How to Seal a Solid Wood Countertop Safely

Emma from ECOS 02/12/2024
How to Seal a Solid Wood Countertop Safely

Solid wood countertops add a wonderful warmth to a kitchen, bar, or even a bathroom vanity.  With all of the variations in grain and coloring between different kinds of wood, you’ll end up with a truly unique piece that will be unlike any other countertop. Wood is also fairly easy to work with, so if you’re handy or like taking on home improvement projects, then this is something you could easily tackle. Since wood is porous, the most important thing to consider for this type of surface is sealing it properly, so that it will last for many years. Here’s how to properly seal a solid wood countertop.

1 - Surfaces should be clean, dry, sound and free from dirt, dust, and surface contaminants. Repair any cracks, holes, or imperfections.

2 - Sand surfaces first, using either fine sandpaper or a fine sanding pad. DO NOT use steel wool. Always sand in the direction of the natural grain to obtain a smooth, uniform surface.

3 - Remove sanding dust with a slightly water-dampened cloth or tack rag. Let dry thoroughly.

4 - Choose a high-quality finish – this is not a surface you want to skimp on. Our ECOS Interior Gloss Clear Varnish* is a high sheen, protective finish that dries to a hard, durable film.

5 - Always test a sample on a scrap piece of wood before you begin to ensure a sound technique and to achieve the best product performance. Although most varnish products share some similarities and characteristics, all vary slightly from one to another.

6 - Do not thin. Stir gently and thoroughly before use and continue stirring during application. Intermix if using multiple containers to ensure sheen uniformity.

7 - Apply the varnish using a high-quality synthetic brush. Maintain a wet edge and do not allow the product to puddle. Also, do not over brush.

8 - For maximum protection and durability, apply three coats. Dries to the touch in 15-30 minutes. May be recoated in 2-4 hours. Avoid applying at temperatures below 50°F (10°C).

ECOS water-based Stains and Varnishes may be used for countertops that are NOT exposed to the following conditions:

  1. Food preparation and cutting or chopping on exposed countertops may be potentially detrimental to the finish.
  2. Our water-based products cannot be cleaned with any products containing ammonia, harsh chemicals, or abrasives. We recommend warm soapy water with a mild detergent such as Dawn, and a damp cloth.
  3. Surfaces that are continuously wet or where water may pool.

A wonderful example of just how gorgeous wood countertops can be was sent to us by a customer from New York. Ken Waltz from Waltz Landscaping made the countertops from solid black walnut, which were then sealed with our Interior Gloss Clear Varnish. Ken has been doing carpentry work for over forty years and has had headaches and sensitivity to chemicals in the past when using other products. He said that working with ECOS Paints was a delightful experience and we couldn’t be happier to hear it! The homeowner said that her countertops are not only beautiful but they are also wearing very well. You can see from these pictures how wonderful this project turned out. What gorgeous wood!

how to seal a solid wood countertop safely - ecos paints

*Please note: as with other water-based finishes, placing extremely cold or hot items directly onto surfaces finished with our varnishes may result in staining or discoloration. Avoid exposing wood countertops to extreme heat, cold or moisture.