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My IKEA Numerar Butcher Block Countertop Saga Continues

It’s true.  I’ve refinished my IKEA Numerar oak butcher block countertops…again.  If you’re keeping count, this would be the fourth time, and the last time was less than four months ago.

IKEA Butcher Block Countertops – The Perfect Finish!

This has been quite an adventure trying to find the perfect finish…one that will hold up to water, resist stains, and be durable enough that I don’t feel like I have to add felt pads to the bottom of all of my pots, pans, glasses, coffee cups, etc.

And I really do believe I’ve finally found the perfect finish.  The best thing about it?  I can find it at the neighborhood grocery store one block away for less than two dollars a bottle in the laxative aisle.  Yep, it’s  mineral oil.  And the finish is absolutely beautiful.

IKEA butcher block with mineral oil finish - before & after

I was really shocked at how it turned the wood a really beautiful medium brown with a hint of red.  Yay!  No yellow!  I was very afraid that I would have a repeat of the orangish yellow disaster that I had with the Waterlox last time.  But there’s no yellow here, and it also didn’t turn the grain in the wood the dark almost-black color that the stains did.  The grain stayed subtle and pretty, just like I wanted it.

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My beautiful mineral oil finished IKEA countertops

I decided to give the mineral oil a shot after reading this post on House Tweaking.  Dana made it sound so easy.  Just wipe down with oil every now and then?  Simply sand out stains and re-oil?  Could it really be that simple?

It is.  In fact, just last night I was doing some paint touch up on my upper cabinets, and I dripped a bit of oil-based paint onto my countertop.  If it had been one of the other finishes, I would have been in serious trouble.  But not with the mineral oil!  I just wiped off the excess paint, let the rest of the paint dry, and then got a piece of sandpaper and sanded the rest of the paint right off.  I wiped it down with mineral oil, and it looked as good as new.

IKEA kitchen countertops are SO easy to maintain with mineral oil finish!

I keep wondering why the heck I didn’t do this from the very beginning!!!  The reason is because I was convinced that I wanted really dark countertops.  Sure, that would be nice.  Yes, I like dark wood.  But the ease of maintenance with countertops that are just oiled far outweighs the beauty of dark stained countertops.  With stained countertops, there’s simply no way that I could ever sand out a stubborn spot, re-stain that spot, and have it blend in with the rest of the countertop.  Believe me…I’ve tried.  It doesn’t work.

A closer look at the butcher block wood grain refinished with mineral oil

So this solution is perfect.  And I absolutely love the fact that mineral oil is perfectly clear, so if I happen to get any of it on  my grout or caulk, it won’t discolor it at all.

The Perfect IKEA Numerar Butcher Block Countertop Finish!

I really haven’t found any downside to using the mineral oil-only method.  Since I’ve only just begun using the oil, and I put it on bare, newly-sanded wood, I’ve been slathering on the oil every night before I go to bed, and when I wake up in the morning, I just wipe off the excess with a dry cloth, and go on about my business.  The first time I did that, there wasn’t any excess oil in the morning.  The wood soaked in every last drop.

I’ll continue to do this until the wood stops soaking up the oil, and stops feeling dry.  (I actually think I may have reached that point this morning, after oiling it for four nights straight.)  From that point on, I’ll simply oil it as it needs it.  And while it may seem like a hassle to oil the countertops, it’s really not.  It takes me less than five minutes to grab a cloth, pour some oil on, and spread it around.  After it soaks in overnight, and after I wipe off any excess the next morning, it’s doesn’t feel oily.

The only drawback…if I had to name one…is that my cat loves it.  A little too much, in fact.  I caught her up on the countertop, just minutes after I had oiled it, and she was licking the mineral oil!!!  And of course, instead of making her get down immediately, I reached for my iPhone.  😀  Ha!

Even my kitty agrees!

But I don’t want to leave you with that horrible, discolored, poor quality iPhone picture.  I’ll leave you with this one…

One final look at my finished IKEA kitchen countertops

I could seriously kick myself in the hind end for not doing this from the beginning.  I had started to hate my IKEA butcher block countertops, and regretted ever selecting butcher block for my kitchen.  Now that I’ve found this mineral oil method that leave such a beautiful finish, I’m starting to love them again.



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99 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment
    Laurie
    October 2, 2012 at 10:52 am

    They look beautiful, Kristi! I had no idea one could do this on butcherblock. Sometimes, it is worth the wait! Very nice!

