One of the goals for the decor in Our DIY House is to have NO orangey or golden toned wood ANYWHERE. I mean, I think it looks great in some houses, but I find it really mid-90’s-ish and we have it in our current Garage House (because it was the cheapest colour of laminate flooring and cabinets we could find) so I’m getting tired of it.
We are on a very tight budget for our house build (especially here at the end) and we simply couldn’t afford stone countertops. I considered laminate countertops, but I wanted something light coloured for our kitchen design and I couldn’t find a light coloured laminate I liked in our price range.
I currently have a wooden butcher block counter top on my island and I love it. I thought about butcher block counters in our new house but my only hesitations were (a) the golden colour (of the cheap Ikea ones that we could afford) and (b) the thought of it rotting and moulding around my kitchen sink.
After browsing Pinterest and my favourite blogs, I stumbled across a few posts on how to stain and seal wooden counter tops and I had my “eureka” moment: what if I whitewashed some butcher block, and then waterproofed it? It would be the perfect solution for our kitchen!
It took a lot of work, but here’s how I whitewash stained and sealed my inexpensive butcher block counter tops to get the look I wanted. I’m really happy with the results!
We purchased our counters from Ikea. For our 10×10′ kitchen and island, the cost was less than $800. My husband cut them to size, and I sanded them with this lovely power sander!
I used some non-toxic water based whitewash stain and applied it with a brush in the direction of the wood grain. I did small sections at once (about a foot long).
I wiped each section down after a few minutes (with the wood grain) with a cloth. The effect was instantly cooler and lighter which was exactly what I wanted.
Here’s the change after one coat of white wash. I decided to do 4 coats in total because I knew the sealant would yellow the counters a little.
After I had stained the tops and three visible sides of each butcher block piece and let them dry for a day, I sealed them with Aquaspar – a water-based varnish that is extremely water proof and durable. I used a little foam brush which worked really well, and sanded with very fine sandpaper in between coats. I coated the counters with varnish twice before they were installed. I also sealed the sides and the underside once.
After my husband installed the counter tops, I sealed them one more time.
They’re so fresh, shiny and pretty.
They gleam, they’re unique, AND they’re waterproof!
I’ll use these babies just like I would a laminate countertop – not placing hot pots and pans directly on them.
I think staining & sealing inexpensive butcher block counters is a great alternative to laminate counters when you’re on a budget! Plus, they’re so pretty and vintage-looking. I’m totally in love.