Wood is a popular choice for kitchen countertop material. A wood countertop is usually referred to as a butcher's block, because butchers in the past did their chopping on a block of wood to protect their counters or tables. The first wood countertops were solid blocks of wood, but manufacturing technology have changed their construction.
Modern wood countertops are usually made of several wood segments or sheets, glued together and planed for a smooth, seamless surface. Common wood countertop materials include maple, red oak, cherry, beech, and mahogany. A wood countertop adds a warm and homey feel to any kitchen, and if properly installed and maintained, can be very functional as well.
Wood countertops have a classic look that fit well into almost all kitchen designs. They can be made to look modern, sleek, and stylish, or roughed out for a rustic country theme. You can choose from natural wood colors such as tan, mahogany, and chocolate brown, or have it painted with unconventional colors for a more lively look. You can get ready-made countertops in classic rectangular or round shapes, or have them custom made with curves and edge details. Your options are endless.
Wood countertops are very easy to install. You do not need much skill or experience to fit a wood countertop onto your counter, although you may need a little help if you have a large countertop. You can even make your own wood countertop, if you want to save money and have full control over your countertop design.
Wood has a natural mechanism that prevents the growth and buildup of bacteria, so you can use your wood countertop as a surfaces for molding, kneading, or rolling dough. A quick wipe with mild detergent and water can get rid of most of the germs and dirt on the surface.
Wood is less durable than most other countertop materials. A wood countertop can easily get damaged by impact, moisture, heat, and cold. A wood countertop needs regular refinishing, cleaning with mineral oil, sanding and buffing to help them keep their appearance and stay functional. You also need to be careful against spills and burns, because damage spreads easily on wood surfaces.
Wood countertops last about eight years at most; the average lifespan is four years. This is very short compared to stone countertops, which can last for decades. Wood naturally oxidizes with age, so they tend to change color over time. While the color change may not be much of a disadvantage, oxidation makes a wood generally weaker and more brittle. Over time, wood cannot help but deteriorate. When a wood countertop reaches such a point, refinishing can only add a couple of weeks or so to its shelf life.
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