  • Reply To This Comment
    How I Stained And Sealed My Ikea NUMERAR Butcher Block Countertops
    October 2, 2012 at 11:12 am

    […] And after three attempts, I also don’t recommend staining butcherblock countertops.  Click here to see how I sealed my Ikea Numerar butcherblock countertops for the fourth…and fin….  I wish I had used this method from the very […]

  • Reply To This Comment
    terrillr
    October 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    It looks like you found a winner! Please update us in a few months, I’d love some wood countertops, and this may be my solution.

    Thanks for all you do.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Stacie
    October 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    What a great idea! Now it makes me reconsider getting wood countertops! I just have one question that I was hoping you could elaborate on. Due to the constant exposure to water around the sink/faucet area, how well do the countertops hold up? Do you have to constantly wipe that area down? Does the wood warp/mold/etc? How do you protect and maintain that area? Any advice would be great. Thank you!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Ange
      February 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      I have the same countertops as she has posted here throughout my entire kitchen. Both around the sink and around my cooktop. I have done nothing but mineral oil and I’ve had them for nearly a year and they still look great. I don’t have an undermounted sink (I felt it would be harder to clean around that crack under the edge). What I have is a bar mop that I constantly drape over the faucet. I do whatever I need done in the sink, and when I’m done I immediately run the dry towel around the sink and pick up any water I splashed out. The key is not to leave it sit. It does not take more than a few seconds, and it has become second nature to me now. I do various things to protect it otherwise, such as not put any hot pans directly on them and I have a stainless steel mat (also from IKEA) under my coffee machine.
      I’ve only had a few stains actually soak in enough that I had to sand that spot and reoil – I haven’t noticed any more hassle in that department than other countertops I’ve owned – and most others aren’t so forgiving that you can just sand out the stain/scratch!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sue
    October 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Great job Kristi! Mineral oil is the base of many stains so I guess it makes sense that it would be a great finish all by itself. Your countertop certainly looks pretty – another great selling point. (Just remember what aisle you bought it in and check your kitty’s litter box often. LOL) I have an old butcher block cabinet (meant to be an island in a non-galley kitchen) that needs something done to it so this is an inexpensive and relatively easy thing for me to try. Thanks.

  • Reply To This Comment
    jayne
    October 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    My husband and I put that Ikea oak counter down in our first kitchen and always used mineral oil, the look was beautiful. Now we have soapstone in our new house and its the same, we periodically wipe it down with mineral oil, super easy and looks great!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Diane | An Extraordinary Day
    October 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    WooHoo!! Your countertops look fabulous!!! Great job Krisiti!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Karen
    October 2, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Yuk on the cat!! I learn so much from this blog. I did the mineral oil only once, and it seems dry to me. well…..there is reason for that, it needs more! I will do the same and hopefully get the same gorgeous results. It didn’t even occur to me my butcher block is thirsty! Hopefully my dog will not be licking the countertops. Although it would probably be better than getting into the garbage!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Shannon Fox
    October 3, 2012 at 12:26 am

    I think you found a winner! I used to season my wood counters with olive oil. Food safe, fed the wood. It was perfect.
    We had Myrtle Wood (native to Oregon).

    You’ll love this 😉

    • Reply To This Comment
      Elke Wall Clark
      October 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      do not use olive oil on wood, it will get rancid and smell awful, mineral oil is the way to go

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mary
    October 3, 2012 at 3:36 am

    Great results, I wonder if your ‘Mineral Oil’ is what we call here (UK) as Parafin oil which is also from the laxative isles.?

  • Reply To This Comment
    Runt
    October 3, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Wow! That looks really great!!!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Linda @ Home is Where My Heart is
    October 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Your countertops look beautiful! We used the same countertop for our island. We did a dark stain and lots of coats of varnish because I didn’t want to do anything else after we finished the last coat of varnish. I’m so lazy. You can read about it here http://www.lindahomeiswheremyheartis.com/2012/04/one-stain-im-happy-to-have-island.html.

    Thanks for sharing. Great job!
    Linda

  • Reply To This Comment
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    October 3, 2012 at 9:46 am

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  • Reply To This Comment
    Justin
    October 3, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I’ve owned a nice heavy butcher block cutting board for a few years and nothing quite beats a rub-on food-grade finish. An alternative to mineral oil, if you ever want to try something different for another project, is a mineral oil and beeswax blend (there are several on the market, usually called things like “Bee’s Oil” …try Amazon). I like it because it tends to dry faster so you can use it right away and you can sort of rub/burnish it in. Think of it like shoe-shine polish. I also find that it seems to last longer and require fewer initial coats. I imagine for a whole countertop, it might not be as easy since it tends to be a bit tacky till it really rubs in and gets dry. The oil might work better in that specific case.

