How to Refinish a Dining Room Table | Refinishing Dining Room Table


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It is an easy task to refinish the worn-out or old furniture of the house, and you can perform this task with self-aid without taking the aid of professionals. There is no need for some technical instruments to accomplish this task, and it can be done with some simple materials. However, it needs some time and effort to refinish a dining room table. Therefore, this guide is mainly based on “how to refinish a dining room table?”

If you are ready to perform this job, here you will find beneficial tips for you. You would have to arrange some supplies that are crucial to proceed. Here is all about properly refinishing your dining room table. 

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How to Refinish a Dining Room Table: Tools Required 

how to refinish a dining room table

You can refinish the dining room table with the chemicals commonly found in every home. Here is a list of the materials and chemicals used to refinish the dining table appropriately. 

  • Putty knife
  • Tung oil or oily polyurethane
  • Cleaning spray 
  • Paper towels
  • Stripper
  • Oil stain
  • Sandpapers ( 100, 150, 220)
  • Cotton rags
  • Steel wool
  • Stain brushes ( disposable)
  • Tack cloth
  • Eyeglasses for safety
  • Rubber gloves for safety
  • Spirits 

How to Refinish a Dining Room Table

how to refinish a dining room table

Here is a step-by-step process to clean/refinish the dining table effectively.

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Consider Safety Measurements 

Self-safety is the most important thing, so never ignore it. Whatever chemical you are using for this job, always use safety gloves and eyeglasses to protect your hand, skin, and eyes from the allergic reactions of the chemical. Also, make sure that you are wearing a full-sleeved shirt. Finally, choose such an area for refinishing the table that features extensive ventilation.  

Clean the Tabletop

Start refinishing by cleaning the surface of your dining table by using a paper towel or cotton rags. It will help to remove the dirt and grease from the surface of the table. In this way, you will prepare the surface for sanding or stripping to remove the old paint. 

Strip the Surface

The painted or varnished surface of your table needs to be appropriately stripped. This will help in cleaning the table deeply. Use any of the recommended non-allergic stripping chemicals for this job. 

Spray the stripper chemical on the whole surface of the table and let it sit there for the recommended time. It will soften the table surface that will, in turn, assist in easy stripping. Then move on by cleaning and stripping the surface with the help of a putty knife. Carefully remove the whole stains and old paint from the surface. Be careful about the gouging of wood. 

It depends upon the thickness of the paint that how many striping coats are required. But strip at least twice for a perfect surface for sanding. 

Apply Mineral Spirits 

After stripping the tabletop properly, clean out the surface with the spirits. Use a clean cloth dipped in spirits to wipe the recently stripped surface. Clean it thoroughly and let it dry properly. Repeat the process if you are not sure about the cleaning. But make sure that you have made a neat and clean surface for proper sanding. 


Once you have finished the stripping and cleaning of the table surface, sand it properly. Sanding is very effective in making the wood surface smooth for a proper finish. Be careful about the gouging of the wood surface if you are using an orbital or belt sander. 

However, a sanding series with 10-grit, 150-grit, and 220-grit sandpaper is used to smooth the surface for a perfect paint application or finish. 

First of all, sand the surface with the 100-grit sandpaper, perform a similar job with the 150-grit sandpaper, and finally apply the 220-grit sandpaper to make the surface effectively smooth. Next, sand the surface until you have achieved a smooth surface. 

After sanding the tabletop effectively, clean it with the help of a paper towel or a cloth. 

Stain the Surface

When you have made the surface very smooth and clear, the next step is to apply the stain. Apply the stain with a disposable brush. Stain the tabletop extensively and let it soak there for few minutes. After waiting for a while, clean the excessive amount with a cotton rag. Moreover, rub the stain in the cracks by using cotton. 

Remember that the longer the stain is applied on the surface, the darker the wood’s final color. So, apply its tiny amount in a while so that it can be wiped easily. 

Use stain in at least two coats for proper results. However, you can go for more coats if you are fond of dark furniture color. The staining causes the wood to swell, so sand it after each coat to remove the wood’s swelling properly. It would help in appropriate staining. 

Apply the Finish

After the final coat of stain has been thoroughly cured (typically overnight or 24 hours), apply polyurethane, according to the manufacturers’ instructions, or Tung oil.

Leave the table after staining for at least 12 hours. However, a gap of 24 hours between applying the finish and staining would be damn effective. 

After your table has dried well, move on to apply the polyurethane or tung oil. You can purchase any of the above according to your comfort and for better results. The procedure of using this finish is given on its packing, so apply according to the manufacturers’ instructions. Coat the table with this chemical at least twice as it keeps the table in good condition even after excessive use. 

Another alternative of polyurethane as a finish use Citristrip. Depending on the finish on your table, you might even want to wrap the table in plastic wrap after applying the Citristrip and let it sits overnight (but no more than 24 hours, according to the instructions mentioned on the bottle).

After you have applied the finish at least twice, let the table sit to dry for at least 24 hours. After this time, you can use it again for dining. 

Note: All opinions are 100% my own based on my experience using these AMAZING products.

How to Refinish a Dining Room Table: FAQs 

Can you refinish a dining room table?

Yes, you can refinish your dining room table if you have proper knowledge about its exact procedure. Only a professional woodworker or wood designer is not only the person who can refinish the dining table. You can do this job on your own. Here is how to accomplish this task. 

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  • Clean the table surface. 
  • Strip it. 
  • Apply the mineral spirits.
  • Sand the tabletop.
  • Stain the surface. 
  • And finally, apply the finish. 
  • Let the table dry for 24 hours for next use. 

How do you strip and refinish a dining room table?

The painted or varnished surface of the dining table needs proper stripping before you refinish it. Use any of the stripping agents for this purpose. First, spray the agent on the tabletop and let it sit there for the recommended time. After some time, the surface will become soft. Next, strip it with the help of a putty knife and clean it after thorough stripping. Don’t let the wood surface gouge. 

After the stripping, move on to refinish the table perfectly. Apply mineral spirits, sand the surface, stain it, and apply the finish. This will restore the new look of the dining room table. 

Can you restain a table without sanding?

If your table is in good condition, there is no need to break the sweat for sanding. Instead, you can go straight for staining. Just clean the tabletop with some cloth, and stain it thoroughly. 

What is the best finish for a dining room table?

To do a quick DIY task, the top-rated and most frequently used finish for the dining room table is the oily polyurethane. There are many reasons behind its choice. It has an oil-rub appearance, and its application is very easy and simple. 

How can I paint my dining room table without sanding?

Here are some options that make it possible to paint the dining room table without sanding it. 

  • Use mineral paint that is just like chalk-style paint and requires no sanding or priming. 
  • Use milk paint along with a bonding agent to paint the dining room table without sanding. 
  • Make use of a bonding primer for this task. 
  • You can use a liquid deglosser or sander for this purpose. 


The proper refinish of the dining room table helps to restore its original shine and glow. This is not a challenging task and requires a little effort with proper supplies. Proper maintenance and care make the home furniture durable and shining. So, give an adequate touch to your dining room table to make it shine just like new. After a proper refinishing, you will feel funny considering that I steer 100% clear of it when looking at furniture pieces now. Hopefully, the above guide will be beneficial for you to refinish your dining table appropriately.

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