A year ago, I wrote about how we DIYed our own wood countertop. Since then, this post has become far and away the most popular on the blog. Given that we’ve been living with our homemade counter for a year now, I thought a good topic for today’s post would be an update on how our DIY counter has worked for us.
The simple answer is the counter has worked great. Here’s what it looks like today.
Just a reminder, here’s how the counter looked a year ago.
Here are a few more details on how the counter performed.
The biggest measure of this counter’s success is the joints. After a year of use, they’re still nice and tight. Squaring off the edges of the boards, gluing the seams before screwing them together with my Kreg Jig, cramming every joint full of wood filler and sanding everything perfectly smooth have ensured that the counter has held up really well for us.
The finish has held up as well. The tone of the wood has stayed constant, and the Waterlox sealer has been a great protector. Originally, the finish was pretty shiny. It has dulled a little bit over the past year. We’re not the best at wiping down the counter religiously, but no matter what we spill or how long something sits on the counter (ahem), it wipes up easily.
We have one spot that has stained, but it wasn’t from food. Of all things, it was from a plastic bag. We had set a regular grocery store bag on the counter. The bag had some red writing on the outside, and that dye somehow transferred onto the counter. No matter how much I scrub, this dye will not come out.
It’s well known that wood is softer than the other countertop materials that are out there. It dents pretty easily. After a year of use, there are some imperfections in our counter. Most are the size of a quarter or smaller, and this one’s about the deepest.
The dents don’t worry me at all. We use a cutting board when we’re chopping, but if something leaves a mark, I don’t get upset.
Along one edge of the counter, we have some small chips. These were from a unique incident that had absolutely nothing to do with cooking. The night that we picked up our dining room table, Baxter got a little upset at being left alone in the house. To make himself feel better, he ate the pan of brownies that had been left on the counter. When he reached for the pan, his toenails left some marks on the edge of the counter. These marks are particularly noticeable because they go down below the stained surface. (The dark marks near the middle of the image are features of the board and aren’t a stain or damage that we’ve inflicted).
In my post a year ago, I talked about how the counter had warped a little bit and how we were able to flatten it by trimming the end and carefully screwing it to the cabinets. The boards have warped a little bit more over the past year. If you run your hand over the surface, you can feel a bit of a wave. The middles have curved up and the edges have curved down. The warp isn’t severe enough to impact the usability of the countertop and it’s not noticeable to the eye, unless I pull out the level to show you the gaps.
We don’t coddle the counter, and a year later it’s obvious that it’s had some use. I am really pleased with all of the choices we’ve made a year ago: going with wood, the colour of the stain, the Waterlox sealer, and especially making it ourselves. Everything has worked out really well.
The counters are still going strong four years later–although there are a few provisos.