Are Wooden Worktops a Good Idea?

Wooden worktops have graced posh kitchens for centuries and have remained fashionable. With new technology producing solid-surface, quartz and ultra-compact worktops, people sometimes ask whether it is still a good idea to install solid timber worktops?

The short answer is, if the charm of the natural warmth and beauty of wooden worktops appeals to you, you will never regret the decision.

Here are just some reasons why wooden worktops will transform your kitchen into an elegant and stylish space where you can practice your culinary arts.

  • The natural integrity of top-quality wooden worktops ensures that it will never go out of fashion. It remains one of the most versatile, luxurious and hard-wearing finishes.
  • It is probably the only material that actually improves over time. As wood matures, it gains character and the developing patina deepens the colour.
  • Every board used in a worktop is unique. Even if the different parts are cut from the same tree, each section is still different from its neighbour but harmonizes perfectly.
  • Wooden worktops from centuries ago still grace the kitchens of many mansions across the UK. This provides ample proof of its strength, toughness and resilience to withstand heavy wear and tear.
  • Any DIY enthusiast can repair a wooden worktop, simply by sanding out scratches or filling in holes or dents. Even where serious damage occurs through rough handling, it is possible to replace the damaged part and blend in the new replacement by sanding, oiling and polishing the surface.
  • Solid wood provides excellent value for money. Pricewise, it falls in the low- to midrange of premier worktops, while aesthetically it can match even the most expensive material.
  • Wooden worktops are provided in a variety of finishes from matte to high-gloss. Depending on the type of timber, it can be polished to highlight the flames of the wood grain and patterns.
  • Wooden worktops are available in large sizes and different thickness, by cutting staves that are finger-jointed together, maintaining the allure of the natural wood grain patterns. In top-grade wooden worktops, the staves are carefully selected and prepared to ensure consistent grain and colouration.
  • Wood is naturally antibacterial, enhancing its hygiene factor. The worktops are easy to clean and maintain.

Maintenance

Solid wood worktops do require some special treatment and regular maintenance to keep it looking good, but this is neither complicated nor time-consuming. Mostly, it requires only common-sense preservation.

  • Wooden worktops need to be oiled, finely sanded and sealed at fabrication stage and at regular intervals to create a naturally beautiful and water repellent surface.
  • Some timber worktops are chemically treated to enhance the aesthetic appeal and to ensure longevity. In top-quality wooden worktops, these chemicals will not affect food prepared on the worktops in any way afterwards.
  • Professional installers will use tight-fitting butt-joints or mitre-joints that augment the natural appeal of the wood and leave no place for germs to accumulate.
  • Wooden worktops give their best performance at normal room temperature. At extreme temperatures and high or low humidity, they will require additional maintenance and sealing.
  • Solid wooden worktops over an oven, dishwasher, washing machine or tumble dryer, require additional protection against heat and moisture, by installing a sheet of aluminium foil to the underside.
  • Solid wood expands and contracts with temperature changes and expansion have to be left between the back edge of the worktop and the wall. These gaps are normally sealed with a colour coordinated silicone sealant.

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Author: Ivan Tennant