How To Build A Beautiful DIY Wooden Countertop In A Day

July 30, 2019



How To Make A Wooden Countertop From A Solid Piece Of Wood
I've always had a thing for wooden countertops. Long before I knew what a blog was and years before the farmhouse trend came roaring back into style, I was smitten.

When we added a kitchen in our first cottage, I fleetingly considered the idea, but in a house that we knew we weren't going to stay in, it wasn't a practical expense, so I didn't push.

When we moved here, however, I repeatedly mentioned them anyone who would listen to me during our renovation. The contractor, my husband, the kitchen designer and most of my friends had the same reaction.

I believe their exact words were, Are you crazy??
Well, when it comes to design, possibly, but I like what I like and honestly what's so crazy about wooden countertops?

Every countertop material out there requires some kind of care and has issues. Marble stains, granite chips and formica peels. Plus none of them are cheap.

Wood seemed sensible to me, plus it was warm and elegant. Dining tables are made of wood. Boats are made of wood. Why not a countertop?

No one really had a good answer for me, but I lost out.

So, when the walls literally came falling down in our bathroom, and we were forced to redo it all, I thought, now is my chance.

It took a little bit of wrangling, begging and badgering, but eventually my sweet husband gave in and whipped up a gorgeous wooden countertop in a day. It seriously took longer to talk about it, than it did to do it.

Ok, so the sealing did take about a week to complete, due to the drying time necessary between coats, but the construction itself was quick, easy to do and very inexpensive.

All in all, it was a giant success. Here's how we did it.

How To Build A DIY Wooden Countertop


The process was relatively simple. We knew we didn't want the seams you get with planks or butcher block and we didn't want to use regular plywood, so we opted for a sheet of Maple topped plywood that we grabbed right off the shelf at Home Depot.

DIY Wooden Countertop Instructions

Maple is a hard, clear wood, with a simple grain. It was perfect for our needs and since it came in giant sheets so there wouldn't be any seams in our counter.

Keep in mind we put our countertop in the bathroom, but this same technique could be used in a kitchen, pantry or laundry room, as well. On a very large span you would have to have seams, but they'd be minimal and easy to hide.

Choosing a piece was simple, we borrowed a tool from the hardware aisle to make sure that our sheet was perfectly square and then we asked the nice man at the store to cut it on their saw.

My husband could've done it at home, but why bother when they'll do it there for free!? Plus, their saw is larger and can make very straight cuts.

Making Sure Plywood Is Square.jpg

Next, we wandered over to the trim aisle where we picked out a wood moulding to cover the raw edges of the plywood. Our plywood sheet was 3/4" thick, so we chose a 1 and 1/2" moulding and headed home.

Since the piece was already cut to the proper size, the only real construction was adding the moulding to the front and one side. The other two sides bordered the tile walls. They didn't require trim.

My husband just measured, cut the corners and glued the strips in place. To secure them, he used very small finishing nails, countersunk them, and covered the holes with a drop of wood filler.

As I said, we made sure the wood was square before we left the store, so the moulding fit tight against the maple. Since there was barely a discernible gap, no wood filler was necessary. Lastly, he gave the entire piece a quick sanding to make certain that everything was smooth and even.

Custom Wooden Counter Moulding DIY

Once complete, he brought it inside and plopped it on the vanity to check the fit. Then it was back outside to stain it. He applied several coats of stain, one coat at a time, until we were happy with the color.

How To Stain A Wooden Countertop

Phase one completed on a Sunday...idea conceived, items purchased, built and stained all in one afternoon. Of course, the polyurethaning took several more days. He applied one coat each day for four days and gave each coat a light sanding in between to ensure a very perfect finish.


Now. I know a lot of people are going to ask, and have already asked, why we didn't use a marine grade poly. Here's the thing.

My husband has built wooden boats and he's used those products. They smell, take forever to dry and he felt that a basic polyurethane would be sufficient for our needs.

It's wood, so we expect a little wear and we've used this technique before on our kitchen tables when they've been refinished and so far, so good. No water marks, rings or damage. Water beads up and rolls away. So we went with it and I have no reason to believe it'll be any different.

