I have finally have some progress to share with you!! Okay, they’re not ALL installed, but at least I do have SOMETHING to show you!! I am so incredibly excited about these countertops. They’re absolutely gorgeous!!
The countertops I used are the Numerar butcherblock countertops in oak from Ikea.
I wrestled and wrestled with deciding what countertops to use, if to stain them, and if so, what product to use, how to seal them, etc. Every website I came upon while researching butcherblock countertops seemed to recommend different methods and products. It all became very confusing. To add to that confusion, the color of the Ikea countertops in the picture on their website was very misleading. This is what the picture looked like:
Those look like a nice, rich, medium-brown color, right? In reality, here’s what the oak Numerar butcherblock countertops looked like right out of the box:
QUITE a difference…and not really what I was hoping for.
So…after doing more research, I finally decided that this is the process I’m going to use to stain, seal, and protect my countertops.
First, I used a coat of Minwax stain in English Chestnut. I wanted a medium brown–not too light, not too dark. I’m very pleased with the color.
This is just regular ‘ole stain–the kind you buy at Home Depot. There’s nothing special about it. It’s NOT food safe, which is why this can’t be used alone. There are more steps to follow. But first, here’s a side-by-side of the before and after staining:
After this cures for 72 hours, I will follow up with a product called Waterlox, which is a blend of tung oil and resin. This is the same product that was used on these countertops:
I decided to use Waterlox because it acts similar to a urethane product, in that it seals the wood and protects, while at the same time, it won’t scuff like pure wax/oil products or peel/crack like a urethan product can. Also, once all of the necessary coats are applied, there’s really no need for re-application of the product with normal use, whereas oils must be maintained and reapplied even with just normal use of the countertop.
Waterlox comes in different sheens, but the first coat HAS to be the original Waterlox, which is a medium gloss sheen. After that, a satin finish can be used. I would really prefer a satin finish, but since the product isn’t quite cheap (especially with shipping added), I’m going to try the original first by itself to see if I like it. If it’s just too shiny for my taste, then I’ll go ahead and order the satin. I’m REALLY hoping not to have to do that, though.
Now the main question regarding products used on butcherblock countertops in kitchens is usually food safety. According to the website: “Waterlox finishes are non-toxic when dry for at least 7 days, when properly applied (e.g., spread rate and adequate drying conditions), and when overnight dry is allowed between coats… Many customers use Waterlox Original Finishes on items such as butcher-block counter tops and cutting boards, salad bowls and bowl turnings, knife handles and eating utensils, children’s toys and furniture, etc.”
So, I feel pretty confident that I’ve made the best choice for me, while at the same time, keeping food safety in mind. I called the company directly and asked if using a stain underneath the product would affect the food-safety quality of Waterlox, and they said that it would NOT. Waterlox will seal in the stain (which has to be fully dry and cured before adding Waterlox), and still keep the surface food safe. Yay!
I’m so anxious to get it finished. I only have the three short pieces installed right now. The long, main piece can’t be installed until I get my new sink (which should be delivered today), and then the countertop man has to come out and cut the hole for my undermount sink. That’s a job I WON’T be doing myself.
So how about you? How are your projects coming along? If you have pictures/updates to show, don’t forget to leave a link in the comment section!!
**Update: Click here to see my stained and Waterloxed countertops…along with my new sink!