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Selling Your House? Kitchen Facelifts Give an Excellent Return on Investment


If you’re thinking about selling your house and are trying to decide what projects will increase it’s value, there are a couple of important rules to keep in mind to make sure you get your money’s worth.

1. Don’t spend more than you can get back

It seems simple enough, but renovating a house that you intend to stay in for 20 years is very different from renovating to increase resale value. While you may want a new marble floor, it’s important to know your market and to understand if you’ll be able to recoup the cost. Often smaller, very visible projects make the biggest impact in ROI.

2. Make kitchens and bathrooms a priority

Homebuyers tend to penalize a house’s value if they perceive the kitchen and bathroom to be subpar. This doesn’t mean you need to tear them out and start from scratch though. Some small touches can make a big difference. For instance, painting or refinishing your kitchen cabinets is a relatively inexpensive way to make a big difference. Clean, neutral colors and stains are often the best choice for attracting new buyers.

3. Refurbish over replacement

When preparing to sell your home, refurbishing the items already in place will almost always be the more inexpensive option. Changes such as painting walls, refinishing floors, and fixing dings will allow you to stretch your dollar further and recoup your expenses when it comes time to sell your home.

4. Update refurbish your entryway and garage doors.

We have all heard about a home having curb appeal. Making a good first impression is very important.  Whether you need to touch up or refinish this is a good investment.


J C Wood would be happy to give you a free estimate on any of the above items to help you maximize your home’s value.

Have you recently sold your home? What changes did you make to get ready to put it on the market? Let us know in the comments if you saw a good ROI.

Touch Up for the Holiday Season


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The Holidays are a time for gathering together and hosting family and friends who may not see your home often. Don’t let nicks, gouges and wobbly legs detract from your beautiful home. It is the perfect time to take advantage of an in-home touch-up.

What is a touch up?
The term ‘touch-up’ can be used to describe the repairing of scratches, damaged wood, stains, water, heat and more. Depending on the extent of the damage, there are generally three stages of repairs that can be carried out: touch up, reconditioning or refinishing.

Touch up work is usually sufficient to repair minor damages such as scratches, chips or abrasions on most types of material including wood, wood laminates, Formica, fiberglass, leather or floors.

Missing Finish or Color
Many people are tempted to try touch-up markers sold in stores, but most don’t work very well. The color doesn’t match, and it will wipe away when dusting or polishing.

Almost any piece that is missing finish or color can be fixed while maintaining the material’s integrity. It really only depends on the size of the blemish. The ability to blend a color to match the original depends on having a good eye for color, an artist’s touch and an understanding of the original finish’s chemistry.

After the technician inspects the piece, he will discuss with you the type of materials to use and how visible the repair will be after. A general goal to strive for is the “six foot rule,” meaning that a repair should be hard to spot when standing six feet away.

If stains are built up and stubborn or when some of the finish has worn away and become dull, reconditioning may be the best choice. This allows you to maintain the material’s original quality without stripping off its existing finishing layer.

If you’re considering reconditioning a piece, make sure to consult with a professional or do plenty of homework to make sure you get the best out of your furniture.

Sometimes furniture is damaged so severely that your best option is to completely refinish it. The original finish of the wood will be stripped away and a new finish will be applied to make it look brand new. Refinishing jobs cost more than reconditioning and touch ups but can bring back a piece’s original luster or completely change its look.

Call or email us to receive a free copy of our wood care recommendations or to learn more about how we can help bring new life to your furniture

Top 10 Home Furnishing and Decorating Trends for 2014


As 2014 approaches, designers already have a good feel for what trends are going to be popular in the new year. Knowing current styles is a great way to keep your furniture and design from feeling dated. Whether you’re tackling a new project or just freshening up a room, here are the top trends for 2014.

10. Yellow Gives Any Room A Pop

While lighter blues and teals have been the trendy color for 2013, yellow is on the way in. Yellow walls, furniture or accents give a bolder, happier look to make people feel energized and happier.

9. Circular Everything

Circular furniture, lights, mirrors and more are showing up in 2014. Also popular is rearranging your room with the furniture facing each other to invite conversation.

8. Patterns Are Making a Comeback

The bolder the better for 2014. Moving away from floral and bird prints, it’s time to dust off granny’s old curtains, they’re back in style. Also, reupholstering furniture with bold patterns is a great way to bring new life to a piece that may otherwise look dated.

