Buyer Beware! Before you purchase a wood kitchen countertop, woodworking experts recommend that you perform thorough research to ensure you are purchasing the best place to buy butcher block countertops. This guide is intended as a consumer-friendly, easy-to-read, and professional-quality resource for woodworkers, DIY woodworkers, and restaurant owners in choosing the best countertop material for your project. To discuss the pros, cons, grain and wood species, installation, wood patterns and finishes, price, cleaning, and maintaining wood kitchen countertops.
Why wood? First and foremost wood provides a warm, textured surface that allows foods to cook evenly. It’s also an economic choice because it doesn’t require grating, sawing, or sanding which takes time and energy. This type of kitchen countertop can be finished with a variety of wood stains ranging from light to dark and sealed with polyurethane. A wood countertop that is sealed has the potential to retain moisture longer than a plain countertop that isn’t sealed.
There are four main types of woods: softwood, hardwood, softwoods, and hardwoods. Hardwoods come from conifers such as oak, maple, birch, clover, and cherry. Softwoods come from such popular woods as pine, cypress, bamboo, redwood, rosewood, and mahogany. Softwood kitchen counters can retain moisture much longer than hardwoods.
The third factor to consider is the hardness or softness of the wood. The amount of moisture retained in the wood is dependent on the hardness of the species. Hard woods have higher moisture retention than soft woods so species such as redwood and cedar tend to have high hardness. If you need a moisture resistant countertop, consider one of these species. Softwoods are less moisture resistant than hard woods but they do tend to have a lower density, which makes them more affordable.
The fourth factor to consider is the overall feel and look of the countertop. Each material will present a different texture depending on its individual characteristics. Some materials will be smooth while others may have scratches or rough grains. Choose materials that will compliment your kitchen’s decor. For example, wood with a smooth grain is ideal for a rustic theme to textured wood block work better in a more formal setting.
Lighter colors on top of darker colored backsplash tops work better for bolder or neutral colored kitchens. Darker colored backsplash tops contrast with light colored wood and the lighter the wood, the darker the highlights. This is why a charcoal or black wood grain works best in a lighter themed kitchen.
When measuring for your countertop, take into consideration the overall size of your room. Measure the largest surface area of each piece then compare this to the dimensions of the piece you choose. Measuring from one edge to another edge of the piece using a ruler can give a good idea of what size you will need. When measuring for your butcher block, consider using a slightly larger board than the countertop dimensions.
Installing butcher block countertops is usually a simple process with just a few tools required. The standard method involves nailing a piece of wood to the edge, then stapling the top together. You can also install a butcher-block countertop by using overlays of unfinished wood. Finishing the edges of the countertop allows you to add borders and do other decorative tasks.
The most common wood used in butcher block counters is walnut. Walnut is a tough species that doesn’t break or chip easily. Although it is a hardwood, it is still a fairly light wood that can be stained to a wide variety of colors. Other types of wood that are often used in wood countertops include pine and oak.
Walnut is a dense hardwood that has high natural strength and durability. In fact, it is one of the strongest species of wood. It is ideal for use in countertops because of its resistance to damage and decay. Its high end finish makes it desirable for use in cabinets, furniture, flooring and other applications. Although it has a beautiful sheen, walnut is often finished with a surface-grit sandpaper to bring out the natural color of the wood.
Another popular wood used in countertops is redwood. Like walnut, redwood is also a strong wood that is ideal for use in kitchen countertops. It has a light grain that makes it a perfect choice for flat surfaces. Redwood is not as dense as some of the lighter species, so it does not have as many veins and knots in its wood. However, the natural heaviness of redwood makes it a great choice for staining and finishing. It also has many natural highlights and dark specks in its wood that make it ideal for creating a unique visual effect.