HOW TO CHOOSE A WOODEN WORKTOP – Choosing a wooden work top, for kitchens and utility rooms is often overlooked. Most people opt for Formica or laminate work tops due to their ease of maintenance. With other hard wearing surfaces such as granite, the natural wooden work tops are no longer as widely used.
Natural wood, however, is a thing of real beauty and if you want to fit wooden work tops in your kitchen then this guide will help you in making your choice.
Pick a hardwood that is dense and durable. There is quite a choice such as Oak, Beech, Walnut, Maple, Cherry and a few others. These are all hard wearing timbers and are well suited for the use as a kitchen or utility work top.
It is generally recommended that a wooden work top should be a minimum of 30mm thick. This helps prevent it from distorting or warping with heat and moisture.
Remember the style and coloration of your kitchen, you’ll need a work top that doesn’t look out of place – everything should blend to retain the natural look.
A good quality hardwood is not cheap – you get what you pay for – consider this in your budget and the work top could last a lifetime. Ask for help at your local kitchen design centre – the staff should be able to advise you on the wood work tops that are available, their durability and price.
Seriously consider having the work top bespoke made so that it fits perfectly in your kitchen. All good suppliers will be able to offer this service, which will include shaping and cutting all the holes required, such as the sink and tap holes, for the counter top.
Wooden work tops do require an initial coating of Danish or Linseed Oil and this should be applied every day for about a week and then again every week, for the first 6 months. Once the timber has settled you can apply Danish or Linseed Oil again every 3 months to ensure the wood does not dry out. If the timber dries out too much you can end up with cracks and splits appearing on the work top. Ask the supplier of the timber what they recommend, as you may find slight variations on maintenance and wood care required.
Maintaining a wooden work top is not that difficult, but you do need to ensure that you wipe up spills as soon as they happen. Remember that you cannot cut anything directly on the surface of the timber, as you will scratch or mark it. You will need to buy chopping boards to ensure you don’t damage it. When it comes to cooking, never place a hot pan or pot on the counter surface – this could result in you scorching the timber.
If you do accidentally scratch or scorch the timber you can repair it by sanding it down and then applying Danish or Linseed oil. Remember prevention is better than cure and having a wooden work top in the kitchen does require far more care compared to laminate or granite surfaces.