In case you missed it, I recently gave our upstairs hall bathroom a major renovation. I made my own wood countertop for the vanity (which I also made myself… tutorial coming), and I love how it turned out!
The countertop ended up being one of my hardest decisions for this reno! I considered going with a white quartz or marble countertop hoping to find a remnant for a discounted price, but I’d still have to pay someone to install it so the price was creeping higher than I wanted. I then considered doing a wood countertop because we have friends who installed wood countertops in their kitchen themselves for a low price and it looks great! I realized that regardless of the price advantage, the wood countertop actually fits the boho modern casual style of the room better than the marble or quartz does anyway.
My only hesitancy was whether the wood counter would be durable enough to withstand repeated exposure to water and all the products that tend to get used in a bathroom, especially because this is the bathroom my children use and they are not the best at cleaning up after themselves . So I ended up doing some research to figure out the best way to make a wood countertop as durable as possible. I came up with three things I could do to help make sure it was able to withstand the conditions of a bathroom:
- I chose to make my countertop from hardwood instead of a softwood like your standard pine is. Hardwoods are more durable and less porous than softwoods.
- I made sure the joints between each plank were nice and smooth and tight with no cracks for water to seep into.
- I sealed the countertop with three coats of Waterlox Original Tung Oil. Based on all of my research, this seemed to be the sealer that gives the most durable finish.
I actually ended up spending a lot of time researching EVERYTHING about wood countertops—from lumber options, to construction, to how to install them. If you’re considering using wood countertops in your home, here are some tips and instructions based on what I learned from my research and my experience making my own wood countertop. Hopefully it can give you some insight and save you some time!
The species of wood you choose for your countertop is important because it will affect both the durability and the overall final look of the counter. As I mentioned, wood species are generally divided into two categories: softwoods and hardwoods. Softwoods include spruce and your common pine, and as the name suggest they are usually softer and more porous, making them easier to nick or absorb water. Hardwoods include wood like oak and walnut, and they are generally more durable and denser, making them harder to cut or drill through.
I highly suggest going with a hardwood for your wood countertops. It will not only give you a more durable countertop, but it’ll also offer a wider range of choices in color and grain to get the exact look you’re going for. Your local big box home improvement store is not going to offer many choices of wood species so you’ll likely need to go to a lumber store.
I considered using walnut for my countertop because I’m a big fan of the look of the wood in general, but it was more money than I wanted to spend. I ended up going with ash instead. It’s a wood commonly used to make furniture, it’s very durable, and has a really nice grain to it. Plus it was about half the price of walnut! I went to a local lumber store where I could look at all of the pieces they had in stock and choose the exact boards I wanted (some boards had a much prettier grain than others).