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Spring Home Series :: DIY Farmhouse Wood Countertops

This spring we are collaborated with The Home Depot and tackled the project of making over our little cabin style kitchen. The first DIY I shared with how we made over our cabinets simple & very affordable, next up the wood countertops. We had bright mint green plastic counters before, I did them myself when we first moved in and grew to absolutely despise them over the years. When it was finally time to update I knew I wanted to go with a rustic farmhouse feel; something practical that would wear well over the years and nothing too modern for our old house. 

I am thrilled with how they turned out. It was another relatively simple & affordable project that we were sort of making up as we went. Some were skeptical that this would work but it definitely did! 

HOW WE DID IT – STEP BY STEP

Materials

  • Plywood
  • 1 inch Pine Planks. Pick your width depending on the depth of your countertops, the depth of our counters equalled 2 – 1X10’s and 1 – 1X8 Deep. *When picking your lumber be very picky, anything warped will not work and avoid natural knots. 
  • 1X2 Pine (for overhang edge)
  • 1 Inch wood screws
  • PL Construction Adhesive
  • Wood Conditioner
  • Wood Stain
  • Wood Finish
  • Sandpaper

Step 1: We removed the old countertop and measured the surface area. 

Step 2: Cut and Install Plywood to perfectly fit the cabinet frame leaving no overhang.  The Plywood is the base layer to the counters, what you will be attaching the planks to. Use 1 inch screws to attach the plywood to the frame of the cabinets. 

Step 3: Trace & Cut the sink outline (and faucet holes if needed) into the plywood using a jigsaw  (leaving the appropriate amount inside of the outline traced for the lip of the sink to rest on the counter). *This is for an overmount sink only, undermount sinks would require a much more precise cut out. We found a vintage Kohler Cast Iron Sink on Craigslist for $10, and man is that thing HEAVY! 

Step 4: Cut and glue 1X8 planks to the plywood using PL Construction Adhesive. Be sure to measure in an overhang with your planks, we left 1 extra inch, you do not want your drawers sticking out further than your counters.

Step 5: Once the PL has dried, using the sink cutout in the plywood as a guide, cut out the outline for the sink into the top planks. *Once again, for an overmount sink only. 

Step 6: Sand the surface. We went over it with a heavy duty floor sander to get rid of any rounded edges between the planks revealing cracks. Then finished it off by hand with a fine grit sandpaper.

Step 7:  Add the Edge. The Edge makes the counters look thicker and finishes the overhang so that you do not see the plywood layer. I regret not taking photos during this step but we were working with glue so it was very hands on, I will explain the best I can. This is the edge I am talking about: 

At first I was dead set against doing this because I really didn’t want the look of the seam, but as we went through all of our options for the counters this was the best way to do it and once I saw it the seam didn’t bother me one bit. 

  • Cut 1X2 to the length of all exposed sides of the countertop. Apply a thin strip of PL Construction Adhesive to the top – 1 inch side, so that the 2 inch side is what you see, this will make your countertops look 3 inches thick.
  • Put them in place under the overhang of the counters and secure with clamps. Make sure to reposition if any shifting happens while clamping so that the front of the counter is flush with the edge. Let dry with clamps overnight.

Step 8: Stain. Starting with a wood conditioner followed by your stain. We applied one coat of Miniwax Early American. I wanted them to be a very neutral brown, not too dark. So when I liked the way they look with one coat I decided to leave at that. Definitely do a test board before committing to a stain on your counters. I hear Ready Seal offers an effective wood stain and sealer. 

Step 9: Finish with multiple coats of Wood Finish (I did 5 coats). We used Varathane Diamond Wood Finish and we are really happy with the outcome. It doesn’t yellow the way a polyurethane does when it dries, and it is completely water resistant. I was a bit nervous at first to let water sit on the counters but we have been using them for a couple months now and I aways let my dishes dry on them and it has never left a mark! 

I didn’t plan to use these countertops for preparing food, we use a butchers block for preparing. If you want to use your coutnertops as butcher block itself I would recommend researching to make your finishing technique is completely food safe. 

Ta Da, not even 10 steps for these beautiful, practical, and affordable counters. You can see more of our home projects in the hashtag #menziehomefrenzie. If you tackle this DIY please be sure to share with us! 

5 Comments

  1. Jessica
    June 8, 2016 / 2:12 pm

    These look awesome! And I love that you guys made this look totally do-able and not super 1000 steps complicated. That’s so encouraging in a DIY project lol

  2. June 8, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    Oh man, those look great. I’m trying to convince my landlord to let me try something like this to replace our hideous green (!) laminate countertops. Not sure if he trusts me, but after reading your post, I’m going to push a little harder!
    Did you guys consider using screws instead of (or in addition to) the glue to mount the pine boards to the plywood? I would get nervous about warping in the humid summertime using only glue, but maybe the construction strength glue is strong enough.

  3. June 8, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    Oh man, those look great. I’m trying to convince my landlord to let me try something like this to replace our hideous green (!) laminate countertops. Not sure if he trusts me, but after reading your post, I’m going to push a little harder!
    Did you guys consider using screws instead of (or in addition to) the glue to mount the pine boards to the plywood? I would get nervous about warping in the humid summertime using only glue, but maybe the construction strength glue is strong enough.

  4. June 8, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    Oh man, those look great. I’m trying to convince my landlord to let me try something like this to replace our hideous green (!) laminate countertops. Not sure if he trusts me, but after reading your post, I’m going to push a little harder!
    Did you guys consider using screws instead of (or in addition to) the glue to mount the pine boards to the plywood? I would get nervous about warping in the humid summertime using only glue, but maybe the construction strength glue is strong enough.

  5. Kassandra Moore
    January 1, 2019 / 1:47 pm

    How does the pine hold up with dents? I REALLY want to do this but just wondering how it’s looking after two years with kiddos. Thanks!!!

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