Waterlox on Wood Countertops

Waterlox countertops

Waterlox is a great choice for finishing wood counter tops, bars, vanities, and tables, as it produces a waterproof, durable surface that is easy to maintain and non-toxic when cured. An amateur can achieve professional results by following the following simple instructions.

Preparation:  Sand the surface with 100 or 120 grit sandpaper (maximum) to keep the grain open to allow as much Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish as possible to penetrate and seal the wood fibers. If the surface was previously finished with mineral or vegetable oil, wipe it down with mineral spirits and scuff sand with 320-grit sandpaper.

Waterlox Application

  1. Apply the first coat of Sealer/Finish liberally with a china bristle brush or foam applicator. Do not wipe on or wipe off (application via rag results in 1/3 to 1/2 as much film build as brushing).  This brush application method is recommended because it will provide maximum film build, which is needed for adequate water protection.  Let the first coat dry overnight.
  2. Apply a second coat of Sealer/Finish as specified in #1 and let dry overnight.  After overnight dry, lightly sand with 320-grit or 3/0 or 4/0 steel wool to smooth out the finish.  Tack surface with a lint-free rag dampened with mineral spirits.
  3. Apply first coat of your topcoat of choice–Sealer/Finish, Satin, or High Gloss. Let dry overnight. Lightly sand with 4/0 steel wool or 320 – 400 grit sandpaper if needed. Tack with mineral spirits and apply last coat of topcoat.
  4. For softer woods like pine and Douglas fir, apply 3 coats of Sealer/Finish before applying the 2 final topcoats.
  5. Allow the surface to cure for at least 72 –96 hrs. During this cure time, do not use the surface.

Staining: If desired, stain can be added to your first coat of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish.

You can add up to 1 quart (32 ounces) of “old-fashioned” oil-based stain (containing no additives) to 1 gallon of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish. This should be done with your first coat of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish.

At a 1 to 4 mix, the wood generally will be about 1/2 as dark as the stain applied to bare wood and wiped off. Some clients choose to apply a second stain/ waterlox coat to further darken light wood, but should be cautioned that a second stain coat is more difficult to apply evenly.

This method of staining eliminates a separate step and provides a smooth, even color change
(even on soft woods like pine which normally become blotchy). Make a record of the amount of stain used per gallon so that the procedure can be repeated later if necessary. Cleaning:   Clean with warm water or water combined with a mild dish soap, or mix 2-4 oz of white vinegar to a spray bottles to use for multiple daily cleaning. Do not use ammonia-based cleaning products like Lysol®, Fantastik®, 409®, Windex®, etc. on a daily basis (ammonia-based products will soften the oil finish if used frequently), but occasional cleaning with these products is acceptable.

Waterlox Uses and Things to Avoid

  1. Try to avoid puddling water for long periods of time; wipe up spills immediately.
  2. For bathrooms, do not let soap sit directly on the finish.  Wipe up excess soap promptly.
  3. Waterlox Original Tung Oil products can be used around stoves (also unaffected by boiling water/liquids). Waterlox has good heat resistance; however, avoid placing hot pots or pans directly on the finish. Always use a potholder under cooking utensils and hot pans/pots.
  4. DO NOT use bleach based cleaning products on the Waterlox Finish. Avoid exposure to concentrated liquid automatic dishwasher soap.  Be aware that some dishwasher detergents like Liquid Cascade, etc. have bleach in them. 

Waterlox Recoat & Maintenance

  1. Simply wash the surface with a vinegar and water solution.
  2. Lightly sand the surface if there is ground-in dirt.
  3. Wipe an additional coat of what you used as your previous topcoat.
  4. Let dry for 48- 96 hrs. before use.

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