7. Mix Your Materials

Stone with wood, marble with concrete, mixing the materials of your furniture and accessories can be a fun way to accentuate the craftsmanship instead of blending it in. Try moving furniture around to different rooms and see what unexpected combinations you like.

6. Tailored Looks for Upholstery

Tight, clean upholstery is the hot look for 2014. To go along with those clean lines, pleats around footstools and the skirts of couches will give your furniture character that will stay in style well past next year.

5. White Is Always Right

Just like in 2013, you can’t go wrong with white. White walls, furniture, accents are always a great place to start with a room. A splash of color or some beautiful, dark wood are sure to pop against this clean, neutral backdrop.

4. Go Green!

We’re not just talking about recycling here. Plants can add a new dimension to any room and look great paired with some rustic wood furniture.

3. Back To The Future

Repurposed and retro furniture continues to be in style this year. In a disposable culture, saving and refinishing old items makes a strong statement. It might be time to start rummaging through the attic again!

2. Texture

In our increasing digital world, designers have become more and more aware of the items that touch our skin. Refinishing old tables, chairs and other items of furniture is a great way to bring a natural feel into your home. Soft fabrics and textured tiles are two other ways to focus on feeling.

1. Make It Personal

Not that personality is ever out of style, but 2014 brings a new focus to the small things that make our house a home. Focus on items that are conversation starters or that bring you fond memories. Whether it’s travel photos or grandma’s old end table, make any space your own.



Whether you’re trying out some of 2014’s decorating trends or working on something more personal, JC Wood has the experience repairing and refinishing furniture to freshen up any room in your house. Call us today to see how we can help you set next year’s fashion trend.

Which finish is best for your furniture?


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Refinishing is a great way to update a piece of furniture. Whether you have something you’d like to restore, or you just made a great purchase at a garage sale or flea market, JC Wood can refinish it for a bright, new look or give it a cool, Pinterest-ready makeover.

Finishes have two purposes: protect the wood and bring out its beauty. Depending on the type of wood, the look you want, and the required durability, some finishes may fit your needs better than others. For example, a lacquer might be best on surfaces that might encounter spills while shellacs aren’t as durable but match antique finishes quite well.

Choosing the right finish can be a daunting task. The following chart should help you start thinking about which finish is best for any furniture you’re restoring.



Pros and Cons

Best Uses


Slight shine

  • Highlights the natural color of the wood

  • Less durable than oil based finishes

  • May not protect against scratches

  • Close grained, natural wood furniture


Deep, rich appearance

  • More durable than wax

  • Moderate water resistance

  • Sensitive to heat and other solvents

  • May yellow over time

  • Darker woods


Very fine, mellow finish

  • Highlights the natural grain of the wood

  • Polishes extremely well

  • Far less durable than lacquer

  • Furniture and wood display pieces

Water Based

Clear, light finish

  • Tough and scratch resistant

  • Will not yellow over time

  • Furniture that is lighter in color and exposed to heavy sunlight


Clear finish, darkens the wood slightly

  • Widely regarded as the most durable wood finishing product

  • Longest lasting wood finish

  • Resistant to heat, abrasion, water and other chemicals

  • Also referred to as polyurethane

  • As a topcoat over worn finishes

  • Heavily used furniture like tables


Darker color similar to varnish

  • Provides a penetrating finish that hardens within the wood fibers, instead of creating a coat on top of the wood

  • Does not create a smooth surface film

  • Wood furniture that requires natural texture

Oil/Varnish Blends

Properties can fall anywhere between oil like and varnish like.


What are your experiences with finishes? Do you have something that would be a great refinishing candidate?

How Do I Choose the Right Refinishing Company?


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When faced with a refinishing project, choosing the right company to trust can be a daunting task. Are they licensed and insured to do this type of work? Do they adhere to EPA regulations? How will I know I’ll be satisfied with the end result?

A little research can go a long way to making sure you select the right company to complete your project.

Protect Your Investment

One of the first things you need to consider is insurance. Whether a project is taking place on-site or in their shop, it’s important that the company has sufficient liability and workman’s compensation insurance to protect you from unforeseen and potentially catastrophic costs.

Similarly, it’s important to know if the refinishing company is licensed and bonded. Today, some refinishers work at bargain rates without a shop. But, if something goes wrong or you have a warranty problem, they’re ghosts.

