Archive for wood refinishing

La Jolla Athenaeum Door Restoration

My childhood library in La Jolla is now the La Jolla Athenaeum Music and Arts Library. Driving by as I often do, I noticed the natural wood doors were not looking up to snuff. Now that my kids are grown and enjoying my as The La Jolla house painter , I offered my services gratis, to refinish these two French doors facing onto Girard Avenue.

Door refinishing is a specialty of ours at Peek Brothers and I enjoy the opportunity to work with the tools of my trade to keep my hometown looking sharp


• The wood door was in very poor condition so I stripped off the existing varnish.
• Using a Festool German vacuum sander, I removed all the old finish down to bare wood.
• Sikkens Cetol 1 stain was applied to darken the wood and bring out the Douglas Fir graining
• Three coats of Cetol 23 Plus was applied with sanding in between to insure a super smooth finish.
• The Cetol 123 Plus product builds to a nice satin sheen that is a touch softer and stays more resilient to heavy sun exposure than say, a spar varnish, which over time becomes harder and more brittle and thus prone to failure, especially on softer woods that expand and contract with heat and humidity changes like pine or Douglas fir.
• Entry doors or patio furniture made of Teak or Mahogany are very stable woods that look just stunning with Cetol Marine, a satin finish that is slightly tinted to enrich these natural hardwoods
If you have a front (or side) door that has been beaten up by the sun and needs some attention, we really enjoy wood refinishing and making the entry to your home really shine
You might wonder why I mention the sander I used by name? Festool makes quite possibly the finest sanding and dust collector system in the business. I particularly like that the sander has a very tight oscillation so it never leaves swirls in the wood that can ruin a finish. Also the vacuum attachment keeps dust out of the work area as it is collected right through the sander. When you are applying a fine finish, you cannot have any dust present. Clients love that it keeps our work areas nice and clean 
More on Entry Doors
More on refinishing Garage Doors
More on Historic preservation

 

Refinishing exterior wood sills

Whether teak, mahogany, oak or douglas fir, Natural stained or varnished wood sills are very pretty.

But if not maintained, they can get pretty raggedy looking and even rot if water is allowed into unsealed surfaces.

Prepping a wood sill

  • If finish is failed and wood is very discolored it is often best to strip the sill. This can be done chemically or with a power sander.
  • After stripping and or sanding, often the wood has deep discolorations that can be removed with a specialized oxygen based (oxalic acid) wood bleach. Do not use household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) as this will damage the lignin in the wood. Sometimes it takes a few treatments of bleach to get back to like new looking wood
  • At this point you have a choice to go with a penetrating oil, straight clear finish or to stain and then finish. Staining is helpful when you want to blend the sill into the look of the adjacent door (click for more on wood doors)

Choosing your finish

  1. Penetrating type oils:
    • Teak oil, Sikkens SRD, TWP: these are easiest to apply and can give a color to the wood of your choosing. They are super easy to maintain but have to be recoated more often (every six-twelve months)
  2. Spar varnish:
    • Varnish gives the classic look that, with 3-4 (or more!) coats, can give a smooth glass like finish. This finish can last a long time if not subject to direct sun. Drawbacks are that you must sand between coats and if you let it go too long and some areas fail, the exposed wood will discolor and you will have to strip the sill and start from scratch.
  3. Tinted film forming stain/finish systems:
    • I believe these are the best balance of durability and ease of maintenance. I use these on garage doors and front doors as well (Click for more info). Products of this type are:
      • Sikkens Cetol Marine is a film forming translucent clear tinted finish that looks great on teak and mahogany as it has an amber tint that accentuates these woods. Cetol Marine also comes in a teak color that is suitable for teak, mahogany AND oak. Two coats minimum on bare wood with 3 being just right. It dries to a satin sheen and does not need sanding between coats. When maintenance is required, just recoat and failed areas will blend in as this is a tinted product
      • Sikkens Cetol 123 Plus: this an oil based system where the Cetol 1 is a stain available in various pre-packaged colors; it is applied to soak in to the wood and give a deep rich color. Cetol 23Plus (meaning 2nd, 3rd coats or more) is a film forming satin finish much like Cetol Marine but tinted in more colors and can be used on any type of wood
      • Water borne acrylic systems usually have a stain product and a clear finish product that can be tinted with the stain to “shade in” damaged areas. These can be very durable and dry superfast. Fast drying can really help in productivity but it takes a real pro to use these or finish can look uneven Products of this type are
      • ECS (Environmental Coating Systems) brand: manufactured in San Diego, I use this both inside and outside. For outside applications I use the “UV Extreme” and have finished beautiful mahogany doors
      • Sansin brand: is a stain/clear coating system out of Canada where natural wood finishes are the norm. We used this finish on a seaside project with Italian Albertini mahogany windows. (Click for more on Sansin)
      • General Finishes brand: this is a favorite of many wood workers and painters and is probably the most available of as it is distributed across the USA.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets


