Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wood Countertops

What do you think about wood counter tops? I'm not just talking about butcher blocks. More and more home owners are choosing wood because it's elegant, warm (quite literally), and quite frankly, it's not granite! Personally, I love the look of wood counter tops with a painted-finish cabinet.  I think it gives them a furniture like quality and as the kitchen is so often the gathering space, that suits it well. 

Check out some of these pictures while I tell you what I've learned about wood countertops.

 Currently in Europe, which usually leads the US in design trends, wood countertops have more than forty percent of the market share versus seven percent in the US. 

There are many species of hardwood to choose from. Domestic woods like hickory, maple and oak are the least expensive.

Wenge, zebrawood and teak are considered exotic woods and run 60 to 120 percent more. Many manufacturers offer sustainable wood choices as well as reclaimed wood from buildings and barns that are being torn down. I know a homeowner that is using large sections of wood from the actual alley of a bowling alley for their countertops.

There are a few ways to finish the wood. I prefer protecting it (versus sealing it with a polyurethane can crack or chip) with a natural oil finish ie. mineral oil or walnut oil. We had a butcher block growing up and my mother would rub olive oil into it. That works!

I have a wood countertop on my German cupboard (you can see it here). It holds our coffee service so it gets used a lot and gets wet everyday. I like using tung oil- it gives it a slight shine and really protects it from moisture. This is not a surface that I prepare food on otherwise I would use one of the natural oils.

There are three styles to consider: Plank style, Edge grain or End grain. Plank style the boards are lying flat (like a wood floor), Edge grain the boards are on their sides- this is the best option for a counter that is going to cantilever beyond it's support because its the strongest and then End Grain is when the boards are standing on their ends- creates a checkerboard pattern as seen in some of the photos.

As you can see from the photos, there are many edge details to choose from as well. Ogee and beveled are a bit more formal, square cut is more modern. Do you like the Wenge wood above- it's so dark and edgy?!

When I said that I wanted wood countertops in my kitchen I got a lot of strange looks. I think there are a lot of preconceived notions that wood is difficult to care for or not durable and that just is not the case.

 Would I take a hot dish out of the oven and set it on a wood counter -no!, but the beauty and distinct style makes the little extra design time to plan for the way one cooks and entertains in the kitchen sooo worth it! ...and no I'm not selling wood countertops- 
though from this post it may seem that way :) 

Happy Thursday! See you tomorrow for another Fun Friday Find!

Updated April 11, 2011

I had a lot of interest in this post. Here are a couple more photos: 
via Great Kitchen Ideas,

via Great Kitchen Ideas,

via Great Kitchen Ideas,


  1. Had teak in my old house and actually loved them, even enjoyed the labor intensive monthly application of the teak oil to them once a month! There is something quite beautiful about wood have to be a bit careful...but its worth it.

  2. So the first kitchen with the wood island and black and white floors!!

  3. I'm so grateful for this post. I had always associated wood countertops with butcher block from the '80s (and worse...the faux butcher block that is currently in my kitchen), but these pictures are gorgeous and will cause me to take a second look at wooden counters when we redo our kitchen someday.

  4. Aw Carrie now I feel bad because I have even better pictures than these but I was feeling lazy and they needed to be scanned. Just for you I will update my post this weekend. It is such a beautiful look. :)

  5. I love wood worktops they need looking after & regular oiling but they are a beautiful finish

  6. Our plan is to one day build a house. Based on these kitchens alone, I don't know how I would ever finalize a design!

    I doubt Sexy Nerd would go for any more than 2 kitchens :p

  7. You can have the chairs customized so that they can suit your favorite style and also décor. You should shop around for your counter height chairs to get the look and feel that you want for your kitchen or dining area. While you are shopping, if you happen to be looking for a new countertop as well, keep an eye on kitchen countertops prices. They’ve gotten great reviews and customer feedback.