    PS – For the commenter that recommended olive oil, it’s not a great idea for one reason. Food oils (olive, vegetable, etc.) go rancid easily under heat and light. If you’ve ever opened an old container of Crisco shortening and gotten a waxy stale, almost fish-like smell, that’s oil rancidity (happens to whole grains and potato chips too). Rub olive oil on your cutting board and countertop and it’ll eventually do the same thing and there’s no easy way to remove it. I don’t think it’s particularly unsafe…just sort of smelly and undesireable.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Lisa T
    October 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    This is just gorgeous! Today I’m refinishing (again!) some oak cabinets for our lower level (otherwise known as a basement) kitchen. So, I totally get the trial and error thing! Your countertops now have just the right amount of warmth.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Danielle
    October 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Whew – thanks for the reply – you saved me some trouble it seems. I am wondering if I can still stain these tops and then use oil??? GAH – I need the tops to be DARK!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Megan
    October 6, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Your countertops look amazing! I’m putting in a kitchen island & want to have a butcher block countertop, but I’m nervous about cleaning it. I would Never cut on it, I will mainly use it for baking. If I roll out say, cookie dough (which has eggs in it) will I be able to safely clean the countertop if it only has mineral oil on it? I worry about germs getting into the wood, since its not sealed.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mark E Tisdale
    October 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I had one of those Ikea butcher block counters as the breakfast bar in my kitchen at my last house. I was unsure of doing all the counters in wood, but yours look awesome – a good bit darker than mine. I guess I should have used far more mineral oil or maybe they were darker to begin with. I don’t recall which type of counter they were and Ikea did have more than one style/brand. Anyway, had I seen yours first, I would have been sorely tempted to go the whole way – nice!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Alex @ northstory
    October 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    This looks amazing! We’re planning out our kitchen painting/counter re-do and want to use the LAGAN from IKEA and this is a great tip. But first we have to get the cabinets started. Oy!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Ron Harris
    October 9, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Your countertop looks perfect! I’ve been considering using butcherblock when I add an island to my kitchen. And, BTW, mineral oil helps cats pass those nasty furballs!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Cynthia Sommer
    October 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    They look beautiful and I can’t wait to do the same to replace my horrid tile (shudder!) countertops. The one question I would *love* to know the answer to is this…. (all the other times you sealed/stained your countertop), how, how, how did you get your cat/cat hair to stay off of it until the finish was dried! We are redoing a table in varnish and that is the one thing I am worried about from our two cats. Any tips on what you did other than lock up the kitties for a day or two? 🙂

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      October 11, 2012 at 8:50 am

      Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I had to do, Cynthia I put them in the back room with their food, water, and litter box, and kept them there until the countertops were dry. If I’m working on something that can be moved, I always take it outside so that I don’t have to lock them up.

      That’s what I LOVED about doing my countertops like this, with just the oil. There’s no way that they…or their fur…can mess it up! One of my cats jumped up on the countertops just as soon as I oiled it for the first time (she likes the sleep on the laptop computer that we have on the countertop to the right of the banquette in the dining area, so there’s no way to keep her off of it). But she didn’t mess up the finish at all. Her paws got a little oily, but that’s it. The countertop still looked perfect!

  • Reply To This Comment
    jason
    November 6, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Kristi
    Looks great, sorry it took you so long to come to an oil finish. I like walnut oil a lot too, its not a petroleum product and it does not go rancid like other oils. With that undermount sink, you are going to have to be very diligent about the end grain around the sink cut out. I would oil that weekly, and keep the area tidy wiping up any water immediately or you’ll be in trouble.

  • Reply To This Comment
    summre
    November 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I am in the process of installing the same countertops. I love how they look in your kitchen. I’ve had the same experience with my cat and the mineral oil. I oiled my countertops before bed and when i woke up the next morning there were tons of little kitty footprints all over them.

  • Reply To This Comment
    karen shaw
    December 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Can you stain the butcher block a color and then oil it or varnish it. I have all wood cabinets and thought wood colored counters would be too much wood. But if I could make them gray I think it would look better. Just wondering.

