pew wood restoration

When cleaning the rest of your church, don’t forget to clean and care for your church pews. While these seating spaces are probably dusted on a regular basis, wooden and fabric pews should be adequately cleaned and sanitized regularly as well. It’s critical to incorporate this into your cleaning routine all year. Cleaning and disinfecting your church’s pews not only keeps them looking great but may also help prevent sickness from spreading. Let’s look at how to sterilize church pews in more detail.

Once a month, most facilities directors arrange a deep cleaning for church pews. Cleaning and polishing church pews before and after each service or special occasion is also a good idea. Cleaning surfaces and disinfecting surfaces are the two phases in deep cleaning church furniture.

This article will discuss the products that must be used to clean pews, how often pews need to be cleaned to be correctly maintained, and lastly, what products must be avoided to save your pew from damage. So, let’s begin now.

What Cleaning Product Should Be Used On Finished Wood?

You frequently dust and shine your wood furniture, but the polishes and dust mix overtime to produce a black film on your church pews, and to eliminate surface grime, dust the furniture.

  • To eliminate surface grime, dust the furniture. Now it’s time to clean up the minor soiling.
  • Begin with the most delicate cleanser and work your way up as needed. Create a dilute solution of dishwashing soap and water.
  • Wipe the entire item with a delicate cloth dipped in the solution, wrung out. You’ll need a moist cloth rather than a wet one.
  • Rinse your cloth frequently, and don’t soak the wood.
  • Dry the object completely with a second, clean cloth.
  • Soaps that are based on oil are a good option.

Look for oil-based soap products made for wood in store-bought wood cleaning supplies. To meet your needs, choose from a variety of brand names. When cleaning wood furniture with an oil-based soap, don’t leave the soap combination on the wood’s surface for too long.

Scrub softly with a soft cloth drenched with the product in tiny regions, working with the grain, then rinse with a second cloth dipped in clean water. To eliminate any lingering moisture, wipe with a soft towel.

Soaps That Are Based On Oil Are A Good Option

Look for oil-based soap products made for wood in store-bought wood cleaning supplies. To meet your needs, choose from a variety of brand names. When cleaning wood furniture with an oil-based soap, don’t leave the soap combination on the wood’s surface for too long.

Scrub softly with a soft cloth drenched with the product in tiny regions, working with the grain, then rinse with a second cloth dipped in clean water. To eliminate any lingering moisture, wipe with a soft towel.

Use A Mild Ammonia-based Cleaner

Combine an 80 percent water/20 percent ammonia solution and 1/2 teaspoon or a few squirts of mild dishwashing detergent in a mixing bowl. Before wringing out a soft cloth or sponge, properly combine the materials. Clean the wood furniture with the mixture, but don’t let it dry. Remove the cleanser using a clean cloth soaked in clean water and dry with a clean cloth.

How often do you need to clean church pews to keep them looking new?

Establish a cleaning program for church pews to keep on top of care for your wood furniture. When you’re finished with the church cleaning, use these strategies to clean your wood pews:

  • Dry dust the pews and collect any papers or dirt from the church service once a week.
  • Clean the pews with a wrung-out sponge or towel and water every month, and vacuum or wipe the hard-to-reach areas under the seats every one month.
  • Polish church pews once a year using Furniture polish, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

What Disinfectant Is Safe For Wood?

Disinfecting is necessary, but do it safely as disinfecting can harm wooden surfaces.

If the label on your disinfectant product says, it may be used for both cleaning and disinfection, clean obviously filthy surfaces with soap or detergent before disinfecting. Do not use harsh and acidic disinfectants. It would be perfect if you also avoid alcohol disinfectants as they can permanently damage wooden surfaces, and a mild and soft disinfectant is best for wooden surfaces.

To ensure that the cleaning product is used safely and effectively, always follow the guidelines on the label. Safety information and application directions will be included on the label. Disinfectants must be kept away from kids to maintain safety. Many products propose soaking the surface in disinfectant for a particular amount of time. So, follow each step carefully to disinfect your wooden church pews without damaging them perfectly.

What Should You Avoid Using On Wood Church Pews?

Some of the products you must avoid using on wood church pews are:

Ammonia: Ammonia is a strong chemical that may be used for a variety of cleaning tasks around the house, but it should never be used on wooden pews.

Oil: Oil can stain and make wood pews slippery. So, when you use oil to clean, the pews become slippery and make it sit to sit on.

Glass Cleaner: Windex and other glass cleaners aren’t recommended for use on wooden pews. Some are made with abrasive substances (like ammonia) that can harm your church pews and create stains.

Wet and damp Cloths: Water must be avoided at cost, and water can drastically damage the wood. So, using a damp cloth to wipe down church pews can impair the wood awfully.

cleaning wood surface

Have Your Church Pews Refinished

Besides the advice mentioned above, church pews must be immediately wiped away any spills to avoid spots and stains. To keep your pews shining for years and years, you should clean them often.

If your church pews have gotten to the point where they are beginning to look unpleasant and are past the point of a quick clean, perhaps it is time to refinish your church pews. Here at McPhail Church Services, we will pick up your pews, sand them, stain them, add new upholstery, then install them in your church again. Contact us today for information on how to have your church pews refinished.

    Services of Interest

    If you are looking to have some new church pews installed into your church sanctuary, or would like to know how many pews you can fit into a given space, you’ve come to the right place.

    A rough estimate for the size of an average church pew measured in feet is 20 L x 2.5 H x 2.25 W. Although this is an average, there are many different shapes and sizes of church pews. If you are looking to refinish your church pews or add extra seating in your sanctuary, there are several options that can be done.

