Thursday, February 20, 2014

Butcher block countertops

If you've read my blog before, you know that I have beautiful new granite countertops in my kitchen. Then why in the world am I talking about butcher block now?? Because it's not for MY kitchen, it's for the kitchen in the rental property that we own.

When my husband and I got married, we both owned a home. We moved into mine, and rented his out. After 5 years as a rental, we are finally going to attempt to sell it and hope we don't lose our shirts.  (Edit: It didn't sell and we rented it out again for another year!) But first we are doing a few simple upgrades. Hence the new countertops!

It currently has blah white laminate.

It's tiny and white and BLAH!  Look at that horrible faucet! The size was perfect for the bachelor that my husband was when he bought the house, but not ideal for a 3+ bedroom house that a family might look to buy! So we've got to spruce it up!

The plan for the kitchen:
1. New countertops
2. New light fixture
3. Cabinet hardware (notice there is NONE in there currently?)
4. New sink and fancy faucet

Here is all is -- got the faucet, cabinet pulls, and light from Amazon. The sink is from a local bargain place for $80 (over $200 retail!!). 

After a trip to both Home Depot and Lowes I realized we needed to find a cheaper way to get this done. Crappy laminate was going to be over $500 and that was with installing it ourselves!  For that tiny kitchen?!?!  We got a tip from a neighbor that a local discount home store had great prices on butcher block so after much Pinterest research, we went to check it out and came home with two beautiful pieces - 36" by 96" for $109 and 26" by 96" for $89. The price was right!! Hubby cut them easily down to size and sanded them - and here they are (don't mind all of the junk in my basement. I'd like to make up some excuse for why it looks like that - but it always looks like that!):

According to the world-o-Pintrest, step one was to condition the wood. Wow did that make them beautiful!

Step two - stain. I am using "special walnut" by Minwax.  To be honest, after the first coat of stain they don't look that different than with just the conditioner.... but they are darker, I swear!

I ended up doing two coats of stain. The interwebs tell me that the Waterlox I intend to use for sealing them will lighten the color a little bit, so I didn't want them coming out too light in the end.  Here they are after two coats of stain and one coat of Waterlox:

I almost wish I'd gone even darker! But in the end, I think they will look fantastic in the kitchen of the rental house!

As I said I'm using Waterlox at the suggestion of the internet. I think I'm doing it wrong, though.  I read two blogs that said they used the "Satin" finish. I do not want them to be super glossy, so that is what I ordered, as well. However, after getting the can in and reading it, it looks like you're only supposed to put ONE coat of the Satin finish on - OVER multiple coats of the glossy finish.  I'm not doing that, and I know some other blogs did not do it that way, either. I have since figured out that this is why I'm getting some bumps and bubbles in my finish. Crap!  They still LOOK beautiful, but they are not as smooth as they should be. So anyone reading this -- use the regular finish (gloss) and then the satin! Or skip the satin all together - it makes bumps!

I ended up doing three coats of the Waterlox satin on the tops, and one coat of Waterlox on the back just to seal the wood. I did three coats on the back around where the dishwasher goes because it releases steam that damaged the previous laminate tops. Hopefully that is enough to ward off water damage!

This weekend we are going to install these bad boys....

To be continued! Click to read part 2 of this project!

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