A good kitchen designer will be honest with his customers! For that reason, we feel it is time to address the issue of wooden worktops, once and for all – with some honest advice to help you make the right decision about whether or not they are right for you!
We are currently fitting a lovely kitchen in a new build home. The units are to be handpainted in a charcoal colour with beautiful, heavy chrome round door knobs. The worktops are to be solid wood throughout. There has been much discussion over the worktops in this kitchen, but there is no doubt that timber is the best option in terms of style! They will look fantastic! (Much like the photograph below which features our 1909 range!)
So, let’s start with the great things about wooden worktops!
- They look excellent with almost all kitchen styles and colours.
- Wood is a naturally hygienic surface for a kitchen as it has antibacterial properties.
- Wood creates a warm and ‘homely’ feel to a kitchen.
- Since no two pieces of wood are the same, each worktop will be unique.
- Each type of timber has a different price tag attached, so there is almost certainly a wooden worktop for each budget.
Unfortunately experiences with wooden worktops are not always positive (as you will see from browsing the extremely varied opinions of them on internet chatrooms).
Last year, we were asked to visit a home which had been rented out for a few years. The owner of the property was extremely concerned by the state of the kitchen worktop, which was wooden. There was a huge amount of swelling around the sink and much of the worktop in this area had turned black. There were also stains across the whole worktop. It appears the owner had been ill-advised when putting in the worktop originally and chose wood for a rented property. The issue with this is that the tenants had no idea of the responsibility to protect the worktops and left them completely untreated for their entire tenancy – hence the damage! Unfortunately there was no option with these worktops to fix or replace a section – the whole thing needed to be new.
So what do wooden worktops actually need to be kept looking great?
- Timber worktops should be fitted at a time when there is no significant other work being done in the property, so there is no possibility of scratching or damaging the worktops right from the start. All new plaster should be completely dry before fitting begins! It is also important that the temperature in the property is not dramatically changing in the first weeks after the worktops have been fitted (for example in a new build property where there is no heating available one day and then it is being used constantly the next)
- In the first week of owning a wooden worktop we recommend oiling it EVERY DAY! This does not take a huge amount of time, but is extremely important for building up a layer of water and stain resistance on the worktop.
- After the first month, re-oiling should ideally happen every 3 months.
- Water on the surface of a wooden worktop should be avoided or dried up as soon as possible. Special attention should be given to the sink area which can become very damp and swell/turn black over time.
- We always recommend using surface protectors when placing any hot pots/pans/cups down on a timber worktop. Iron saucepans (hot or cold) with a wet bottom can cause black marks on a wooden worktop very quickly.
At Lacewood Designs we know that timber worktops are popular and we try not to discourage our customers from having them, AS LONG AS THEY KNOW WHAT IS REQUIRED TO KEEP THEM LOOKING GOOD and are willing to do undertake these tasks! One thing we do always suggest is that a timber worktop would look great on an island/breakfast bar or for a section of the kitchen that is not near water. This can add a very stylish contrast to a kitchen!
We also suggest that, if you choose wooden worktops, you carefully consider which sink you use! A sink with a draining board is almost essential for avoiding water all over the worktop and even with this, the area around the sink should be dried after use! An alternative is to have a small section of alternative worktop around the sink area – perhaps a granite – that will never be affected by water.
When choosing an appropriate wood for your worktop, we highly recommend Iroko wood. This is a naturally oily timber so defends itself against water a lot better than Oak, for example.
If you have questions about wooden worktops, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01722 321447 or e-mail: [email protected]
If you decide against wooden worktops, why not check out our table of other options – http://www.lacewooddesigns.co.uk/kitchen-worktop-materials/