Question about Finishing a countertop with Waterlox or similar finish

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Forum topic by AM420 posted 07-08-2019 07:34 PM 678 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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301 posts in 1267 days

07-08-2019 07:34 PM

I’m about in install new cabinets and countertops in my kitchen, and I’m worried about the smell from the finishing process with Waterlox. I’m never worked with Waterlox of similar products before. I’ve read it takes about 24 hours for each coat to dry, so I’m planning to finish them out in my shed. Assuming Waterlox will have a strong odor while drying, will it still have a strong smell after it’s dried for a while? My wife is 6 months pregnant, so I’m trying to avoid have any bad smells or chemicals floating around the house as much as possible.

Also, due to the length of the countertop I’m going to have to use 2 prefab counters and have a seam between them. I’m thinking of finishing them separately, then do the final cuts and one last coat after bringing them together in the kitchen. Could I just apply the finish to the seam, or would I need to apply it to the entire top to keep everything smooth.


6 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


6210 posts in 3696 days

#1 posted 07-08-2019 07:41 PM

I wouldn’t use wood for countertops. Take the prefab tops out in the shop and make some nice workbenches.
Wood for countertops is just the wrong application.
I’m dead serious. The smell will be the least of your problems. Cupping, gapping, fading, refinishing. These will be your headaches for the next few years.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View AM420's profile


301 posts in 1267 days

#2 posted 07-08-2019 07:52 PM

Counterpoint: I’ve seen and heard from tons of people who have been very happy with their solid wood countertops, including on this site. Many people have attested to the fact that a properly finished wood countertop is perfectly fine in a kitchen. I don’t think cupping would be an issuse as I’m using commercially-fabricated top with 1 1/2’ strips rather than a few face-grain planks with similar continuous grain pattern.

I suppose if problems happen, then I’ll deal with them, but I’ve read enough to feel comfortable in trying. And costing around $2,000 less than granite, quartz, or any other tops that are not crappy laminate particle board, It’s a risk I’m willing to take.

View Rich's profile


5984 posts in 1472 days

#3 posted 07-08-2019 08:25 PM

I’ve used Waterlox on wooden countertops and it has stood up well. On the wenge top for my guest bath vanity I did 3 coats of Waterlox Original and then 3 coats of Waterlox satin urethane. Looks great and has not scratched or gotten any water damage.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View SMP's profile


2664 posts in 789 days

#4 posted 07-08-2019 08:30 PM

Drying time is far different than curing time or off-gassing time, or even smell for that matter. I would say give it at least a couple weeks in the shop for most of the odor to go away, but if the pregnancy makes her more sensitive to smells, then that may not be enough.

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1631 days

#5 posted 07-08-2019 10:12 PM

Waterlox is cured when the smell is gone. Takes a while. That said, I like using it. Get some Bloxygen to spray into the can as you seal what’s left, so it won’t skin over.

View Firewood's profile


1321 posts in 2517 days

#6 posted 07-08-2019 10:33 PM

Waterlox does have a pretty strong and lasting odor when applied and will linger throughout the curing window which is about 30 days. Obviously, the odor lessens over time, but you will still smell it until fully cured.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

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