing trim in old victorian

I guess it's how you look at it.
I'm just saying that the stain color is just that a name of a color. You're not going to turn popular to look like walnut using a walnut color stain.
Just like a paint color with a name of ocean blue.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Refinishing trim in old victorian
bsum1 wrote:

No offense, that's an unusual comment.
When applying any stain to whichever wood doesn't mean trying to make it a different wood;rather you would be just coloring it.

My post was personal opinion reflecting on th OP's comment on using walnut stain on oak wood work. I believe you should use stain or dye to achieve uniform color or to create a more aged look like using golden oak stain on new oak construction. To me using walnut on oak is equivalent to painting the oak. Just my opinion but I don't own that house so they can do what they want.
Jack

bsum1
Re: Refinishing trim in old victorian

JLMCDANIEL,I respect that's your personal opinion and it's just that,something we all have.:)

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.