Just had an oak worktop installed? A guide to maintaining your new kitchen top

When it comes to purchasing something as large as a wooden work surface for your kitchen, you will want to know that you have invested in something that is high quality and will last.

But, if you are like many people who are new to DIY or renovating, it can be a bit puzzling to identify that the wooden worktops you have purchased are top quality, but also how to maintain them successfully. If you don’t maintain them properly, the wooden countertops are prone to termites, so you’ll have to keep an eye on that. You must ensure that there is no water leakage or seepage near your wooden countertop. Alternatively, if you want to avoid these issues entirely, you can go with a custom quartz countertop. Because they are partially man-made, they are not porous. This means that your quartz countertops might not need to be sealed and can resist the growth of bacteria and microorganisms, providing a sanitary surface with no additional treatments. Countertops made of wood, on the other hand, appear far more classy and elegant. So, here are a few pointers on how to keep your wooden worktop in good condition if you are keen to have it installed in your kitchen.

Firstly, it will depend on the wood from which your kitchen worktops are made; most workshops will have a set of woods that they can offer you, but each one will have its own unique care instructions. In this article, oak worktops from the UK will be focused on, to help you care for this timeless and beautiful wood.

Water tests- is it still sealed?

When you purchase an oak countertop from the UK, it will be sealed with a clear varnish to protect it against staining and water damage. Depending on how often you use your kitchen countertops for cooking, chopping etc, this varnish or seal will wear away, exposing the oak to spills. While this is not an immediate issue, to keep your worktop looking its best and not succumbing to rot, it will need sealing. A way to test this is to drop some water onto the top- if it beads, then it is fine; if it sits and is absorbed, then you need to reseal the surface.


Scratches and dents often occur with an oak countertop and so, to keep the surface looking smooth, you will need to invest in a handheld sander to keep your kitchen surface workable.

This will also mean that you will need to apply the varnish, sealant etc afterwards, but leaving a scratch exposed can cause rot to spread through the oak. As a handheld sander, varnish and sealant can be purchased from your local Hardware Store, it requires no excessive additional costs.


And so, if you have sanded down your worktop, which oil should you use to protect it?

Most craftspeople would suggest either linseed or Danish oil. These are both readily available at your nearest hardware store (or online) and are affordable. They need to be applied in thin layers and each one requires an overnight drying period to be effective. Once applied, your worktop will be sealed against water, bacteria and other debris.

Keep it dry!

In relation to water, juice or coffee, even when your oak surface is freshly sealed, you should still aim to keep it dry; as soon as there is a spill, wipe it up with a dry cloth. This will keep the sealant intact for a longer period and will also prevent slips on the surface.

Heat protection

Yes, oak is fairly heat-resistant and scorch-proof. But if you want your oak work surface to maintain its natural beauty, it is worth investing in some trivets, or heat-absorbing protectors to place pans and frying equipment on.