What Should I Know About Wood Counter Tops?

What should I know about wood counter tops? Wood countertops require maintenance. When remodeling their kitchens, some people consider installing wood counter tops. Jason Flippo, who is the owner and president...

When remodeling their kitchens, some people consider installing wood counter tops.

Jason Flippo, who is the owner and president of Signature Home Improvement Inc, which is a business that concentrates on remodeling kitchens and living areas, says that what you should know about the material is: "Wood counter tops are going to require maintenance. I've heard that they can harbor bacteria, Salmonella and things like that. You have to be careful. I think they have to be treated with a mineral oil or something like that."

The book "Home Project Manager: Kitchen Planner", published in 1997 by Cowles Creative Publishing, expands on this by saying, "In a kitchen, your choices for wood are limited to hardwoods that can stand up to the wear and tear of cooking and regular cleaning; Red or white oak, hard maple or beech are common choices...Wood countertops do require considerable care, which is why they are often restricted to selected areas of the kitchen. If left unfinished, wood must be treated regularly with non-toxic oil. If you prepare foods directly on the wood countertop, you'll need to thoroughly clean it after each use, and you should periodically disinfect it. A wood countertop coated with a thick urethane finish will resist moisture and water stains, but unfortunately, some of these finishes are not safe for food preparation." One way to negotiate on this issue would be to inlay another material in any areas that will come in contact with food. But this is not the only disadvantage. The book continues on to state, "Wood isn't a good idea for the area next to the sink, for example, because constant exposure to water will cause staining and rotting... (It) can be scorched by hot pans (and it) tends to crack and warp.

If you still long for the "warm feeling...with its natural grain and soft touch (that) can't be successfully imitated by any other countertop material" don't despair. There are ways that you can incorporate it into your kitchen design. Many remodelers choose to install it in out of the way areas, simply for a decorative touch. Some, because of the maintenance it requires have just one counter top made from it, such as in a peninsula or center island; somewhere that they can easily perform the upkeep for it on a regular basis.

If you just want the appearance of wood, they are doing surprising things with laminate and other materials nowadays to try and simulate it. It is true that you will probably never be able to find anything that truly resembles the real thing but it is an option for those that do not want to have any other "look" to their kitchen. Sure, you will still be able to tell that its "faux", but it will blend better with the other natural wood elements in your kitchen, if you want more of a seamless impression. There are those that just don't want a contrast no matter how complementary it is. Utilizing some of these new materials might be a good compromise.

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