Church remodeling can become quite stressful. With so many different tasks to handle at once, you may feel like you are pulled in a hundred different directions at once.  All in all, many things need to be considered before, during, and after church remodeling. 

The process of church remodeling doesn’t put a pause on other church works – the church still has to preach the sermons, lead the ministries and take care of the community. Church reconstruction is a crucial part of continuing the legacy but can involve work and stress. We will walk through everything you need to remember while remodeling a church. 

What Are The Parts Of Church Pew Remodeling?

Traditional churches have pews, which are long benches utilized for sitting, which face the altar. They are laid out on both sides of the aisle of a church. In ancient times, pews were used only by the elderly worshippers, but later they were introduced as the primary seating arrangement in all churches. They are generally made out of wood and consist of several intricate parts.

Due to its parts, pews need remodeling and repair quite often. The general process of church pew remodeling is given below:

  • Properly relocate all furniture from the church and number everything accordingly. 
  • Disassemble the pews to easily access all parts.
  • Determine minor and major damages that need repair. 
  • Hand strip and machine or hand sand the pews. 
  • Stain the pews to get the color of wood that you desire. 
  • Leave the pews overnight to dry.
  • Apply multiple sealing coats with uniform intervals of hand sanding. 
  • Finally, put on a lacquer coat and let it dry overnight. You can hand-sand the pews again for a satin-like finish.
  • Re-assemble the pews and install them properly in linear rows in the church.

Wooden Church Pew Restoration 

There isn’t much difference in wooden pew restoration, but specific minute details need to be kept in mind while restoring wooden church pews. Old wooden pews tend to get super dry and dull. With time, they lose their polish and luster, but you may not need to throw them out. Wooden church pews can be restored when given good care and attention.

Follow the next few steps to know how to restore wooden church pews:

  1. Clean all the dust and dirt from the corners, hinges, and design holes of wooden pews. A damp cloth or rag will work just fine.
  2. To bring energy back into the lifeless wood, you need some boiled linseed oil. This oil works wonders to get the wood back to life and also protects it from further damage. Apply this oil in small sections, and old wooden pews look much more lively. 
  3. Keep the pew under the shade and let it dry. After it has dried, you may give it a good wipe with a dry cloth. The old wooden bench will be as good as new.

Wooden pews need more care as they are a bit fragile than standard pews, but restoring the pews is much better for the environment than replacing them – not to mention, they have much more sentimental value. 

Church Pew Upholstery 

Until now we have discussed the harder furniture and pews. But what about the upholstery that goes on the pews and other furniture? Textiles and additional soft paddings need special attention while remodeling.  The pew upholstery can be only the seat or both on the seat and the back. The seat has a thick padding of 2 inches of quality foam that can get damaged with years of use.

Whereas both the seat and the back are a mixture of woodwork and foam that are glued or stapled back to the frame of the pew. Generally, the glue dries up, or stapled pins come off. In that scenario, the back upholstery must be restored. 

All the previous foam and adhesive must be scraped off before applying any new product. That ensures longevity and holds the form for more years. The seats and back of the upholstery should match to get a seamless look and comfort. 

Repairing Church Pew Accessories 

Church pews have a variety of accessories attached to them for better accessibility while praying or sitting on them. Some of the church pew accessories include rail cushions, kneeler cushions, book or bible racks, hymn book racks, kneeler bumpers, envelope racks, and other customized elements. 

All of these pew accessories need equal repair or restoration. Many people think pew accessories are not an essential component of the restoration process, but these accessories make the pews complete and usable. Accessories like shelves, hooks, and knobs should be replaced if rusted, cracked, or broken. 

  • Podiums: Podiums are often made of wood so that they can get damaged with regular use. The wood should be replaced as the person standing on it can get hurt in an accident. 
  • Wooden accessories: The same goes with wooden accessories. Wood is a classic material to use in churches, but wood also gets worn out easily. So, all the accessories made of wood should be replaced or restored depending on their condition. If the wood has gone soft, then it must be returned as it can cause major accidents. 

McPhail Church Services, Inc.

McPhail Church Services, Inc. is a family-owned church pew upholstery, restoration, and repair company located in Autryville, North Carolina.  With over two generations of experience, McPhail Church Services can help with any of your church remodel needs; we serve states along the East Coast all the way out to Texas!

If you are looking to remodel your church, consider McPhail Church Services for any repair needs that you may have.  We pride ourselves on our work and our service, and we would be honored to help you as well.  Please contact us today for a free quote on any of our remodeling services.

Most people don’t realize but refurbished or used church furniture is often more cost effective than new. Most church furniture from ‘back in the day” is of a higher quality and constructed in the “built-to-last” spirit.

Have you ever noticed how tables, chairs, cabinets and dressers that your parents/ grandparents owned are still in use today? These pieces lasted because they were built with solid hardwoods and not with pressed chipboard with a veneer coating. Now that’s not to say veneer with the proper care will not last, rather, that modern advancements in plywood have not produced a lumber that is stronger than solid hardwoods.

