I have been working for months on my living room. One of the bigger projects has been stripping down all of the woodwork. Thankfully it has never been painted, but as you can see in this before picture, it was very…red. What you can’t see is the close up of the old stain/varnish separating and bumpy, those are technical terms. Haha
First, I used Klean Strip Premium Sprayable Stripper and removed all of the old finish. I always try to get the cans that have the spray bottles attached. Those spray bottles are handy, especially since I was working with wood that I didn’t want to remove. Make sure that you use very thick rubber gloves and ventilate really well. I sprayed the stripper on, waited just a couple of minutes and then removed it with 0000 Super Fine Steel Wool. If you are removing paint, you will have to let the stripper set for awhile, but for what I was doing, I didn’t really need to.
Here is what it looked like after the stripper:
It was a big improvement! But I wanted the bleached wood look, so I searched the internet for various options. I read that you could use Clorox and since I had some on hand, that’s what I tried. I brushed it on and let it set for a couple of days and it did nothing. So I then tried Zinsser Wood Bleach. It’s a 2 part process. You wipe on the A bottle, then let it set for 5 minutes, while the wood is still wet, you wipe on the B bottle. And within 30 minutes I saw a significant difference.
I did a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper before poly.
Here is the woodwork after 3 coats of Poly:
I used Minwax Water Based Polycrylic in Clear Satin, 3 thin coats. I do think the poly made it a little golden. Here is a door that I stripped and bleached, but haven’t sanded yet or put any poly on it and you can see it is not golden.
Overall I’m very happy with the woodwork. Next time I think I’ll use a different finish so that it doesn’t have that golden finish. One of the things I learned from using the bleach, is be careful to not let the bleach run, because you will see those runs. If you look at the unfinished door pic above, you can see where the bleach is uneven and ran, but I will sand that out.
I used just over 2 boxes of the bleach and that covered all of the woodwork in my living room including the baseboard, 3 windows, 4 door frames and 3 doors. It goes a long way! The instructions say that you can apply the bleach again, if you want to go lighter.
So there you have it, my friends! I am in no way getting compensated by any of the products that I used, this is all my opinion.
Thanks for stopping by!