Lead-Based Paint Furniture: How to Refinish Safely

Lead Image
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100
What You'll Need
Paint stripper
Safety goggles
Paint mask
Putty knife
Plastic sheets

If you have furniture that is covered in lead-based paint and you want to refinish it, you can do so safely if you follow the proper steps. Lead-based paint can lead to a number of health hazards, so it is best to eliminate it in your home. Follow the simple steps below to strip and remove lead-based paint so you can refinish your furniture.

Step 1 - Prepare

Before you begin, you need to make sure that you have an area to work in that is well ventilated. The fumes that will be let off when lead paint is stripped can be toxic, so it is best to work in an area that is either outdoors or in an open space, like a garage with windows.

Put some plastic sheets down the ground to catch all of the lead paint chips and prevent them from getting into the ground. You also need to wear some protective equipment, including goggles, a paint mask, rubber gloves, and some old clothing.

Step 2 - Apply the Stripper

Pour some paint stripper into a disposable bowl that you can throw away when you are done. Make sure to use a stripper that will work on lead-based paint.

When you are ready to apply it, dip your paintbrush into the bowl. Brush some of the paint stripper onto the surface of the paint until the whole surface is covered. Read the directions on the packaging to see how long you need to let it work, then allow the proper amount of time.

Wear a face mask and make sure the room you're working in is well-ventilated before you apply paint stripper.

Step 3 - Remove the Paint

Use a putty knife to scrape off the lead paint, which should come off fairly easily at this point. If you have small corners that you have to get into, you can use a small toothbrush for this part of the job. Make sure that you have all of the paint chips contained on the plastic. Keep the face mask on to avoid breathing or swallowing in lead particles as you work.

Step 4 - Sand

After you have all of the lead paint taken off of the furniture, you need to sand down the surface with 120 grit sandpaper.

Step 5 - Use Primer

At this point, you need to apply a coat of primer to the wood furniture. Make sure that the primer you have is the appropriate type for the type of paint that you purchased. In most cases, you will want to use an oil-based paint primer and oil-based enamel paint.

Step 6 - Paint

After putting a coat of primer on the furniture, you need to allow it some time to dry. Then you can start painting with your enamel oil-based paint. Cover the entire surface of the wood and then allow it to dry. Depending on the situation, you may want to add another coat of paint for the best results.