    Karen

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      January 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      I’ve actually wondered about that too, Karen. I’m not sure if that would work. But if you try it, I’d love to hear about the results! I think I’m personally done with trying to stain butcherblock. I’ve been absolutely thrilled with how they look with only mineral oil. But I completely understand wanting them to contrast with your cabinets. Would you ever consider painting your cabinets? Or is that a no-go for you?

  • Reply To This Comment
    Chris
    January 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Does anyone know if there is a top or bottom for these countertops?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      January 4, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      On mine, there was a definite top and bottom. It’s been so long since I installed them that I can’t remember exactly what was on the bottom to indicate that it was, in fact, the bottom. But there was something, and it was very clear. Now I’m not sure if the new ones are like that. Mine are a few years old now.

      • Reply To This Comment
        Chris
        January 4, 2013 at 4:50 pm

        Thanks! There is a small “stamp” on one side but it looks easy enough to sand off. One side seems to have a lot more character, and the other seems I little plain.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Teralyn Byrd
    January 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Hey Kristi~
    I was curious about the IKEA counters… did you buy the really long one and were you able to cut use a table saw/ circular saw on them to have them fit the cabinets next to your stove or did IKEA or a contractor do that for you?
    My kitchen is a U shape so I wouldnt be able to use them without seams is what Im thinking

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      January 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      Yep, I bought two of the long ones, and then cut them myself with a circular saw…with a brand new blade on it. 🙂 They’re really easy to cut. Nothing tricky about it. I DID pay someone to cut out the hole for the sink since I have an undermount sink and was unsure that I could do it myself. But after watching the man do it, I feel confident I could do it myself. He used a circular saw on the straight sides, and a jigsaw in the curved corners, then did a lot of sanding.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Bob J
      January 21, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      I bought 2 of the oak BB counter tops today at IKEA. I will be joining them with a miter joint cut at a 45 degree angle instead of butting them together for a corner. To make the cut I will place one on top of the other and place a block under the free end of the one on top to hold it level while it is on top of the other one. I will adjust then to make sure they are square to each other and the marks for my cuts are lined up. I will clamp a straight edge on top of the top one to act a saw guide for for my circular saw and make the miter cur through both tops at the same time. This will make for a perfect seam when I put them together and I don’t have to worry about measuring angles.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Kate
    January 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Okay, now I’m confused – I read this post after a previous post where you had stained your counters dark. I’m now re-thinking my plan to stain & seal my Ikea counters… I’ve read that mineral oil will not protect the wood from water – are you concerned about this? I have 3 teenagers! I don’t know what to do at this point – there’s too many choices: tung oil, mineral oil, linseed oil, then there’s all the stains & coatings. I’m getting a headache now.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      January 23, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      I know, it’s so confusing!!! After living with mine for a few years (and planning on putting them in our future home as well), here’s what I know for sure…

      I will NEVER again use a finish that’s supposed to be “permanent”, like Waterlox, polyurethane, etc. Nor will I ever use a stain on them again. The color they turn when they’re oiled is just perfect, in my opinion. (And I like medium to dark wood, and was very concerned that they would be too light.) But from now on, I will forever and always use just some kind of oil to protect them. That way, if they get a stain on them (and I do use mine as a cutting board), then they can be easily and quickly sanded and re-oiled. No panicking about the finish. Seriously…since I’ve had only the oiled countertops, I’ve felt so much more freedom to actually USE my countertops, rather than feeling like I have to baby them. And the last thing you want in a kitchen is to feel like you have to treat your countertops gently.

      Now with that said, I would like to shop around more and try out different oils to see which one works the best, especially around the sink area. Water damage hasn’t been a problem at all. I get water on them all the time around the sink, and the wood is perfectly fine. However, I do notice that the water tends to have some sort of reaction with the oil, and the wood gets lighter. It’s not permanent, and once I oil it again, it’s back to normal. But I’d like to find an oil that won’t do that when water gets on it. And it doesn’t happen if water drips and I wipe it up immediately. But I’m not that neat and tidy. 🙂

      Hope that helps!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Kevin Kisich
    February 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Hi Kristi, I am happy you came to the mineral oil conclusion in combination with the natural color of the wood. I think it looks very good that way. Many of the customers for our natural wood slab counter tops at Stone and Cottonwood opt for a finish made from straight walnut oil (which is both edible, and hardening so that it does not go rancid in the wood), or a formula of 2/3 walnut oil, 1/3 beeswax for added moisture protection. This goes on as a paste, and can be buffed out with OOOO steel wool.

