Saturday, March 4, 2017

Refurbishing Old Fixtures

 I decided that I was going to spend this Winter giving all of the brass fixtures in my house a makeover.  It's a nice indoor task that is not difficult.  The hardest part is the length of time needed to raise your arms over your head!

What you need:
  1. fine sand paper
  2. spray paint of your choice
  3. well ventilated work-space
  4. time
Now, the first thing to do when you've determined what light you want to remove to refinish is TURN OFF THE ELECTRICITY FOR THAT LIGHT!!  This is a critical first step.  It can be done first by making sure the light switch is off and second by turning off the power at the breaker box.  Usually the next steps will be removing the glass fixture and light bulbs.  Some lights are bulbs first, then glass pieces, others are glass covers, then light bulbs.  Unscrew your attachment screws and usually there will be three connector wires to disconnect.  They should be white to white, black to black and ground wire to ground wire.  Ground wire are usually just exposed  copper wires and can sometimes be twisted around a screw on the fixture or mount bar.  Remember your wires for when it comes time to reinstall! (If you have a ceiling fan there can be an extra [fourth] wire set.  This is typically teal or blue.  This is for ceiling fans with a separate switch for the fan function.)

Clean the entire fixture and let dry.  I've done this with cleaner and wipes or by putting it in the sink to wash (Obviously, not the electrical wire parts in the sink).  After it's dust and particle free, lightly sand the surfaces you want to paint.  A light scratch is all you're looking for.  This will allow the new paint to adhere to the surface better and not be scratched off as easily.  Move to a well-ventilated area and use your spray paint to entirely cover the necessary areas.  This usually takes more than one coat of paint and more than once having to shift your light around so that you can reach all areas of the fixture.  Be patient!  Don't forget to include the screws and decorative screw covers.

 Once you're sure you have all your pieces done, in all the little nooks and crannies, you can do an optional coat of clear-coat/sealant.  Here are two finished products.  One in an oil brushed bronze and one in a matte silver.  Reinstall your light starting with the wires.  I like to attach my wires and lightly screw back my screws just enough so that the fixture will be held in place, then turn on the power and check my wiring.  If everything turns back on all right, I finish securing the fixture completely and reassemble the glass and bulbs.  Done!

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