Sealing wood countertops needs to begin with a question. How do you plan to use your countertop? Some wood countertops are used as food prep areas where actual chopping is done. This is usually referred to as butcher block. It is perfect for this use and proven over hundreds of years. The best sealers for these tops are mineral oil or butcher block wax. Butcher block was is just mineral oil, food grade mineral spirits and beeswax. These products keep the wood healthy but are not sealers. Water and other liquids will be able to penetrate so they are not good choice for kitchen countertops with sinks.

Most kitchen countertops are used for multiple purposes but not direct chopping. For these tops our standard sealer is a satin 2K polyurethane. It’s an extremely durable form of wood sealer producing a water proof seal that is highly resistant to most all household liquids including bleach. It can be cleaned using any common all-purpose cleaner like 409 or Windex. It’s also a maintenance free sealer never needing re-sealed. An ideal finish for busy family and commercial kitchens.

Our Standard Wood Sealer

Teak kitchen island sealed with Rubio Monocoat wood sealer

Teak countertop sealed with satin Rubio Monocoat.

Rubio Monocoat

This is a 100% VOC free sealer great for “GREEN” projects. It saturates the color but the surface looks like raw wood when it comes to the sheen, much like typical butcher block. The wood is very well sealed against water and other common household liquids so it’s good to use on wood countertops with wet areas like undermount sinks.

For more on this product please visit their website.

  • 100% VOC free.
  • Penetrating wood sealer that protects from the inside.
  • No sheen other than the wood itself. NOTE: Sheen can be added by applying Monocoat’s Universal Maintenance Oil.
  • Water resistant (works great on tops with sinks).
  • Stain resistant.
  • It’s not recommended to cut on, but because it’s a penetrating sealer there is no coating to damage and knife marks can be sanded out and a new coat of oil applied.
  • Safe for food contact.

Optional Wood Sealers

Walnut butcher block sealed with 2k polyurethane

Walnut countertop sealed with satin 2K poly.

2K Polyurethane

Our standard sealer/finish coat. This produces an extremely hard water proof surface without covering the woods natural texture. Ideal for both residential and commercial wood surfaces.

  • Penetrates deep into the wood fiber but also coats the wood to form a permanent barrier.
  • Scratch resistant.
  • Water proof (works great on tops with sinks).
  • High stain resistant.
  • Little to no maintenance required.
  • Available in matte, satin, semi-gloss and gloss sheen.
  • Easy to repair using Howard Restore-A-Finish.
  • Safe for food contact.
  • Can not cut on surface.
Walnut butcher block countertop finished with butcher block wax

Walnut butcher block finished with butcher block wax.

Butcher Block Wax

The only product recommended for use on butcher block countertops which will be cut on.

  • 100% food safe certified.
  • Preserves the wood’s natural oils but provides little protection against water or other liquids.
  • Ideal for counters designed to be cut on or butcher block tops.
  • No sheen other than the wood itself.
  • Not recommended for tops with sinks.
  • Can not be used on plank style tops.
  • Needs re-applied 2-3 times a year.

Sealer Comparison Chart

Sealer OptionsStain/Water ResistanceScratch ResistanceCertified Food SafeMaintenanceLookEase Of RepairCan Be Cut On“GREEN”
MonocoatVery GoodAs tough as the woodNo, but fine for food contactOnce a yearNatural look and feelEasyLight cutting is OKYes
2K PolyExcellentGoodNo, but fine for food contactNoneHas the look and feel of furnitureAdvancedNoNo
Mineral OilPoorAs tough as the woodYes2-3 times a yearNatural look and feelEasyYesYes