How to Seal Wood Countertops

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How to Seal Wood Countertops
Different methods can be used to effectively seal a wooden countertop. (ULTRA F/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Wooden countertops are a favorite choice in kitchens due to the several varieties of available finishes, low maintenance requirements and versatility. Food can be prepared directly on the wooden surface, but it first must be properly sealed. This particular type of countertop requires special protection to avoid contamination, stains and discoloration. A few different methods are available to seal a wooden countertop based on its intended uses. Each one can be accomplished using a minimal amount of supplies and effort.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Mineral oil
  • Sandpaper
  • Beeswax
  • Cloth or brush
  • Varnish
  • Foam brush
  • Water

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Choose a mineral oil for sealing the countertop if you plan to prepare food on the wood. Avoid using a vegetable oil as it can become rancid over time; mineral oils condition wood to prevent drying, cracking and warping.

  2. 2

    Pour enough of the mineral oil onto the countertop to spread an even coat. Gently work it into the wood using back and forth motions with a high grit of wet or dry sandpaper, always going with the grain of the wood. Reapply the mineral oil once every week, as it tends to evaporate slightly each time you clean the countertop.

  3. 3

    Use beeswax as another food-safe alternative sealant. It is available in the form of a paste or oil blend. Apply it with a fresh cloth or brush. Reapply the beeswax once a month.

  4. 4

    Apply a commercial varnish to clearcoat your wooden countertop if you do not intend to use it for preparing food. Both oil- and water-based products effectively seal in moisture and repel virtually any liquid.

  5. 5

    Apply 2 to 3 coats of the varnish with a foam applicator brush using long strokes in a back-and-forth motion. Scrub the countertop with wet sandpaper in between each coat to ensure that the varnish adheres properly.

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