We looked at several different ideas for homemade DIY counters, and even debated trying to make cement counters. This idea went out the window when Joel told me that we'd have to wait until the summer to make them. I wanted counters now! I finally googled DIY wood countertops, and came across this blog post, where the author described making her counters from old oak doors. I was sold! I barely even had to convince Joel - cheap and homemade? Done.
What follows is how Joel and I turned this:
I'll start with the best part - the before and after pictures:
So the first part of the whole process was finding the doors. It was surprisingly simple - I searched kijiji for "solid doors" and had my pick of the litter. I ended up settling on someone who was selling 9 foot by 3.5 foot solid oak doors for $30 each. Two doors was more than what we needed for this project.
Here's a note that you may want to know if you're trying this - more often than not, solid doors are not actually solid wood the whole way through. They are wood veneer on top of particle board. This is a bit of an issue as you're finish them, but I'll show you how we got around it.
We began by removing the old counters. We didn't even know where to begin with this, so we just removed the drawers and tried to figure out how they were attached.
Without question, the most difficult part of the whole process was the counter with the sink. The sink was a new addition to begin with (one that I won't even attempt to blog about, because it was such a pain to install and the multiple tutorials online for how to install an apron front undercounter sink are going to do so much better at explaining it than I can.) We had to work with one full door for this part, which was heavy and confusing and frustrating, but we made it work. To cut out the sink, we measured carefully, and used a combination of a hole saw (for the corners) and a Skil saw (for the straight parts) to cut it out.
Next came staining! We used Minwax Dark Walnut for the countertops.
Don't I make it look really fun? It's only sort of fun.
We did two coats of stain, leaving the first left on for a minute or so and the second one on for fifteen minutes. This wasn't necessarily intentional, we just aren't very good at staining things. In hindsight, we would have left the first stain coat on much longer, to let it really soak in there. After the two coats of stain came the worst part of the entire process, sealing the wood. We read a lot about online about how to finish our counters, and taking everything into account, and after chatting with the fine people at Lowe's in Ogdensburg, we settled on Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane.
The process is not very fun - apply evenly, let it sit for about 8 hours while it fills every inch of your house with it's terrible smell, then sand it off and reapply. We did three coats on each surface, then a few extra coats on the parts near the sink. Because it's the middle of winter, we couldn't do this process outside, and our garage is absolutely littered with sawdust and floating particles, so we knew it wouldn't be smart to do it in there. We finally opted for sealing them in the guest bedroom, with the door closed while it dried.
Once that was finally finished, we were on to the fun part - installing the counters! We are really, really happy with how they turned out.
We adore them. It remains to be seen how they'll hold up - we aren't using them to cut on, so our biggest enemy over time will be water. We will likely reseal them once a year, to keep them safe. But who knows, maybe by this time next year they'll be destroyed and we'll be onto the next thing. For $100, I'm not too worried.
This was a perfect first project to cross of the list for our kitchen.There's still so much left to do in our kitchen before it's done:
- rebuild the cabinets under and beside the sink
- paint all cabinets (eek!)
- change out all hardware
- install shelves where the open cabinets are
- remove old backsplash and install hexagonal backsplash
- paint walls
- remove old floor and install new floor
- remove the panel in front of sink window
- new tiles in greenhouse window
- some kind of window covering for the greenhouse window
- put up some beautiful artwork
Have any of you used any unusual items for something beyond their purpose? Doors as counters? Windows as a coffee table?