Does wood sell?

ratildaMay 22, 2009

Hello everyone!

I live in a house that we're planning to sell sometimes in the next 5 years. The house has yellow pine doors that would be very beautiful if not the ugly greenish-gray stain that the previous owner used for the doors. I used a soy based remover on one door to remove that ugly stain, and saw that underneath it the wood has a fantastic warm honey color.

Now, here's a dilemma. My husband and I both want to do something with all the doors in our house, so we won't see that ugly staining anymore. However we cannot decide between two options that we have: 1. Just paint the doors white, or 2. Grease our elbows to get the beautiful wooden look. The latter would require a vast amount of work: removing all the stain that penetrated the wood (that alone would cost few hundreds just for the stain remover), use conditioner for the wood and than stain it again to get more darker version of the wood, and finally, cover all doors with lacquer to waterproof them (so they won't shrink/expand due to seasonal changes).

Effort-wise the first option is way more tempting, but then we think that unpainted woodwork must sell better. So, maybe we HAVE to do all that job, not just for ourselves, but for the sake of keeping our house more competitive on the market.

I need your advice on that decision: to paint the doors or restore them?

Thank you!

Valerie.

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cordovamom

You're going to find a variety of opinions on this matter. What it all comes down to is a matter of taste. I much prefer stained wood, actually pretty much despise painted woodwork and doors, but there are probably just as many people that would prefer painted. Those that prefer painted believe that painted wood gives a much more updated look to a house, crisper, cleaner.

I think to me the rule of thumb would be, if the wood is good quality stainable wood, go the distance and refinish the wood. If it's cheap quality, builders grade paintable wood, then you won't lose value by painting.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 12:22PM
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triciae

Stained woodwork was in the 80s what SS is today. As a result, I dislike stained woodwork & much prefer crisp clean painted trim.

Throughout our country's history you'll find styles have flip/flopped between the two many times. The style of woodwork often is one of the first clues to a home's age.

So, if your home was built during a period when stained was popular...you should probably go the extra mile. However, if painted trim is more consistent with your home's history you're home free... :)

Ultimately though you should do what you'll be the most happy looking at every day.

/tricia

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 1:14PM
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gibby2015

I much prefer stained woodwork/cabinets etc. over painted but it definitely is a personal preference thing. Painted woodwork seems to be very popular right now. We've been looking at a lot of newer homes for possible relocation and most have painted woodwork - which in my case causes me to rule them out. I always seem to choose what isn't popular with the masses though. It's quite possible that what's in fashion now will not be in five years.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 9:29AM
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cmarlin20

I don't like the stained wood work because is is usually dark. I'd go the painting route unless it is not dictated by your home style, such as Craftsman..

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 11:28AM
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lyfia

I've had both and I much prefer doors/trim to be painted because then I don't have it fighting with any wall color choices I want to make or won't go with the wood furniture I have.

I think you'd be safe to take the easy way out and paint them. Just make sure you do a good quality job and not one where all the brush strokes are showing.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 2:17PM
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randita

We have/had stained woodwork/doors on our first floor. Planning to sell in a few years, we had a realtor in for an estimate and also suggestions for preparing to sell. She said whoever bought the house would likely paint the woodwork white first thing. Stained woodwork was dated, she said and ours was very dark - walnut.

DH hated the idea, but I got him to let me paint the woodwork white, including some dark half wall paneling in our family room. I still don't think he likes it, but I've had a lot of compliments on it, so maybe he'll come around.

I still have a couple of rooms to go, but I like it SOOO much better. The rooms look much more spacious with the white. The doors and woodwork don't call attention to themselves, they retreat.

When comparing the time factor in the two options, it does actually take a fair amount of time to paint. The steps are wash with Dirtex or TSP Substitute, sand with fine paper or sponge, vacuum, apply bonding primer, patch any dings/holes, sand lightly, apply two coats of finish paint (I recommend SW ProClassic Acrylic), sand lightly between coats. It's a multi step process. I didn't take the doors off to paint them and didn't spray them because I've never used a sprayer. But spraying is definitely an time saving option.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 7:59PM
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xamsx

I have had both and prefer stained woodwork. I've also stripped, stained and refinished more woodwork than I want to remember. While a horrible job, long term it is much easier to maintain stained woodwork than painted woodwork.

I agree with cordovamom. If it is good quality wood that was originally intended to be stained, go the extra mile and do the work. If it is current junk that is paint-grade, don't bother.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 9:36PM
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elle481

I really think it depends on what part of the country you come from and what kind of home you have. Up in the NY, NJ and CT area, most people prefer crisp white or off white wood as opposed to natural. I guess you have to know your market and the type of home you have. All of the new construction we have looked at all have white moldings and trim.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 9:56PM
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sue36

I agree with Elle. I prefer white woodwork (having grown up in a house with all stained woodwork). But I like stained wood when it suits the house (antique, Craftsman, etc.) or is really beautifully done (like the lavish cherry or mahogany libraries you seem in some homes).

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 2:11AM
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neesie

I love stained woodwork. Always have, always will.

The trend to paint everything these days to me seems cheap and quick. Sure it's "updated" because it's different from the original McCoy. But I'd hate to have to strip woodwork of paint just becuase the PO's were lazy.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 11:57AM
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terriks

I don't think that painted woodwork is a new versus old thing, but a style thing. I have been in many old homes (60+ years) that have always had painted trim.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 1:41PM
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susanlynn2012

I prefer painted white trim and doors.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 7:17PM
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klabio

Sounds like you have a pickled stain which I think was popular mid-90s in some places. It's dated for sure.

As a resale in less than five years just paint the doors and trim. If you were staying indefinitely the effort to strip the pickled stain would be worth it but you have much to do to get a place to sell and I don't think the effort would pay off in more dollars or a faster close. The fact that is pine and not a hardwood tips the scale in my mind.

You don't mention if the trim is stained or painted. That might change the equation but since you didn't mention the ugly stain on the trim I'm guessing it is painted.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 9:32PM
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powermuffin

In my 100+ year old house, painting the trim would not only be a travesty, but also significantly reduced my resale value. Consequently, I have spent many hours removing crudy looking paint and restaining my trim. That said, I do like white/cream painted woodwork too. You do have more color options and I love color. However, it doesn't take much for painted woodwork to get beat up and then someone comes along and does a crummy job of repainting it.

The real reason why you see so much painted woodwork today is that it is much cheaper for a builder to put in paint grade wood or mdf than it is to put in better quality wood and have it stained. And as previously stated, unless the wood is worthy, it should probably be painted.
Diane

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 5:52PM
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