Just like shaker-style kitchens, wooden countertops are a traditional feature that have never fallen out of fashion. Instead they have remained timeless and elegant and able to give your bespoke kitchen an undeniable touch of class that can be tailored to both your lifestyle and the aesthetic you hope to achieve.
Whether you opt for oak worktops to match the original beams in your farmhouse or you want the luxuriously dark finish of walnut counters to create a grandiose look, almost every kind of wooden countertop has remained a classic. That’s the big benefit of choosing the beautiful look and natural feel of wood over the other countertop materials out there.
Of course, there are other things to consider when choosing a wooden worktop for your kitchen, which is why we have created this overview of what to expect when searching for — and living with — our handmade wooden countertops:
Choosing The Perfect Species of Wooden Worktop
There are a hundred reasons to go for a wooden worktop over stone or manmade materials, but at the top of the list is the sheer number of species you can choose from, all of which celebrate the fine craftsmanship of wood countertops. To give you a better understanding of the wooden worktops we offer, they include:
Oak: this classic wood adds warmth, rustic beauty and dramatic flair to any kitchen.
Walnut: a rare, richly-grained wood that is robust yet beautifully delicate.
Beech: an elegant choice with a prominent grain pattern to interest the eye.
Iroko: the golden shimmer after being freshly oiled gives off a tone that is uniquely alluring.
Bamboo: these are not only deeply beautiful and naturally watertight, but so sustainable too.
Ash: similar to oak in many ways, it is commonly used due to its resistance to splintering.
Sapele: often compared to mahogany due to its hard-wearing nature and beautiful grain.
Wenge: a dark hard wood that is so durable it is often dubbed ‘the granite of woods’.
Zebrano: this boasts distinctive markings with narrow veining or “streaks” of colour, like a zebra.
Maple: the honeyed hue gives a subtle warmth which is part of the reason they’re so popular.
Cherry: this option will inject a brightness into your kitchen that can’t be imitated.
With so many beautiful options to choose from, we’re always here to help our customers choose the perfect species by talking to you about the end goal for your kitchen and how these different wood countertops can help with that.
Deciding on the Durability of A Wooden Worktop
Even the most dense hardwood can be that much more forgiving and soft than a stone worktop, which is another reason it is so popular. This doesn’t just mean they are the perfect material for creating bespoke counters to fit every angle of your kitchen, because it also means, should you drop a wine bottle or other fragile items, they are much less prone to shattering than with a stone countertop.
Of course, because wood countertops are that much softer, they can be susceptible to scratches, but this is only an issue when the wood is not well maintained. Luckily, with the right care, your wooden worktop will last a lifetime — and if you do accidentally make a few minor scratches, your wooden worktop can be gently sanded down to fix this issue.
Proper Ways To Protect Your Wooden Worktops
Whether you choose oak, walnut, beech, iroko, ash, maple or bamboo, with the right care your wooden worktop will last a lifetime, which is why we use a protective water-resistant finish on all of our wooden worktops to prevent them from splitting, warping or discolouring.
As for the general maintenance of your wooden worktops, we recommend thoroughly wiping them down regularly with a damp, lint-free cloth and some warm water with a couple of drops of dish soap added. We would also recommend you avoid using multi-purpose cleaning products that contain chemicals as these have been known to cause damage to wooden worktops, while scouring pads can take the protective finish off.
Manufacturing of Wooden Worktops
When considering any species of wooden countertops, it’s so important you understand what craftsmanship is used so that you can have a better understanding of the skills, techniques and quality checks involved. For example, at Olive & Barr, our West Country workshop is home to a team of local artisans that are highly-skilled in their craft and are dedicated to our ethos of excellence. In fact, this is so important to us, that our founder and director, Al Bruce, performs rigorous quality assurance checks on each worktop and cabinet before it leaves the workshop.
We also use state-of-the-art technology to dovetail each of our drawer boxes using solid oak to ensure that quality craftsmanship and attention to detail remains at the core of everything we do.
The Environmental Impact of Wooden Worktops
Sustainability has become so much more than a trending buzzword; it has become an essential part of our consciousness and the way we navigate everyday life, which is something wooden worktops champion. Due to its organic material, wooden countertops have long had a place in sustainability, especially given that so many of the species used to make kitchen worktops are either fully renewable or sourced from an FSC-friendly environment.
Of course, there is an environmental impact of some degree because trees are felled and hauled in order to make a wooden worktop, but that is the extent of its carbon footprint. To ensure this is the case, though, we only use locally-sourced materials that are accredited by the FSC, while using the timber off-cuts to heat our workshops so that we’re not creating any unnecessary waste. By comparison, more solid materials such as laminate and quartz require significant amounts of energy during the manufacturing process.
The Antibacterial Benefits of Wooden Worktops
The last thing that is worth knowing when considering your options is the natural hygiene element of your shortlisted kitchen worktops. For example, a lot of people think of marble surfaces as antibacterial because of its smooth finish. However, in its natural form, marble is actually quite a porous stone and, when it is fitted in a kitchen, it requires a special sealant to prevent bacteria from accumulating. By contrast, wood is naturally antibacterial, which is a big benefit, especially for families with younger children where hygiene concerns are more prominent. What’s more, wooden worktops don’t require excessive scrubbing to clean. In fact, we advise against it, unlike with marble.