Refurbishing the Wood Interior of a Government Building


A large city in Southern Ontario was restoring its very active city hall. This structure was in use every day by city government and the citizens of the community. A very active city building was deemed historical as a significant piece of the region’s heritage. Daily use had resulted in significant water and mechanical damage to the wood interior. The city allocated funds to restore the interior. Replacement of the panels was not even considered by city council for 3 reasons; prohibitive cost, the panels were part of the building’s heritage, and local government wanted to demonstrate environmental sustainability. These constraints made this a challenging project, especially considering that any work that was to be done could not disturb the function of a very active city government.


Refurbish the historical wood paneling without disrupting the operations of city government. The scope of wood to be refinished included:

  • 7,000 sq.ft. of wood paneling

Traditional Solution

There was no money to replace the wood paneling. Additionally, replacement would violate the city’s constraints of heritage and environmental sustainability. Refinishing of the panels on-site using traditional solvent-based technology was also ruled out because the off-gassing would disrupt the daily operations of this very busy city hall. The city had no funds to move the panels off site to be refinished in a traditional manner where they could off-gas safely. Additionally, the required timing of this work occurred during an extraordinarily active city council schedule. Since the council work could not be re-scheduled, and moving the councillors and their staff temporarily was cost prohibitive and potentially confusing to the general public, somehow the work needed to be done in a method that met all these constraints. Clearly, a traditional solution was not viable.

Toronto Refurbishing Solution

Historical work has unique challenges. Fortunately, Toronto Refurbishing is a member of the Ontario Historical Society and is recognized as an expert in restoring heritage wood fixtures. Environmentally-friendly water-based technology was used so that city government could function without disruption from odours and off-gases. Toronto Refurbishing was able to complete the entire refinishing of these heritage panels in 2 weeks, on-site, mitigating transportation costs to remote work locations. The cost to the city was $65,000to restore these historical wood panels. This equated to about $9 per return these heritage panels to their former excellence. All of this happened in a very busy city hall, with no impact to the government or its citizens. 

Do you need to meet new design requirements with your wood refinishing? We’ve got you covered! Not only can we restore wood millwork to its original condition, we can also alter its colour and provide a variety of different finishes. 

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