Check Out How To Finish Wood Countertops

how to finish wood countertops

Do you need a unique outlook to finish off your newly renovated kitchen, bar, or living room? You must have seen cool and hard surfaces in most kitchens like steel, granite, or marble.

Wood, on the other hand, gives a warm and attractive look. Wood countertops have aesthetic values that feel just right – and they go with practically any interior or kitchen design.

Now, did you know you could finish wood countertops on your own?  This article will show you how to turn your wood into a stylish countertop. 

How To Finish Wood Countertops With Ease

You can follow the steps below to get it done. 

Step #1: Install your wood countertops

Place the wood countertop on top of the base cabinets. You may need someone to assist you in fixing the countertop in place.

To begin, join the L-shaped braces from the bottom of the wood countertop to the vertical wood parts of the cabinet. Next, connect the ends of the countertop.

 Most of the cabinets have their wood braces running down at one or more spots through the middle of the cabinet and on sink-base cabinets. You should attach the braces to these elements.

Drilling holes in an upside-down position while firmly holding a clamp can be difficult. Instead, you can fix a magnet on the countertop directly above the brace. 

This method will relieve your hand of stress and keep the brace in place while working on the screws and drills. 

Step #2: Sanding the countertops

To smooth the surface of the wood countertop, use an electric sanding machine with a fine-grit sandpaper. You can sand surfaces that are in good condition with an oscillating sanding machine. A belt sander is ideal mainly for rougher surfaces.

Why do you need the sanding? Well, the sanding prepares the surface for the application of the new polish. Removing the old stain allows the new one to penetrate the wood. It also gives the countertop surface a smooth texture. 

This texture makes it easier for the polish to adhere to the wood firmly. To achieve a smooth finish, you can start sanding with 60 grit through to 220-grit.

Step #3: Apply the finish

One of the best wood countertop tips is to avoid using heavy sealants and instead finish with mineral oils. The mineral oils will help close up the pores on the surfaces and make your countertops dazzle too.

Before installing the sink and trash disposal units, make sure to apply oil with a clean cotton rag to the internal section of the sink cutouts. 

The mineral oil sealant will prevent the water from soaking in the wood and increase the life span. You can also apply more mineral oil once a month to keep them in good condition. 

Alternatives To Mineral Oil Finish

Here are some alternatives to the mineral oil finish you might want to consider trying out. 

Tung Oil/Citrus:

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve citrus finish or Tung oil over the mineral oil. Tung oil is naturally non-toxic. You can add citrus solvent to quicken the drying process and increase the absorption into the wood.

The Tung Oil/Citrus finish gives surfaces a matte appearance while still maintaining their natural appearance.

Polyurethane:

Polyurethane varnish has a hard plastic finish, waterproof, and is scratch-resistant. Polyurethane finish is available in oil and water-based.

Lacquer:

The acrylic resin lacquer is best for wood countertops. Water-based acrylic resin is not advised for food preparation areas, so use oil-based acrylic resin instead.

The shellac lacquer gives a beautiful finish, but it is not as strong as acrylic resin. Thus, it shouldn’t be used for cutting.

What Materials Do You Need To Apply The Finish?

A paintbrush is the best tool for applying polyurethane varnish to a tabletop. The type of brush required depends on the solvent. 

Natural brushes are ideal for oil-based products, whereas synthetic brushes are best for water-based products.

Factors To Consider Before Buying Wood Countertops

Wood’s gorgeous appearance and natural feel are difficult to match with any other countertops. However, wood has several disadvantages, particularly when placed in the harsh atmosphere of a kitchen. 

Here’s a list of what to consider before fixing your wood countertops.

Durability:

Wood is a soft material. Therefore, fragile objects are considerably safer with wood, unlike granite or marble surfaces. However, if not taken care of, wood countertops are prone to scratching and cracking. 

Moisture:

Moisture can destroy wood counters, especially those near the kitchen sink. If you’re going to put a sink in the wood countertop, you should either finish it with a water-resistant material or use a different surface around the sink and other water fittings. 

Otherwise, prolonged contact with water may cause the wood to crack or even tarnish.

