Does anyone remember when Susan Lucci finally won her Emmy after 19 nominations? During her speech, she said, “I truly believed this would never happen” and I gave my husband a good laugh when I compared the way I felt after finishing these rockers to Susan Lucci’s Emmy moment. I guess I was a tad dramatic, but I couldn’t help but feel amazed while staring at these chairs after all the work that went into removing the old paint…and finally, I had arrived at the moment they were brought back to life.
Okay, my apologies to Susan Lucci for comparing refinished rocking chairs to an amazing acting career. I will say that if your rockers need a complete refinish that require paint removal, it is much more of a task than I thought it would be but jobs that take a lot of hard work and determination are usually the most rewarding, and that’s how these rocking chairs turned out for me.
They probably don’t look as bad as I’m making them out to be at first glance, but upon closer inspection and after I began to clean them, I realized some of the stains weren’t coming off of the surface…some went all the way to the wood beneath the paint. I thought it was best that the old paint came off so I could give these chairs a new surface that was sealed with primer, paint, and a clear coat enamel in the hopes that the new paint would last a long time. I thought about staining them but there was no way I could remove every bit of paint from the chairs, though I still removed as much as I could.
The arms and seats weren’t too bad to sand, but it was on the bottom and underneath the chairs that were so difficult because there’s a lot of small spaces that are hard to get around with the sander. I did try using Citistrip to remove some of the paint, but even that didn’t take it all off like it usually does with my other furniture pieces. I definitely had my work cut out for me and had to use all proper safety equipment such as my mask, safety glasses, and gloves. Those are a must when removing paint!
You can see how the chairs were looking as I was sanding away the old surface…
Once all the old paint was removed, I felt like I had a blank canvas to work with…well, almost. You can see the seat in the next photo where it still had stains on it. The paint was off completely but the only way to get rid of those stains and seal the wood was with a coat of primer. I washed them with dawn dish soap and rinsed them with the hose to make sure all the paint remover was off. Allow them to dry completely before painting!
The other chair didn’t look as bad but there was still a little of the old paint left that I couldn’t remove.
Finally, I was painting! Primer first…
I used the flat white primer from Rust-Oleum before I started painting. Although the paint I used is a primer and paint in one, I still like to use the regular primer first because I know it provides a good seal for the surface, especially since this is outdoor furniture and will be exposed to moisture.
Once the first coat of paint was on I could see that all my hard work had paid off. I painted the chairs using the Painter’s Touch 2x in black from Rust-Oleum and that gave it the coverage it needed. Thankfully the first coat had dried just in time a little later before it started raining, but it was good to see the rain just sitting right on top of the paint surface…the primer and the first coat of paint were protecting the wood beneath it!
I went back over the first coat with 220 sand paper to prepare for the next coat and to smooth out any drips. I keep the paint can several inches away from the surface to mist on the paint and prevent drips, but I still manage to have a few. The sand paper took care of it and the second coat gave it the perfect finish to cover all the spots I missed and give it a darker color overall. I took it a step further though, and covered the surface with Rust-Oleum’s Clear Coat Enamel, that has UV protection as well. The clear coat will provide that extra protection they need outside and give it a smooth surface for wiping the chairs down because black does show pollen and dust.
I had to snap a picture as soon as I completed the clear coat. I was so excited to see that they were finished and that all my hard work was worth it.
The best part about this project was hearing how excited my clients were when they saw their chairs! They are wanting to paint their shutters now to match the pretty rocking chairs on their front porch!
Can I take you back to the before picture again?
Much better now…
The end result was definitely worth all the work that went into them. I know some people would say they just should have bought new rockers but new outdoor rocking chairs aren’t always in everyone’s budget and they love their rocking chairs! It’s especially worth the work if it’s a furniture piece you love and I know several people who have rockers that have been passed down in the family that they want to keep, but could use a new surface.
I look forward to updating you on this project to see how the surface holds up but I feel confident it will because I used the clear coat enamel on my daughter’s school desk makeover and it has held up well to everyday use!