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What to Consider With Wood Kitchen Countertops

Updated: Mar 6

What to Consider With Wood Kitchen Countertops

If you're contemplating the timeless allure of wood countertops for your kitchen remodel or new kitchen design, you're in for a treat. Wood brings a touch of nature indoors, infusing your kitchen with a warmth that echoes through time. Join us in exploring key considerations that will ensure your wood kitchen countertops stand resilient against the tests of both style and functionality.

Wood Types Matter

Every wood is unique. Compared to other wood varieties, some are more resilient, long-lasting, and appropriate for use in kitchens. Hardwoods such as hard maple, oak, and walnut, for instance, are a popular choice due to their strength, density, and stability for effective butcher block countertops. Additionally, they have stunning colors and patterns in their grain that can improve the appearance of your kitchen.

Hardwoods are not the sole countertop material choice, though. Softer woods like pine, birch, or Brazilian cherry are more options. Although these woods are easier to work with and more reasonably priced, they are more prone to dents, scratches, and stains. To maintain their nice appearance, you might need to sand and refinish them more frequently.

Reclaimed wood is an additional choice; this is wood that has been taken out of old furniture, barns, or buildings. Unique marks and defects, along with a wealth of history and character, may be found in reclaimed wood. But recycled wood can also be more costly and more difficult to locate. To guarantee the wood's quality and safety, you might need to do some investigation and inspection.

Kitchen countertop made of reclaimed wood

Seal the Deal

Sealing wood worktops is a crucial step in the installation process. Wood worktops that have been sealed are shielded against mold, germs, moisture, and stains. Additionally, it brings out the wood's inherent color and beauty.

There are different types of sealants you can use to seal wood countertops, each with its pros and cons. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Teak Oil: Teak oil is a natural, simple-to-apply finish that seeps into the wood to give it a matte, velvety appearance. Oil has antimicrobial qualities and aids in preventing warping and cracking. But oil needs to be used often (every few months), and it offers little protection from water and stains.

  • Wax: Another natural, simple-to-apply finish that gives a sleek, silky appearance is wax. In addition to adding a layer of protection over oil, wax also aids in the resistance of water and stains. Wax, however, requires frequent reapplication (every few weeks) because it does not last very long.

  • Polyurethane: A synthetic, long-lasting finish that gives an appearance of hardness and shine is polyurethane. Polyurethane doesn't need much care and offers great resistance to heat, stains, water, and scratches. Nevertheless, polyurethane may also change the wood's tone and texture, and it can be challenging to apply and fix.

  • Epoxy: Another synthetic, long-lasting finish that produces a thick, transparent, and glossy laminate appearance Epoxy seals any gaps or fractures in the wood while offering excellent resistance to water, stains, heat, and scratches. Epoxy, however, may also be costly, difficult to apply, and eventually become yellow.

Check out this video on how to seal your wood kitchen countertops.

Maintenance Made Simple

Contrary to popular belief, wooden countertops require little upkeep. They may age gracefully and endure a long time with the right sealing and maintenance. Here are a few simple methods for maintaining your hardwood surfaces:

  • Regularly wash them with a mild soap and water, then pat dry with a soft towel. Steer clear of strong or abrasive cleansers since they can harm both the wood and the finish.

  • Depending on the sort of finish you have, they may need refinishing by treating them with oil or wax. As directed by the manufacturer, use a clean cloth to apply a thin, uniform layer. After letting it dry, use another cloth to polish it.

  • Accept the aging process that comes with wood. Over time, wood surfaces will acquire a patina—a warm, rich color—from exposure to light and air. Wood countertops may eventually have some dents, scratches, and stains, but these things just add to its charm and character. If you wish to go back to how they looked before, you may sand and refinish them; however, you can keep them the way they are and appreciate their rustic charm.

Hot Topics: Heat Resistance

The heat resistance of wood top counters is one of the most frequent concerns. In comparison to materials like stone or metal, wood is more prone to scorching or burning when exposed to high temperatures. This does not exclude you from using wood counters in your kitchen, though.

