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Spotlight On… Wood Countertops

August 29, 2017


If you want a resilient countertop surface with beautiful natural patterns in your kitchen, stone isn’t your only choice. Wood countertops are enjoying a resurgence in popularity recently, and for good reasons. Before you make a decision on a countertop materials for your kitchen remodeling project or home update, read below to get all of the pros and cons of going green with wooden countertops!

White kitchen with dark wooden countertop on the island

Most people thinkof butcher block when they imagine wood as a countertop material,  but there’s more to wood countertops than just butcher block. Although butcher block is still a good option, other types of wood such as reclaimed woods, slabs, endgrain, and more are available as well, and can give different looks to your counter surface.

One of the reasons for the renewed interest in wood countertops is the current popularity of white kitchens. A beautiful wood grain becomes a warm focal point among all the white, and is a perfect choice if you want a more homey or rustic feel without springing for hardwood cabinets (or hardwood cabinet refacing). The sealants available today are far more durable as well, so wood countertops can last for as long as you live in your house or longer if sealed well and cared for properly.

A wooden butcherblock countertop finished with a dark brown stain in a kitchen with white cabinets.

That leads into some of the cons to having wood countertops. Because they’re real wood, they are prone to all the negatives of anything made of wood. That means that they may need to be oiled as often as monthly, several times per year, or rarely to never depending on the type and the seal applied. They’re also susceptible to burning or scorching, so checking against the proximity to stove burners is important as well as using trivets under hot pots. Water and other liquids (like vinegar)can damage the wood and even dissolve the glue holding it together, so spills need to be wiped up right away and special attention should be paid around sinks. Finally, good craftsmanship is essential, as they can cup, warp, and gap if they aren’t properly constructed, installed, and maintained.

On the plus side, the wood look goes well with both modern and traditional designs. For DIY-ers, wood is much easier to cut, install, and finish than something like stone. In addition to the stunning good looks, wood is also very soft yet very strong. It’s the only material that will be naturally warm and inviting to the touch, and it absorbs sounds well so the kitchen will be a lot less “clanky” from the sounds of pots and pans. It will even absorb the sound of appliances better, so it really makes for a much quieter kitchen. Stone, on the other hand, actually amplifies these noises. As a more forgiving surface, wood is also less likely to shatter dropped objects.

Custom kitchen cabinet refacing with Kitchen Saver Greg Dohler

When properly sealed, wood countertops have natural antibacterial properties so you can cut and prep food or even eat on them if needed. And with so many colors, shapes, species, and finishes available, the options for the look you want are plentiful. Depending on what selections you choose, the cost for wood can be far less than stone, although getting into premium choices will naturally run the price up.

So, if you’re going to renovate your kitchen with some kitchen cabinet refacing, new appliances, or gutting completely to start over, consider adding wood countertops to your project. You may end up asking yourself why you didn’t do it much sooner.

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