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Should You Choose Wood Countertops for Your Kitchen?



a kitchen with wood countertops

Wood countertops are warm to the touch and they have a classic appearance, but most of the countertops that you see in kitchens are tile, marble, or granite. Those more popular countertop materials have a lot to offer, and of course they can be a great choice, but there are plenty of great reasons to not overlook the option of wood countertops.
Wood countertops are naturally beautiful, and they can add a lot of comfort to your kitchen. If you’re remodeling a kitchen, you should consider some of these great benefits of wood countertops.

Longevity

There’s plenty to love about the appearance of wood, even if it granite and marble—as well as some maintenance-free engineered surface—have become more popular over the years. Wood countertops have seen a resurgence in popularity recently in large part because they look so beautiful, but they’re also very durable and long-lasting, even if they do require some maintenance. Most wood countertops are made from traditional butcher block materials, but while they may be good for a little meal prep, they’re not frequently used for chopping. There is a variety of different woods available, and they vary greatly in price and appearance. But no matter what kind of wood you choose for your countertops, if they’re properly installed and properly cared for, they’ll last—and look great—for years.

Budget Friendly

When looking at remodeling ROI we look for budget-friendly options. Some great wood countertops won’t cost much more than laminate, and they’ll look and feel better than almost any countertop surface you could have installed. They’re also easy to install, and there are environmentally friendly options available (check for woods that are approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, which approves only rapidly renewable woods that don’t contribute to deforestation). And any knife scratches or even deep gouges can be completely taken care of with refinishing services. 

They’re Both Strong and Soft

Unlike stone, wood countertops won’t make a clattering noise when you set down a plate or a glass, and dishes are less likely to break if they’re dropped on them. And while stone amplifies noises from appliances, wood will quiet them, which helps keep your kitchen more comfortable.

Cons of Wood Countertops

Of course, wood countertops aren’t the right choice for every homeowner, or for every home. Before you decide whether wood countertops are right for you, you should take a look at some of the negative aspects of the material:

  • They move. – Because wood expands and contracts with atmospheric pressure, there is a chance that these countertops can warp, cup, or gap. The chances of this happening are much higher if they aren’t properly installed, so be sure to hire a contractor you can trust with this job. You can also purchase thicker blocks of wood to help prevent these problems from occurring, and proper maintenance is a must.
  • They require maintenance. If you’re wood counters aren’t finished, you will need to oil them monthly in order to maintain their quality. And many wood counters need to be refinished around every five years.
  • They need lots of attention. It doesn’t take anything more than water to damage wood, and nearly anything can stain it. Vinegar can even dissolve the glue used during wood countertop installations. So any spills in your kitchen will need to be taken care of as quickly as possible to prevent any damage to wood countertops.
  • They are not fireproof. Unlike stone or tile countertops, wood countertops can catch fire, so you’ll need to check with your stove manufacturer about clearances for installing wood countertops. You should also use trivets under any hot pots you’re setting on the countertops.

Most of the “cons” of wood countertops come down to them being high-maintenance. And while they do require more maintenance than marble or granite, any homeowner who is willing and able to take care of wood countertops well can also get a number of great benefits from installing them in their kitchen. Wood countertops will look and feel great, and they’ll give your kitchen a classic appearance for a relatively low cost, even if they do require a little more care than many other materials.