oil a wood

What does it take to oil a wood countertop? How to go about it? Practical tips

Oiling a countertop is one of the more effective methods of protecting wood. Oil impregnation makes the countertop look better and protects it from damage. Find out which oil to choose and how to use it correctly.

Why should you oil your countertop?

Choosing a wooden oiled countertop brings many benefits. By applying oil to the countertop, the vibrant color of the material is brought out and the grain of the wood is highlighted. The painted counter will give the kitchen a warm, homely look. In addition to aesthetic qualities, this type of impregnation creates a surface resistant to high temperature, water and settling excessive dust.

Polished wood features longevity and ease of restoration in case of minor damage. However, the polish may be prone to scratches and dents. Also, be sure to avoid putting hot things on it. Although the post-painting coating is characterized by resistance, it will not protect the wooden countertop from too much use. It will also be necessary for regular care and oiling, but a properly protected wooden panel will serve you for years.

Choosing the right oil for wood – what to follow?

Materials intended for protection of wooden surfaces usually consist mainly of natural vegetable oils previously stripped of protein. Very often such products include flax, sunflower or rapeseed oil. Wood products often also have resin, wax or vegetable dye in the composition. Waterproofing materials are divided according to three criteria:

  • purpose,
  • wood species,
  • coloring properties.
oil for wood

Important characteristics of different fabrications are also the speed of their dryingand the percentage of wax they contain. The most important elements when choosing a countertop oil, however, are the following signatures:

  • ENV 1186 – specifies the possibility of food contact with the polish,
  • PN-EN 71-3 – a designation that says the material is safe for contact with children’s toys,
  • DIN 53160 – safe contact with saliva or sweat.

When buying countertop oil, it is worthwhile for you to focus on all the above criteria – especially those concerning safety. This will be especially important when choosing a preparation for kitchen counters with which food may come into contact.

The most commonly chosen fabric for wooden countertops is linseed oil which belongs to the group of drying oils. This means that it can penetrate deeply into the wood and can contact with food. The product is available in versions raw, which is cold-pressed, and cooked, which is heated in the manufacturing process. The cooked product differs from the raw one in that due to its boiling there occurs polymerization. Thanks to this, the surface painted with such material dries much faster, and in addition a coating is formed, thanks to which the product does not flow out of the wood after some time, not leaving it unprotected.

Related: How to use linseed oil for wood?

What tools will you need before you start?

In addition to buying oil for the countertop, it is also necessary to prepare the tools with which you will waterproof the track in a correct way. To perform such work you will need the following tools:

  • grinder or sanding paper with gradations of 80, 140, 200,
  • brush with soft bristles,
  • a couple of cotton rags,
  • paint film which you will put on the floor,
  • painting tape to avoid staining walls and countertops,
  • mask, gloves and safety glasses,
  • compressed air, a sweeper or vacuum cleaner,
  • a bucket of water to put down objects that are covered with oil to prevent spontaneous combustion.

Procedure for oiling a wooden countertop – steps

After selecting the right oil and tools it is worthwhile for you to learn how to proceed with painting. It is necessary to perform some steps that will provide you with a satisfactory result. Learn step by step all the steps of oiling a wooden countertop.

wooden countertop

Preparing a wooden countertop for oiling

Wood that has never been oiled before will likely be coarse and unpleasant to the touch. On the other hand, in case the wood has been painted before, there are likely to be scratches and chipping on its surface . Whether you are using oil for the first time or protecting the wood again, it will be necessary to clean the countertop with a damp cloth, let it dry and sand it. Level the counter with a sander or sandpaper with gradations of 80, 140 and 200, respectively. Sand the surfaces along the grain, with moderate force, so as not to accidentally make holes. When you’re done sanding dust off the countertop using compressed air, broom sweep, vacuum cleaner or dry cloth.

Applying oil to wood

After preparations for painting ensure that the room is well ventilated. Apply painter’s tape to the walls, induction hob and other items that connect to the countertop. Spread painter’s film on the floor. Mix the oil thoroughly. Apply the product in thin layers along the grain of the wood using a brush with soft bristles or a cotton cloth. Wipe off excess fabricate after finishing painting each layer with a clean cotton cloth.

Countertop drying

The speed of drying of the oil depends on which product you decide on. This time oscillates in the range of 4-24 hours. Remember to follow the instructions on the packaging regarding intervals between painting successive coats. While the oil is drying, do not forget about good ventilation of the room where the countertop is located: zapour can be noxious, and on top of that toxic.


When the countertop oil has dried completely, it is recommended to polish the painted surface, which will give it a greater shine. This is not a necessary step, but it will make the counter look more attractive. You can use a soft flannel, felt or cotton cloth for hand-glossing. Rub the wood using small circular motions. If you have an electric drill, you can buy an end with a polishing wheel made of felt or cloth. This will save you a lot of time and give a better shine to the surface. For mechanical polishing, use low machine speed (150-300 rpm).

How to tell if the oil has been applied correctly?

To check if the wooden surface has been painted correctly, do a simple test. After applying two coats of the product and their complete drying it is recommended to perform a water repellency test. It involves applying a few drops of water to the painted countertop and blowing into them. In the situation where the drops slide on the countertop, it means that it has been properly impregnated. However, if the drops have been absorbed into the wood, it will be necessary to apply another coat of oil. A properly applied product should also not crack or splinter. When this situation occurs, it will be necessary to grind and repaint this part.

oil has been applied correctly

Maintaining and caring for an impregnated countertop

Countertop oil, despite its durability, does not provide protection from all damage. A wooden counter requires regular cleaning with a damp, well-drained cotton cloth. A small amount of dishwashing liquid can be used for this, especially if larger dirt has formed. Then it is necessary to wipe everything dry – surfaces made of wood should never be left wet! Before laying hot dishes you should also remember to use a special pad to avoid permanent marks. For periodic impregnation of the painted countertop, you can use wax or dedicated care oil.

Related: Painting wood – how to do it?

How to clean a kitchen countertop: permanent marks, mold, tough stains

During exploitation of the work surface it can become damaged. If a trace of a hot potor mug remains on your countertop, prepare a thick solution of olive oil and salt. Then apply the mixture for 3 hours. After this time, wipe the spot on dry, then on wet, and at the end wipe the countertop completely. You can also make the same mixture if water stains develop on the oiled countertop. Soak a cloth with the prepared product and wipe the area in question. The residue should come right off.

In time, non the wooden surface mildew may appear. In this case, clean the area in question with a kerosene-soaked ear stick. Gently rub the stain. At the end, polish the spot with a cloth. Remember to use kerosene pointwise, as this preparation contributes to matting the surface. In a situation where wooden pavement is spilled on alcohol, wipe off the stain immediately and use ordinary linseed oil, which will replenish losses.

Oiling a wood countertop is one of the most common proofing methods. Painting a wooden surface is very easy if you properly prepare for it, and a properly executed process will give you aesthetic and satisfactory results. You just need to remember to take proper care of the counter, and certainly its pristine appearance will last for many years.

Interior decorator with 6 years of experience. She loves Scandinavian and Boho style. She loves to spend her evenings on the couch, under a blanket, reading a book with her cat Theodore.