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Wood Kitchen Counters ~ How to Finish

What do all gals do in their free time when they’re not homeschooling or working two jobs? They refinish their wood kitchen counters. haha. Yeah, sounds like super fun, right?

DIY Wood Kitchen Counters Tips by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #kitchen

So why would a mama like me want or need to take on this project? First, I’m going to take you back a few years.

THE BACKSTORY

Back in 2016, we began our major kitchen remodel with our flooring. When I say major kitchen remodel, it’s because JC and I had already yanked out a wall, repaired flooring and, updated when we purchased our home in 2003. Of course, over time it needs done again. This time around we yanked out our counters, cabinets, dishwasher, and floors. Then, we built a custom double-oven cabinet, range hood, added a laundry utility sink, new windows, and also added our wood kitchen counters. Here’s the second remodel “before”.

Oven Side of Kitchen Before | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

And the after…

Rustic Style Farmhouse Kitchen with Custom Hood, Reclaimed Countertops, and Open Shelving by Larissa & Family of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Farmhouse Kitchen with Custom Double-Oven Cabinet with Faux Brick Design by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Okay, so these shots were taken in fall of 2018 and we couldn’t be more delighted with the fruits of our labor.

Dining Room in Farmhouse Style Home by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

INITIAL FINISH

You may be wondering what happened before and why I’m in the refinish mode after 3 years of use. Initially, as mentioned in my kitchen reveal post with video tour, I used a precatalyzed lacquer. Why?

Benefits of precatalyzed lacquer:

  • quick drying
  • available in different finishes
  • perfect for use in sprayer

When we were wrapping our remodel, we were hitting a deadline of beating old man winter creeping in. We lack the space and facility to refinish in a temperature-controlled environment. So, with that we chose the precatalyzed lacquer based on my research and suggestion by a chain paint store. However, our top choice is Waterlox. I’ve used Waterlox on our bathroom dresser turned vanity and our dining table with wonderful success.

UPDATE

Three years after we finished our kitchen, we needed to redo the counters. Bummer! I had hopes they would stand up to all eight of us using it daily, all day, for longer than this. So…now it is time to get done what I wish I would have been able to do initially.

Waterlox Protective Finish for Reclaimed Wood Kitchen Counters | Details at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #kitchen #home

Why Waterlox? Well, I’ve put together this video explaining it to you, but also will write it out for your reference as well.

Not only have I used this product with much success in the past, I also only tried it initially because of my dad. When my parent’s were building their dream home (a 6000 sq. ft. log home), he wanted the best. After talking to universities to find out what they used on their gym floors, he knew Waterlox was for him. That finish they put on lasted over 25 years! Nuff said for me.

If you want to read up on Waterlox, you can find information on their site HERE. Also, both precatalyzed lacquer and Waterlox are both suitable for food surfaces. The only major difference is Waterlox performs better when brushed on, and it takes 24 hours cure time between coats.

DIY TIME

First, using my sander, my respirator, and a whole lotta sanding pads, I begin my refinishing project. It’s a kitchen lockdown! And that is not fun. Oh, and I completely forgot to take before pictures, which is not my norm. My excuse is that we had 3 days to get our home ready to list and I was not in my right brain.

Refinishing Wood Kitchen Counters by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Finally, after one day of sanding and cleaning, then three separate days of three coats using my brushes, my counters are DONE. {{yeah, baby!}}

Reclaimed Wood Kitchen Counters Curing with Waterlox | by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #kitchen #diy

While the manufacturer recommends one or two coats, I go with three. Why? Because that’s what I is on my bathroom vanity and my dining room table.

Reclaimed Hickory Wood Kitchen Counter by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #kitchen #wood

Farmhouse Kitchen with Reclaimed Wood Kitchen Counters by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #kitchen #diy #home

Can you hear me breathing that sigh of relief? DONE and DONE.

Reclaimed Hickory Wood Kitchen Peninsula by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #kitchen

For us, the hard-hit spots on our wood kitchen counters are our kitchen sink and our laundry sink. Both have oodles of water traffic, so that makes sense. I don’t believe the precatalyzed lacquer issues were a user problem, but I don’t know for sure.