  • Reply To This Comment
    donna
    February 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    If you want darker countertops go to realmilkpaint.com they have a DARK RAW TUNG OIL that I have used that is just beautiful. The tung oil works just as good a mineral oil just a little more expensive.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Ayu
      March 1, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Does the dark raw tung oil work the same as how Kristi describes the mineral oil on the wood, i.e. if it gets stained, you can just sand it out and reapply the oil and everything will look fine again?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Barb
      February 27, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Donna, do you have any pics of the dark tung oil on wood. I would love to see them. Went to the website and looks like an option that I want for my oak countertops.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Allie
    February 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    My husband and I just installed our ikea numerar oak countertops and came across your blog while researching how to best treat the wood. We were opting for Varathane Polyurethane Floor Finish until we saw that you redid yours 4 months after applying polyurethane. What was it about the polyurethane that you disliked?

  • Reply To This Comment
    Rosa
    February 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Wow! Your countertop looks great. I am thinking of putting in Ikea wood countertops but my installer has advised against using an undermount sink, because of the water/warping issue and also because it takes crazy expensive tools to sand out the cutout..?? I’m set on undermount and I’m glad to see you have that too! You mentioned the guy who cut out your sink did a lot of sanding — do you think this is something that could actually be done by say, me? or your average person with a layman’s sanding tool (I’m thinking something like “the mouse”).

    Also, how exactly should one clean/disinfect wood countertops? My laminate ones I have now I juse spray Clorox all over.. I imagine that’s not good for wood??

    Thanks!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Thomas
    April 3, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Kristi,

    I’m installing BB countertops later this month, and am convinced after A LOT of reading that mineral oil is the way to go. Did you finish the bottom? I have three boys that drink and fling a lot of Kool Aid. Is this something I should be concerned about? Have them mix it and pour it on the living room rug instead?

    Thanks.

    Thomas

  • Reply To This Comment
    steph anderson
    April 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Fabulous! I have been wanting to replace my countertops. We moved in to no dishwasher. So we added one, and just pushed the base cabinet over. Now I have no countertop on the last 3 feet. I also want to change colors of my oak cabinets. Maybe I will sample the color of countertop with mineral oil first. Then decide on cabinet color to coordinate.

    Anyone else taken the plunge and painted oak cabinets? I am worried that I will regret it.

    Steph

    • Reply To This Comment
      Natalie Zierenberg
      December 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      I just recently finished painting my 30 year old oak cabinets. They look amazing. It’s like I have a brand new kitchen.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mina
    April 16, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Hi- we just installed our butcher block counter top same color from ikea but I used the ikea oil to seal it. The problem I have is that the grains start to standing out and up. What do you think I should do? I don’t get the smooth surface at all( I have sand it then oiled it)
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks

    • Reply To This Comment
      Elevenarrows
      April 17, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Hello, Mina. We just installed our Ikea oak counter tops a few weeks ago. We opted to only use mineral oil after reading this blog about it. My concern now is that after sanding and oiling over 8 coats (yes, you read that correctly), I am still dealing with a raised grain which leaves a rough texture to the counter top. My husband revisited Ikea and the man in the kitchen department said that is a common problem with their oak counter tops. He said you have to keep sanding and oiling until the grain doesn’t do that. He also said to rub it vigorously with cardboard after the last treatment. We’ve done all that and still have the raised grain.

      My concern now is that I feel like I could sand until there is nothing left of my counter top and still have the same problem! We live on top of a mountain and have low humidity. I don’t know if that affects the wood much or not. My husband is FED UP with my choice of counter top since we are having to be super careful to protect them until we can achieve a “protected” finish like everyone else seems to have.

      I should add that we chose to use mineral oil since someone online had mentioned that Ikea’s product remained somewhat sticky on the counter tops. I would love to know why my oil/sand application is requiring so many more coats than others who have done the same thing. My husband builds houses so I seriously doubt if our method has been incorrect. I’m desperate for solutions!!!

      Any suggestions from anyone else?

