If you read the longest blog post in history (a.k.a. the reader survey results), you know that there were some questions about furniture painting – what finish to use, why is the paint peeling, etc.
Since I am a woman for the people and cannot let my people down, I decided to start a little Painting 101 series with basic tips and tricks for painting furniture.
The first thing we are going to chat about is:
Why is my paint peeling?
Tips and tricks to keep paint from peeling and scratching off your furniture.
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Usually the reason paint ends up peeling off a surface, is because it didn’t fully adhere to the surface as it was supposed to do.
There are a couple reasons why it may not have adhered correctly:
Reason 1. The surface wasn’t clean.
Anytime you paint something, it is so important to clean it first. You don’t have to do soap and water (unless its really nasty), usually just a wet cloth will do the trick. With any piece of furniture I paint, I always wipe it down first with a wet cloth to remove any dust and dirt. If the piece is really gross, like has been sitting in my garage for months, I will pull out the shop vac and run that over it first, then come back with the wet cloth.
After you have wiped down the surface with a wet cloth, you need to go back over it with a tack cloth. A tack cloth is literally just that, a tacky cloth that feels a little sticky. You just wipe it over your piece and it will pick up any remaining dirt and dust.
Reason 2. The surface had a topcoat or finish that kept the paint from adhering as it should have.
There are some paints out there that you can paint directly onto just about any surface. One of those is Velvet Finishes, which if you’ve been around here for the last few months, you know that’s my new favorite furniture paint. Depending on what type of surface you are painting though, you may still need a primer with that paint and you will most likely need it if you are painting with regular latex paint. If the furniture you are painting has one of these types of finishes, you will need to sand and/or prime it before painting:
- A thick waxy finish
- A shiny, glossy finish
- A polyurethaned finish
I recommend doing a quick sanding if the piece has any uneven spots or if its just really super shiny. Does that make sense? You won’t need to sand it down to the bare wood, just rough it up a bit. After you have sanded, run the tack cloth over the piece and apply a primer.
If you are painting a piece of unfinished furniture, there is no need for sanding. However, depending on the paint you are using, you may need to prime it. If you are using a regular latex paint, you will definitely want to prime it with something like Zinnser or Kilz primer. All you will need is one coat. It will just keep the furniture from soaking up your paint and taking coat after coat after coat of paint. If you are using a paint that requires no priming first, you can skip that part.
After you’ve prepped your piece as needed, its important to remember a couple of other things when you get ready to paint:
3. Apply Thin Coats of Paint.
I’m guilty of it too – trying to put on thick coats to minimize my work time and because I’m just plain lazy. You will get the best protection and finish on your furniture if you apply thin coats of paint. To speed up the process, I will often use my HomeRight Finish Max Paint Sprayer when the weather permits. If I can’t spray a piece, I use a high quality paintbrush and/or roller.
4. Protect It.
Some paints already have a topcoat built in, such as the Velvet Finishes paint that I mentioned before. High gloss paints are usually pretty tough too, but not everyone likes that super shiny look. If your piece is going to be seeing a lot of use, you need to put a good topcoat on it. I like to use Protect or a Polycrylic. With this step you can also use a paint sprayer or a high quality paint brush. A good topcoat will make your paint job stronger and hold up against little circuses that may be roaming around.
5. Let It Cure.
Just because the paint or the topcoat is dry to the touch doesn’t mean that its fully cured. It can take paint and/or a topcoat up to three weeks to fully cure sometimes – this is especially true when its really hot and humid. Typically, once a piece is dry to the touch I will move it to its “spot,” however I try not to put anything on it until 2-3 weeks later – especially no magazines and papers, they will easily stick to paint that isn’t fully cured and leave some of their ink on the piece.
Do you have any tips and tricks to keep paint from peeling or on protecting painted furniture pieces?
Need more painting tips and tricks?
Painting 101: Topcoats and when to use them– a guide to topcoats and when they should be used.
FAQ: Painting Furniture – questions I’ve been asked over and over again about furniture painting and then some.
A Guide on What Types of Paints to Use on Various Surfaces – all the different types of paints and what surfaces they work best on.
How to Paint Walls in less time with less mess – a great little tip for getting your walls painted in less time.
And you can see all of my furniture makeovers here.
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