Wooden countertops are a classic aesthetic touch to your home. There are, however, significant drawbacks to wood countertops, as opposed to the contemporary trend of granite or manufactured stone countertops, as wood is more temperamental than stone. But, the one place in your home where wooden countertops are appropriate and practical, is the kitchen.
In this article, you learn everything you need to know about choosing wooden countertops for your new kitchen or kitchen remodel. Discover the benefits and drawbacks to wood counters, and which species of wood are best for kitchen counters. And, find out how to protect your wooden countertops to ensure its longevity.
Wooden Countertops: Everything You Need to Know for Your New Kitchen
When it comes to traditional, natural design and architecture, wooden countertops are the original form of kitchen counters. Before stone countertops were common, wooden countertops were the long-reigning standard. In the late 19th century, the industrial revolution ushered in a new realm of affordable and easy-to-manufacture materials – one of which being stone countertops.
Today, finding wooden countertops in the kitchen of a house means that it is, either, an aesthetic choice, or authentically antique to an older architectural style. Stone is more resistant to moisture damage, heat, staining, and physical damage like scratches and dents. Wood, on the other hand, is traditional and timeless – if it is well maintained.
What to Know Before Choosing Wooden Countertops for Your Kitchen
Wood is a forgiving medium to most other objects in its realm. For instance, dropping a bottle of wine on a wooden countertop is less likely to cause it to shatter, as opposed to the same instance with a stone countertop. Unlike stone, wooden countertops must be well maintained to avoid cracks, warping, moisture rot, scratches, dents, and dings.
Apart from the aesthetic benefits wood provides, wooden countertops are most commonly utilized as a butcher block. When well maintained, hardwood countertops provide an unrivaled opulence to that of stone. The balance, however, comes in your propensity and ability to give your wooden countertops the regular love and care that they need to resist rot, warping, and degradation.
How to Protect Wooden Counters from Scratches, Stains, and Moisture
The main thing that protects wooden countertops from the degradation of time, elements, and usage, is the protective wood finish. Wood butcher blocks, counters, and cutting boards should be treated with food-grade mineral oil to keep from dry-out, bacteria build-up, and cracking. Treat your wooden counters and cutting surfaces with mineral oil on a semi-annual basis, or every six months.
Moisture is the biggest enemy of wood surfaces and mandates special attention when installed next to a sink. Regular exposure to water can cause rot and mold on any wooden surface, so the areas closest to your sink are of particular priority for maintenance. For wooden counters that receive regular exposure to water, treat more regularly with mineral oil, not to exceed once per week.
3 Popular Types of Wood for Your Kitchen Countertops
Wooden countertops are available in a great variety of colors and styles. Side grain countertops retain the most strength, as opposed to butcher blocks of the end grain of the wood. End grain butcher blocks require more regular mineral oil treatment but offer a more striking visual aesthetic.
Black Walnut Countertops
Black walnut has been used domestically for centuries, due to its strength and malleability. It is a top option for wooden countertops in your kitchen because black walnut retains natural chemicals that provide antibacterial and antimicrobial properties to the wood. Apart from that, black walnut has a beautiful hue that changes from dark brownish-black to more of a purple color, as it ages.
Teak Wood Counters
Teak is a popular choice for wood countertops because it is naturally resistant to moisture. Its moisture-resistant properties come from the naturally high oil content of the wood. Teak wood oil content helps it to resist stains and moisture damage, but still requires prudence on the part of the owners.
Cherry Wood Counters
Cherry is a classic, traditional, and regal wood species for a wide variety of home furniture and appliances. It takes well to many varieties of stain and finishes, making it versatile to work with and easier to repair if damage occurs. Cherry provides a smooth red hue that becomes darker as it gets older.
These are just a few of the most popular wood species used for wooden kitchen countertops. Ultimately, the best wood for your kitchen counters depends on many factors. Contact a countertop specialist to find out which is the best type of wooden countertops for your home’s elevation, architectural design, and usage.