Asked on Sep 27, 2016

Did I ruin my table?

Joan Ward
by Joan Ward
Anyone know of a way to fix the top of a relatively new coffeetable after I spilled nail polish remover on it. It stripped off a big section of the veneer.
  21 answers
  • William William on Sep 27, 2016
    If the veneer just lifted you can try to reattach to the table by placing a dish towel over the veneer and iron with a hot iron (no steam) to activate the adhesive. Check to see if the veneer is sticking as you iron. If the veneer came off and isn't damaged, you can glue it back on using contact cement. Brush even coats of contact cement on the table and back of the veneer. Let it dry till tacky to the touch. Carefully line up the one edge of the veneer on the table top. As you lay the veneer down rub it down with your hand. Once it's fully down, use a rolling pin or block of wood over the veneer to glue it down. Be very careful. Once both parts make contact they cannot be separated.
    • See 1 previous
    • William William on Sep 27, 2016
      NEVER hopeless! Did it remove ALL the veneer?! If it did and the wood underneath is in good condition, you can sand it smooth, and apply a gel stain as close a color of the table. Then seal it with at least three coats of water based polyurethane. I use and recommend Minwax Stains and sealers. You can also paint the whole table.
  • Cindy Hagemann Cindy Hagemann on Sep 27, 2016
    My daughter spilled nail polish remover on my dining room table and it had to be refinished. Sanded down, stained, poly top coat.
  • Suzie Suzie on Sep 28, 2016
    Please can you post a picture? It would help to see what you're dealing with. William probably has the best answer though - tidy up what there is and stain or paint to get a good finish. If you don't think you can match the original finish make a feature with a picture/image of some kind then seal the whole top.
  • Christina Contreras Christina Contreras on Sep 28, 2016
    I did the same thing to my coffee table I just rubbed fingernail polish remover all over it until it turn the same color then buy gel stain and stain it again and then varnish
  • Deanna Nassar Deanna Nassar on Sep 28, 2016
    I hate to use the stuff myself but; contact paper comes in wood grain patterns. OR find a picture or two large enough to cover and modpodge it. Follow the link for tips on use.
  • Tracy Norr Tracy Norr on Sep 28, 2016
    My son's friends spilled water on my coffee table and it lifted the veneer. I'm going to put tile (the glass mosiac decorative tile) on the table top to fix it.
  • Canadianlady Canadianlady on Sep 28, 2016
    Yes, you did ruin the finish, and it will have to be completely redone. Best thing is to NEVER let your nail polish products get within ten feet of a wooden surface.
  • Lise Lise on Sep 28, 2016
    If you can remove the nail polish, then wood crayons or regular crayons or colored markers could match the stain. If not, I'd either stencil or paint the top. I like the look of paint with wooden legs. One more thing, don't stress too much because there are several ways to remedy this including sanding and restraining it is not ruined.
  • David David on Sep 28, 2016
    The top will need to be taken back to the original surface and repolished/sprayed, no matter what you do to resolve the problem it will always stand out like a sore thumb to you, and I am speaking as a retired carpenter/joiner, good luck anyway, David
  • Elaine Elaine on Sep 28, 2016
    Accidents happen! You will either have to sand down the top, then restain it or paint it (chalk paint is very easy to use). If you use chalk paint, after sanding your final coat, follow that with a clear (liquid or solid) wax to give some sheen. If you want an antiqued look for the top, follow the clear wax with brown wax. Since it's just a table top, you won't need much so I'd advise going to Michael's where they sell small bottles of these latter-mentioned products.