A clean new look for refinishing cabinets at a fraction of the cost of refacing or replacing:

  • What are the steps?
  • Remove cabinet doors and drawers to be refinsihed
  • Clean free of contaminants like hand oils and cooking residue
  • Caulk open seams and gaps
  • Prime and sand smooth
  • Spray apply two finish coats of premium enamel
  • Voila! A bright new set of cabinets!


Stained Wood Cabinet Touch Up with Mohawk System

Touch up damaged cabinets with Mohawk “Magic” stain pens:

  • We love to surprise our clients with how quickly we can tune up their natural wood cabinets
  • After carefully cleaning the surfaces a skilled craftsman color matches using various colored stain pens to blend in the color
  • After a few clear coats to match the existing sheen; the damaged areas look as good as new
  • This can also be done on furniture where we often find dings on chair and table legs


Click to see cabinet painting
Click to see varnishing
Click to see DIY sparybooth!

Varnished Natural Wood is Beautiful and Durable

Mildew Proof Paint for baths

Beautiful and smooth oil varnish adds a slight amber tint to wood that will accentuate grain while protecting from food and alcohol. Sanding between coats if critical but oh what a pretty look good old fashioned varnish brings to this refinished bar top!

I have found several varnishes that work quite well. Shopping at the Marine Exchange or West Marine in San Diego provides the best options and the varnishes are high VOC and meant for marine environments….they dry quickly and very hard

Comes in Deep Colors!

After sanding and 2 more coats this bar will serve for many years!
Click here for Painting Kitchen Cabinets
Click here for touching up stain with Mohawk system
click here for Cabinet refinishing with temporary spray booth

Albertini Windows and Doors Refinished with Sansin Classic and ENS

This beautiful beach area home designed by Laura DuCharme Conboy is a perfect example of relaxed California living.
Albertini doors and windows are of solid mahogany and were imported from Italy to give this home a warm, yet sophisticated look. Over the years a subsequent owner had improperly used varnish over the original finish and Peek Brothers was called to deal with excessive peeling of the surfaces coating.

After extensive review of available coatings it was determined that Sansin stains and finishes would give the new, discriminating owner that “as new” look and durability we were looking for. After striping all surfaces and applying wood bleach; the wood was conditioned using Sansin conditioner to even the porosity of the wood which was then stained with Sansin Classic and then finished with 4 coats of Sansin ENS. The results were stunning.

Exterior Mildew and Mold on Wood

Mildew and mold are unsightly and can damage exterior paints and stains. For some people Their presence is even a health hazard. Some paints and stains are made so cheaply that they not only allow mildew and mold to grow on their surface but some of these cheap coatings actually feed the infestation.

To treat mold and mildew the surface must be wet down with household bleach and a soap. You know you have rid the surfaces of mold and mildew when it no longer is visible. If the surface to be re-coated has had substantial mold and mildew, it is wise to use Amteco Bio-Control primer. This specialty primer comes in clear or white base. If we are going over a semi-transparent wood stain that has had infestaion with mold or mildew and we wish to keep a transparent look, we will use the Amteco clear Bio-Control Primer and then top coat it with Amteco W-100 UV, which is a dead flat ultra violet stabilized clear. If we have a painted surface that is infested, we will bleach, coat with white base BioContol and then paint with a top quality paint finish. We have homes near or on the ocean that are free of mildew after 7-10 years. Watch the video an see!