To prevent heat damage, be cautious and follow these steps:

  • Place hot pots and pans on trivets, mats, or boards. They can leave stains or discolor the wood surface, so avoid placing them directly on it.

  • Steer clear of putting hot appliances on wood surfaces, such as slow cookers, coffee makers, and toasters. Place a heat-resistant mat below them or relocate them to a different location.

  • Recognize how different types of wood react to heat. Certain wood species, such as walnut, oak, and maple, can withstand higher temperatures than others. These woods are not scorched at temperatures as high as 150°C (300°F). Certain varieties of wood, including cherry, birch, or pine, can scorch when the temperature rises beyond 100°C (212°F).

Budgeting Wisely

While they are not the most costly option for your kitchen, wood countertops are also not the cheapest. The kind, size, quality, and finish of the wood, as well as the cost of installation and upkeep, all affect the price of wood countertops.

The following are some ballpark figures for the price per square foot of wood countertops:

  • Hardwood: $50-$200

  • Softwood: $30-$100

  • Reclaimed wood: $100-$300

As you can see, the cost of wood countertops varies greatly based on the kind of wood you select. There are affordable wood choices including bamboo, butcher block, and edge grain that don't sacrifice quality. These alternatives have a sturdy, level surface as they are constructed from tiny wood pieces that are cemented together. Compared to solid wood slabs, they are also simpler to install and maintain.

But, in addition to the initial expense, you need also take wood worktops' long-term worth into account. Wood countertops are an investment that can pay for itself over many years and can raise your home's selling value. Because wood worktops naturally insulate your kitchen from the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer, they may also help you save money on energy costs.

Mixing and Matching

Because of its adaptability and versatility, wood countertops may complement any kitchen design or theme. Wood countertops may be combined and matched with other materials and kitchen features to create a visually pleasing and well-balanced look. To get you motivated, consider these ideas:

  • Appliances and fixtures made of stainless steel go well with wood worktops. This produces a contrast between the sleek, modern metal and the warm, natural wood, giving the piece a sophisticated, modern appearance.

  • Combine wood counters with floors and backsplashes made of tile. This produces a contrast between the solid, polished wood and the patterned, textured tile, giving the area a homey, eclectic appearance.

  • Choose cabinet colors and finishes that go well with wood countertops. This produces a contrast between the warm and cold tones and the light and dark wood, giving the design a dynamic yet refined appearance.

Environmental Considerations

In addition to being elegant and practical, wood kitchen countertops are also eco-friendly. Wood doesn't release any toxic fumes or chemicals and is a renewable and biodegradable resource. Because wood absorbs and stores carbon dioxide from the environment, it also lessens the kitchen's carbon impact.

But not all wood is environmentally beneficial. A portion of wood is taken from illegal or endangered sources, which can lead to habitat loss and deforestation. Additionally, some wood is treated with hazardous materials that can seep into the air and water, such as formaldehyde or lead.

For this reason, you should select wood for your worktops that have been sustainably obtained, meaning that it comes from certified and sustainable forests. You may search for labels and certificates that list the wood's social and environmental requirements, such as these:

  • The certification for wood goods that is most commonly accepted and regarded is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation. It guarantees that the wood originates from forests that are managed to assist local communities, maintain biodiversity, and defend the rights of indigenous people.

  • Another credible certification for wood goods is the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). It guarantees that the wood originates from forests that are responsibly managed following ethical, social, and ecological standards.

  • Products certified as Cradle to Cradle (C2C) may be recycled, reused, or composted at the end of their life cycle since they are made with circularity in mind. It guarantees that the items are produced using safe and healthful components, with a minimum amount of waste and emissions, and with renewable energy.

How Feel Good Kitchens Helps

Kitchen design is no small feat when you're on your own. But it doesn't have to be. With our Idea Design Gallery, we help you build some ideas for your kitchen. Not only that, but we'll direct you to every faucet, fridge, light fixture, shelf that we can locate within the design images.

What are you waiting for? Come check out our Idea Design Gallery!


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