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DIY wood countertops are becoming popular especially for the bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and so on. A wooden surface adds warmth to a home, and it can either be modern or rustic, depending on your preferences. Doing a wood countertops DIY project is much easier and cheaper than you think. The process is very simple. This article covers the complete tutorial on how to build a countertop.
Table of Contents
- 1 Equipment Required
- 2 How to Make Wood Countertops: Step by Step
- 3 Advantages of DIY Wood Countertops
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- Table Saw– the best tool if you are going to rip down a large board.
- Sandpaper-for sanding your countertop before you apply the finish.
- Kreg jig– for drilling pocket holes.
- Drill -to makes round holes and drilling fasteners.
- Topcoat – the protective layer that will protect your countertop.
- Miter Saw – can be used for all regular cuts.
How to Make Wood Countertops: Step by Step
Learning how to make wood countertops is easier and cheaper than you think. Wood requires some kind of attention just like any other countertop material out there. However, wood is a good choice because it is cheap, warm, and elegant.
Choosing Your Wood
This is the first step in DIY wood kitchen countertops is choosing the right wood. This is a very important step because there are a variety of wood-selling stores out there, which makes it hard to make the correct choice. Maple is a good choice and is recommended by most people because it has simple grain. Maple is hard, clear wood that comes in huge sheets. It is advisable to choose a wood with a normal thickness of about one inch.
Always take time to inspect a piece of wood before purchasing it. Check for imperfections like inconsistent dimensions, dents, warping, and so on. If possible, hold one of the edges to your eye and look for any sought of bending, twisting, or warping. Wood deforms over time, so it is better to start off with the best piece. If your budget is okay, you can opt for harder wood species like maple, oak, and so on.
Cutting the Wood to Size
When you have made your choice on the wood you want, it is now time to cut it to size for your DIY wood kitchen countertops. You can use a table saw for this job. Make one clean cut by passing the wood across the table saw. Always measure twice, but cut only once. Here are a few tips to follow:
- Use the factory edge as the front side of your countertop since the edge is perfectly cut. Use your own cut on the backside. This is because your cut might not be as perfect as the factory edge.
- You can make a backsplash by using extra wood.
- The countertop for the kitchen should overhang on the front. So ensure that you cut the countertop an inch deeper than your cabinet frame
Cutting Out Any Holes
When learning how to make a countertop, the next step is cutting the right holes. If you are using the countertop for a stove or sink, then you should cut the holes suitable for these items. For DIY wood plank countertops, you can do this in two ways:
- By using a pencil in outlining where the sink or stove will go.
- Or tracing the hole out by using a cardboard template of the stove and sink.
It is also possible to cut your holes once the countertop has been finished. However, this is not recommended because of the time you will waste in staining, sanding, and finishing the wood that you have to cut out.
Using a drill would be the best choice when making a hole for the jigsaw blade. Ensure that your choice of the drill is able to make a big enough hole for the jigsaw. Cut out the hole marked in pencil, using the jigsaw. Thick wood can be a little bit challenging, so you have to be patient and do it slowly. Cutting slowly will enable you to follow the penciled line more closely.
Sanding the Countertop
This step can be a little bit tiring if you have a really big countertop. This is because every inch of the countertop has to be sanded several times. The trick is to start off with a really rough sandpaper grit of 80 or 120. You can then move on to 220 grit of sandpaper. Always wear a dust mask to protect your lungs from glue, dust or any other chemicals emitted during this process.
An orbital sander can also be used for this process, but it tends to be aggressive at times when doing delicate jobs. When learning how to make a countertop, here are some important points to note:
- Make sure you sand in the same direction with the grain. The sanding strokes should be parallel to the grain of the wood. Do not sand across the grain as this might leave scratches. These scratches will reveal themselves later on when staining.
- Use 80 grit of sandpaper if you have rough areas left from cutting your holes.
- Use 120 grit of sandpaper on the entire piece, since it will moderately smoothen the rough areas. 120 grit of sandpaper can also be used to smoothen round edges. The key is to apply an even amount of sanding time, pressure, and technique to every area.
- You can also count the number of strokes you use in sanding one area, and then use that same number of strokes to sand another area. This can be the best way in achieving an even sanding on the whole piece.
- Once you are done smoothing out edges, you can wipe your countertop using a clean rag to remove leftover dust and sandpaper grit.
- 220 grit of sandpaper can now be used for the final step of sanding. Complete the process of sanding with the 220 grit sandpaper. Ensure that you sand in the same direction as the grain. This sandpaper will leave your wood amazingly smooth.
Painting the Countertop
When you make your own countertop, painting is always an important step. The painting process is fairly easy if you follow these steps:
- You should use a brush to paint the top coat using an even number of strokes. Do at least 3 to 5 strokes.
- Once the first caught has dried enough, you can now apply the second one.
- Sand lightly any rough spots between coats.
