Spotlight on…Wood Countertops

There is no denying the beauty of natural wood, and wood countertops can bring a warm, rich feel to the kitchen. And with such a large selection of species, wood can adapt to a varity of styles and color palettes. The main concerns we hear from clients are related to durability and maintenance, many of which depend on how you choose to finish your top. While there is no “right or wrong” answer, it’s important to educate yourself about the options so that you can decide what’s best for you.

Three common finishes for residential wood tops are mineral oil, varnish, and Waterlox®. Mineral oil is applied to the wood top prior to installation, and then you as the homeowner will continue to apply periodic coats to the countertop once it’s installed. Mineral oil is food safe and cost-effective, but does require routine maintenance. Mild scratches or burns can be removed with sand paper, and if substantial damage occurs, the entire top can be rebuffed and refinished. The varnish finish is similar to what’s applied to cabinetry or furniture, and takes the responsibility off you for maintaining the top. You simply clean with a soft cloth and try to avoid repeated moisture. The varnish finish is an additional cost, and major damage will usually require professional help. Waterlox® penetrates the wood fibers and acts as a top coat to protect the wood. This finish will be applied prior to install, and future coats (the manufacturer recommends once or twice a year) can be applied by the homeowner, although it is not as user-friendly of a process as the mineral oil. Waterlox® has a brighter sheen than the other choices and can alter/tint certain wood colors.

*This page has been re-posted from one of our recent newsletters- subscribe at

Also be sure to check out our Pinterest page– we have recently added several pins of amazing wood tops!

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Filed under Favorite Products, Kitchen Ideas

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