Introduction: Recycle Hardwood Flooring to Counter Tops

About: I love to build things. My love affair with destructing, constructing and reconstructing stuff began when I was very young. When I got a new toy the first thing I did was take it apart to find out how it worke…

When our house caught fire in 2008 the hardwood flooring was ruined by water damage. Not being the kind of person to throw something out, I saved the better of the boards. This instructable will show you how I used these boards to create some beautiful counter tops.

For this project you will need the following:
Flooring-This should be a hard wood and can be new but used is better
Trim-for the drip edge
Base for counter top-I used some old wall cabinets as my base
Table saw
Band saw or jig saw
Circular saw
Pocket-hole jig
Router (optional, you can use your table saw to make the rabbit)
Belt sander
Straight edge
Drill/Drill driver

This is a project anyone can do. It uses a very simple joinery technique, namely pocket screws. I use a system called the "Kreg Jig", but any system you choose will work, and can be found at your local home improvement store.

Step 1: Choosing Boards and Glue-up

When choosing your boards, look for ones that have their full tongue and groove, are straight and have no defects that you want in your project.
Once you have selected your boards you need to glue them up into panels. The number you need depends on how wide you want your counter top. Start by applying glue to the tongue of one board and mate to the groove of the next board. Continue until you have the width that you need and clamp together. Keep the panel flat by clamping down the ends or applying a weight across the width of the panel.  Don't forget to glue up some boards for the back splash.

Step 2: Assembling the Tops

One of the cabinets in this project was a 90° counter top.  To accomplish this I first clamped the two boards together in position, marked my line, and clamped the straight edge to allow my circular saw to cut through both boards at the same time.  This will give me a perfectly matched corner.  One of my counter tops has a sink in it, this is also the time to cut that hole.  Once the panels are cut to size, the next step is to create the apron.  This is simply a single board around the bottom edge. 

To assemble all this we will use a joining system called pocket screws.  A pocket hole is simply a hole drilled at an angle to the face of the board.  A screws then inserted into the whole and tightened to secure the two boards together.  This is accomplished with a pocket hole jig.  Sears carries one such jig for $40, or you can purchase other brand names starting at $20 on up to hundreds of dollars.  To find out more simply enter pocket hole jig into your favorite search engine.

Step 3: Drip Edge

The step actually serves two purposes, it dresses up your counter top edges, and on one, it keeps water from dripping on the floor.
For my counter top, I selected a 1 inch wide trim, with a stamped pattern.  With the back splashes off, I made a rabbit, wide enough and deep enough, for the trim.  If you are creating a sink top the trim should stick up an eighth of an inch above the counter top.  This will create a drip edge to keep water off the floor.  For example, if your trim is 3/8 of an inch by 1 inch, then your rabbit needs to be 3/8 of an inch deep 7/8 inch wide.  For a regular counter top your rabbit should be the same width and height as your trim.

Just a note, you should stain or paint your trim, before you install it.

Step 4: Applying the Finish

The last step in our project is finishing the top. 
The flooring I used was about 75 years old, and I wanted to retain the character of the flooring, complete with holes, dents and scuff marks.  Fortunately this also meant I didn't have to send to much.  I started with 100 grit in my belt sander then moved to a 150 grit to finish off.  If you want a cleaner top use newer wood or sanded deeper.  Once you're finished sanding you're ready to apply your finish.
For a sink base start by applying a water sealer to the wood before assembling all the pieces.  Once that has dried the next step is to start applying the polyurethane.  Use a minimum of three coats, sanding between each, using a 00 or 000 steel wool.  On the same top I actually used six coats of polyurethane to make sure it was waterproof.

Step 5: Finishing Up

All that remains now is to attach your top to your selected base and enjoy your new countertop.

Not only was this a beautiful addition to our home, but it was also a way to maintain some of the history of our house.
Thanks for reading and I hope you found this enjoyable, now go recycle some flooring!

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