  • Reply To This Comment
    johanna
    April 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    I was wondering how your counters are doing. I installed Ikea oak countertops and mineral oiled them and also a mix of mineral oil and beeswax – any water drip – even if for a second leaves a raised area – easy to quickly sand and re oil but I was wondering if it does this forever!! I still love them though!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Lisa
    May 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Hi. Your countertop looks fantastic! How is it holding up as a cutting board/work surface? I want to install these countertops but am afraid that IKEA’s quality won’t hold up to heavy use. I will be rolling lots of dough, chopping directly on it, and slinging hot pans all over the place. (I’m not very gentle with my kitchen). I’ve been considering going with a lumber company that specializes in butcher block countertops, but if IKEA does the job, I’d rather go with that. Please let me know how you like using them. Thanks!

    • Reply To This Comment
      johanna
      June 25, 2013 at 10:24 am

      I still have the raised grain issue when water gets on them- i just bought 600 grit sandpaper to burnish the spots – works great. I would go with anything but oak to prevent that – oak is open grained and does that – but I LOVE how it looks so I deal! As far as hot pans – ANY wood surface will burn from hot pans – they can get black marks – i bought big metal trivets from ikea to use for that reason. So even if you get high end counters do not place hot pans n them! Rolling dough is fine – I do not chop on my counters I use extra lengths of board from the counter as chopping blocks.

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    Ben Brown
    September 1, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Hi, enjoyed your post. Just wondering if “Mineral Oil” would have a different name in Europe (Ireland) than in America. Also can you give us a lead on what type of oil it is? You say you found it close to the laxative shelf in your local store! Would not like to get mixed up with anything else while out shopping. If it is just called mineral Oil I will try that myself.

    • Reply To This Comment
      HeatherL
      November 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      Mineral oil is called paraffin oil in Europe.
      I am in the process of installing the Lagan Ikea counter tops. What I am doing to help with moisture around the sink, is installing a sink with a built in drain board – the Boholmen sink by Ikea.
      All of my research suggests that mineral oil, Tung oil or Walnut oil are the best choices for durability, safety, and appearance.
      Did any of you who have the Ikea butcher block counters, oil the underside? (This is recommended in the instructions)Did you do it before or after installation?
      Also, Kristi, what color is the paint you used on your cabinets in the picture? (We’ve chosen the same bin pulls, great minds think alike!)

      • Reply To This Comment
        Simon
        November 19, 2013 at 4:51 am

        Hi Heather

        I just installed the Lagan worktop too 🙂

        How are you getting on with yours? Have you decided on what type of oil to use?

        I bought the stuff Ikea recommends and gave it a coat before cutting out the shape I need.
        It’s got a little wet though and raised the wood already? That was with two coats of the Belhanda (SP) oil they suggest.

        I oiled all sides btw, but that was when it was a whole complete slab of wood, I don’t think I’ll be doing that now it’s in 🙂

        Cheers

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  • Reply To This Comment
    Meggan
    October 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I am wondering if I can stain the countertops and then use mineral oil? Mine are maple, and are quite light. I’d like them darker. I have read that the stain itself is not food safe, but maybe that isn’t a problem, since I don’t plan to put food on the counters, as you mentioned in a past post.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Ari
      October 28, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      The short answer is ‘kind of, but not really.”

      The problem is that the stain kind of, sort of, seals the wood and prevents the wood from absorbing the oil like it should to provide protection. If you stain, it would be better to use an oil-based polyurethane (like 5-6 thin coats) or an epoxy (like a bar top).

      Perhaps what she could have mentioned in this post is that the her 3rd attempt is absolutely a legitimate means of making a butcher block ctop darker and sealed (but not food safe). You can follow her advice in that third attempt without worry. Just know you will eventually have to give a light sanding and a new coat of polyurethane eventually. “Permanent” doesn’t actually mean permanent.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Anthony
    December 2, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Wow! That really looks great. I had no idea that you could use mineral oil. With all the expensive products that are pushed at us to take care of our butcher blocks these old school solutions get lost in the mix. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mary Dunlap
    January 22, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    How is your area around the sink holding up with only the mineral oil….

  • Reply To This Comment
    karin
    February 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    When you sanded the old stuff off, what kind of sandpaper did you use?

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  • Reply To This Comment
    Mike
    April 9, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    I can’t find any oak countertops at IKEA, only birch or beech. Are you sure it was oak?

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  • Reply To This Comment
    Darryl Smith
    July 17, 2014 at 1:28 am

    I am wanting to oil my birch benchtops with mineral oil seeing as many of you seem to recommend it. I would like mine to finish a little darker than the bare birch. Does mineral oil darken the timber at all.
    Also I live in Australia and no-one here seems to know what mineral oil is. Can anybody give me a bit more info on what exactly mineral oil is and is it a clear product.

