Monday, July 27, 2009

Restoration Blues.

I have vintage patio furniture that needs restoration. A garage sale bargain: 12 “regular” chairs, 2 gliders, 2 chaise lounges, and a large table, all matching, for $50! Nothing like being green and giving these pieces a new life, right?

So, my husband and I went to a “famous brand” home improvement store the other day to pose some intelligent questions to people who, unfortunately, don’t know anything about the products they sell! Sorry to say this, but several years ago, it appeared to me then that the employees at the big boxes could indeed answer your DIY questions.

It wasn’t rocket science: I simply wanted to know if there was a spray paint that would stick both on vinyl and metal. All the vinyl slats on these chairs are in good condition, and really don’t need to be replaced, but alas, the metal is not.

The first fellow I asked told me to tape off the vinyl slats. Sure, there’s only at least 24 of them per chair, hmmm, times 16, equates to a time-consuming proposition. I said no, that’s not an option. He immediately grabbed a canister of spray point and started reading the fine print on the back, looking for that golden nugget hidden in the directions that would make me go away.

Alas, the nugget wasn’t there; so he put a call in to another “expert” in the store. Funny but this guy wouldn’t speak directly to me; he used helpful employee #1 as a go-between! I noticed that we both spoke fluent English, however, perhaps he heard a sampling of my Jersey accent, and this being California, my diction may have been alien to him.

My husband shot a “you’ve got to be kidding” look at me. I shot back an “oh, be hopeful” stare, complete with eyes that pleaded “have a little patience”. I wasn’t ready to give up hope…yet.

Well, hope went out the window. Helpful home improvement store employee #2 gave me a once-over, and deciding that I was insane, boldly spoke to me without going through his buffer. “The only solution is to remove the vinyl slats. Vinyl slats are flexible, they move, unlike plastic. Paint will chip off because of movement. You said plastic, but they’re actually vinyl slats.”

Oh. Good point. When you put your fanny on them, yes indeed, they flex. But hey, doesn’t plastic “flex” too? Guess it doesn’t.

I walked out of there with my head hanging down. Defeated. And all I want to do is restore and reuse. And do it myself. For now, those chairs will remain in the garage. Maybe I’ll call Steve the powder coating guy. And order new slats on-line, pre-cut, no less. My $50 bargain just had another zero added to it. Sigh.


Anonymous said...

Well pick that pretty head up darlin' because I have found the expert you need!

ehow has all kinds of information about painting vintage vinyl chairs! Go to Yahoo and type in: Paint formulated for vinyl furniture. the first link that comes up is the ehow article of how to paint vinyl furniture. Then go about four more threads down and there is an article on ebay about vinyl dye and that it is sold at auto stores, like autozone I guess. This type of product actually seeps into the vinyl, like the upholstry of the car and dyes it so there is no chipping. This is probably the product you want to try first. Try it in a discreet area to see if you like it. I have spray paints listed below.

Also, I found an article on about prepping and painting vinyl and plastic furniture. Evidently Krylon plastic Fusion paint comes in 15 colors and drys in 15 minutes. Also I think that you may want to spray Rustoleum Plastic Primer before you spray the actual color. The articles all talked about putting on thin coats instead of trying to cover in one coat.

Also, there was a tip about starting and ending the spray away from the object being painted as spotting and spitting will occur during those two times and you are getting a steady stream by the time you contact with the furniture and when you leave the object.

Well, I guess this makes you and I more of an expert than the two dullards at the home stores. Maybe this should be our next job! LOL

Lots of Hugs
Your Friend Mary1313

Nancy said...

How about checking in with Mr. Google? He can often offer a solution. Good luck!

Tammy said...

Have you checked any of the DIY sites on the net? There has to be something that will work.

Irene Koehler said...

The previous comments are quite right in pointing out other viable options for quality advice.

From where I sit, this isn't a restoration issue, it is a customer service issue - or, more pointedly, a lack thereof. This is not limited to any one chain of stores or any one type of business. While there are brands which go out of their way to give a high-priority to their hiring and training practices so that their employees are prepared to meet/exceed your expectations, these brands are the exception. Especially in this economy, businesses are looking to pay people less, reduce training costs and just accept the consequences. While I get the competing financial demands on a business, sometimes taking the longer term view to build customer loyalty can be a powerful thing.