I researched extensively the practicality of wood countertops around sinks. As you might guess, most of the sources do not recommend to use wood counters around the sink area. It requires regular care and maintenance. However, I also found that as long as wood is regularly oiled and cared for, it provides a long lasting beautiful feature in the kitchen, even around areas that come into contact with water.
Despite several people's discouragement, including an IKEA sales person and a countertop installer, we decided to go for it. After figuring out the countertop length we needed, we bought IKEA'S NUMERAR oak countertops. As we unwrapped the countertops we were suprised to find that they had been pre-treated with IKEA BEHANDLA wood treatment oil. After a few phone calls to IKEA and some quick research we found out that IKEA applies one coat of BEHANDLA oil on the wood. It contains linseed oil, lead free drying agent and emulsifier. We were not happy about this as we couldn't find out exactly what the drying agent and emulsifier were made of and how safe they were. IKEA said the oil was food safe but would not give us details. I wanted a food safe oil with no additives so the BEHANDLA had to go.
Misha sanded the surface with 120 grit sandpaper to remove the BEHANDLA oil, re-sanded with 220 grit paper and re-oiled it. After the first application of oil he then sanded with 320 grit paper to aid in absorption of the next layer but found this too much work and gave it up quickly. He applied 5 layers of unrefined tung oil to the bottom; the same oil we used on our hardwood floors. For the top, the side that comes into contact with food, he applied 4 layers of food grade walnut oil that we picked up at the Big Carrot http://www.thebigcarrot.ca/. You might find walnut oil at other grocery stores as well. Walnut oil is the traditional oil of wood workers and it does not go rancid easily like some other vegetable based oils.
|NUMERAR countertop from IKEA being oiled before installation.|
We will update you on how well they are holding up. So far we can't get enough of them :)