The Beauty and Durability of Wood Countertops
The best countertops for traditional homes are those made of natural materials. Wood is the top choice for this
purpose because of its natural beauty and strength.
The classic and earthly brown color of wood countertops will impart a rustic ambience to the house where they
are installed. Kitchen countertops made of hardwood are among the strongest countertops that can be made. When they
are properly constructed, they can rival hard stones in durability and strength. You can also capitalize on the
beautiful wood grains by making decorative wood countertops. A decorative wood countertop is really a sight to
behold, especially if it has a very shiny finish.
Types of Wood Countertops
Basically, there are only two types of countertops: hardwood
countertops and softwood countertops. Wood countertops for kitchen and similar heavy duty applications are made of
hardwoods. The species of wood used for this purpose are Oak, Maple and Cherry. Softwoods are used for building
decorative countertops. You won’t need as much strength with decorative countertops, but you need to display the
beautiful wood grains in their surfaces. For this purpose, softwoods with beautiful grains are used. These are the
likes of Birch and Teak.
How They Are Made
A wood countertop is built by assembling wood segments or strips and then
gluing them together. Strong commercial adhesives are used to make a strong bond between the wood strips. After the
initial structure has cured, it is then cut into the desired size and shape. The wood countertop is then sanded and
buffed to obtain a smooth surface. It is then sealed and laminated to give it a shiny finish and to protect it from
the elements. However, there are a number of distinct differences in making hardwood countertops with that of
softwood countertops. Below are some of their differences.
A) Hardwood Countertops
Wood countertops that will be used as kitchen countertops are made
using the end-grain method. The wood segments or strips are oriented with the cut end of the board upward. As a
result, the countertop surface will be an assortment of small rectangular forms. These small rectangles are really
the cut end of the wood strips. This surface is the strongest of all method and you can use them in chopping and
cutting food stuffs.
Another method of making hardwood countertops is the edge or stain-grain method where the wood strips are
oriented on their sides. The countertop surface will also have rectangular shapes but this time they will be
thinner rectangles because they are actually the thin sides of the wood strips. Wood countertops made this way are
not as strong as the end-grain method but they can also be used for kitchen applications.
B) Softwood Countertops
Decorative wood countertops are made in a different way. The wood strips or segments are oriented on their face.
This is called the face or plank grain method. All the wood strips are glued together with the width of the wood
planks forming the countertop surface. Many wood countertops are built this way because they show the beautiful
grains of the wood. They have the least strength of all wood countertops therefore they are only used for
Advantages of Wood Countertops
Using wood for your countertops will give you a lot of
• They have natural beauty and warmth.
• They are easy to work with compared with hard stones.
• They are safer to use for the kitchen because they contain less chemicals than other countertop
• They are more affordable than hard stone countertops.
• They are also strong.
• They can be easily repaired when scratched.
• They age beautifully.
Disadvantages of Wood Countertops
There are also some downsides to using wood
• You need to refinish its surface periodically if you want to keep its luster.
• Water can ruin the surface if you let it remain more than it should.
• It is easier scratched and dented than stone countertops.
• Acids and vinegars allowed to linger on the surface will destroy the adhesive that bonds the wood strips
Care And Maintenance
Proper daily care and regular maintenance will extend the service lives of your wood countertops. Be careful in
dropping heavy object in its surface because it may cause dents. Even if your countertop is made of hardwood, it is
better to use a chopping or cutting board in cutting food items so as not to ruin its finish. In cleaning the
countertop surface, avoid using wood cleaners that contain acids and harsh chemicals. They will degrade the
lamination of the wood surface.