spar varnish? urethane? epoxy? waterproofing interior countertop

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Forum topic by skogie1 posted 12-30-2016 02:21 PM 387 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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119 posts in 1535 days

12-30-2016 02:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

Hi all, need some help. I have a transition wall between the kitchen and the living room where I will be putting a countertop. Temporarily I am using doubled-

up maple ply until I finish a maple and walnut hardwood top to put there. On the kitchen side, the counter overhangs the wall by about a 1/2”. At one end of the counter, the cooking range is located with about 5” of clearance between the heat vents and the bottom of the counter. Here is where I will have a problem. When the oven is getting used, the heat and steam will escape and rise to the underside of the counter overhang. I’m not too concerned about the temporary plywood top but am very concerned about the permanent top I plan to replace it with. What product(s) do you think will prevent warping and swelling the best? I’d prefer to stay with an oil varnish if possible because that’s how other wood in the house is finished, mostly with arm-r-seal urethane. I don’t think the arm-r-seal would protect from the steam however, would it? Thanks in advance.

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1366 posts in 1091 days

#1 posted 01-09-2017 02:55 AM


It looks as if the plywood sandwich was recently installed. There are no indications that the heat and moisture have been a problem thus far. If the temporary top was recently installed, it may be worthwhile determining whether the oven or stove top will in fact cause a problem by undertaking a time study. Since Urethane seems your preferred finish, perhaps the plywood could be coated with this finish. After a few months of use, the plywood should reveal if this area of the counter top is a problem. If the plywood coated (top, bottom and front and back edges and the end) with a finish is well behaved, then a solid wood top could also be expected to behave (but that is a guess since I have no experience with this exact problem).

If this area of the counter top turns out to be a problem, then using stone or quartz in the area over the range could solve the problem. Another idea is to wrap the leading edge of the counter top over the range with metal, like U channel. Copper or stainless steel could also be custom fabricated to wrap this portion of the counter top. Metal wrapping could serve to protect the counter top from moisture which is probably the biggest worry. But I would think the metal would also act as a heat shield.

If a design change is incorporated into counter top design, then if the top over the range ever becomes a problem, the over the range counter top could be serviced or replaced leaving the rest of the counter top untouched. One idea is to add some thickness to the top that is over the stove and keep this portion of the top separate from the main counter top. The added thickness over the range would represent the transition between the main counter top and the top over the range. The end of thicker portion of the top that butts to the main counter top could be shaped with a cove or round over to further blend the transition.

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