The last part of this process involved cutting in the sink, which I also picked up off the shelf at Home Depot.

We were a bit nervous after out last Home Depot sink encounter, but it worked out well. It came with complete instructions and a template that my husband used to set the sink location.

Directions For Cutting A Countertop Sink Hole

We wanted to change things up a bit and center it over the cabinet. Once we were happy with the placement, he taped the template in place and removed the center of the paper. He then traced the oval onto the countertop with a black sharpie marker.

Countertop Sink Template

Next, he carried the entire top back outside and cut the hole out. He brought it back inside to check the placement and than siliconed the sink in place. When the sink and fixture were set and dry, it was finally time to glue the wooden countertop onto our newly made over vanity.

DIY Wooden Countertop From Maple Plywood Sheet

In less than a week, I had an absolutely beautiful, brand new, custom, wooden countertop for my bathroom. Cottage style sophistication, just as charming as I thought it would be and totally fitting for my 1920's beach bungalow.

Romantic Country Farmhouse Bathroom Vanity

While we had to buy the entire sheet of maple plywood, we only used a quarter of it. So if we break down the cost by what we actually used, minus the sink and fixture, this project cost us less than $30.

Best of all, I still have a very large piece of that maple plywood leftover.

Hmmm.

I mean, I really do love my laminate kitchen countertops, but hey, since we already have the supplies....

I'll keep you posted.

😉

40 comments:

  1. Hi Kim,
    Wow how fabulous is this counter top. Your hubby did a great job. I love the wood counter with the painted vanity. So pretty.
    The bathroom is coming together nicely.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Thanks Kris! He fought me on it, but in the end, it really wasn’t that much work. And I am smiling ear to ear and so is he. Happy wife…well, you know… 😉

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  2. Yay you got your wood. Same process my husband used to make a folding table in our laundry room. He does the same at Home Depot. It's worth it especially when it's free.

    Great tutorial.

    Enjoy

    Cindy

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    1. Thank you! It really is pretty in person, Cindy...and don't you love that Home Depot service? I use it often, whenever I make a wooden sign or do something with a board I need to buy, I have them cut it. And my husband is thrilled when he doesn't have to lug out the big saw...and like you said, it's free!! Woo hoo!

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  3. Looks fabulous, Kim! Love it. Is that pretty vanity new? I think I missed that post. Now I have to backtrack and find out what escaped me! Hugs, Nancy

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    1. Thank you, Nancy!! And that's our old vanity with a fresh face. And a new top!! So glad you like the look. Hugs!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Cecilia!! I hope it’s a wonderful afternoon in your neck of the woods!!

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  5. It is beautiful Kim! What a fabulous project!

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    1. Thank you so much, Maria Elena! My husband really outdid himself on this one…and I am smiling.

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  6. Glad you won out! You hit the nail on the head when you said it took longer to talk about it than actually do it. That’s so often the case with us too 🤣.

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    1. I have an uncle who used to say that to us all the time, Sara. As a child, I didn't realize how true his words were- as an adult, I totally get it and quote him often to my own kids! They love that. 😜

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  7. I have to admit, I would never have thought to have a wood countertop, but it turned out beautiful! And what a bargain!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mari...and yes, much less expensive than buying a quartz, marble or stone top. It was definitely a plus.

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  8. wood just gives something nothing else does! very beautiful darling bean. xo

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    1. Thank you so much, Tammy!! And I totally agree...wood is warm...❤️

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  9. I love it. Hubby made two tables with wood like that about 5 years ago. They are in the living room and looking still nice.

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    1. There's nothing like wood, Betty...or a handy husband! 😉

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  10. This is fabulous Kim! It is perfect in your bathroom, and I love the rich wood tones against the white, amazing! You have such an eye for design! I agree, many times a difficult chore takes more time to talk about then to actually do it. Glad that this process went so well for you, and it is wonderful that you can get wood cut to size at HD for free!

