Refinishing counter tops

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Forum topic by lowrange posted 09-02-2010 09:58 PM 1303 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 3027 days

09-02-2010 09:58 PM

All my countertops are pine as well as an island. Two part apoxy was initially applied for the finish. It looked really sweet when they were first done but now they are getting dull and peeling and really need to be redone. Should I sand them down to bare wood and do the two part apoxy again or can I sand lightly and try something else? Actually, I tried to put something over it, urethane or something i had hanging around, and it came out sticky and would not dry so I had to sand it off and it looks awful but at least it’s not sticky anymore. Recommendations?

10 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3278 days

#1 posted 09-03-2010 01:25 AM

I don’t want to sound rude, but I will be direct – - Tear out that pine and put in something more durable. I think pine will be a perpetual headache for you.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3272 days

#2 posted 09-03-2010 01:36 AM

I’ve never used epoxy as a finish, but I’ve used it to fill flaws, nail holes, etc in rustic furniture and used polyurethane over that. It’s always worked for me, so I suspect that a good scuff sanding and a 2-3 coats of poly should make your countertops look like new again.

Pine is pretty soft, but a good poly finish can make it pretty durable.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3684 days

#3 posted 09-03-2010 04:41 AM

I would think a few coats of polyurethane would work too. A light sanding then apply the poly. I would use an oil based poly. Something that is made for floors.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View lowrange's profile


10 posts in 3027 days

#4 posted 09-04-2010 12:47 AM

The counter tops are actually pretty durable. Held up for many years. They are like the old bar tops, kinda looks like liquid glass was poured on them. I dont have the $$ to replace at this time. Do you really think the oil based poly would be ok and not be tacky. I would just hate to repeat a process and get the same results. Come to think of it I think I used a laquer finish last time. Pardon my ignorance but can the oil base be put on just about anything and dry with out the tackiness. It should right? Especially if they put it on floors.

View Rick S...'s profile

Rick S...

10913 posts in 3236 days

#5 posted 09-04-2010 02:28 AM

I would suggest elbow grease and take them down to Bare, Clean wood. It’s not hard to do, maybe time is all. Belt Sander?, Orbital Sander, whatever you have. Finish it down to 120 Grit. MAYBE 150 if you think it needs it.

I would NEVER try to “Doctor Up” an Old Finish!! Then try putting something else over it.

I looked after a Family Owned Hardwood Flooring Company for a year or so. My Uncle (The Boss) Refused to use any Finish other than Flecto Oil Base Urethane, usually Satin Gloss. We did Oak, Other Hardwoods and My Favourite Natural, Unstained Pine Flooring, especially in “Country” Style Kitchens. Pine is a Softwood for Floors and will have a Tendency to “Dent” if Hard Pressure is put on it ie. Dropped or Chair/Table Legs.

Personally I didn’t like the Oil Base Finish. On one job when Uncle was on Vacation I had our guys use Flecto Water Base Instead. Mirco (his name) our best Finisher Loved it!! He said it was easier to Apply, Dried Faster, “Laid Down” better and he could Recoat in 6/8 Hours with a LIGHT buffing in between. BUT! The Result we were looking at the most was Durability!

Uncle (Obedia, Obe for short) was back I asked him to come and have a look at the Floor because I thought it was so nice, a Month after it was finished. NOT saying anything about using Water Base. He saw it thought it was great. Customer was Very Happy with it.

Later, on the way home I told him it was Water Based. “What did Mirco say about it?” (10 years with him). I told him. “Well. Then I guess we better keep using it.” We did, and so do I now on ALL of my Wood Projects that require that type of finish.

I’ve recently started using Wipe On Poly that I like even better for ease of application. Someone on LJ’s said that it was just Regular Poly Watered down 50/50. Tried it, works just as well.

Another Advantage to taking it Righ Down to Bare wood is that you can Stain it if you wish. Now I go back to Oil Base Stain Only. Usually Minwax. I prefer to Brush it on, and in, until you’ve worked out all the Wet Spots and the finish looks Consistent. I don’t wipe it unless after all the preceding I still see some wet spots, then Gently spread it out. Allow 24 to 48 Hours for a Good Dry then the Poly. Flecto or Varathane are about the same quality.

After all this typing lowrange, you’re gonna have to do it this way …LOL…I have to stress again….trying to Doctor Up an Old finish, before applying Another Finish is something that you WON’T end up being Happy with.

Hope this is of some help.


-- I Chose "The Road Less Travelled" Now I'm Totally Lost! (Ontario, CANADA)

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10 posts in 3027 days

#6 posted 09-08-2010 03:51 AM

Rick after reading your response, I probably could have hired you and the job would be done by now. just kidding…i believe you’re right and will go with your advise..thanks so much for sharing your experience and product recommendations. I will surely try it. Thanks again.

View Rick S...'s profile

Rick S...

10913 posts in 3236 days

#7 posted 09-08-2010 08:24 AM

TOTALLY My Pleasure lowrange! I’m sure that you’ll be happy with the results. Maybe it was just me and my experience but I’ve tried (at others requests) to “Doctor Up” a Worn Finish. It never seems to work, then we do it again, the right way…LOL..

If anything comes up your not sure of don’t hesitate to PM me. THAT’S what LJ’s is all about.

ALSO: Thank you for being a Gentleman and responding to my advice. “I” appreciate that! All to often there is NO response and it was beginning to get to me, and I’d reached the point of…”Why do I bother.” You just put a little more Gas in My Tank…LOL…

Regards: Rick

-- I Chose "The Road Less Travelled" Now I'm Totally Lost! (Ontario, CANADA)

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3652 days

#8 posted 09-08-2010 09:39 AM

Keep in mind I’ve never done any pine counter tops, mostly oak or some other hardwood…I agree with Rick, I would sand it down to the bare wood like he said. What I use, 100 percent of the time, is a product called Waterlox, made with tung oil, 2-3 coats of Original sealer/finish followed with 1 coat satin finish. It is a food safe finish for one thing and you will never have to refinish your tops again, if you don’t stain them. If it gets worn you just re-coat. It really brings out the beauty of the wood. Not sure if the product Rick is talking about is a food safe finish, if your concerned about that, some are some aren’t.

Food for thought!! :-)

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3165 days

#9 posted 09-08-2010 02:33 PM

There is a pourable epoxy that is what you see on a lot of restaurant table tops and bar tops. Don’t know the name but you can see it would stand up to a lot of use. Anyone know the name of the product?

View lowrange's profile


10 posts in 3027 days

#10 posted 09-08-2010 03:54 PM

Todd, I’m glad you brought up the point about food safe finish, i will definately look into that. Thanks and Rick…full steam ahead!

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