Just keep in mind big box retail store furniture and think to yourself that it is inexpensive, but probably will not last. The same thing applies to church furniture. However with only a few manufactures providing this specialty product they can often demand premium prices for what most would consider “knock down” church furniture.

Enter the world of refurbished church seating. At less than a third of the price it is possible to fill your sanctuary, courthouse and funeral home with VERY high quality, solid wood seating. Few places sell used church furniture but the ones that do will usually repair, re-upholster and restore.

Keep in mind also that solid oak pews over a decade or two old are considered vintage and increase in value every day. When a congregation decides to update their church seating it is very common for them to have no idea what to do with their existing pews and sadly some have just disposed of them.

Why let something with so much history go to waste when it can bring joy to others for years to come. Consider refurbished/used pews today and bring a custom look to your facility at less than a third of the price. We can help with that! Click the following and request a phone call TODAY –> Used Pews

“Pew cushions”, “pew padding,”pew upholstery” – call it what you will, answers don’t come in black and white. So if you ask us, “Can I keep my old church cushions? What can I do to save money on my worship seating renovations?” Get comfortable because we’ll have some questions for you!

If you just NOW started doing your research, I want to offer you some tips so that you can ask the RIGHT QUESTIONS when you make that first call.

Your options are pretty cut and dry:

  1. Trade in your old pews for new pews
  2. Dump the old pews and BUY new ones
  3. Dump the old pews and BUY refurbished/used pews
  4. Restore/re-upholster existing pews and other church seating

Option #4 is normally the most economical, but the cost can be cut down even further if you decide to go that route. Here’s how:


FIRST OF ALL you can ask about reusing your old foam. Keep in mind that this can ONLY be accomplished if your pews have fixed upholstery already. Foam (or cushion) in pews is a petroleum-based product and is one the largest expenses in the pew refurbishing process. On most occasions the foam in your seating will out last the life of your fabric, and will certainly outlast its currency with modern fabric trends. This all depends on the density of the foam.

Take a seat in your pew. Do you feel like you bottom out or feel like you’re almost sitting directly on the wood? This is an indication that it is probably a good time to update your foam. However if there is still a degree of support, you may want to considering reusing it.

BUT REMEMBER to weigh-out your immediate savings with the the possibility of having to get this whole process done again in five years instead of the standard 10-20!

This is NOT an easy decision. We know!


Let’s consider that you feel you have a solid 8+ years left in your foam. You may be able to increase that time by having the upholsterers bolster the old pew foam with a narrow strip of new pew foam underneath. This small addition makes a world of difference and even provides a degree of wrinkle protection in your pew upholstery.

McPhail Church Services is one of very few (if not the ONLY) company in our service region that offers this level of customizable services. The main reason for this is that we don’t do subcontracting our pew restoration services. We do it all ourselves! So we can personalize your quote over the phone without having to seek-out approval from any servicing companies.

Negotiating your foam, can save you up to $4/foot. If you have 200 feet worth of pews, that’s already $800! If you’re looking for a quote or have additional questions about this topic, call us using the number at the top of this page OR request a phone call by clicking on the following link: Pew Upholstery and Services QUOTES

We get this question quite often and the truth is, you don’t need a salesman or on-site pew consultant to tell you what you need – you can determine for yourself if you need to replace your church furniture or just “freshen it up” a bit!

First, inspect your pews and pulpit seating AS a member of your congregation or as the pastor (respectively). Take notice of a few things:

  1. Is the seat failing?
  2. When you sit down, are you making contact with the hard surface below?
  3. Do you feel significant inconsistencies in the pew padding?
  4. Are you hearing cracking or stresses in the wood?
  5. Are the seats rocking every time someone sits, stands or fidgets?
  6. Are there cracks on the legs that may or may not eventually completely falter and cause the pew to collapse? This one is an extreme example, but you can’t be too careful with guest safety sometimes.

At the end of the day, most church furniture issues can be resolved with upgrades, church pew upholstery, restorations or repairs. Going with these options will save you money more often than not when compared to purchasing an entirely new seating system.

We can help you do the math!

Pew Repairs and Upgrades

Let’s say you decide, “Ok, I don’t want to buy new church furniture. What can we do instead to address the deficiencies in what I already own?”

Well, let’s begin with the wood itself. When the fabric and foam are removed and the seat frame is exposed, plywood can be added for additional support. This fix can add many years to the life of church seating.

If you find that your pew legs are cracking or in danger or falling apart in some way, it is important that you contract a company that will make replacement legs for you either on-site or prior to arriving to do the job. Many companies will outsource this service causing the completion of the job to be delayed by weeks in some cases. Be careful and make sure that the company you hire GUARANTEES the entire job will be done on location! Otherwise, you can expect significant delays.

Reupholstery of existing pews with new high density foam is the most economical way to upgrade the beauty of your sanctuary seating for about half the cost of new pews with no disruption of services. One of the things our customers love is that we do a sample as soon as we arrive!

Whether you hire us or not, we want to help. Call or contact McPhail Church Services with your questions or concerns and we’ll give you some helpful tips on how to deal with your service providers and on how to cross-check the information they give you. And if we feel we can give you a better deal, we’d love the opportunity to give you a quote as well.

Thank you and good luck!