    Shortened Pews

    Depending on how many extra seats you would like to put in your sanctuary and what space you are working with, you could easily fit a few extra pew seats. Some churches incorporate pews that are half the size of other pews at the back or front of the facility.

    Some pews may also be different in size depending on their placement in the sanctuary. If there are three rows of pews, the middle row may be longer than outer rows or vice versa.

    How Much Space Per Seat

    Church pews are typically built to allow between 18-20 inches of space per seat. If you have a design for a 20 foot pew bench, then this would fit about 10 people.

    There is a maximum number of seats that you can add to your sanctuary. If you add more than what is necessary, the space could look cluttered. The space between pews should also be wide enough for people to easily slide through the rows of pews.

    How much Space is there Between Pews?

    You cannot simply take the square footage of your facility and divide it by the pew size to get an accurate number of seats you can fit in your auditorium. You must account for the spaces to maneuver between the pews.

    There are multiple spaces between each pew that you should account for. These spaces include:

    Main Aisles

    The space where the congregation walks from the front to back of the sanctuary to get to the exit. These aisle spaces can be as large as you would like but are typically at least 4 feet across to allow for plenty of space for two rows of people to walk.

    Between Pews

    This space is where people walk in order to get to their seat on the pew. This space must be large enough for someone to pass around another person who is already seated. This means that there is usually around 18 inches of space between each pew front to back.

    Outside Edge Space

    The center aisle is not the only way that guests should be able to exit the pews. There should be enough space on the outside of end pews for guests to exit. This area is usually less than the main aisle at about 2 feet across. This should allow for one person to comfortably exit the facility.

      Services of Interest

      If you are planning on redesigning or updating your church, then you may have thought about changing the upholstery of your pews. The seating of any church is essential for the community to worship and say their prayers. The seats should be easily approachable and comfortable for all members.

      We will be giving complete details on the cost to reupholster a church pew – both one single pew and the all of the pews in the congregation – and whether getting new pews is more cost effective than choosing to reupholster.

      Let’s find out! 

      How is Church Pew Reupholstery Priced?

      There are a ton of considerations to make before making a decision to reupholster your church furniture. The price range varies due to many significant reasons – it mostly depends on the textile you are going for.

      Upholstery can be made out of rich materials, including fabrics that can repel moisture and spills. Some fabrics are even anti-dust and anti-stain. Additionally, many people sit for long hours to worship their lord, so providing comfortable seating is a common courtesy by the church.  Providing more comfortable upholstery may also cost a bit more out of pocket.

      Before attempting any cost-cutting, keep in mind that when restoring pews or getting new ones you obviously need to change the old upholstery as well.  With a brand new or polished pew, using old upholstery would take away from the elegance of the new furniture.

      What is the Average Cost of Reupholstering a Single Church Pew? 

      If you have only one damaged pew, it is significantly less in terms of expense. The minimum cost of reupholstering a single church pew is $16-$17 per foot, but can cost up to about $26 per foot. The cost adds up when you go for intricately detailed materials or expensive rich-looking fabrics, or you decide to reupholster with i-clean materials that are anti-spill, anti-stain or anti-dust.

      Another aspect to keep in mind is how much upholstery you need on your pew.  Some pews only have upholstery on the bench, while others have it on the bench and seat back, etc.  The more upholstery you use obviously drives up the cost as the amount of material increases as well.

      Do You Need to Reupholster Every Church Pew?

      After years of use, upholstery loses its brilliance and comfort, so it’s wise to change it after a while. But, if your upholstery is in good condition, there is no need to reupholster every single pew in the church.

      If there is one pew that has been damaged for some reason or the material has got torn, you should think of changing that. It is not necessary to reupholster the entire church pew. That could waste a lot of money and waste suitable materials that could still be used.

      How Much Cheaper is it to Reupholster vs. Replace a Pew?

      Reupholstering the pews of the church is an excellent way to refresh and refurbish your church’s space without having to spend a lot of money on an entirely new set of pews. It’s best to have proper and professional help to ensure that the pews come out in the best condition.  Although tedious and time consuming, there is also the DIY route – however, this leaves more room for error.

      Now, it’s evident that choosing to only reupholster saves significantly more money than replacing the entire church’s pews with new ones. But still, if you want to replace every pew, that is also an option. Before investing in anything, ask the following questions to yourself:

        • Is the seat falling off?

        • Is the seat uncomfortable, or do you feel the hard surface underneath?

        • Has the pew upholstery gone bumpy or have lumps?

        • When you are sitting, are you able to hear cracking sounds from stressed woods?

        • Does the pew rock when sat down upon?

        • Is the pew collapsing, or can you feel cracks when touching it?

      If you are not nodding your head while reading the questions, then it may be best to replace the entire pew rather than just the upholstery.  If the pew is falling apart, then the upholstery cannot fix the foundational imperfections of the wood itself.

      McPhail Church Services, Inc.

      Reupholstering can be a tedious and lengthy process, but McPhail Church Services has got you covered. Our services are super quick and affordable as well. We service North Carolina, the East Coast, and every state as far west as Texas! 

      Pew upholstery is our most popular service not only in churches but also in synagogues and other sanctuaries; if you are looking to give your pews an upgrade, McPhail Church Services is the industry leader of pew reupholstery nationwide – we even offer a 15-year warranty on our upholstery. Please contact us today to get a free quote on the cost of your pew reupholstery.  We look forward to speaking with you soon.

        Services of Interest

        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!