There are a number of ways to treat wooden worktops, but for a low-lustre finish we recommend choosing worktop oil over lacquers or varnishes.
Not all types of worktop oil – of which there are many – are appropriate for wood kitchen worktops, however, as they may not be food-safe or offer a long-lasting finish that seals the timber effectively.
Here are some of the types of oil often recommended for treatment of timber products:
Olive oil is often suggested for treating wooden chopping boards, and whilst it helps to accentuate the colour of the timber, it is not the most suitable protective treatment for wooden worktops. Olive oil stays “wet” for an indefinite period and can actually promote bacterial growth. If used to treat wooden worktops, you will often find that the oil makes the surface sticky over time, which can cause difficulty if you wish to sand down the timber and re-treat with a more suitable alternative.
Linseed or Tung Oil
Pure linseed oil or tung oil are better suited for treating hardwood worktops as they penetrate timber more effectively than other natural oils. Though it may take a long time, these rub-in oils will naturally dry or cure on their own. These oils provide the base for many popular worktop oils, but with the addition of extra salts and added chemicals to help the curing process.
Rustins Danish Oil
Rustins Danish oil is a mixture of polymerised linseed oil, varnish and drying agents, which combine to achieve a hard-wearing and water-resistant finish for wooden worktops. Danish oil is the only treatment recommended by Worktop Express as it cures relatively quickly, providing a low-lustre, food-safe finish that accentuates the beauty of the timber and is perfect for food preparation.
Despite its name, teak oil does not actually contain any oil or by-product of the teak tree, Tectona grandis; many products are referred to as “teak oil” because they are marketed for use on teak and other similar timbers. The composition of a teak oil will vary, but it is usually based upon a mixture of linseed oil, varnish, and mineral spirits (sometimes a small amount of pure tung oil is also included in the mix). Many types of teak oil provide a good protective barrier for timber products, but will often create a glossy sheen that – in our opinion – does not accentuate the beauty of hardwood timber.
Creating the Best Finish
To give your wooden worktops the best possible finish, we recommend utilising Rustins Danish oil for all worktop oiling and aftercare. We advise that you apply at least two – three coats on both the top and bottom surfaces of the worktop, four coats on each edge and six coats on the end grain. You may need to leave a gap of up to eight hours between applications (to ensure that each coat of oil is fully absorbed into the timber).
If regularly maintained, a worktop treated with Danish oil will look superb for many years, and will maintain a food-safe, water-resistant finish. For the first six weeks after worktop installation, the worktop should be regularly re-oiled. After this the worktop should be given further treatments every three months to ensure the timber surface remains resilient and hydrophobic. To find out how to oil your worktops effectively, please read our Oiling Worktops Nutshell Guide.