    Many thanks Darryl

    • Reply To This Comment
      Elisabeth
      October 21, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Darryl, it’s paraffin oil and you can find it in the medicine section of Coles or Woollies. Also at chemists I assume.
      Cheers, Liz.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Megan
    October 8, 2014 at 11:38 am

    So you used only mineral oil to get this color!? Its just what I was looking for! Please let me know…. deciding what to do to my butcher block has been a long process!

    Thanks,
    Megan

  • Reply To This Comment
    Smed
    October 8, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    This looks great. Unfortunately, IKEA delivered the birch (lighter color) instead of beech (darker). I just tried Mineral Oil on a scrap piece (both sanded and unsanded portions) and it looks pretty much exactly the same color. Just more shiny. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Chris
    October 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Can you oil over an already stained countertop?

  • Reply To This Comment
    andres
    August 15, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I am creating a butcher block table and i was wondering if u used wood conditioner before applying the mineral oil or just oiled over raw unfinished wood?. Rainy weekend here so i wanted to tackle that this weekend …therefore your quick reply is appreciated.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Lee Mitchell
    August 31, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    How is the area around your sink holding up? I just bought BB countertops and want to go with the mineral oil bbut also want an undermount sink. Nervous about water problems around it. Yours look great!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      September 4, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      I haven’t lived there in two years, but the mineral oil works well around the sink as long as you keep it up. If you let it dry out, you’ll have problems. I never had trouble with my undermount sink, though.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Meggan
    November 6, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Help! I finished my butcher block with tung oil infused with aniline dye and I’m not thrilled with the color. I’d like to sand down and go back to the raw wood and do mineral oil or plain tung oil. I’m wondering if you have any tips for the sanding process? I read to attach the shop vac. Did you use an orbital sander? How messy was it when you did that? Tips for getting in tight spaces? Tell me I’m not nuts…my husband is pretty convinced I am!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      November 6, 2015 at 9:54 am

      I sanded mine down a total of five times over about four years and refinished them, so I certainly don’t think you’re nuts. 🙂 I used an orbital sander, and in the corners, I used a detail sander (something like a Black & Decker Mouse sander). Just be sure that the finish is completely dry before sanding. If it’s still wet at all, it’ll just gum up your sandpaper. And if you attach your sander to the Shop Vac, you should have very minimal mess.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Janet Elliott
    November 27, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I’m looking to install Ikea butcher-block counter tops with an undermount, stainless sink. I am concerned about the discoloration that can occur around the sink rim. How has the mineral oil worked for you? Do you have any discoloration around the rough edge? How often do you reapply it? Do you sand it down before reapplying? Thank you!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      November 28, 2015 at 8:49 am

      As long as you keep it well oiled, you won’t have any problems with discoloration. You can either oil it on a regular schedule (i.e., ever week, every two weeks, etc.) or just oil it when it’s needed. You can tell when it’s dry. Just reapply it with a rag. No sanding necessary unless you’re needing to remove a stain.

      • Reply To This Comment
        Kristi Carter
        July 12, 2016 at 10:31 pm

        What do you use to clean the counter tops on a daily basis? Does regular multi surface work okay when they are just oiled?

  • Reply To This Comment
    Julia
    January 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I love the color of your cabinets- could you tell me what paint you used? I’m about to attempt to paint my old oak cabinets…

  • Reply To This Comment
    Shawna
    January 24, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I’m confused. Did the mineral oil change the coloring or did you stain them first. I just got back from ikea when your color in mind from an image and even though they had many colors to choose from I couldn’t find the right color so I came home empty handed. I’m bummed out. Can you tell me what color top you purchased and what color stain you used (if any). Thanks!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      January 24, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      They’re the oak Numerar countertops finished with mineral oil only. No stain. I don’t think IKEA carries oak Numerar countertops anymore, but they might have another kind in oak.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Adam
    January 30, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Since this old thread still seems to have a decent draw, I will mention something that those who are oiling their butcher’s block counters may not be taking to mind.

    The ones in the pic have been sanded bare a few times as per the articles and the answers that I have read through.

    The ones you buy from idea come with a pre-built applied coating on them already.

    So long story short, you may / will find that they will not absorb the oil the same way, or give the same depth of color change as those in the pictures above – unless you also sand that factory coating off of the wood counter tops.

