Wet Look Counter Top

The kitchen counter next to the sink was starting to turn grey and rot. Despite the silicone coating under the sink rim, water was collecting in a low spot on the pine counter.

I read about finishing the wood with an epoxy wet look counter surface. This bar top finish waterproofs and creates a solid plastic-like coating on the wood. The surface is applied in at least two coats and “floated” onto the wood. I researched the best epoxy coatings for this and almost bought some from Amazon. But I found a craigslist ad for Klear Kote which was one of the recommended brands so I bought two gallons at a discount from someone who had leftover materials. That should cover 47 sq. ft. of counter space.

First I sanded the sink cabinet top and reglued the joint between boards that was creating the low spot.

Sanded and glued

Sanded and glued

The next step was to use water based stain on the sanded surface so it would look like the other cabinets. Water based stain was recommended in the epoxy instructions. I used light oak color MinWax in a tube. Then I taped the sides and the inside of the sink area. I tacked a frame around the cabinet edges to hold any runoff of the epoxy solution at the taped edge. This preparation was for the first seal coat. The high sides were to suspend a cover over the surface to avoid bugs and dust, but it didn’t need the extra protection in the house.

Edges dammed

Edges dammed

This is supposed to be a thin coat but I got it a bit thicker. I had mixed a half cup of solution. I spread it with a foam brush and that made the surface uneven. After several hours it still looked wet so I left it overnight.

Uneven first coat

Uneven first coat

My first thought in the morning was that it was still wet! But when I touched the surface it was dry to the touch. So it just was fooling me.

Looked Wet!

Looked Wet!

So I removed the dam and all the blue tape so that I could sand the seal coat with 220 grit sandpaper and retape the edges for the second coat.

Finished First coat

Finished First coat

The second coat is supposed to finish the job. The solution is poured at an 1/8″ depth over the whole piece and allowed to run over the edges. I dammed the edges again, this time covering the wood dam with plastic. I redid the painter’s tape around the hole for the sink.

Damming the counter for a second coat

Damming the counter for a second coat


Then I mixed about 2/3 cup of solution, equal parts resin and hardener. The solution has to be stirred thoroughly. After the first two minutes of stirring, it is transferred, scraping the sides to a separate container. Then it is mixed another three minutes and poured on the surface without scraping. I used a graduated container for the first mixing–which has to be accurate, and a disposable plastic cup for the second mixing.
I used a 7″ wide rubber putty knife to spread the second coat evenly across the first. The epoxy is self leveling but I found I had to push it around to get it to cover the entire top and then run it over the sides. There is only so much pushing that can be done before it starts to set and the putty knife makes marks in the surface. I think I got a decent second coat done.
Second coat filling in gaps

Second coat filling in gaps


When I remove the dam tomorrow, I’ll start on another cabinet.

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