Is Oak OK for countertop?

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Forum topic by Opsis posted 03-16-2017 01:58 PM 1453 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1858 days

03-16-2017 01:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak kitchen countertops countertop

I’m building a kitchen island and it’s come time to decide what to do for the countertop.

I have a bunch of white oak left over from another project so I’d like to use it for the side panels. I’d like to use quarter sawn white oak for the countertop but am curious if using an open grain species will mean the countertop is more prone to stains.

Will the oak be find if I use 5+ coats of waterlox and keep up with the expected maintenance?

Cherry or maple are probably more practical choices but I’m concerned the different species and mismatched colors would look poor.

Can anyone speak to their experience of oak countertops?


12 replies so far

View r33tc0w's profile


199 posts in 1453 days

#1 posted 03-16-2017 06:19 PM

White oak is great! Your right on about Waterlox. Should work out beautifully – check out my comments over on:

-- Matthew 13:53-58

View Madmark2's profile


2056 posts in 1557 days

#2 posted 03-17-2017 02:58 AM

Some use plaster of paris as a grain filler before finishing.

Endgrain on white oak won’t hold water. For a cutting board you’re cutting chicken on I wouldn’t suggest oak. Try jatoba ( AKA Brazilian Cherry ) it’s quite a bit denser pore structure than oak.


-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View WoodMac56's profile


25 posts in 1397 days

#3 posted 03-25-2017 11:35 AM

I wouldn’t recommend Waterlox. I built walnut countertops and used Waterlox which scratched very easily. I ended up going over it with Arm-r-seal which looks just as good and much more durable..

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8255 posts in 1681 days

#4 posted 03-25-2017 02:42 PM

another vote for Arm R seal :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Andre's profile


4103 posts in 2775 days

#5 posted 03-25-2017 04:36 PM

Oak counter top is fine if you use a West Epoxy Finish. There is a reason why butcher blocks are made from Maple.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View oldnovice's profile


7699 posts in 4337 days

#6 posted 03-25-2017 08:09 PM

If you are going to fill the grain I suggest Timbermate as this stuff is superior to any other filler I have ever used. You can also get it form Amazon.

I have many other fillers that are now drying out since I found Timbermate.
It’s easy to apply, low cost, easily colored, mixed, and there is virtually no waste, except for what end up being filler.

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View eflanders's profile


332 posts in 2819 days

#7 posted 03-26-2017 12:14 AM

White oak is used frequently in wooden boats so don’t be afraid to use it for your island. Just don’t use red oak.

View ArtMann's profile


1483 posts in 1785 days

#8 posted 03-26-2017 02:11 AM

The people I know who installed a wooden counter top will never do it again.

View Blackberry's profile


149 posts in 2122 days

#9 posted 03-26-2017 04:47 AM

Forgive me because I can’t remember where I first saw this on another post but it’s an interesting watch for Opsis. I know you’re considering white oak, and the video supports that. I tend to agree with ArtMann though.

View Andre's profile


4103 posts in 2775 days

#10 posted 03-26-2017 04:22 PM

Forgive me because I can t remember where I first saw this on another post but it s an interesting watch for Opsis. I know you re considering white oak, and the video supports that. I tend to agree with ArtMann though.

- Blackberry

Thanks, I was asking last year how to tell Red and White apart last year, explains the big price difference as well!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Opsis's profile


4 posts in 1858 days

#11 posted 03-26-2017 04:35 PM

Thanks! Will probably still go with white oak. I appreciate the caution about wood countertops in general, but luckily this is just a small top for an island that I can refinish or replace when necessary.

I’ll post pics of the finished project once it’s done.

View Carol's profile


110 posts in 1482 days

#12 posted 03-26-2017 07:45 PM

made our cottage countertop out of leftover heart pine planks from the floor and ceiling, LOVE it :-)

used however many coats the waterlox folks told me to use, and it’s been great. yes, it scatches, but i expected that going in. in an informal, cottage-type setting, it suites just fine. if i had used a red oak or other hardwood surface for the counter, i’d say use something else not only to protect the wood, but preserve the finish.

i’ll have to give that arm r seal a try

-- Carol

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