Under the drainboard had a sort of bubbling in the finish, and the same was at the laundry. However, I’m happy to say they are now refinished and good to go. The kitchen…

Cast Iron Farmhouse Sink in Prodigal Pieces Kitchen | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #kitchen #sink

Farmhouse Kitchen Sink Side Counter | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #kitchen #home #homedecor

…and the laundry.

Farmhouse Laundry Sink with Reclaimed Wood Counters by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #laundry #diy

DIY Farmhouse Laundry Sink by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #laundry

WRAP-UP

Last, to wrap up my reclaimed wood kitchen counters, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. I know many bloggers who love using linseed oil or tung oil because it’s natural and rustic. However, that need reapplied every six months or sooner. It also doesn’t protect the wood from damage as much as a poly does. In addition, you can use an epoxy which would be wonderful if you love the glass-like finish. However, I wanted something to match my time-worn decor, so I went with a satin finish.

Custom Farmhouse Kitchen Range Built from Reclaimed Wood by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #kitchen #home #homedecor

Also, if you watched my video above, I mentioned that I didn’t do one of the six counters. Mainly because I needed a spot to use for the week my kitchen is under demo. However, it also wasn’t as bad off as the others. From this view it looks fine.

Reclaimed Wood Kitchen Counters by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #diy #home #kitchen

Whereas if you look close, you can see the bit of wear. I will tackle this one come warmer weather. But, for now, it isn’t a worry.

Wood Countertop Damage | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #home #kitchen #farmhouse

There you go! My kitchen lockdown is now a bust and ready to go. Time to have a party!

Cozy Farmhouse Kitchen with Wood Kitchen Counters from Reclaimed Wood by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #home #kitchen #homedecor

Water Repellent Counter with Waterlox by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #home

RELATED PROJECTS AND POSTS:

Also, do pin and share to encourage and inspire others to give wood kitchen counters a try.

Thinking about installing wood kitchen counters? Head to Prodigal Pieces for choices of finishes, plus tips & tricks | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #farmhouse #kitchen #reclaimed #home #homedecor

Up next, it’s Trash to Treasure Tuesday! This hot mess will be getting a new lease on life. Stay tuned!

Birdhouse Shelf Before Makeover | prodigalpieces.com

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Also, more DIY fun like my wood kitchen counter makeover:

Make your house your home by giving it a personal touch. A DIY coffered ceiling is affordable and can be customized to your style. Detail at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #homedecor #interiordesignA must see! Check out this farmhouse style mudroom update complete with custom built-in DIY shoe storage Full video tour and DIY steps for you by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Head to prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #diy #home #storage #homedecor #homeimprovement

Comments

  1. Susan McCall says

    i love your kitchen, love the counters!

  2. Nancy F Lambert says

    Beautiful, your counters look awesome

  3. Deanna says

    You are the Energizer Bunny! The counters look fantastic! All this with everything else you do. God bless!

  4. Barb Pelzer says

    You did a fabulous job on those gorgeous counters! That’s a project you can be proud of.
    What type of wood is that? The grain is wonderful!

  5. Mary says

    Your home has SO much character Larissa! One can tell you have put yourself into remodeling it. I love that in a home. This project also turned out just beautiful! The hickory is such beautiful wood – what a great way to showcase it! Do you think that varnish would work on my wooden stairs? Thank you once again for sharing your masterpiece!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you, Mary. I’m definitely not a box store gal. haha. Hickory is gorgeous and the strongest wood. You can use Waterlox on anything you want.

  6. Cheryl says

    These turned out fantastic. Never heard of Waterlox, looks like a great product that will stand the test of time!

    • Larissa says

      I’m so happy with the out come. Yes, Waterlox is definitely a phenomenal product.

  7. Kathyk says

    Lovely! Tell me about the countertop wood. Are they butcher block? Easy to find at homedepot or the like or were they custom made and cut? Thanks in advance!

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! I have all the details in my original kitchen remodel link above and in the video. We made them out of 1800’s reclaimed hickory. 🙂

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