Clean wooden worktops to remove any grease or soap scum. Warm mild soapy detergent is usually suitable - soda crystals may be more appropriate for heavily soiled worktops. Allow to dry.
Begin with 240 grit sand paper, test a small inconspicuous area for effectiveness. Use a lower grit, such as 180 or even 150 if 240 doesn't remove the marks you want gone.
Sand the whole surface in an even, consistent manner.
Wipe with a warm damp cloth, allow to dry.
Sand again with 240 grit and repeat step no.4.
Apply oil with a brush, roller or cloth in a uniform fashion. Allow to dry.
Apply additional coats as per manufacturers instructions.
This process will be sufficient to re-finish an otherwise moderate condition timber worktop, and should see a good result. However the process alone will not cater for water damage or stain marks that have penetrated into the timber. You will also need a means of controlling the dust from the sanding process as the fibres are very small and will travel unless controlled.
So, your solid wood kitchen worktops are beginning to look a little tired, they've lost their charm and aren't quite repelling water and liquids the way you would like - fear not, there is a solution!
If you are the 'hands-on' sort, and feel confident with DIY around the house, a straight-forward re-finish of your worktops isn't beyond the realms of possibility. By following a few simple steps, you should be able to achieve a good quality finish to your worktops.
We have been working with timber for many years and we utilise or expertise on renovating timber on a daily basis - we hope that the below information can help you successfully re-oil / re-protect your wooden worktops / countertops but you may find that certain marks don't budge! To remove these without damaging the timber requires extra expertise, tools, products and equipment. For this sort of work we advise on contacting us for an estimate on undertaking the restoration works for you.
Wood worktop restoration | sanding and oiling process
For those out there that wish to embark upon this task, here are some helpful steps towards achieving a good finish.
Before you get started, make sure you have everything you need to hand. First, clear your working area, make sure you have various grades of sanding discs to be attached to a random orbital sander, a means of capturing and containing the dust, a bucket, cloth, oil, applicator (paint brush will be fine).
Clean the worktops of all grease and grime, allow to dry.
Test a small area with 240 grit paper, if the finish doesn’t move easily, try 180 grit, and if you are still struggling, try 150 grit. Be warned that the lower you go, the more timber you are removing – which you can’t put back!! The lower the number, the more abrasive the sand paper will be and if you are not careful you will cause more harm than good.
Once you have selected the most suitable disc, begin removing the existing finish. Do the whole area with each grit, then move up the scale to a finer paper up to about 150. Be aware that you will have to control the dust release from your sander – if you don’t there will be significant dust release that will become airborne and float all around your house. You can of course do this by hand, using a flat block and sanding 'with the grain' - the dust will quickly begin to accumulate and the job will take significantly longer if you are trying to remove an existing finish - if you are simply topping up an existing finish to a well-maintained finish, hand-sanding will be fine.
Once satisfied, fill a bucket of hot water and use a damp (but not wet) cloth to wipe the surfaces over. Allow to dry – this enables the fibres in the timber to stand up and dry. Then do another pass with the sander (or by hand) to take the fibres off that have stood up. If you don’t do this stage, you will be left with a rough, uneven finish.
Allow the surface to dry and remove all traces of dust. Test a small area of your chosen finish before working it in to the timber, you can use a brush, roller or cloth – provided they are lint free and will leave no contaminants in the finish. Remember you must always read and understand he manufactures instructions before application, follow all safety requirements and ensure you store the product in the specified environment. Failure to acknowledge this information may result in the coating failing or personal injury.
Allow to dry and apply a second coat. For un-treated previous surfaces allow for a third coat. If you are protecting newly-installed countertops you must oil the underneath to prevent any bowing or warping. As with any product you must shake it well and apply it evenly and consistently.
Alternatively, you can appoint us to thoroughly restore and finish you kitchen worktops, while you relax without the stress of embarking upon this task!
factors to consider
If you have any light staining or defects the sander should remove some of these, however it will not remove them all. It is important that you are familiar with using a random orbital sander and know how to spread the load across the backing plate into the abrasive disc – failure to do so can result in blemishes, an uneven finish and patches of poorly finished timber - not to mention the uneven wear on the sanding disc or pad.
Water stains, blackening, mould and certain defects will not be removed by sanding alone - if you attempt this then you may do more harm than good and as such we would not advise attempting to sand these marks out.
Note* this Is guide aimed at sanding and oiling only, not at complete restoration. We accept no liability for property or personal damage caused by attempting to sand and protect your own worktops. If you are unsure, it is wise to opt for a professional to undertake the work for you.
a note on personal protective equipment
You will need a dust mask, light eye protection, and hearing protection. You will have to prevent the dust from floating around the building where others can breathe it in.