How to Refinish Wood Countertops

Are you looking to update your kitchen with a stylish and timeless finish that has lasting power? Have you been wondering what the best way is to add a beautiful wood countertop look to your home without breaking the bank? Refinishing wood countertops can be an economical way for homeowners to upgrade their space while creating an attractive, new focal point in the room.

How to Refinish Wood Countertops

In this post, we’ll walk through step-by-step how to refinish wood countertops. Read on for all the helpful tips and tricks necessary for transforming those tired surfaces into covetable works of art!

Tools and Materials You Will Need to Refinish Wood Countertops

  1. Sandpaper (various grits)
  2. Wood stain
  3. Polyurethane sealer
  4. Paintbrushes (for stain and sealer application)
  5. Protective gloves and mask
  6. Clean rags or clothes
  7. Plastic sheeting or drop cloth
  8. Painter’s tape

Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Refinish Wood Countertops

Step 1: Prep the Countertops

Before getting started on the refinishing process, it’s important to properly prepare your countertops. Begin by removing all items from the countertop surface and clearing out any surrounding areas to avoid any accidental damage or spills.

Next, use painter’s tape to cover and protect any areas that do not need to be refinished, such as backsplashes or appliances. Finally, lay down plastic sheeting or a drop cloth to protect your floors and cabinets from any potential drips or spills.

Step 2: Sand the Countertops

Using sandpaper of varying grits, begin by sanding down the entire surface of the countertop. This will remove any old finish, stains, or imperfections on the wood.

Start with a coarse grit (around 80-100) to strip away the top layer, then switch to a finer grit (around 220-240) for a smoother finish. Be sure to sand in the direction of the wood grain and wipe down with a clean cloth between each sanding to remove any debris.

Step 3: Stain the Countertops

Apply the Wood Stain

Once you have achieved a smooth and clean surface, it’s time to apply the wood stain. Choose a color that complements your kitchen’s overall aesthetic and be sure to test it out on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Apply the stain evenly using a paintbrush or cloth in long strokes, following the direction of the wood grain. Let the stain sit for a few minutes (check the manufacturer’s instructions for exact timing) before wiping away any excess with a clean cloth.

Step 4: Seal the Countertops

Once your stain has fully dried, it’s time to seal the countertops for added protection and durability. Using a polyurethane sealer, apply a thin coat with a paintbrush or cloth in long strokes, following the direction of the wood grain.

Be sure to cover the entire surface and let it dry completely before applying a second coat. Depending on the type of sealer used, you may need to lightly sand between coats for a smooth finish.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

After your final coat of sealant has fully dried, remove any tape and plastic sheeting from the surrounding areas. If desired, you can add a layer of protective wax on top of the sealed surface for extra shine and protection. Finally, reattach any hardware or fixtures that were removed before starting the refinishing process.

Congratulations! You have successfully refinished your wood countertops and transformed them into stunning new focal points in your kitchen. With proper care and maintenance, your newly refinished wood countertops will continue to look beautiful for years to come. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself admiring them every time you walk into your kitchen!

Additional Tips and Tricks to Refinish Wood Countertops

Use a Sander With Multiple Grits

1. If possible, use a sander with multiple grits to achieve a smooth and even surface before applying stain and finish.

2. When choosing a stain color, consider the overall style and color scheme of your kitchen or bathroom. Darker stains can create a more dramatic look, while lighter stains can give a fresh and airy feel.

3. Don’t be afraid to mix different types of stains to create a custom color. You can also add water or mineral spirits to lighten the stain if needed.

4. Before applying any finish, make sure to clean and remove all dust from the wood surface. This will ensure a smooth and even application.

5. Use a high-quality and durable finish to protect your newly refinished countertops from water, heat, and other daily wear and tear.

6. To achieve a professional-looking finish, use a foam brush or sprayer instead of a regular paintbrush. This will help minimize brushstrokes and create a smooth surface.

