Author Topic: Food safe finishes for countertops  (Read 1037 times)

Barbaebigode

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Food safe finishes for countertops
« on: November 09, 2018, 05:37:31 PM »
Hello, I'm considering installing a wooden countertop for my kitchen (sink area included) and in the country that I am that's just not a thing, so there's almost no know how about it. So I was wondering what type of food safe finish (or at least safe enough for a countertop) people most commonly use for sealing and improving the durability the wood. A google search actually gave me more doubts than answers since most info that came up was about butcher blocks.

Here I found for sale PU varnish, a "maritime" varnish (the few people that have wooden countertops here seem to prefer this), epoxy resin, stain and various oils.

Am I overthinking this? I will not actually eat or prepare food directly from the countertop, but still...

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Food safe finishes for countertops
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 07:34:32 PM »
IKEA recommended linseed oil with the wooden countertop I bought from them.

bacchi

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Re: Food safe finishes for countertops
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2018, 10:37:47 PM »
I use walnut oil but it means sealing it every month.

You could use shellac maybe? A polyurethane doesn't seem very safe.

ANewLeaf

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Re: Food safe finishes for countertops
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2018, 11:10:34 PM »
Are you in Europe?  We (in Canada) used a foodsafe "hardwax oil" finish product.  It's amazing and I would highly recommend it.  It's from a line called Rubio, and there is another company called Osmo that has a similar product.  I think there is also a Belgian company.  These are all European companies and the products aren't widely known in North America. 

We used the product (Rubio Monocoat) on our hardwood floors, but it is foodsafe and we loved t so much that we decided to use it on our countertops too.  If you search for these, mostly hardwood floor finishes will come up, but that's ok.  The hardwax oils are an easy to use emulsion with no VOCs.  They penetrate woods like traditional oil finishes, but the wax maintains a stronger water and dirt barrier, and they don't have to be re-oiled nearly as often.  We've had ours a year and are just thinking about maybe touching up some really high traffic spots.  I hate shiny, plastic "marine" type finishes like waterlox.  When the finish scratches off (which it always does), the wood gets dirty, the counters look terrible, and then you have to do a major sand and smelly, toxic refinish.  With these products (as with oils), you can spot sand and retouch stains or scratches anytime.

J Boogie

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Re: Food safe finishes for countertops
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2018, 02:51:55 PM »
Odie's oil comes with high recommendations from many eco-conscious low-voc loving woodworkers.

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Food safe finishes for countertops
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2018, 05:49:31 PM »
Are you in Europe?  We (in Canada) used a foodsafe "hardwax oil" finish product.  It's amazing and I would highly recommend it.  It's from a line called Rubio, and there is another company called Osmo that has a similar product.  I think there is also a Belgian company.  These are all European companies and the products aren't widely known in North America. 

We used the product (Rubio Monocoat) on our hardwood floors, but it is foodsafe and we loved t so much that we decided to use it on our countertops too.  If you search for these, mostly hardwood floor finishes will come up, but that's ok.  The hardwax oils are an easy to use emulsion with no VOCs.  They penetrate woods like traditional oil finishes, but the wax maintains a stronger water and dirt barrier, and they don't have to be re-oiled nearly as often.  We've had ours a year and are just thinking about maybe touching up some really high traffic spots.  I hate shiny, plastic "marine" type finishes like waterlox.  When the finish scratches off (which it always does), the wood gets dirty, the counters look terrible, and then you have to do a major sand and smelly, toxic refinish.  With these products (as with oils), you can spot sand and retouch stains or scratches anytime.

We used Osmo wax oil on our cherry counters.  In the US, but we were able to find a distributor and see it in person before buying it since we had never used it before.   

We love it - and its definitey nice that we can refinish in place.   I would never want to polyurethane a counter in place!  Wed have to clear out of the house for a week to let the VOCs off gas. 

NYCWife

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Re: Food safe finishes for countertops
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2018, 05:58:10 PM »
One of the DIY home restoration bloggers I read religiously installed butcher block countertops in his kitchen. He has a few posts about installing and caring for it. A good first read is here:

https://www.oldtownhome.com/2013/1/11/Wax-On-Wax-Off---Butcher-Block-Oil-Treatment-Update/

Cranky

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Re: Food safe finishes for countertops
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2018, 04:18:57 AM »
One of the DIY home restoration bloggers I read religiously installed butcher block countertops in his kitchen. He has a few posts about installing and caring for it. A good first read is here:

https://www.oldtownhome.com/2013/1/11/Wax-On-Wax-Off---Butcher-Block-Oil-Treatment-Update/

I have one butcher block countertop, and I planned from the start to use it to chop on. I use that same butcher block conditioner on it, and it works great.

Barbaebigode

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Re: Food safe finishes for countertops
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2018, 04:37:21 AM »
Thanks for all the answers. Since I don't have access to several of those products and frankly, I didn't like the idea of having to reseal the wood multiple times per year I'm gonna place a layer of glass on top of the wood to avoid food contamination while minimizing maintenance. A friend of mine installed one of those at her mother's house and it looked good at an affordable price.

affordablehousing

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Re: Food safe finishes for countertops
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2018, 01:21:38 PM »
Glass will make it look like ants live on your counters with the bits that get under it. Any wood finish product that dries is food safe- poly, shellac, epoxy, tung oil, mineral oil, it all works. If you use oil wipe more on once a year and that's it. OR, just use a cutting board, eezy peezy. We look for slabs of marble in people's trash, cut them to size with a circular saw, and use those for chopping.