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How to Repaint a Bench

by Emily Lloyd

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White hallway bench with red umbrella and green pillow

Things You Need:

  • Tarp or newspaper
  • Paint brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Face mask
  • Clean cloth
  • Vacuum and brush
  • Paint stripper
  • Paint

Whether you found your perfect bench at a secondhand store or you're not satisfied with the color of a new hall bench, you always have the option of repainting it to your liking. Do-it-yourself projects have never been easier, and repainting a bench is simple as long as you have the right equipment and know what you're doing. If you're ready to start your next project, then keep reading for tips on how to repaint a bench.

Repainting a Bench:

  1. Find a well-ventilated work area. You may work with several pungent chemicals during the repainting process, so it's important that you work in a well-ventilated area, such as a garage with the doors and windows open. Your backyard or driveway is another great place to refinish benches, especially an outdoor bench. Remember to lay down newspaper or an old tarp where you're planning on painting a bench to protect the floor or ground in case of spills.

  2. Dust your bench. This is important whether you're refurnishing an old outdoor bench that's been sitting around in a dusty garage or painting a bench that gets used every day. Wiping the bench down will remove all the dust and grime it may have accumulated over time and will keep the paint and brushes from becoming contaminated.

  3. Remove the old paint and varnish. You have several options for this step. You can paint over the old color, but chances are high that the old paint and texture will show through the new coats. Another option is to use paint stripper, a type of solvent designed to dissolve and loosen layers of paint. Follow the directions on the packaging for best results. For wooden benches, you can sand the bench by hand or with an electric sander. Run the sander over your bench evenly. If you concentrate too much in one spot, it can create an uneven surface that will detract from your finished project. You may want to wear a face mask to keep from breathing in the sawdust created by your sander. If you are refinishing a storage bench, you may need to remove the lifting seat or the drawers in order to wipe it all down and remove all the paint and varnish.

  4. Wipe it down. After removing old paint and varnish, wipe away any excess paint specks. For wooden benches, it's important to also remove any excess sawdust. If you leave excess sawdust on the bench, your paint will mix with the particles and leave unsightly clumps sticking to your bench. To be absolutely certain that you've removed all traces of sawdust from your wooden bench, go over it with a vacuum brush. Remember to wipe and vacuum the inside of the storage bench as well as the top and outside.

  5. Paint it. All your preparation has paid off and it's time to add the color of your choice. Use firm brush strokes in the same direction and apply the paint evenly over your bench. Some types of paint may require a second or third before they will be thick enough to completely cover the bench. Let it dry completely between coats and before you use it.

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