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    1. Thank you so much, Marilyn! I'm glad that I stuck to what I wanted this time around and that it ended up being easy to make and inexpensive. And don't you love that about HD?? That is a great service and I use it all the time.

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  11. Brilliant Kim. I love the contrast between the warm, dark top and the clean, white bottom on your vanity. So classy. Your bathroom is looking soooooo good.

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    1. Thank you so much, Michelle! I have to say, I love the drama of the contrast. Hats off to my husband...

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  12. Love it! I love the cottage look. We just did a wood sink top in our powder room and love the look. I want to build something similar for our backyard. I'll most likely have to use marine grade poly!

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    1. I bet it's beautiful, Debbie, and yes, if it's outside, exposed to the elements, I'd probably opt for the marine poly, too. I hope you share that project with us when you're done!

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  13. Kim, this is a great how to project and you and hubby did a wonderful job on it. It looks so rich and high end in your room. Just perfect and I don't think you will ever be disappointed that you took the plunge. Many years ago my dad cut down his own black walnut tree, milled the wood in his own saw mill and built the kitchen counters for my mom out of it. It was beautiful and stood for many years in the home I grew up in. Years later, we took an antique oak washstand, inserted a sink and put it in our bathroom. It went through kids use for many years and now, Tami, still has it in her guest bathroom and Jake used it for 20+ years. It is surprising how wood holds up..Happy Wednesday..xxoJudy

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    1. Those walnut countertops sound wonderful, Judy. I think my husband would enjoy that process. He loves woodworking. And I love your washstand sink...sounds like you have always been ahead of your time when it comes to decor, since that's all the rage right now! I love that look and looked for a piece to do that with, but this is as close to that look as I'm going to get. xoxo

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  14. WOW, I love how nice the vanity came out and the wood top looks great. You are so lucky to have a handy husband who made a beautiful bathroom for you Kim! Enjoy it.

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    1. Thanks so much, Julie! He really is a gem and never seems to get sick of my crazy design ideas!

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  15. I like the idea. I am a wood girl. When I was growing up we had friends who had a cabin that had pine cabinets and counters in the kitchen. I LOVED IT!
    This really looks fantastic Kim!

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    1. There's something about wood that adds an undeniable warmth to a home. We have pine walls in the living room (someone painted them years ago, but the texture is still there) and in the basement (not painted!) and I love the feel and the look. It's nice that we've been able to extend a bit of it into the bathroom. And thank you!! I'll pass your kind words on to my master craftsman! 😊

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  16. I love how the wooden countertop looks on your bathroom vanity and I think it would look absolutely beautiful in your kitchen! It is never a crazy thing to save money and look good! :-) Can't wait to see how it looks in the kitchen if/when you guys decide about it! Love and hugs!

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    1. Thanks Benita!! I'll keep you posted...I've got a little work to do on that man. Ha!! Hugs!!

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  17. This is impressive, Kim, and looks so beautiful. Good for you! We are having a very hot and humid spell just now and at home with the AC is the nicest place to be. I'm getting a lot of little projects done, trying to figure out how so much stuff made its way in when I've only Marie Konded a few months ago. Darn that love of shopping.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Amalia, I’m right there with you. The creativity bug has bitten me this summer, and while I’ve been mostly making over things I already own, there have a been a few new additions. That shopping pull is strong!! Enjoy your AC…it’s hot here, too!!
      xxoo

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  18. Wow! What a fantastic job, Kim. It is very professional looking and what a great update! Love it! xo Diana

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    1. Thanks Diana! He's more of a perfectionist than I am, so I knew I was in good hands. xoxo

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  19. Hi Kim, I popped in from Marilyn's blog, Mountain Top Spice.
    What I enjoyed about your post, is that you have large pictures and go step-by-step with your projects!
    Plus, you have a great style in writing,(love the humor).

    I'll be back!

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    1. Christine, you just totally made my day, thank you so much!! As a former teacher I strive for clear tutorials that people can easily follow and as a writer, your words made me smile from ear to ear. Humor and a well told tale are always the goal. Thank you for the visit and I’m excited to see you in the comments more often! 😊

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