finishing maple countertop that includes a sink and dishwasher

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Forum topic by Chris_Smith posted 04-09-2012 12:03 PM 6152 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2414 days

04-09-2012 12:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood countertops finishes deftoil waterlox

I have recently bought a maple countertop from lumber liquidators. It is dry, sanded, and unfinished.
I need to finish myself and was wondering what the best finish would be.
The counter will host a sink and dishwasher.

I guess my criteria are:
1. I don’t want to see mildew or dark stains near the sink
2. I want a satin finish

I was thinking I could use either:
1. Deftoil danish oil (it’s some sort of oil plus urethane combo)
2. Satin oil based polyurethane
3. Satin water-based polyurethane

I discounted straight oils as it seems like they might not be protective enough. Any opinions on this?

I can’t use Waterlox—it is not available in Canada, probably due to environmental regulations.

8 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


12399 posts in 2555 days

#1 posted 04-10-2012 04:17 AM

Being next to a sink it will get wet constantly and I would tend toward a hard finish, varnish or lacquer, and with UV inhibitors if it gets much sun.

-- Rick M,

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3026 days

#2 posted 04-10-2012 04:45 AM

Don’t even consider an “oil” finish.

The sink is going to be difficult because of the preponderance of water and the large end grain area exposed when you cut the hole.

But a more perverse problem is the steam that comes out of a dishwasher.

My counsel is to call your local professional paint stores and chat with them. Then go in to the one that impressed you most and talk again to the same person, face to face. I wouldn’t trust this project to a retail/consumer product. You need the real stuff.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3842 days

#3 posted 04-10-2012 11:21 AM

Two part epoxy, same as whats used on the hull of a wooden boat. It isn’t cheap and has a bit of a learning curve.

The amount of time you spend finishing and water proofing this counter will be directly apparent in how long it takes for it to fail or look bad.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2454 posts in 4046 days

#4 posted 04-11-2012 12:33 PM

General Finishes Arm R Seal,I have it in bathrooms, floors and so forth, it will hold up and handle the moisture , its a true urethane and goes on like any oil, do at least 3 coats, and is easy to refresh and repair, good stuff.

View Sirgreggins's profile


299 posts in 2411 days

#5 posted 04-12-2012 07:17 PM

try an epoxy sealer and/or a bartop finish from rockler.

View Chris_Smith's profile


2 posts in 2414 days

#6 posted 04-13-2012 02:07 AM

Hi again,
Thanks for your suggestions to NOT use oil or an oil/varnish.

I did call the local Lee Valley, and the gentleman there said that I should use polymerized tung oil and that it was almost as durable as polyurethane. I also called another paint/funiture store, and the person there recommended polyurethane. Both guys seemed reliable, and asked all the right questions, so they basically cancelled each other out.

Anyway, have you heard of Bob Flexner? He seems to have some no-BS stuff to say about Waterlox, Arm-r-seal, and others. Here is an excerpt from his book, with brand names included:

(Huge apologies if you all know this already – I include it in case others do a search and come upon this topic.) From what Bob Flexner says, Waterlox, Arm-r-sea, and several others are just an alkyd/polyurethane/spar varnish that has been thinned in a ratio of about 1:1 with mineral spirits. It looks like Arm-r-seal uses polyurethane as a base, while Waterlox uses a spar varnish.

So it looks so easy to make my own varnish, that I think I will. ( I’ll try it out on the back of the counter to make sure it’s ok.) I thought I’d use ‘epifanes’ as the spar varnish as it is high-quality.


View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 3006 days

#7 posted 04-13-2012 02:23 AM

Make sure to seal all surfaces. Top, bottom, back edge, cuts, etc. to insure a stable top when your finished.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View jonnybone's profile


30 posts in 3049 days

#8 posted 02-21-2014 05:05 PM

680 days late on this topic but…....head over to West Marine , A wonderful boat supply store. This is where I buy all of my auto polish compound sealers glazes wax you name it…. But be forewarned, these guys don’t play around it’s top dollar stuff and rightly so because I’ve never had a problem with any of the products they carry.

-- Everyday Woodworking is saving my life.

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