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Worktop Finish FAQ's

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Can I use a worktop oil or varnish on a commercial bar top?

Commercial bar tops are subjected to extreme wear and tear. the only products that we can confidently recommend for these conditions are Sadolin PV67 Heavy Duty Varnish and Manns Trade Bar Top Lacquer. Both are extremely durable but also extremely smelly during application, due to their high VOC content. Good ventilation is essential when applying these products.

Can I use Danish Oil on a solid wood worktop?

Danish oil is perfectly fine for kitchen worktops as it's made from natural ingredients and is both food and child safe when dry. Dedicated worktop oils offer better durability, longevity and require less coats (typically 2 for new worktops or 1 for previously oiled worktops. They also require less maintenance than Danish Oils. Dedicated work top oils are also food and child safe when dry with some offering anti-bacterial properties. Worktop oils also tend to change the colour of the wooden worktops less than Danish Oils

I have black staining around the taps and sink of my worktop. What can be done?

The black stains around the taps and sink are likely to be mould spores in the work top as a result of prolonged water ingress in to the wood. If left untreated, this will ultimately lead to wood rot and decay. The affected areas should be sanded back to bare wood and treated with a mould and mildew cleaner such as Barrettine Mould and Mildew Cleaner, several applications may be required if the discoloration is bad. Once fully dried the whole worktop should be treated with a worktop oil to prevent further water ingress and future mould. For additional protection, a coat of Osmo Wood Protector (4006) can be applied prior to oiling. This product offers excellent water repellency.

Can I stain my kitchen worktop to a different colour?

In simple terms yes. This can be done by either applying a wood stain then sealing the stain in with a wood oil or varnish, or by using a pigmented or coloured wood oil such as Osmo Polyx Oil Tints or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints, both of which are ideal for kitchen worktops, are food and child safe when dry and are easy to maintain and repair.

Can I apply a wood oil to a kitchen worktop that is always wet?

In short, the answer is no. for the wood oil or worktop oil to penetrate and cure in the surface of the wood, the work top needs to have been dry for at least 3 or 4 days. Chances are that if the wood has been wet for an extended period, it may have or will develop black mould and algae stains. Once the worktop has fully dried, we recommend treating the wood thoroughly with a mould and mildew cleaner and then allowing it to dry again. The surface of the wood may require a light sanding if it no longer feels smooth to the touch. Once the work top has been dried, treated for mould and algae and sanded, it can then be oiled with a worktop oil to prevent future water ingress. It's worth remembering that areas such as around the taps where water often collects should be wiped dry where possible and re-oiled as and when required to retain the woods water-repellent properties.

Which wood finish should I use on an untreated Bamboo Worktop?

For kitchen worktops, we tend to recommend using a wood oil or specifically a wooden worktop oil. Wood oils are durable, liquid and stain resistant, easy to maintain, patch repair and to keep looking like new. Osmo Top Oil is perfect for bamboo but needs to be applied very thinly as the grain will be tighter than softer wood work tops made from Oak, Beech and Ash.

How can I remove metal tin stains from an oiled work top?

Metal tins and cans can stain oiled finishes if the bottom of the tin has been or is sitting in water. The oxidisation of the metal can stain the finish or the wood if left long enough. The benefit of an oiled finish is that they are very easy to repair and when done will blend in with the surrounding area with no sign of a repair being done. Depending on how bad the stain is, it may be possible to remove it by lightly sanding with an abrasive pad such as a Woodleys Finishing Pad and then re-oiling the affected area. If the stain runs deeper into the actual wood, sand the area with a p120 grit sandpaper sheet until the stain has been sanded out and then re-oil the affected area.

What is the best way to prepare a worktop before oiling?

If the worktop is bare wood, little preparation is required. It can be wiped down with methylated spirit to clean and degrease the surface if required. This will clean and remove any surface dirt or grease that has marked the surface during installation.

Many new wooden worktops are supplied having already been given a thin maintenance coat of oil to protect the surface. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before treating but most are ready for oiling with a dedicated work top oil.

Is there a better alternative to Danish Oil for a Kitchen worktop?

Danish Oil is perfectly fine for kitchen worktops and has always been one of the more traditional oils used. Wood oil technology has moved on over the years with new types of oils that are much more durable, longer lasting and only require 2 coats, as apposed to Danish Oil, Teak Oil or Pure Tung Oil, that require more coats and more frequent re-application to maintain the finish.

Our recommendation would be to look at the range of 'Worktop Oils'. They are extremely tough, durable, stain, scratch and water resistant. They are very easy to apply, maintain and patch repair if a particular area becomes worn or damaged.

