How to Build Wood Countertops

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Scotch tape
Hardwood (maple or oak)
Circular or table saw
Shop vacuum
Epoxy or glue
Wood stain
Polyurethane seal or varnish
Natural bristle paint brush

Building wood countertops provides you with an alternative to more expensive granite, marble, or natural stone countertops. Wood is easy to cut and adjust to the size of your counter and when prepared properly adds a natural look to your kitchen.

Step 1 - Measure Countertops

Use the tape measure to get the dimensions of the countertop area in your kitchen. Record the length, width, and depth on a piece of paper. Then, draw or create a template by taping several sheets of paper together. The design template will give you a rough cutout of the counter space and aid you when you make your initial cuts of wood.

Step 2 - Purchase Wood

Depending on your budget for building the counter, choose a hardwood such as maple or oak. These woods are durable and last long after finishing, which are important qualities for your wooden countertops. You will need to purchase wood slabs that are able to be cut to the proper size or those that will require the minimal amount of seams possible. A lumber yard would be the best place to go to find the larger pieces of wood.

Step 3 - Cut the Wood

Using the design template, cut the wood on a table or circular saw. If you do not have a saw large enough for the job, consider renting one from an equipment supply store or asking the retailer to make the cuts for you when purchasing the wood. You want to make sure that the cuts are as precise as possible in order to have a proper fit when installing the countertops in your kitchen.

Step 4 - Prepare the Counter Area

Remove the old sections of countertop using the claw end of the hammer to carefully pry them away. After you have successfully removed the countertop, use the shop vacuum to clean up any dust or debris from the area. You want to have things as clean and dust-free as possible before beginning the installation of the new surface.

Step 5 - Install the Wood Countertop

Spread an epoxy or glue to the area where the wood will be set and affix them with nails once a proper fits has been achieved. You want to work carefully to ensure that the countertops are level, flush with the counters, and are properly set in place before you secure them with the nails. Allow the glue to dry before continuing.

Step 6 - Finish the Countertops

Apply a wood stain of your choice depending on the color and look that you are looking to achieve. An alcohol-based stain will dry faster, but an opaque stain has more color choices available. Use a rag to apply the stain, working it into the wood by rubbing with the grain.

Use two coats of stain and after the second coat dries, apply a water-resistant sealant, such as polyurethane or varnish, using a natural bristle brush. Use a fine-grit sandpaper to gently polish the finish once it dries to give it a clear look. Your new wood countertops are now ready for use!