    IN our case, they had been installed, then I was deployed, and they hadn’t been oiled with the behandla enough, or anything else for far too long. So we just hit them now, about a year later with the mineral oil, and you can definitely see the difference where the factory and other coatings was rubbed off or where I sanded a stain / ding and where it still remains.

    YMMV, but you may be in for more sanding in the beginning to get that depth of color with just the oil. This may answer the few that commented on no color change, just shinier… Which means that it isn’t actually penetrating enough to give a ‘wet wood’ darkness that those pictured above have.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Angie
    January 31, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I am almost certain that I will be installing an oak butcher block counter top from Ikea. Apparently they do not carry the Numerar anymore. They have something called Hammarp now. Has anyone had experience using the Hammarp that could tell me if the quality is the same or not as the Numerar? Also, if the counter top is oiled how does one keep this clean and sanitized? My husband is starting to come around to my choice of butcher block (probably because of the price vs. quartz) and he is concerned about the cleanliness factor.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Tim
    February 22, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Could you elaborate on why you switched from poly to mineral oil? I just followed your instructions for the stain and poly to a T and just now read this post! Kicking myself a little if I have to go through all this again!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      February 22, 2016 at 8:38 am

      If you take care of your countertops, don’t cut on them, and use a high quaality poly, you’ll be fine. I’m VERY hard on countertops (way more so than the average homeowner), and I got tired of dealing with the wear and scratching, so the oil was the best solution for me in the end since it can be reapplied as needed. But seriously, as long as you used high-quality products, and don’t cut directly on the countertop, you should be just fine.

  • Reply To This Comment
    philip faulkner
    March 10, 2016 at 10:21 am

    I’m going to use mineral oil on my countertops. Just wondering if I am able to stain them first?

  • Reply To This Comment
    Nancy Mulvihill
    November 5, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I am going to install IKEA Hammarp Oak countertops and go with the Mineral Oil.
    I think I will initially sand off any factory coating. My question is how do you finish the underside – especially over the dishwasher. Should I leave the factory coating on the base?
    Any thoughts?

  • Reply To This Comment
    Al
    December 14, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    The numerar counter top is in the clearance section at the N.Y. Ikea now for $59 for the big slab, it’s making me wonder if I could make some project table or something from it. Hmm

  • Reply To This Comment
    Maria Paula Rey
    June 19, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    Hello!

    Your blogs have been super helpful. I could really use your insight. I want to buy the IKEA butcher countertop and turn it into a desk top for my office desk 🙂

    I love the color of your mineral oil method. But I am afraid that I can’t be oiling up my desk all of the time and working on it. It may ruin my computer, keyboard, papers, etc.

    Is there something you would recommend for me to use on this that will be matte for a desk?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      June 19, 2018 at 6:45 pm

      I definitely would only oil a countertop for a kitchen. For any other room, I would seal it with a polyurethane. You could use a really light stain that will have the same effect on the color as the mineral oil, and then topcoat with a water-based polyurethane. Rust-Oleum and General Finishes both make a matte finish water-based polyurethane.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Kristin Crankshaw
    July 15, 2018 at 7:20 am

    We have butcher block countertops on the way as well as a piece for our new island where we will eat. Do you have a problem with putting papers on the counter and the paper absorbing the oil? My kids will be doing homework, I’ll be paying bills etc on the island. I have a big butcher block cutting board that I oil and sometimes the kids will put a note from school, their sheet music etc on it and it gets ruined. I purchased Waterlox original sealer/finish, but now i’m not sure what to do.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 15, 2018 at 8:51 am

      We haven’t lived in the condo for several years, but I don’t recall having trouble with that. I would oil it, let it sink in, and then wipe away the excess so that the surface wasn’t oily.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Karen
    October 15, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Hi Kristi – I am buying butcher block counters for the first time and was searching the internet for how to properly treat them. I came across your blog. Are you still happy with just using the mineral oil? It looks like you are, but I wanted to be sure. I think I am going to give it a try. Do I need to sand the butcherblock before I apply the first coat of mineral oil? I am purchasing my countertops from Floor & Decor. They are a white Oak. I look forward to your reply and suggestions. Thank you.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      October 15, 2018 at 10:34 am

      We no longer live in this condo, but if I ever have butcherblock countertops again, I’ll use mineral oil. I did sand them very well before applying the oil, and then it took about two or three application for it to really penetrate. Just wipe off the excess, and you’re good to go.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Karen
    October 15, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you! I’m excited to try just using mineral oil instead of chemicals!

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