Infuse a warm glow and rustic beauty into your kitchen
Wood is a natural and cost-effective surface for kitchen countertops. Many people are drawn to solid wood countertops because of the warm glow they provide in a home and also the rustic down-home beauty of wood grain surfaces. Because of the demands of a kitchen surface, the type of wood used must be very hard-wearing. For this reason, woods such as Hard Maple, Red Oak and Ash are among the most commonly used countertop materials.
One of wood’s great advantages is its natural antimicrobial properties. After it is cut, wood retains chemicals in it’s structure which inhibit the multiplication of bacteria on it surface. This is a wonderful quality for kitchen and bathroom surfaces, where harmful bacteria often live.
Making a Decision: Wood Countertop
There are three basic ways of making wood countertops: Oiled wood planks, Butcher Blocks and lacquered wood. Oiled wood plank countertops are either glued together or connected with an interlocking joinery technique to create beautiful striped surfaces of parallel planks. They are sealed and oiled to a brilliant shine. Butcher block countertops are made from pieces of endgrain hard woods glued together to form a solid surface. They are excellent cutting surfaces. Lacquered wood countertops are the least durable wooden countertop. They can be easily marred by pressure, heat and knives.
It is important to remember that any type of wood countertop can be badly affected by water and humidity unless properly sealed with mineral oil or polyurethane. Even with this protection is can be unwise to install wooden countertops near sinks or in other places they will come in regular contact with water. Even the steam from a dishwasher can cause the wood to distort. A vapor barrier therefore needs to be fitted on the underside of the counter.