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 10x10' 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.
LOVE!!!! But I could see between all the coats how this project is time consuming. Great contrast to your black cabinets.
Thanks, Allison! Yes, it was really time consuming but I think all the time was worth it. 🙂
Beautiful- exactly what I want😊I love 💕 them!!! Thank u soooo much. Totally doing this to my table as I don’t like the gold either .
What color are the cabinets? Is that black or espresso or what?
The DIY Mommy
The lower cabinets are black-brown Ramsjo cabinets from IKEA.
I LOVE your house! It's beautiful! I was just wondering where you purchased the Aquaspar from??
Hi Kim! Thanks so much. I purchase the Aquaspar from a Canadian online company: http://www.marineoutfitters.ca
Looks beautiful! Is the sealer food safe?,one of my concerns having a 7 yr old,who loves to cook with mommy!
Thanks, Heidi! The sealer is non-toxic, but it's not labelled as food safe. I use the counter as I would a laminate counter, though, so I don't cut food directly on it.
Just re-finished my Ikea butcher block countertops this past weekend using exactly the same products you did, but went with a dark "Urban Gray" stain. They make my kitchen look completely different and it was so inexpensive to do.
Thanks for the idea!
Oh, that sounds beautiful, Lynn! I'm so happy you found this idea helpful. Do you have a photo of your countertops?
Do you have pictures of the finished gray countertop? Please share! Thanks !
The DIY Mommy
There are a few good photos of them in this post: https://thediymommy.com/our-kitchen-makeover-with-black-stainless-steel-appliances/
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about bluetooth headphones.
My blog - wireless headphones (Krystle)
Do you have to use wood from Ikea or would wood from somewhere else work? We are thinking of doing this but using Craft-Art wood in Hard Maple "DIY Homeowner" and using the WAterlox. I have heard that waterlox has a slight amber tint so we will test it first.
Do you think it would work to use this wood instead?
Thanks for all your wonderful DIY-ing!!
Hi, Maggie! I used the butcher block counter tops from Ikea. Yes, I'd recommend testing your finish on the underside of your counters first. The Waterlox does have an amber tint, but it's only slight in my opinion. Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you! I will definitely test on the bottom side. good call. I may even order a sample and test on that for some extra practice. : )
Hey there Maggie, I'd love to know if you tried the waterlox with the whitewash. I have used waterlox before and liked the product very much but I was concerned about the yellowing for this. I haven't yet been able to purchase a sample kit...
Also, cheers to Christina! I'm in the same exact position. I wanted white quartz but then I got a quote and quickly changed my mind. I've searched and searched for photos of white washed butcher block and found nothing but finally stumbled on this post! I think it looks great!
Hi there! Love what you did with your countertops, it looks like you've had a couple years to live with them now. I wonder if you could comment on how they've worn...stains? water marks? warping?
How does the aquaspar hold up with spills?
Christina Dennis says,
I LOVE your house! It’s beautiful! I was just wondering where you purchased the Aquaspar from
Lindsay - The DIY Mommy
thank you! http://www.marineoutfitters.ca/index.cfm?category=10005|10006&product=39412516&code=099345156411 This is where we purchased it from 🙂
i love your countertops! we will be building this summer and i want butcherblock countertops, but dont want the orange color either! i love the idea of whitewashing them! i was wondering if you remember the brand/color of stain you used? many "white wood stain" products i have seen have reviews saying that its more like paint and that it didnt work for them. i would love to know what you used so i can make mine look like yours! haha thanks!
That will not last. Looks alright but not even remotely cost-effective as it will need replacing before long.
We've had it 4 years in July and it's been great! I think I'll sand it and re-apply sealant every 5 years. Very cost effective in my mind!
Love this look. However, is this all food safe? Is the polyurethane safe for food preparation?
Just wondering if you could please share the name of the IKEA counter top. I know sometimes, IKEA varies in products depending in the country they're in. I would really appreciated it.
Hi, You certainly sounds like you put in a lot of work but the results paid off.
Just a little-BIG point if I can be pedantic though: the wood you've used - and other responders are referring to - is not "butcher block"! It is actually correctly called "laminated" to designate that it is made of multiple smaller pieces joined side-by-side and often end-to-end as well. Butcher block is literally even sized (usually) pieces that are glued with the end-grain facing UP just like a ... butcher's chopping block or cutting board. This is not what your bench is. Your wrong choice of terminology led me to your site posting by mistake when I was looking for genuine butcher-block wood treatment ideas. Just saying ...
Lindsay - The DIY Mommy
Thanks for the feedback. We really appreciate it
What kind of white wash did you use
Sarah - The DIY Mommy
Looking at the can in the picture, it appears to be "Saman" but you can use any non-toxic, white wash, water based stain 🙂
Hello! I found you on Pinterest while searching for this exact thing. Do you have any updates on how these help up, especially with the waterproofing. Thank you!
I just did an experiment… powdered hair bleach with 30 volume developer bleached butcher block PERFECTLY!!!