Cabinet Refinishing Portable Spray Booth

We operate in a small shop space where we need to have the area available for various uses such as: storage of equipment, cabinet refinishing spray shop and light carpentry projects. Often our space is called upon to apply a sprayed finish to cabinet doors and drawers we have brought from a client’s home.

Our system works well in that it is  efficient with a quick set up and clean up and can be done easily in the space of less than 1/2 of a garage. Often, to eliminate transporting the cabinets back and forth from our shop, we save our clients time and money by setting up our system at a client’s home. When we are using a client’s space, of course we protect surrounding areas with plastic to eliminate any possibility of over-spray. This approach gives a nice smooth finish quickly and efficiently, which our clients love.
Click here for Painting Kitchen Cabinets
Click here for touching up stain with Mohawk system
Click here fro Varnish

Refinishing Wood Entry Doors and Garage Doors

Wood doors and garage doors are beautiful greetings to us when we enter and exit our homes….but when they are worn or improperly maintained they can look terrible. How do we get these wonderful entrances to our homes looking so good?

Preparation is key to refinishing wood doors and garage doors!

When we first encounter a wood door that has not been properly maintained it often in such bad shape that we have to do an in depth prep…..Here is a step by step approach

  1. We start by chemical stripping to remove all old finishes.
  2. Sand sanding to remove all remaining finish and damaged wood.
  3. Using wood bleach (not household bleach!), bring wood to even color.
  4. Fill heavy damage with epoxy filler
  5. Apply stain to desired color
  6. Apply a minimum of 3 coats of finish
  7. Apply a clear caulk at sill/door frame junction

To keep a wood entry door or garage door maintained, it needs to be re-coated about every 2 years or so depending on exposure. If you wait too long you will have to strip and bleach again!

There is the classic finish of spar varnish which is available in gloss and satin…if you choose this, go to a Boat/Marine store and ask for the premium grade …expect to pay $50 a quart….it is worth it! This system requires more maintenance and is prone to peeling over time

I prefer another system that we use quite a bit, with super results over the long term: Sikkens brand:  SRD , Log and Siding or Cetol 1 and Cetol 23Plus. This is a stain and translucent tinted finish that provides wonderful protection and a beautiful look. This is an especially great product if epoxy filler has been used and the color needs to be evened out.

Deck Refinishing Done Properly

How many times have you looked at your wood deck and think, “It sure has lost its beauty over the years” and, “It will never look good again”. Well take a look at these  pictures and what I have to say, because with just a little consistent attention to deck refinishing and maintenance, your wood deck can be a showpiece.

deck refinished with translucent oil

Many people just forget about their deck until it is to a point where they think it is hopeless….but fear not! Surfaces that look long gone can be brought back to life with an oxygen based bleach and a good scrubbing or a very careful power wash (sometimes called a pressure wash or water blast) by a skilled technician.

Another approach to deck refinishing preparation is to set all the nails beneath the surface and then sand the deck to rejuvenate the surface and smooth out any uneven surfaces. The deck finish chosen is critical not only to the beauty and durability but also to the ease of re-coating. If you choose the correct stain then refinishing on a schedule is quite easy. Be careful of ratings given in consumer magazines as to which is the best. They do not consider the cost and process of preparation required to do the re coating in a few years….sure the “top rated” product may last longer, but when you go to re coat  you must fully strip it each time to get an even transparent look. It is best to rely upon the recommendations of a specialty deck supplier or your contractor with lots of experience maintaining decks.

We prefer a true oil penetrating translucent stain (like TWP, Cabots Australian Timber oil, SuperDeck, Penofin or Azko Nobel Sikkens/Cetol) because no matter how many coats you put on over the years all these products keep their transparency while giving the wood an even tint, even in high use areas. We find that softer woods like cedar and redwood will need re coating every 2-3 years depending on exposure while harder woods like Ipa  and teak and other very hard woods need to be coated probably every 1 1/2 years as they are not very porous. Again it is important to rely on an experienced contractor to help you choose the right product for your deck and its maintenance over the long haul. Remember, you can avoid the heavy preparation required when a wood deck gets very heavily weathered by implementing regular maintenance with a light cleaning and re coat  Here’s to you enjoying your beautiful wood again!