  • IFortuna IFortuna on Sep 28, 2016
    Since there are no pictures, I will give you my experience. When I was about 10 yrs old I spilled nail *polish* on a treasured Ethan Allen table of my mother's. I completely denied having done this even though there were no other girls in the family. My mom had to have a professional come in and refinish the table and while she was at it had the dining room table done also. They looked better than new even though my mom was meticulous housekeeper!============However, if you would like to do this yourself as I did my dining table, just sand it, take a tack cloth to it to remove all the sanding dust, stain it, and finish it with tung oil. Tung oil resists stains, hot or cold items and makes the furniture look beautiful..======I did this on an antique Swedish table. If your furniture is expensive or you lack the confidence, have it done professionally. Even though mine was a bit expensive I took a chance. If it is not very expensive furniture, what have you got to lose? Best of luck. : )
  • Vickie Hylton Vickie Hylton on Sep 28, 2016
    I like all he answers except the one that said it was ruined. My neighbor just had her dining room table painted with chalk paint. There was nothing wrong with a it she just wanted a change. It turned out beautiful. Have fun and Good Luck!!
  • Michelle Michelle on Sep 28, 2016
    I had the same thing happen to my kitchen table. I've made and bought lots of runners that cover the spot. Someday I plan to refinish or paint it.
  • KathiT KathiT on Sep 28, 2016
    NOT ruined! I recently bought a damaged dresser at a second hand shop to re-do into an entertainment center. It had a deeply etched tic-tac-toe game on the top of it. I sanded it down and had a big "bald" patch as a result. What did I do? Chalk painted it!! You don't need to prep AT ALL, and the chalk paint covers blemishes beautifully! Make sure you read up on how to chalk paint and wax (since you CANNOT skip that step), and you'll end up with a table you love! Try your hand at distressing, too!!
  • Sewstar Sewstar on Sep 28, 2016
    I assume that the acetone in your polish remover removed the laquer finish on your coffee table. If that is the case, you can try this article cure: It has you use spray laquer to replace the damaged laquer and then burnish with denim to blend the areas. That would save having to sand off the entire table, so it would be worth try. You could always sand or chemically strip it afterwards, if it didn't turn out well. Good luck.
  • Rafael Rafael on Sep 28, 2016
    i have used WD40 on plastic picnic tables. it worked.
  • Msi1170121 Msi1170121 on Sep 29, 2016
    Welcome to the club. I've been told that this happens more often than you'd think. Ours was a diningroom credenza. I was told by a woodworking friend to go to an unfinished furniture store to buy a product that wiped on and "stretched" the top finish. Worked so well that you have to get in just the right place to see that there was ever a problem! I'd suggest starting with Lowes or Home Depot and asking about a refinisher.
  • Rosy Rosy on Sep 29, 2016
    Since the table is ruined and it was mine I would take it outside and put acetone all over the rest of the top. Then I would refinish the top. It's already ruin ed so why not. You will have a top that doesn't have a huge stain on it.
  • Maddyw Maddyw on Sep 30, 2016
    It happened to me, I stripped the table and restained with watco dainsh oil it looks great
  • Pamw Pamw on Oct 06, 2016
    Mayonnaise works Let it sit overnight
  • Mary Ann Mary Ann on Oct 12, 2016
    Nail polish remover is acetone, a solvent for paint, lacquer, ect. If it stripped the finish, it's probably an oil base finish. Try to determine what kind of finish it is first, because how you repair it will vary depending upon the type. Is it oil base or water base polyurethane, lacquer, or varnish? Following that determination, protect the remaining portions of the table and remove the remaining finish on the top with stripper suited to the finish, (an orange oil type is my favorite), let dry, sand lightly, wipe down with tack cloth and reapply a new coat of water based polyurethane in a similar finish, clear or tinted, gloss, satin, or matte. Lots of choices to make. Water base polyurethanes dry quickly and are relatively odor free. Another possible solution is a product I have used called Formby's Refinisher that you can apply with fine steel wool which basically floats the remaining finish over the whole top. I have had good results on hardwoods. If it also damaged the stain, the job gets more complicated, but is still doable. It's a time consuming repair, but better than buying a new table. My girls and I are forbidden to do our nails on any wood surface for this very reason. Good luck!