Spotlight on Wood Countertop Refinishing | Waccabuc Real Estate


Wood countertops are not for everyone.

They have a warm feel about them that exceeds most other types of tops. But they do require periodic maintenance that can involve refinishing, which can be necessitated by general wear and tear or by the wood’s own behavior. Wood countertop refinishing is a discipline that Topcoat Finishes has considerable experience in.

One of the more common wood behavior issues is the ordinary expansion and contraction of the wood itself. Wood moves with the season. It expands with moisture and humidity in your home, and it contracts when the air becomes dry. As an organic material, wood is very much alive. Sometimes movement can cause wood to split.

How Wood Splits:

Wood splitting, or “checking”, is when the wood opens up along the course of it’s grain. It is an obvious split or separation in the wood.

While checking is visually desirable in some wood features, such as post and beam or other rustic types of wood joinery, on countertops it can become difficult to live with.

Imagine trying to clean your countertops, and crumbs and debris keep getting swallowed up in cracks on the surface. Not desirable at all.

Checking can also compromise the finish that is on the countertops rather quickly.

What to do when Wood Splits:

We recently tackled a wood countertop refinishing project in the pantry of a client’s home. The wood species is antique reclaimed oak. This tends to be very dry wood, so when it checks, it can get big in a hurry.

Here are the steps we took to remedy the problem:

  • fill the cracks with multiple rounds of a clear wood epoxy, until proud on top of surface
  • when epoxy is dry (follow mfr directions), sand the repaired areas
  • inspect to make sure there are no dimples or hairline cracks within the repairs
  • sand entire countertop surfaces
  • apply multiple coats of desired finish

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