An alternative to 'worktop oils' are the range of Hardwax Oils. Hardwax oils are as durable and long lasting as top oils, are available in clear and a range of colours, are also food and child safe when dry and equally as easy to apply, maintain and repair if required. If unsure about a particular colour try one or more of the Hardwax Oil samples.

To prepare the wooden worktop it may be necessary to strip the old Danish Oil finish by either lightly sanding the surface or wiping down with a clean, uncoloured cloth dampened with white spirit. Once the worktop has been prepared as above, simply apply 2 thin coats of Top Oil to the surface following the manufacturers preparation and application instructions on the tin. If the worktop is made from a dense exotic hardwood such as Teak, Mahogany, Ipe or Iroko, it may require an extra thin oil like Osmo Wood Wax Finish Extra Thin (1101) to achieve maximum penetration.

Is Danish Oil the best option for wooden kitchen worktops?

Danish oils have always been one of the more traditional oils used for kitchen worktops. This said, Danish Oils do require regular maintenance with additional coats and depending on the brand, can add a warm or slightly orange hue to the wood.

The modern alternative to Danish Oils are Hard Wax Oils. These modern oils are made from a blend of oils, waxes and resins that require just 2 coats on new, bare wood. They are highly durable, resistant to scuffs, scratches, water and other liquid spillages. They require little maintenance and when maintenance is required, simply require one thin maintenance coat.

I have a worktop outside that I use to serve hot food from. It has already been painted yellow and I'm looking to protect it without changing the colour too much. What would you recommend?

Polyvine Decorators Varnish is an exterior-grade clear, water-based acrylic varnish for use on wood, paintwork, wallpaper, fabric, plaster and much more. It contains UV filters to protect coloured surfaces from fading and biocides that protect against algae, mildew and fungal attack.

Oils would not be suitable as they need to penetrate into the wood and cannot if the paint has formed a coating on the wood. They are also more likely to discolour the finish due to the nature of the ingredients they are made from.

We can never guarantee one manufacturers product over another and a test area is essential to test product suitability and final finish.

Is it okay to use Sikkens satin teak wood stain on the work tops around my sink?

If you are referring to the Sikkens Cetol TSI Satin Plus, then this is not one that we would recommend for use on kitchen worktops, it is far more suited to flooring, skirting, doors and architraves.

For worktops, we have a wide range of products that include varnishes such as Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish which offer a long lasting protective seal.

Alternatively, for a finish that is easy to maintain over time, we recommend using a work top oil such as Manns Premier Top Oil or Osmo Top Oil. For additional protection, a coat of Osmo Wood Protector (4006) can be applied as a base-coat prior to applying the top oil but this is not necessary. It is however a good combination, particularly for sink areas that require more protection against moisture.

Hi, the wooden table and wooden worktops on our boat were treated and finished by the previous owner so we don't know what they were treated with. We want to refurbished them but don't want to sand back to the original wood. They both get white cloudy rings when damp/wet, but this fades back to normal again once dry. The worktops are a dark wood with a gloss finish, potentially mahogany, and the table is possibly oak with a more satin finish. Both items are on a classic boat. Any ideas what the finish is and what we can apply on top of it?

It can be really difficult when you inherit/move into a new property and you do not know what the wood is or what the current finish is. This also makes it very difficult for us to advice on a suitable way to move forward with your project. There are some small tests that can help, but ultimately sanding back to bare wood and starting again is the best option and the most likely to get an even well protected finish for your wooden surfaces.

A glossy finish may be an indication of a varnish, however the fact that it marks so easily could also be an indication of a wax or soft oil, so it's really difficult to advice on what to use. Moving forward, worktops and tables need a finish that is durable and that will repel moisture.

If you do decide to sand back to bare wood I can recommend any of the worktop oils we offer. These penetrate the surface and enhance the natural character and feel to the wood, whilst offering a very durable and easy to maintain finish.

Can varnish be used on wooden worktops?

Varnish can be used on wooden worktops with some containing anti-bacterial properties. Our advice however is to use a worktop oil as they are easier to maintain and repair. Varnishes are fine all the while they remain intact. In kitchens however they are subjected to sharp objects that can break the seal between varnish and worktop allowing moisture penetration. Over time, this can lead to cracking, peeling and flaking, a situation that won't happen with a worktop oil.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every attempt has been made to provide product information that is as accurate as possible, it's important to clarify that trees and the wood that they produce can be affected by many factors. For example, the same species of tree grown in the same wood, even in close proximity, will be affected by age along with the amount of sunlight and water they receive. Other naturally occurring biological and environmental factors will also influence the density and grain of the wood as well as the moisture and oil content of the timber. No two trees are the same, meaning each piece of wood has the potential to look and react differently to the same wood finish. For example, product adhesion, colour variations, absorption rates and sheen levels. It is for this reason that we always strongly recommend carrying out test areas before starting any project