Eco-friendly options:

Because wood is an organic material, it has a role in sustaining the environment. Furthermore, many of the species used for counters are often renewable.

You can consider wood countertops because they aren’t harmful to the environment, unlike other finish countertops like quartz, vinyl, or metal. 

Design and wood species:

Wood countertops are one of the most appealing features because of their numerous design options. The three main designs are the edge grain, flat grain, and end grain, 

You can even use a combination of wood species to add checkerboard patterns, stripes, inlays, and borders to the wood surfaces. 

Before selecting a wood species, you should talk to your vendor about the ultimate goal for your wood countertop. The vendor can advise which wood species are best for different purposes, such as bars, food prep areas, and countertops with mounted sinks.

The best wood species for countertops are Maple, Bamboo, Teak, Wenge, Oak, Walnut, and Brazilian Cherry. 

Wood Countertops Protector:

Wood countertops are easy to maintain if they are protected with a finish. However, it’s best to use food-safe mineral oil or its alternatives. This mineral oil is odorless, colorless, and perfect for countertops meant for cutting and food preparation. 

Cost of wood countertops:

Wooden countertops typically cost $60 to $100 per square foot, plus installation. However, countertops made with exquisite details, exotic woods, or custom sizes can cost up to $200 per square foot.

You can buy wood tops built with plywood cores and hardwood veneers if you want a less expensive option.

Stains:

Countertops quickly get stained. You can wipe off numerous stains on a wood countertop. However, this will damage the wood finish, making it challenging to blend old and new finishes. 

If you plan to use the countertop as a cutting surface, make sure to keep up with washing away any surface water. 

Construction:

When buying wood countertops, ask the vendors how the wood strips are joined together to produce the tops. Finger-jointed tops are a less expensive option, but they’re not up to the industry standards because they aren’t as durable as full-length strips seen on higher-quality countertops.

How To Maintain Wood Countertops

Wood countertops are beautiful with sparkling surfaces and are bacteria-resistant. However, they’re prone to stains, cuts, and burns, but you can easily protect your countertops from these issues.

You can follow the tips below to protect your countertops from warping, cracking, and contamination.

Protect your countertops from stains:

Wipe spills immediately with soap and warm water to prevent the stain from sticking on the countertops. 

Rub the stain with lemon juice and a pinch of salt to boost the cleaning power. Next, you can apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and warm water solution to the stain. Wait for about five minutes. Then, clean the surface gently with a dry cloth. 

Use wood bleach or oxalic acid on the stain. You can rinse off any remaining chemicals with water. Don’t use vinegar to wipe off the stains on your countertops because vinegar can dissolve the glue that holds the wood together.  

Season your wood countertops:

Pour enough warm mineral oil on the countertops. Oils prevent warping and cracking. Do not use cooking oils because they will go rancid and emit a nasty odor on exposure to air. 

Fill the countertop cracks with wax:

Fill any open pores, minor cracks, or scratches with wax. You can microwave paraffin wax or beeswax and mix it with mineral oil. Apply this warm mixture to the countertop cracks. Spread it over the surface with a cloth to polish it.

Apply the wax once a month to get the best results.  

Seal your table countertop:

Water, other liquids, and foods can destroy the wood if you leave them for long on the countertop. You can apply polyurethane to seal the countertop. 

Choose an FDA-approved urethane to ensure that the substance is safe to touch your food. In addition, you should clean up any cracked countertops frequently and apply a sealant on the cracks as soon as possible. 

Wipe off any harmful bacteria:

Wood is a popular choice for a countertop because it is bacteria-resistant. Wood countertops are built from durable timbers that are impenetrable to bacteria. 

However, some bacteria from dirt can stick to the wood surface. To eradicate any surface bacteria, you should clean your countertop using a multipurpose cleaner.

Conclusion

There are a few different techniques to finish wood countertops. The most common materials used are polyurethane, varnish, shellac, mineral oil, and wax. 

Some require special maintenance more than others, and understanding which product to buy can help you save time and money in the long run. 

If the countertop is used as a cutting surface, you can use varnish, polyurethane, or acrylic resin. Furthermore, it’s crucial to buy food-grade quality when choosing wood countertops for your kitchen. 

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