“Why can’t I varnish wooden worktops?” Question of the Week 16.04.16
“Why can’t I varnish wooden worktops?”
The latest ‘Question of the Week’ comes to us from Ellen in Worcester, who wants wooden worktops in her kitchen, but asked why we recommend oiling over alternatives such as varnish.
“I’ve already decided that your wooden worktops are the perfect choice for finishing off my new kitchen, but I want a hard-wearing finish and wondered why you don’t seem to recommend varnish?”
Wooden kitchen worktops are definitely the most attractive surface for completing new kitchens, but using the right type of treatment is important in order to guarantee a worktop’s longevity.
You will have no doubt seen that we highly recommend Rustins Danish Oil for wooden surfaces. Once a sufficient coating of food-safe Danish oil has been applied, you will enjoy a natural finish that accentuates the beauty of the timber – whilst being certain that the wood is well protected.
Varnish – though a good choice in some situations – is generally not advised for use in a kitchen. Timber varnishes dry to a relatively brittle, plasticky finish, which can be scratched easily by kitchen knives or cracked by heavy items; the finish is also not very resistant to heat damage. Once damaged, water can get under the varnish, which leads to water staining and blooming (lighter patches). Unlike varnish, a well-maintained oiled surface actively repels water.
Of course, all wooden surfaces do deteriorate slightly over time, but unlike oiled surfaces which can be lightly sanded and re-oiled to return the timber to its natural lustre, varnished surfaces would need to be fully stripped and refinished, which is both very time-consuming and extremely messy.
If you would like to know more about oiling and the other treatments that are suitable for wooden worktops, we recommend reading our ‘How to Treat Real Wood Worktop Surfaces’ Nutshell guide.
Alternatively, if you have any other queries regarding worktop finishes, do not hesitate to contact us.
Ben @ Worktop Express
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