- Add more globs of the topcoat to the seams in-between the planks when you are doing your third stroke.
- You can put your paintbrush into a Ziploc bag in-between coats to prevent it from drying up.
Staining the Countertop
Staining wood is not really necessary unless you want to add a cosmetic finish to your countertop. This is because most people settle for the white and yellow tones of pine. So, when you make your own countertop, it is completely fine not to stain it. However, if you settle for staining, choose a great color that will make your grain pop out. This will give it an amazing character.
Points to note when staining:
- Always apply a pre-stain wood conditioner before staining softer woods. This will help your stain to absorb evenly when you finally apply it. Apply the wood conditioner with the corner of a rag to avoid over-applying.
- You can put your countertop on wooden blocks, giving it more room to dry faster.
- When it is completely dry, apply the stain by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Apply the stain using a rag. You can skip the underside from staining since it will not be seen. Start off as lightly as possible. You can darken the area later on.
- Remember to apply more stain at the end of the grain since it absorbs more stain than the surfaces.
- Leave the stain a little bit longer, so that the color can penetrate a little deeper.
- When the stain has settled, use a clean rag to rub off as much stain as possible from the wood. You can leave the stain to set for at least 12 to 24 hours.
Attaching a Backsplash
If you opt for a backsplash, make sure you stain and sand it together with the countertop. You can then use wood glue to attach it to the back edge of the countertop. You can also use clamps for the same process. However, you have to budget extra wood for the backsplash when making DIY wood countertops.
Applying Polyurethane Finish
A final finish is important in providing a coating to protect your wood. This will make your countertop resistant to dent, scratch, and water. Polyurethane is either water-based or oil-based. Oil-based polyurethane is advisable to use because it is cheaper and it requires few coats. You should also note that polyurethane adds an amber hue to your countertop wood.
The differences between water-based and oil-based polyurethane are very few, which makes both of them suitable to use. It is possible to choose the sheen for your finish when using either of the two polyurethanes. This can range from shiny gloss to semi-gloss. This will result in a non-shiny satin finish. Water-based polyurethane requires 3 to 7 coats, while oil-based polyurethane requires 2 to 4 coats. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when drying.
- It is advisable to apply polyurethane using a bristle paintbrush. This is because brush strokes can be controlled rather than using a coat of paint.
- You should dip the brush deep enough into the polyurethane. Make sure that the bristles have been filled, and then make a long stroke in the direction of the grain.
- Always start your next stroke from where you end the last one.
- If you miss any spots, do not dab them individually with the poly. You will have a chance to do so on the next stroke.
- Always make sure that your brush is not too saturated when doing the edges of the DIY wood countertops. This will minimize unnecessary drips and overlaps.
- Make sure you have a good ventilation system because polyurethane has a chemical odor.
- Lightly sand your wood with 220 grit sandpaper in-between coats. When the coat has dried, sand the wood in the direction of the grain before putting another layer of coat.
- Once you are done, allow the countertop to dry for at least 48 to 72 hours.
DIY Wood Countertops: The Final Product
You will notice that the end result of your DIY wood countertops will be a beautiful and smooth finish. It is very durable for the price, considering the amount of time and tools it requires.
Advantages of DIY Wood Countertops
- They are budget-friendly. A block of wood made from beech or birch cost less than half the price of natural stone. DIY wood countertops also cut out installation costs.
- DIY wood countertops are easy to install. It is very easy to cut woodblock holes to fit your appliances. This is much easier than doing it on most stones.
- DIY wood countertops are very strong and soft. When it comes to protecting kitchen items, a wooden counter is preferable. If you drop dishes on it, they are less likely to break.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I Don’t Have a Table Saw?
A table saw is one of the most important tools because it makes the job easier. You can try and get one from family and friends. If that does not work, ask at the shop where you buy your wood if they can cut it for you. The next option will be to use a circular saw.
How Do You Deal With the Problem of Humidity and Bacteria?
It is advisable to leave all your raw materials in the place where the countertop will be installed. You can just let it sit there for at least two weeks before you use it. This will help in getting any changing or warping done before you install the countertop.
Why are Wood Countertops the Best?
Wood is less expensive and it lines the kitchen with a handsome and budget-friendly countertop. Most woods that are available on the market are amazingly impressive. Mostly they range from deep maple to rich walnut. Although wood is considered a good choice, it may require some attention.
Does a Wood Countertop Hold Up?
Wood countertops can last for a very long time. This can only be possible if they have been properly installed and cared for. The finishes from most factories often come with warranties. They can range from a period of a year to a lifetime. DIY wood plank countertops are long-lasting and durable if taken care of.
Wood countertops DIY creations can be the standout feature of any home. They are stylish, practical, warm, and timeless. Through following this guide, you will see that putting in your own DIY wood countertops is not as hard as you might think! Just follow the simple steps above to learn how to build a countertop perfectly.