Is It Worth Refinishing A Dining Room Table? [Expert Guideline]




When I am asked this question , I nearly always hesitate. Often, the answer isn’t so clear cut. Let’s start with the pictures. I have a dining room table that costs $2500.00. It has mahogany veneer on a solid substrate and the finish is worn out. According to many answers to the question- is it worth refinishing a dining room table?

You Don’t Refinish For Every Table !!

It’s not for low-quality tables, mass-produced. Those mean for the fire pit. If your table is made of quality material products. It is a family heirloom or it has sentimental value. It’s an excellent candidate for refinishing table.

You don’t have emotional attachment to the chest. I want to tell you that it isn’t worth refinishing. The cost of the repairs alone far exceeds the value. This chest wants to be a candidate for a gold old fashioned weekend. 

In this context, I am going to clarify the confusion about whether you can also know the refinishing price guide dining table.

furniture restore

So, without further ado, let’s started-.

Is It Cheaper To Refinish A Dining Table Than Buy New One?

It is generally cheaper to refinish than to replace. How much cheaper depends on the level of refinishing. The cheapest method would be simply painting the Dining Table. Next level would be painting and replacing all the hardware. 

After that would be installing plastic laminate on stiles (the vertical and horizontal parts of the Dining Table face) and exposed sides with new door and drawer fronts. Finally, lamination with real wood veneer, stained and varnished. Prices subject to the type of raw wood veneer, door/drawer style, hardware, etc.

A high end Dining Table refacing such as this could cost more than a new inexpensive Dining Table. You have to determine if the existing Dining Table structure and layout warrants the expense of a high end restoration

Buying and refinishing have many differences. I am exploring in this table about buying and refinishing.

Here is the table below about Buying vs. Refinishing a Dining Table:

AspectBuying A New TableRefinishing An Existing Table
CostHigher upfront costLower upfront cost
CustomizationLimited optionsPersonalized appearance
QualityNew, potentially higher qualityDepends on existing table’s quality
Environmental ImpactMay contribute to wasteSustainable, reduces waste
Time and EffortMinimal assembly, ready to useRequires time and effort
SatisfactionImmediate satisfactionPersonal accomplishment, satisfaction
SustainabilityPotential for more wasteEnvironmentally friendly
Unique CharacterMay lack character or historyPreserves unique character/history
Budget FlexibilityFixed cost, less room for negotiationCan control costs through choices
Sentimental ValueNo sentimental valuePreserves or enhances sentimental value
Buying vs. Refinishing a Dining Table


when deciding between buying a new refinish dining table before and after or refinishing an existing one ! Your choice should align with your budget, preferences, environmental concerns and the sentimental value of the piece.

So, Is It Worth Refinishing A Dining Room Table?

Is It Worth Refinishing A Dining Room Table

If you like the layout and the Dining Table is good and solid then you can probably save a lot. If the originals are high end it would be worth it. And, if you like the layout and the Dining Table is good and solid, then you can probably save a lot by refinishing the pressed wood table and fixing the warped wood table. If you’re not crazy about the layout or the Dining Table is iffy then you’d be better off buying new.

If you want to assess the upfront costs of buying a new dining table. Then you have to start by setting a budget and considering your size and style preferences. It researches prices, factoring in potential additional costs like delivery, assembly, taxes, and warranties.

However, It’s possible then, you can also research the balance of quality with price, look for discounts and read reviews. Whatever you are able to visit physical stores, compare options, and negotiate. At last you can make the final decision wisely and remember to plan for future maintenance costs to keep your dining table in top condition.

Depends what it’s made of, what it’s already finished with, what you want it to look like, and probably a few more things. I had an old dining table, wood grain, that was highly polished, with a layer of shiny varnish on it. 

It took several coats at first, and then additional coats over time, but after polishing veneer table it ended up beautiful, not shiny, but looking more like simply highly polished raw wood.

It took several coats at first, and then additional coats over time, but it ended up beautiful, not shiny, but looking more like simply highly polished raw wood. 

It takes a little care the guy who gave me the “rules” for this particular oil coating told me “once a day for a week, then once a week for a month, then once a month for a year, then once a year for life” for applying costs of the oil and it hasn’t failed me.

“Dipping and stripping” refers to two common methods used in a piece of furniture restoration and refinishing.


Dipping involves immersing a piece of furniture, such as an entire table or chair. It’s beneficial in a chemical bath to remove old paint, varnish or finish. However, It can be harsh on wood grain and may not be suitable for delicate or valuable pieces. It can damage the raw wood’s fibers or joints if not done carefully.


The Stripping is a more controlled approach to removing old finishes. It typically involves applying a chemical or gel stripper to the furniture’s surface. Stripping is allowing it to soften the old finish. Stripping is often preferred for antique or valuable pieces of furniture since it allows for greater precision and reduces the risk of damaging the piece.

In this both methods have their pros and cons. You can choose between them depending on the type of wood furniture. Its condition and  the desired outcome of the refinishing project.

Staining costs $150 to $300 to coat of stain a table. Stain protects your piece of furniture more than painting. You want to use an oil-based stain for a wooden table. Then it penetrates deep into the raw wood and leaves behind a rich color.

I expect to pay about $50 to $100 for a piece of furniture paint. You want an oil-based enamel paint for a wooden table. It will give the entire table a smooth finish. It will last a lot longer than other types of pain.

Highlighting Potential Savings Through Refinishing

Highlighting Potential Savings Through Refinishing

Highlighted !

