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what wood and finish to use for a wood vanity counter top

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Forum topic by bluephi1914 posted 10-08-2014 10:50 AM 1075 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bluephi1914

45 posts in 826 days


10-08-2014 10:50 AM

I’m making a vanity cabinet to replace a cheap cabinet that was installed in the house when we purchased it. I would like to use wood as the counter top and I was wondering:

1. what would type should I use ?
2. what finish should I put on it to make it safe around water ?
3. one side of the cabinet will be exposed, so I’m wondering if using a cabinet grade sanded pine plywood for the frame is no longer an option.

the cabinet im making is similar to the picture

thanks in advance for any help

-- Jack of all trades and a master of most of them.


9 replies so far

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1189 days


#1 posted 10-08-2014 10:57 AM

Under mount or surface mount sink? Will it be used often enough to get wet often or occasionally? Do you want it to last a few years or a few decades? How much do you want to spend? How much maintenance can you tolerate?

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bluephi1914

45 posts in 826 days


#2 posted 10-08-2014 12:05 PM

Surface mount and it will be used pretty frequently. I would like it to last longer than 2 years, which is how long the last over lasted. I would like to last At least 10 years. I’m confident the wood cabinet will, but the top is what I’m wondering about


Under mount or surface mount sink? Will it be used often enough to get wet often or occasionally? Do you want it to last a few years or a few decades? How much do you want to spend? How much maintenance can you tolerate?

- bigblockyeti


-- Jack of all trades and a master of most of them.

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firefighterontheside

13529 posts in 1324 days


#3 posted 10-08-2014 12:23 PM

No reason you can’t use plywood. Make face frame from solid wood and case from plywood. If I were going to make a vanity top from wood I would either use about ten coats of oil based poly or better yet, pour on epoxy that will make bar like finish.
http://www.lowes.com/pd_298930-1149-5050110_4294684395__?productId=3366918&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1189 days


#4 posted 10-08-2014 12:33 PM

You’re right about the top, it will see the most opportunity for degradation. Are you looking for a certain look? Teak does well in wet environments, some boats come with a swim platform made from teak and require a good cleaning and an application of teak oil every once in a while. There are a number of oily woods that are fairly moisture resistant.

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chrisstef

15678 posts in 2474 days


#5 posted 10-08-2014 01:07 PM

I personally don’t think the wood is as important as the finish is. I did countertops with walnut and used Arm-R-Seal as a finish. 5 coats. The other finish that was suggested to me as I was researching the project was Waterlox original. I think the trick is to not let standing water pool up on the top. Be sure to finish both sides and the edge grain for the cut out as well so it doesn’t absorb moisture differently from top to bottom.

-- rock, chalk, jayhawk

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mahdee

3555 posts in 1235 days


#6 posted 10-08-2014 03:25 PM

Hi, I made all my kitchen counters including the ones around the sink using tongue and groove maple with no “V’s” otherwise, flat surface. Finished it with oil poly (about 5 coats with brush). 24 years so far and not an issue so far.
Mahdee

-- earthartandfoods.com

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Yonak

979 posts in 989 days


#7 posted 10-08-2014 03:47 PM

I’d think long and hard before committing to a wood countertop surface in a wet area. Water is insidious. It will always try to find a way to get where you don’t want it. Your initial treatment will have to be tight and ongoing maintenance will have to include regular inspections and repair, plus occasional over-coating.

Wood is soft compared to stone or plastic surfaces. Nicks, dents and scratches will be an on-going risk. I used marble for my counter tops in the bathroom and I’m wishing I had gone with a harder top, like granite, like I did in the kitchen.

On the other hand, wood looks beautiful if you have the spirit for on-going maintenance. Strictly my 2ยข. My experience hasn’t been as fortunate as mrjinx’s

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bluephi1914

45 posts in 826 days


#8 posted 10-08-2014 04:33 PM

That’s what i was thinking. Most bars are wood. The finish however is usually very thick.

I’m going to try a wood top and just get the proper finish.


I personally don t think the wood is as important as the finish is. I did countertops with walnut and used Arm-R-Seal as a finish. 5 coats. The other finish that was suggested to me as I was researching the project was Waterlox original. I think the trick is to not let standing water pool up on the top. Be sure to finish both sides and the edge grain for the cut out as well so it doesn t absorb moisture differently from top to bottom.

- chrisstef


-- Jack of all trades and a master of most of them.

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1100 posts in 1754 days


#9 posted 10-08-2014 10:08 PM

I can vouch for Waterlox original. I was visiting a friend who had a hard maple butcher block type counter top in his kitchen with an undercount sink. 15 years and it still looks wonderful. I have Waterlox original on my 3ft x 8ft island top. It gets splattered with hot grease from the cooktop, juicy stuff spills on it. I mean… it gets USED. No problems.

I think the key to enjoying a wood counter top is that you have to wipe it off if it gets wet with anything. But I was never in the habit of leaving water laying on the bathroom or kitchen counters no matter what they were made of.

I will tell you that Waterlox warns that leaving soap sitting on the finish can soften it. I mean like…. concentrated dish soap dripping onto it and left there, or sitting a wet bar of hand soap right on the wood for an extended period. Soap suds are like….. “is that all you got?”.... and don’t seem to have any real threat of damaging the finish.

I’d DEFINITELY do a countertop with Watrerlox anywhere. My island top was about 1 TENTH the cost of any stone or quartz estimates we got AND I was able to do it myself.

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