If you own or are thinking of getting a bamboo countertop installed in your kitchen, you’re making a great, distinctive choice! Bamboo wood is a rising star for wooden surfaces because it is ecologically sound. Not only is it a robust, versatile wood, its tropical roots mean that it is one of the most renewable wood sources on the planet thanks to how quickly it grows. If you’re interested in protecting it—or even restoring an old one—we can help make it a successful project!


If you’ve got an older bamboo countertop that’s already seen some use, restoration is the first thing you’ll want to do with it. Depending on your level of confidence, you can either attempt this yourself or bring in a professional. This is a labour intensive activity, and if you want to do it right, taking your time and paying attention will yield much better results than trying to power through it. The first step in this process is adequate preparation.


One judgment call you’ll need to make early on is to decide what kind of coating you’ll be applying to the bamboo wood. We generally recommend oil, since it deals better with food on the surface, and adds a good water resistance. Varnish, on the other hand, will give you a shinier finish, but may not deal so well with day-to-day kitchen activities like contact with knives from cutting.

Natural and non-toxic solvent along with Linseed oil or Tung oil are good choices for using on your bamboo wood. Unlike other oils such as olive or canola, Linseed oil and Tung oil doesn’t develop any odours after prolonged use and exposure. It also provides more protection and will polymerize on contact with the air.


No home or bamboo countertop is going to be exactly like another, so make sure the product you’ve chosen to use is in the amount adequate to the job. The size of the space and the coats you’ll want to apply will require different size formats of product. If you’ve got an less than eight square foot space like a butcher block, and you’d like to apply three coats, you may only need 50 ml of oil. On the other hand, a larger surface, such as 40 square feet, will require 250 ml. Buy the amount of oil that has been formatted in the size that best suits your needs. Livos Canada make its quantity calculator available to ease your purchasing process.


For bamboo wood that is well used, sanding is necessary, though if you’re getting it new and it’s already been oiled, you can eliminate this step. You are doing this to remove the blemishes, stains and other imperfections that have accumulated over the years, and restore the surface to a smooth, pristine condition. Any restoration will require bare wood bamboo, so depending on your needs, will you be using grit 120, grit 150 or grit 180 to get the job done.


Once the sanding is done, you’re ready to apply your oil. Use a rag for this and preferably not a brush. There are two reasons not to use a brush for this: one, you will end up ruining a brush in the process, and two, you’ll then need to remove most of the oil with the rag anyway, which can end up being costly! Livos advice rather the use of a cotton wick in order to minimise the required amount of oil. The goal here is to get the bamboo wood to absorb the oil, so you want to rub it in, rather than create a uniform coat that sits on top. If you’re planning multiple coats of oil, allow some time in between applications.


Once the oil has been applied, expect to see a little “bleed” from your countertop. Wait about 10-15 minutes after application, then wipe away the excess. Some people may prefer to use pure vegetable oil. Pure oil without a solvent, will require the process to go on for 5-7 coats and the time between drying will also be longer and more involved.


After you’ve applied all the necessary coats and waited the recommended drying time, you should inspect your work. Look at the hue and texture, if it still feels sticky, you may need to apply another coat and wipe the counter again in order to get a superficial oil free surface. or apply more coats to get the desired colour. If you’re used to dealing with varnishes, expect the bamboo countertop to look more natural and less like it has a shiny layer on top, which is the the result when using varnish.


You are likely to want more than one coat on your counter; three coats is a safe number to thoroughly protect and seal it, however specific oils may take more coats. You should wait between 12-24 hours between applications, though the more time you give between coats, the better, especially if it is hot and humid since these conditions cause the oil to take longer to dry. You’re looking at between 36 and 48 hours total waiting time for this final step.


When everything is finished, you can sit back and enjoy your bamboo countertop! But you still need to do some regular maintenance to keep it in good condition. A quality pH neutral cleaner, like TRENA, is excellent for being both safe on wood and skin. Stay away from conventional household cleaning products that may use degreasers or abrasives. Degreasers can actually attack the oil you applied to your counter! And remember, if you used quality oils in preparation, your stain resistance once you start using your counter, will be much more reliable.

Find out more about our benefits and achievements when you download our complete user guide for all your interior wood surfaces. You’ll also receive expert tips and tricks to ensure a flawless application with Kunos oil.

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