Refinishing Guide

For Wood Countertops

Before You Begin

Resurfacing or refinishing your wood floors? Read our guide.

What is Refinishing?

The change of color or texture and a new surface treatment for most already–finished wood surfaces.

Personal Protective Equipment

It is important for you to prepare yourself and the project environment before starting your project.

Please ensure you have the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for the refinishing process. We recommend gloves and face masks to protect yourself from splinters and sawdust that can occur while refinishing a wood surface. PPE gear should be worn during each step of your project.

Preparing Your Project Area

When preparing the area, all appliances and other items should be safely put away.

Any sink, outlet, or opening should be covered to be protected against saw dust and staining.

It is also beneficial to cover the surrounding floor and wall for protection.

Refinishing Wood Countertops

Step 1: Patch & Repair

When refinishing a wood countertop, any minor imperfections present on your butcher block including stains or cuts from normal wear and tear over time can be addressed in Step 2.

Filling Damage

If there are significant gauges, cracks, or holes they will need to be filled. A putty knife can be used to fill these imperfections.

Clean Surfaces

It is also important to make sure your surface is completely clean and free of any food residue before moving to the next step.

Step 2: Sand and Buff

Begin Sanding

The countertop surface can be sanded with an orbital sander. However, it is recommended to address any deeper gauges or burn marks with a course grit level sandpaper prior to using the orbital sander.

Grit Levels

It is important to gradually increase the grit level used on the orbital sander to progress from course to medium to a lighter grit level. This progression will help achieve an even surface.

Follow the Grain

Be sure to slowly guide the sander following the grain of butcher block, starting with the top surface then moving to the sides.

Floor & Decor Pro Tip

If you are unfamiliar with sanders and buffers, we recommend partnering with a licensed professional.

Step 3: Prep for Finish

Now that you have sanded the surface to remove any imperfections, you need to prep the surface for staining and sealing.

Remove Debris

Remove any dust and debris by using a shop vacuum with a soft bristle brush head and then a tack cloth to pick up any leftover residue.

Apply Sealant

It is also recommended to apply a sanding sealant and wood countertop conditioner prior to staining to achieve the best results.

Step 4: Stain and Seal

Selecting Your Finish

Now we are ready to apply a finish and seal your butcher block, but first you need to choose your preferred finish.

Finishing Options

Common finishing options include natural oil finishes and food safe stains that can be used to alter the color.

For Kitchens

If the butcher block countertop will be used in your kitchen, it is important to use food safe finishing materials.

Natural Oils

If you intend to use a natural oil finish such as mineral oil, a sealant is not required, but it is important to note that a wood countertop finished with oil will need to be oiled monthly.

Food Safe Stains

A food safe stain can be sealed with a polyurethane finish.

Applying Your Stain & Finish


Both stains and finishes can be applied with a foam brush or rag.

Wipe Excess

Please be sure to wipe away any excess product during this process.

Dry & Sand

Let the stain dry completely (see manufacturer guidelines for dry times) and sand the surface as needed before sealing.

Seal & Dry

Once the countertop is sealed, let it dry completely before use.

Floor & Decor Pro Tip

For best results, test cleaners, treatments, and sealers in a small, isolated area before implementing a broader application.

*Since every application is different, the suggestions mentioned above are general recommendations only. Depending on the products used it could take up to several days to cure. Please follow all manufacturer guidelines. We strongly suggest consulting a licensed professional who has experience with your material type and specific situation. It is also recommended that cleaners, treatments, and sealers are tested in a small, isolated area to ensure desired results.

Review your warranty sheet for specifics regarding your flooring, and any scenario that could void the manufacturer warranty.