We're restoring a built in cabinet in our 1892 shingle style Victorian and are trying to determine the most durable finish we can use on the counter.  Choices are spar varnish/Helmsman, floor poly, or a product we saw in HD this morning that's an epoxy bar top finish.  Any suggestions?  Thanks

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I tend to be dubious about putting different chemicals or epoxy onto something that will be at some point presumably be in contact with food.

You might want to check the John Boos web site (here: http://www.johnboos.com/faq.asp?s=r#kitchentops).  They manufacture and sell wood countertops and recommend that if you're doing food prep, you use a food-safe penetrating oil finish which needs to be re-done every  month or so. I  WILL say that I've generally had good luck with the products made by Dwayne Siever at Real Milk Paint, and he makes a penetrating oil finish to be used on either soapstone or wood (link here: http://www.realmilkpaint.com/products/waxes/soapstone-sealer-wax/).  But since I haven't tried this product itself, I can't endorse it.  Sounds good, though.

Also, a lot of people swear by Waterlox.  I seem to remember that they make a food-safe finish.  Of course, if food won't be coming into contact with the counter, these concerns vanish.  Both Boos and Waterlox make finishes for situations where food-safe isn't required.

Hope this helps.

We have both slate and maple counter tops in our kitchen, and we use mineral oil on both.  In principle we should probably re-oil every month, but in practice maybe twice a year.  

Epoxy is not removable without grinding. It is also a one-shot process; if it goes awry, you cannot make spot-repairs. It looks like thick plastic, because it is. It is not appropriate-looking in an old-house setting. Waterlox (or similar) will give it beauty, keep the patina, and give all the protection you should need unless you intend to use it to slaughter chickens.


Thank you all!  We bought the Waterlox ths morning.

In the gamble house the counters are sugar pine.  

Yours Randall



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