Check References

Once you’ve established that a company is insured and licensed, a great way to decide if they’re right for you is to visit their shop or check references. At their shop you can see ongoing projects and determine whether your furniture will be protected. If you’re investigating an on-site job, ask for references from previous customers. Ask about the quality of the work and the professionalism of the workers and whether they cleaned up at the end of each day. Check online sources for reviews on sites like Yelp, Google+ and Angie’s List.

Standing Behind Their Work

Another factor that can influence your refinishing company choice is if they offer a warranty and for how long it is. Whether you’re taking on a major project or you want a favorite piece of furniture refinished, a warranty is an important way to guarantee you’ll be satisfied with the results over time.

High Quality Materials

Finally, a worker is only as good as his tools. The materials that are used on your furniture greatly contribute to the quality and longevity of the finish. Make sure the company you choose is using quality, name brand materials on your pieces to ensure the best results. It’s also important that companies follow the latest EPA regulations to the finished product is free of harmful chemicals.

JC Wood vs. The Competition

How does JC Wood stack up to the competition? With $2,000,000 in liability insurance and $500,000 in workman’s compensation insurance, we make sure you and your furniture are protected from accidents and damage. We are licensed and bonded in Addison, IL and maintain a 8,000 ft2 plant that you can visit. Our 25 years in business and our reliance on only name brand materials allow us to offer a 1 year warranty against defects in material and workmanship. Call us for more information or for references.

With the right company, refinishing projects are a great way to bring new life to tired wood. If you have a project you’re considering, please contact us today!

Refinishing Professional Sports Team Lockers


When one of Chicago’s professional sports teams needed 75 new lockers finished for their locker room, who did they call? The experts at JC Wood.


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When Water Meets Wood: Repairing Water Damaged Wood


Furniture, Cabinets and Millwork


When water or moisture meets wood furniture, cabinets and millwork, the results can be disastrous. Chicago-area homeowners know all it takes is a broken pipe, an overflowing bathtub, flood or even high humidity, to leave your wood furniture, cabinets and woodwork damaged. However, quick action to remove the moisture and seek professional help may prevent a total loss.

When water damage is extensive, finishes can only go so far to protect the wood. After finishes break down, moisture actually penetrates the wood, causing swelling, buckling, cracking or bowing. Surrounding joints and hardware also can suffer damage as well. In most cases, if the moisture isn’t removed immediately, the item will need professional restoration to return it to its original shape and finish.

JC Wood offers complete restoration of water damaged wood furniture, cabinets and millwork. Attention to detail at every step ensures the best results:

Step 1: Drying

Allow the wood to dry out gradually. Remove all drawers, doors and hardware on furniture. If drying furniture on your own avoid drying in the sun or with a fan, as this can cause further damage.

Step 2: Cleaning

Water-damaged wood should be cleaned and sanitized to remove dirt, grime, bacteria and mold. JC Wood uses non-toxic chemicals for cleaning.

Step 3: Repair

Water damaged wood furniture may require joints and veneers to be re-glued.

Step 4: Finishing

Finishing enhances the beauty of the wood and protects it. JC Wood uses environmentally friendly paints, stains and other treatments.

If you are unsure what can be done, call JC Wood to assess the damage and determine the best option. You will need to weigh the value of the woodwork or furniture vs. the cost of restoration. Consider that older woodwork may be difficult and expensive to replace, making restoration a good option. 

Furniture Repair: Quick Fixes for Trade Show Furniture


Got Nicks? Quick Trade Show Furniture Fixes

Got nicks? Ruined finishes? Ripped upholstery? Broken furniture? After months of planning, it’s not what you want to see when you arrive to set up a trade show exhibit. But it does happen. Trade show furniture can take a beating from being moved and in and out of crates several times a year. Laminated surfaces get nicked and begin to peel. Wood pieces can be damaged by water or other liquids.


With an important trade show days away, the last thing you want to worry about is the furniture leaving a bad impression on potential customers. At JC Wood, we understand how frustrating this can be.

Furniture Repair from the Show Floor

When a trade show client recently faced this exact situation, JC Wood sprung into action, deploying a furniture repair technician to [insert convention center name] within hours. “Their problem became our problem,” said JC Wood owner Jim Sutter.  JC Wood worked over the weekend to restore the pieces to like new condition. The client was very satisfied with the work, which was finished on time, avoiding a potential disaster for the company.

“Sometimes you just need a touch-up to get pieces trade show-ready,” said Sutter.  “Other times a complete restoration is needed.” JC Wood specializes in matching existing finishes using custom mix stains, glazes and solid colors. “If you provide us with a sample, we will match it,”added Sutter.