Cost To Refinish A Table By Yourself 

There is one price that fits all for each and every table. So, the type of wood furniture, you play a big role in how much it costs to refinish. Here are some easy prices:

Dining Room TableCoffee TableSide or End Table
$400 – $700$150 – $250$80 – $150
Cost To Refinish A Table By Yourself 

However, actually I can’t properly answer the cost to refinish your table, since every way is different. There are many processes that you can pay. I can assure you the best idea of what you expect to pay. 

Cost To Refinish A Table By Yourself 

When I am quoting a refinishing job, these are the items I consider:

  1. The condition/type of the finish being removed.
  2. The type, quality and condition of the surface that is to be stripped.
  3. The size and detail of wood work.

Sometimes I can just refinish the top, if the base is in good condition, or even apply a wet sand technique without stripping off the finish, depending on the current state of the table and the option the customer chooses.

Most of my projects for refinishing dining tables range between $400.00 to $700.00. 

How Do You Refinish A Dining Room Table? [Step-By-Step]

How Do You Refinish A Dining Room Table

You can use gentle soap and water to refinish dirt and oils from table existing finish. It will prepare the surface to be sanded. If it’s a stained table or stripped. If the table was previously painted or varnished.

If your table is painted or varnished. You will need to strip the surface. There are a variety of chemical stripping agents available at your own home improvement store.

Whichever you can use, follow the manufacturing instructions and protect yourself from chemical burns by wearing proper protective equipment long-sleeved shirts, like chemical-resistant gloves and eye protection. Also, I am sure to work in a place with proper ventilation.

Abide the chemical stripper on as large as recommended by the manufacturer to soften the existing finish before removing with a wide putty knife. It follows the grain of the raw wood and the putty knife at a low angle to the table’s surface to prevent going through the wood. This is to wipe the putty knife clean with a tack cloth between scrapes.

Secondly or Thirdly, a chemical stripper coat may be required. If the previous finish has penetrated good cracks in the wood. After removing the paint or varnish wood and wipe the table down with good steel wool.

When you are done stripping and the surface is dry, wipe with mineral spirits using a clean tack cloth. It also removes any residual paint stripper. It allows the table to fully dry before moving on to sanding.

It follows the grain of the raw wood to smooth the surface. Once you have stripped paint, varnish and remove a stained finish. If you are choosing to use an orbital or belt sander.

 It’s to be very careful not to gouge the surface. You do most of the initial sanding with 100-grit sandpaper. Then step up to 150-grit and final pass with 220-grit to smooth out the grain. Finally to a smoothness that makes you happy.

Carefully remove all the sanding dust with a tack cloth.

You can apply stain with a disposable  foam brush and follow the wood’s natural grain. Applying stain liberally allows it to soak in for a few minutes. Then it’s wiped off excess stain with a soft cotton rag (synthetic rags don’t go to soak up excess stain). It uses the rag to rub the coat of stain into good cracks in the wood.

At last the coat of stain has thoroughly cured (the type overnight or 24 hours). You can apply polyurethane. According to the manufacturers and instructions for tung oil. 

You can also apply two coats since dining room tables get a lot of use. It allows each coat to fully cure before applying the next one. Buff a Tung oil finish with cotton rag wood. The final coat of polyurethane or Tung oil to dry for at last 24 hours before using the table.

Now, are you asking yourself, can I refinish veneer table in the same way?  Yes, you can but there is some difference too,

Tips To Reduce The Cost Of Refinishing A Table

The larger stain sits on the raw wood before whipping. The darker the good color will be. At last finish, apply stains a small at a time. So, you can be sure to wipe it off before soaking in too long.

At least apply two coats of stain. It depends on the desired color depth and richness. Lightly sand with 220-grit paper (a very good wool works too) and It cleans with a tack cloth between coats.

Note: The stain on the wood causes the wood fibers to swell as they soak up the coat of stain. The issue for sanding between coats is to knock down the swollen fitbers to maintain a smooth surface

Frequently Asked Question(FAQ)

Can I Refinish Just The Top Of A Table?

You can transform a table top from a color stain. You no longer like or no longer work for your home. You will need to strip the stain, varnish and refinish it over a few days.

What Furniture Should Not Be Refinished?

Sometimes you don’t worth refinishing some furniture. If your furniture is constructed from particleboard and veneer over plywood or medium density fiberboard (MDF). It will be a waste of time and resources.

How Many Hours Does It Take To Refinish A Table?

You independently select these products. If you need to buy from one of your links. You may earn a commission. Full prices were accurate at time of publishing. Time: Hands on time of 2.5 hours per chair and 5 hours for the table.

Is It Better To Paint Or Stain A Table Top?

The paint provides better protection as it forms a film sitting on top of the wooden surface. However, Its painted surface and stained wood surfaces are recommended to be covered with a top coat for a longer-lasting better look.


Finally, let’s say now you inserted your old dining room table. I am already content about is it worth refinishing a dining room table. The finish is worn. But the table is sound and the wood is in good condition. It has a beautiful grain pattern for the best look. If you tried to sell an old dining table. 

You want to be lucky to get $200.00 for it. But, you loved your old dining table. You really liked the table. It fits your dining room space perfectly for home. I can refinish it for less than how to refinish a table with paint and how to strip and refinish a table then It gives you a better finish. 

In fact, I will put a finish on the table that you really love. So, in this case, I think it’s work refinishing.

To learn more , stay with ‘Restore

Richard Journey

Written by

Richard Journey

Meet Richard Journey, the Antique Furniture Maestro. With a Fine Arts degree in Furniture Restoration and Conservation, he’s a guardian of historical craftsmanship. His accolades include the Golden Chisel Award, and he’s your guide to discovering and restoring antique treasures.

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