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How to Mend Small Scratches and Marks on a Real Wood Worktop

A real wood worktop is a splendid feature of any kitchen, one that exudes natural character and brings warmth and charm to the busiest room in the home. A wood surface is also fairly easy to repair, particularly when compared to other popular worktop materials such as granite or laminate. Please consult this guide to discover more about mending the most common forms of minor worktop damage.

Mending Minor Scratches

Everyday use and general wear and tear can cause your wooden worktops to suffer small scratches. Fortunately, these are easily repaired, and you can have your worktop looking like new in no time at all.

  • Firstly, the damaged area should be sanded with 240 grit sandpaper until there is no trace of the scratch remaining. This is a fine grit, which should leave the surface smooth.
  • Next, wipe over the surface with a lint-free cloth, in order to remove any dust.
  • Subsequently, re-oil the surface. We recommend using Rustins Danish Oil – our wood oil of choice – for the best possible finish.
  • After 5-10 minutes, wipe over the area again to remove any surplus oil, which may otherwise form a sticky residue.
Mend small scratches and marks

Removing Stains

Spilled liquids (cooking sauces or wine, for example) can stain your worktop, though damage is more likely to occur if a worktop has not been sufficiently maintained.

  • First, we suggest using a weak solution of water and lemon juice to attempt to remove the stain, which can help to lift marks left by grease in particular.
  • If this method does not yield results, light stains can also be removed simply by sanding and re-oiling (using the same approach as you would a small scratch). If stains are darker or recurrent across the whole worktop, we advise sanding the entire work surface so that the wood has a consistent finish afterwards. For stains that have penetrated the worktop deeply, you may need to start with a 100 grit sandpaper before progressing to a finer, 240 grit.

Getting Rid of Burn Marks

In a bustling kitchen, it can be easy to set down a hot pan on a wooden worktop surface, forgetting that the heat may cause damage. Fortunately, minor burns or scorch marks can be remedied with minimal fuss, especially as they are often only superficial.

  • Sand the scorched area with fine 240 grit sandpaper, until the mark is totally removed.
  • Re-oil the area, ensuring a uniform finish.
  • We recommend incorporating a stainless steel hot rod set into your worktop, to provide a fixed point to set down hot saucepans or dishes. These complementary kitchen items are attractive yet practical and can be removed easily for cleaning.

Removing Black Marks

Wooden worktops can occasionally experience small dark patches if they have not been correctly maintained, particularly around sink areas where water splashes are common. These dark patches should not be present if worktops have been regularly oiled according to our recommendations at the time of purchase; however, the use of strong chemical-based sprays may strip the oil, reducing the timber’s resistance to water damage. Whilst many think that these patches are mould, they are in fact areas where oxidisation has taken place. In the event that this should occur, we advise the following steps:

Repair scratches and marks
  • First, we must stress that it is not wise to apply household bleach to the area, as this will simply make the timber more porous, and therefore more prone to such marks.
  • These marks are the result of oxidation. As such we suggest specialist Oxalic Acid Wood Bleach, which removes these types of stains without bleaching the wood itself. Sand the affected area first, to remove any remaining coating, and then apply several coats as per the instructions. This process should take 1-2 hours.
  • Wipe over the area with a damp cloth and leave to dry.
  • Finally, re-oil the worktop to create a uniform finish and protect the wood from further damage.

Filling Cracks

Wood is a natural material and is prone to contracting and expanding with temperature change and moisture levels in the air. Because of this, small cracks can occasionally occur. Although this is uncommon and is unlikely to occur in worktops that have been correctly installed and maintained, we advise the following steps to mend the appearance of cracks:

  • Fill small splits with a moisture-resistant wood filler. These are available in a wide range of shades, so you can find the right colour to match your timber worktop. Wood filler is easy to apply, and once the split is filled you should ensure that no excess is left on the surrounding work surface. Sand over the area to leave a smooth finish, and then reapply the oil. You can also use wood wax to the same effect – simply melt the wax and fill the crack in the worktop, as per its instructions, then sand and apply oil.
  • For a larger split, you will require strong wood glue and a clamp. First, clean the timber, ensuring that there is no dust or debris inside the split stave in particular. Next, spread the glue inside the split, then hold the worktop together – clamped on either side – and leave for as long as the manufacturer recommends for it to set.

Dents

Timber is an incredibly resilient material and not prone to denting; however, a heavy object dropped on wood can sometimes leave an impression on the surface. The good news is that dents are easy to fix:

  • Spray water onto the area of the worktop affected, and then place a damp cloth over it.
  • Press a hot iron against the cloth for five seconds, and then remove. You may need to repeat this a few times, however, it is important not the hold for longer as you risk singeing the wood.
  • By applying moisture and heat to the work surface, the wood should react by slowly rising to its original shape.
  • Finally, sand and re-oil for a uniform finish, and to protect the wood from further damage.

Please read our nutshell guide to oiling worktops for more information on maintaining the perfect finish. If you have any further questions regarding repairing worktop damage, please do not hesitate to contact us.