Wood lends a special warmth and depth to any room and it’s no wonder that those who love wood want to include it in the kitchen. Wood countertops – whether they are live edge, slab or butcher block – add enduring beauty to your layout. While they are attractive, they are not for everyone, mainly because they require more care and maintenance than other popular countertop materials.
Most wood countertops are made from pieces of hardwood that are laminated together with glue for strength and stability, says This Old House. That said, wood countertops are affected by changes in atmospheric moisture, so if they’re not properly constructed, installed, and maintained, they can warp or gap.
Six Big Reasons to Choose Wood Countertops
Lots of choices. The list of woods to choose from for countertops is long and the available looks are multiplied when you add in the options for stains, grain styles and edge treatments.
Versatile. Wood countertops work well with all décor styles and mix well with other countertop materials. They are equally at home in modern kitchens as they are in country style or transitional styles.
Warm and quiet. Woods natural qualities have long been valued and are sometimes called the “antidote” to too much stainless steel and stone. Wood countertops are quieter than many other because banging is not so pronounced. Also, a dish banged on a wood surface might not chip or break as easily as it would on a stone surface.
Environmentally friendly – Wood countertops are increasingly being made from reclaimed wood, and most types are recyclable. You can also choose Wood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC certified). These products are verified to be sourced from managed forests that sustain resources and the communities that produce them.
Very Functional: You can do all your kitchen work on a wood countertop and eat on it as well. While you can damage wood countertops with knives, the surface won’t hurt your knives. The sharp blades on your good knives will last longer than they would if you’re working on concrete or granite. The surface is also not vulnerable to damage from citrus and acidic liquids.
More economical. Wood is easily cut, fabricated, and installed by an expert. This can make it faster to get and cheaper to purchase than other countertop materials. It can also be sanded and refinished if it gets damaged.
Four Major Downsides of Wood Countertops
Sealing is a Must: If not sealed correctly, a wood countertop is porous and can harbor germs. Wood also must be kept very dry around sink areas and spills must be wiped up right away.
The Threat of Water: If the countertop isn’t regularly treated with mineral oil or another protectant, the wood can be damaged if water sits on the surface or seeps into the seams.
Required Refinishing: Over time, a wood surface shows some wear and may need a new coat of finish, or a complete re-sanding and refinishing. This will likely need to be done after 10 to 20 years depending on the degree of use.
Scratches and Dents: Wood is softer than most other surfaces like tile, stone and metal. While some people feel that these marks lend character to the wood, some don’t. It’s really important to use a cutting board to preserve the surface.
Options for Types of Wood
According to construction guru Bob Villa, maple and bamboo are the most popular species because of their availability and sustainability. However, many hardwoods are also well-suited for kitchen countertops, depending on the look you want and the region in which you live in. An example of a regional wood used for countertops is mesquite in the Southwest United States. Mesquite is as well suited as black walnut or cherry. Woods that are very soft like pine are not usually used for countertops
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