Finishing Oak Counter Top

ajrubinoDecember 27, 2008

We've installed in our kitchen quartersawn oak Medallion brand cabinets with a dull chestnut stain finish and we'd like to lay an oak veneer plywood counter top on top of the lower cabinets. What recommendations would you have for a stain and sealant that we could apply to the counter top that would best match the cabinets?


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I would consider Waterlox. We have used various finishes over the years for wood care projects for our clients. We have settled on Waterlox as our finish of choice on most interior wood surfaces including floors, countertops, and cabinetry for two main reasons.

First and foremost is the awesome look of natural beauty it gives to wood surfaces. Almost a "sparkle" effect with the colors in wood, but it's really hard to describe; you just should see a sample yourself on wood. Most other finishes look "plastic" or manufactured. Waterlox is just an elegant look.

Second, Waterlox is extremely servicable, and easy to touchup or recoat if scratched or abused. Even the hardest coatings will become scratched or worn eventually. Many of our clients do the maintenance themselves. Most other coating options for interior wood including polyurethane, epoxy, or moisture cure urethane are more unpleasant and difficult for our crew to apply initially, and a major pain when it is time for recoat. While MCU and epoxy may be a harder surface, scratch repair is impossible, and they are in my opinion something we do not want to use in a home or resturant. A Waterlox coated surface is rated "food-grade" after 30 days of drying. I even read that it is used for wood salad bowls and the like.

We serve quite a few custom countertop companies that use the Waterlox as their original finish. Once you see Waterlox on most wood, the choice of finish is obvious.

Here is a link that might be useful: Waterlox on Counters

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 1:53PM
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Matching wood is always a challenge so you will need to do some testing. Traditional oil stain can be added to the Waterlox at a 1:4 ratio. Color matching is the challenge, as all woods take stain differently. You could possibly have local paint store mix an oil stain to match the cabinets when applied to a sample of the the veneer. Then find the appropriate ratio for mixing with Waterlox. If you find a ready-mixed stain that is in the tone of the cabinets, you might give that a try as well.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 2:02PM
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Finish choice may be beside the point. Making countertops from common veneered plywood is a bad idea to begin with. The material simply isn't made to take the sort of abuse that countertops typically get.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 2:41PM
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