We sealed our timber benchtop on the weekend with a Cabot's clear flooring polyurethane (was told that this was perfect for benchtops), but it did not turn out how we expected.
We sanded the timber smooth using a belt sander/by hand until it was perfectly smooth. We then applied two coats of the polyurethane in a matte finish but it dried with a rough 'raw timber' feel to it. We applied it with a gloss roller brush and brush (as per instructions). It looks perfect, no streaks or imperfections, and it is also water resistant. Just not the smooth finish we wanted. - KingStreetReno
The matte finish shouldn't have a 'raw timber' feel but it obviously won't feel as smooth as a gloss finish. I'd suggest going over the matte coat with a gloss coat if you prefer that smooth finish. You may have to sand the matte finish back before applying a gloss coat. The alternative is to call the manufacturer. - Jackson
I've found that flooring polyurethanes can bubble with a roller and in the case of a matte finish, that can feel rough to touch. You could also try a flat head applicator, made from a sheep wool material. - Simon
If you don't want a high gloss finish that shows every imperfection or a dull matte finish, try a satin. Best of both worlds. I also would recommend several coats with light hand sanding between each to obtain that showroom look. - pursya
We installed bamboo benchtops in our kitchen last year. We also love the look and warmth of timber but they do require a little upkeep - on installation we were told we need to oil them annually although this isn't a difficult process. - Darren
The bench I used was actually from the wooden look laminate range, however I researched the timber benchtops at the same time and they come pre-sealed. Over time they will likely need to be resealed, but that should just mean a light sanding and a new coat of varnish or other sealant.
I do have a wooden benchtop in my bathroom that I sealed with 3 coats of a water based polyurethane. As the bathroom is a particularly wet area I expect to have to reseal it reasonably often (probably will do so every six months) but worth it for the look. - tom_builds
The SpecRite 2400 x 900 x 33mm Finger Joined Teak Panel has a surface sealer that can be sanded off. Please note that when the top is sanded and the sealer removed, I recommend that it be cleaned off with a rag and painted as soon as possible. The unsealed Teak Laminated Panel is sensitive to temperature and moisture effects. If the panel is left bare and unpainted for too long it will be susceptible to cupping, bowing, and end splitting.
The Teak Laminated Panel is a fantastic alternative to standard benchtop replacement. However, it must be sealed from both sides and on both ends to preserve its durability. Here is a link to the Specrite Panel Care. - EricL