Many homeowners are switching from the traditional wood kitchen countertops to the more durable and long lasting synthetic materials. The decision is partially due to the price factor. Dry stone countertops and wooden countertops can be very expensive to install. Replacing the entire surface of a kitchen with a stone or wood countertop can also cost a lot of money. But, when the surface is damaged by cooking or absorption of food or liquid, a DIY wood kitchen countertop can look like new again.
In order to install a wood kitchen countertop, you need to first prepare the countertop surfaces. It is advisable to use a heavy-duty sander to smooth out any scratches or rough areas on the surface. The reason for using a sander is to avoid the surface from absorbing the moisture from the cooking or food spills. Using coarse sandpaper will only increase the amount of sanding that is needed to refinish the surface.
When removing the existing surface of a wood kitchen countertop, it is important not to Nick or crack the wood. This will cause the wood to swell and possibly shatter. If the wood cracks, it is advisable to remove the cracked section of the wood and replace with new wood. If the wood starts to swell, it may be too late to save the piece of wood.
If you plan to stain your wood kitchen countertop, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, never pre-stain the wood. If the stain contains alcohol or other harsh chemicals, the wood can quickly absorb the cleaner. The longer the stain is allowed to chemically react with the wood, the more difficult it will be to remove. You should always wait until the finish has dried completely before staining the wood.
If you must use an acid-based stain, always use the minimum quantity and apply the stain in a thin application. If you are using a wood stain with an alcohol base, always read the instructions. The higher the alcohol content in the stain, the longer it will take to break down the stain. Wait several hours between applications and use a fan or ventilation fan to speed drying.
In order to avoid warping, never place hot pots or pans directly on a wood kitchen countertop. Use wide-spaced plates on the bottom of the stove to avoid scorching the wood. Keep finished foods in a separate dish and use them right away.
Wood polish can be used to maintain a wood kitchen countertop looking fresh and clean. This is easy to do by just applying a thin coat of wood polish to the surface and then buffing it off. Polish solvents will also affect the wood’s natural color. To get a more polished look, buffing the wood with a piece of metal scrapbooking will also enhance the appearance of the wood.
You may notice that after years of usage your wood kitchen countertop begins to change in color. This is not from dirt or oxidation but from the natural wear and tear of daily use. Some wood surfaces can actually be sanded down to the bare wood layer and re-varnished. Others will need to be refinished completely. However, no matter how well you care for your wood kitchen countertop, over time its strength and durability are reduced due to normal wear and tear.
So what can be done to avoid having to have wood kitchen countertops repaired? First, when choosing a wood kitchen countertop it is important to choose one that has a life expectancy of at least 20 years. It is also advisable to choose a wood countertop material that is known for being stain resistant. Also, since wood is an organic material, it is important to have your wood countertops treated periodically to protect both the wood and the countertop from stains and damage. Finally, you should always have your wood kitchen countertop sealed at least once each year.
If you are on a tight budget, there are several ways you can protect your wood kitchen countertop. One option is to paint your wood kitchen countertop with a low maintenance latex paint. Latex is non-toxic and easy to clean up. However, it is not a good idea to let the paint dry on the wood surface as it may cause the paint to peel. In addition, you should never use ammonia based cleaners as they can cause the wood to turn a gray color.
If you have determined that a wood kitchen countertop is in fact the right choice for you and your kitchen, it is time to choose the wood. Although you can get a variety of wood species, redwood and cedar are the most popular. Make sure you do not choose a wood that is already stained as it may have already been treated with sealants that have either worn away or have absorbed water. Choosing a wood that has been treated with a water based sealant will help to ensure that your wood kitchen countertop will not only last a long time but will look great as well.