Pros and Cons of Wood Countertops

Red Oak Countertop

Red Oak Countertop

Wood countertops remain a very popular choice for homeowners. Wood offers a natural beauty that will enhance the appearance of any kitchen or bathroom. But there are drawbacks to wood countertops too. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of wood countertops that will help you evaluate them for use in your remodeling or new construction project.

Wood Countertop Strengths

Appearance: The number one reason people choose wood countertops is their beauty. They give any kitchen a warmth that can’t be achieved by any other countertop material.

Variety: There are many types of wood countertops from which to choose. Hardwood continues to be used extensively. Wood types include maple, cherry, oak, birch and teak. Bamboo is a grass, but offers a wood-like appearance. Stains and finishes complete the look, giving each one a customized appearance. Stylistically, your options include butcher black, parquet, face grain or end grain planks, panels and other designs. Edge treatments are also made in a wide variety of looks.

Work with All Design Styles: Wood counters go well with all styles including traditional, country, French country, Mediterranean, Old World, modern, contemporary, transitional and eclectic.

Warmth: Not only is wood warm in appearance, it’s literally warmer to the touch than many materials such as tile, stone or concrete.

Recycled/Recyclable: Most wood countertops are not made from reclaimed wood, but that is changing. Wood is being salvaged and re-purposed for green countertops at a growing rate. Most wood countertops are recyclable.

Excellent Work Surface: Wood is easy on knives – though they may not be so easy on it. The edges on your cutlery will last longer than if working on granite or concrete.

Wood Countertop Weaknesses

Requires Proper Sealing: If a wood countertop is not sealed correctly, it offers a porous surface where germs may hide and multiply.

Water Damage: If the surface isn’t consistently treated with mineral oil or other protectant, damage can occur is water sits on the countertop too long or seeps into seams.

May Need Refinishing: With time, a wood countertop will begin to show some wear and tear. The finish may need to be reapplied, or the entire surface sanded and refinished. Expect to refinish wood countertops after 10-20 years depending on the amount and type of use they get.

Scratch and Dent Problems: Since wood is softer than tile, stone and metal, it can be more easily damaged. Some homeowners consider these blemishes as giving character to the counters. Using a separate cutting board will help save your countertop surfaces.

Are Wood Countertops Right for Your Home?

The answer to that question depends on the look you want to achieve and how much work you’re willing to put into maintaining your counters. If you appreciate the natural beauty of wood and are willing to spend the time required to clean and maintain them, wood countertops might be the perfect choice for your home.

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