On-site services, weekend hours and pick-up and delivery, make furniture repair an easy and affordable option for trade-show managers exhibiting in the Chicago area.  JC Wood is fully licensed and insured. According to Sutter, many antique dealers, collectors, and museums have entrusted their valuable pieces to JC Wood for restoration. In addition, hundreds of designers, architects, contractors and major insurance companies also rely on JC Wood.  

As an exhibit manager you have enough to worry about. Let JC Wood handle your trade show furniture repairs.

Wood Finishing And Finishing Cabinets: Important Tips


finishing wood cabinetFinishing wood is the stage that differentiates a beautiful piece of furniture or cabinetry from one that is not as attractive.  Selecting unfinished wood then choosing a unique treatment can create a custom, one-of-a-kind heirloom.

There are many different types of stains and varnishes and finishes.  Stain color can vary greatly, and much depends upon the type of wood, as well as how it was prepared to accept the color.  To add complexity to the mix, there are also glazes and washes and complex staining processes that can create a unique look for finished cabinets or other wooden furniture.

Coloration of stained wood can vary depending upon the amount of time the stain is allowed to penetrate.  A fast, thin swipe of color may be just the hint that you are seeking to slightly darken a clear coat.  By contrast, a dark stain that appears deep ebony may actually be accomplished with the same stain applied differently.

Different varnishes and finishes can affect the color of the wood.  For example, water-based polyurethane does not change the base color as much as oil-based poly, which creates a warm, amber tone.  The same stain can take on very subtle differences of color and tone dependent up on the type of finish that is applied over.  Adding a glaze or wash can create a patina or color that overlays the stained wood and creates a cool overtone or warm overtone.  It all depends upon what the effect is that you want in the final piece.

Finishing kitchen cabinets depending on the type of wood can make a kitchen a warm and exciting environment. 

It's important to understand how the wood will accept the stain.  Harder types of wood may be less porous than softer woods. Some woods absorb stain unevenly causing dark blotches and irregular coloration. Birch, maple, pine and cherry are typical culprits for uneven wood stain coloration. Preparing wood properly to accept the stain is key to avoiding the dilemma of blotchy wood finish.

Water Damaged Furniture: Can You Repair Water Stained Wood Furniture?


water damaged wood furniture repairWater damaged furniture, especially wood furniture, can be tricky to repair.  Although most finishes will protect the wood furniture surface, it can still become damaged by water.  Water damage is typically evident as white spots, stains, blushing or other discoloration of the wooden surface.

Furniture and trim with shellac or lacquer finish is not water or alcohol resistant.  When glasses ‘sweat’ or have condensation, they can leave a ring or white spot on the wood finish.  If polishing the surface does not remove these rings, it may be time to call in an expert to help.  If you try using denatured  alcohol, you can ruin the finish, and then it becomes a bigger project to repair.  

Another quick trick some people to try is a home remedy of using cigarette ashes. Cigarette ash is an abrasive and the idea is to “polish” away the spot.  Again, we have seen furniture that has been further damaged by this home remedy, so be skeptical when you consider trying something like this on a conference room table or dining room table, where the consequences of further damage may result in greater issues to repair.  

Blushing is the term when a white haze is evident over a large portion or even the entire piece of furniture.  Blushing is a discoloration that is caused by moisture and can also present as crazing or alligatoring.   Bushing is a common problem with old shellac or lacquer finishes and the wood may need to be refinished. Again, if you have a fine piece of furniture,  you should consult an expert to evaluate the damage.  But don’t be discouraged, often these problems can be corrected.

When water has penetrated into the wood finish and actually entered the wood, you may notice black spots.  With water damage like this, the entire piece of furniture may need to be stripped.  Once the wood finish is removed, the surface can be bleached and then stained and finished to it’s original beauty.  

A wood furniture finish repair may involve completely removing the original finish to repair any deep scratches, wood gouges, burns,  black spots, blushing  and will involve re-staining the wood.  While it may seem that the damage is only in one spot, keep in mind that the spot must now blend with the rest of the wood of the furniture.  In some cases, it’s difficult to preserve the finish which hasn’t been damaged in order to restore the area that has been damaged.  A professional will evaluate your situation and determine the best method of repair.   In most cases, the furniture will look better than it did when it was new.

When refinishing your furniture, it’s also a good opportunity to replace the upholstery with updated fabric.  New fabrics are versatile and more stain resistant and there are many great options to update the look of your piece.

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