7. If you plan on using your wood countertops for food preparation, make sure to use a food-safe finish such as mineral oil or beeswax.

8. Consider adding a butcher block conditioner or wax every few months to maintain the beauty and durability of your wood countertops.

9. Don’t rush the drying process. Give each coat of stain and finish enough time to fully dry before applying the next one.

10. Finally, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any products you use and take your time to ensure a high-quality finish. Remember, patience and attention to detail are key in refinishing wood countertops!

Following these additional tips and tricks will help you achieve a beautiful and long-lasting finish on your wood countertops. With proper care and maintenance, they can add warmth, character, and functionality to any kitchen or bathroom. So don’t be afraid to give refinishing a try and enjoy the satisfaction of transforming your old countertops into something new and improved! Happy refinishing!

Things You Should Consider to Refinish Wood Countertops

1. Type of Wood:

Countertops Are Made of Different Types of Wood

The first thing to consider is the type of wood your countertops are made of. Different types of wood require different approaches when it comes to refinishing. Some types of wood, such as maple or cherry, are more likely to absorb stains and will require a more thorough preparation before any refinishing can be done.

2. Condition of Your Countertops:

Before you start working on your countertops, make sure to assess their condition properly. If there are any major cracks, scratches, or water damage present, it is important to address these issues before proceeding with refinishing. This will ensure that your countertops have a smooth and even surface after refinishing.

3. Tools and Materials:

Make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials before starting the refinishing process. Some basic tools you may need include sandpaper, paintbrushes, wood stain or sealant, and a protective finish. It is also important to choose high-quality materials to ensure the best results.

4. Safety Precautions:

Refinishing countertops involves working with chemicals and tools that can be harmful if not handled properly. Make sure to wear safety glasses, gloves, and a mask when sanding or handling any chemicals. Ensure proper ventilation in the room where you will be working. This will help you avoid any potential injury or health hazards.

5. Color and Design:

Before deciding on a color or design for your refinished countertops, consider the overall look of your kitchen or bathroom. You want to choose a color and design that complements the existing decor and enhances the aesthetics of the space. It is also important to test the color on a small area first to ensure it is the desired shade.

Following these considerations will ensure that your refinishing project is successful and your wood countertops look as good as new. Remember to take your time, follow the instructions carefully, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. With proper care, your refinished wood countertops can last for years to come. Happy refinishing!

Safety Precautions Need to Be Followed for Refinishing Wood Countertops

Make Sure to Wear Proper Protective Gear

1. When it comes to refinishing wood countertops, there are a few safety precautions that need to be followed. This is important to ensure the safety of yourself and others around you.

2. Before starting any refinishing work, make sure to wear proper protective gear such as goggles, gloves, and a mask. This will protect your eyes, skin, and respiratory system from any potential hazards.

3. Ensure that the area you will be working in is well-ventilated. This will help prevent inhaling any harmful fumes from the refinishing products.

4. Before using any chemicals or solvents, make sure to read and follow the instructions carefully. It’s also important to have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of any accidents.

5. If you are working with a sander, make sure to wear earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to protect your ears from loud noises.

6. Keep children and pets away from the work area at all times. Refinishing products can be hazardous if ingested or touched.

7. If possible, it’s best to do the refinishing work outdoors where there is plenty of ventilation. If working indoors, make sure to cover and protect any furniture or items that could potentially be damaged by the refinishing products.

8. In case of skin contact with any chemicals or solvents, immediately rinse the affected area with water and seek medical attention if necessary.

By following these safety precautions, you can ensure a smooth and safe refinishing process for your wood countertops. Remember to always prioritize safety above all else. Happy refinishing!


Knowing how to refinish wood countertops is a valuable skill that can save you money and give your kitchen or bathroom an updated look. Refinishing wood countertops involves several steps, such as removing the old finish, sanding down the surface, applying a new stain or paint, and sealing the countertop.

The process may seem daunting at first, but with proper preparation and the right tools, you can achieve professional-looking results.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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