Wood Countertops???

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Forum topic by Straightpiped posted 02-09-2009 08:40 PM 24476 views 1 time favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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89 posts in 4054 days

02-09-2009 08:40 PM

I am going to start my kitchen project soon and would like some insight on Wood Countertops. I will be doing new cabinets and thought that maybe some wood countertops might look nice. I have seen that a couple people have done them but I can’t seem to find any info on how good they are. I don’t want it compared to granite or similar, since those aren’t in the budget. It is a small kitchen. Any real pro’s or con’s?

-- T. Nelson

40 replies so far

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 4089 days

#1 posted 02-09-2009 09:02 PM

The upkeep would be continuous with the use a normal kitchen gets. Look at everyones hardwood work benches then imagine a coutertop…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Karson's profile


35209 posts in 4963 days

#2 posted 02-09-2009 09:06 PM

I put a salvage bowling alley pieces as my counter top. It worked great. I used Pennofin oil for the surface and I’d renew it every year when my wife was out of town. It has an aroma that lasted about 4 days. I’d put the oil on the surface and use a random oribital sander and sand the whole countertop.

Pennofin is made from Brazilian Rosewood Nut oil, kind of like tung oil (made from tongues, I think LOL)

I never had any problem as long as I was in the home. We sold the house later.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 4034 days

#3 posted 02-09-2009 09:06 PM

I can’t think of any “pros” while the cons are numerous. The expense can vary and can actually excede other surfaces. Sanitation is always an issue with wood and food preperation. Durability is also an issue. Sanitation and durability can be addressed with a hard, poured poly coating. But it’s messy and not cheap. Depending upon your location laminates cost about 3 bucks a foot. Tile can be nice but it tends to intimidate people that haven’t tried it before. Tile needs a fairly solid surface and special tools most people don’t have.

View Straightpiped's profile


89 posts in 4054 days

#4 posted 02-09-2009 09:40 PM

I have done and had tile countertops before and don’t want it again. From the sounds of it maybe I will not do the counter tops. I will only be in the house another couple years and it might effect the resale more than it is worth.

-- T. Nelson

View Bahremu's profile


21 posts in 3965 days

#5 posted 02-09-2009 09:47 PM

I’m putting an addition in my own kitchen. The same questions came up in my design stages. In my searches I found wood countertops the most cost effective option. Wood tops are not an issue for sanitation so long as it is a hard and non-porous wood (maple is the favorite usually). Wood is acutally less bacteria harboring then plastic. Wood is gentle on knives. On the other hand, one must finish wood tops carefully. Walnut oil is a standard food-safe finish for wood, but for worry of the nut-allergy sufferers I’d probly stick to mineral oil. If you do your own glue up (being a lumberjock why wouldn’t you?) be sure to use a food-safe glue—I beleive TiteBond is FDA rated for non-contact food use.

Now as alternatives to wood, you can use tile—be it ceramic, glass, or stone. I’ve installed granite, slate and sandstone tile coutertops in my siblings’ kitchens. The process fro tiling is simple: 3/4 plywood screwed to the cabinets, then thinset and pply the tile, grout, seal, and apply a wood edge-band.

You could also go with furniture grade plywood, sealed and edge-banded with solid-wood as the countertop. Even an exotic veneer onto a birch ply base. (think of the possibilities of marquetry! ;)

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Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4688 days

#6 posted 02-09-2009 09:59 PM

We’re doing wood countertops. So far we’ve only got a 4’ section to the side of the stove done, but it is my primary work surface, and I’ve used it for several months.

We looked at pretty much every surface. Everything had potential maintenance issues. Tile was right out because of the issues of keeping grout clean. Granite and concrete can both chip and be heat sensitive, can be acid sensitive, and both need regular refinishing. At least with wood we had a chance of repairing issues in-place, and if we couldn’t do that, easily removing the section and reworking or replacing it.

We always use cutting boards to protect the surface. We looked at regular oiling or refinishing, like we do with all of our wooden utensils and cutting boards (using walnut oil), but went with many coats of polyurethane, which everyone agrees is food safe if you let it cure long enough. So far, knock on wood, the polyurethane is intact, and we’re quite happy with it. Enough so that I expect we’ll be cutting wood for the next cabinet shortly.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Straightpiped's profile


89 posts in 4054 days

#7 posted 02-09-2009 10:06 PM

From what I have read on the interenet Wood Countertops are acutally more sanitary than any other kind.

This had some interesting info.

-- T. Nelson

View cpt_hammer's profile


133 posts in 4375 days

#8 posted 02-10-2009 02:34 PM

I had never thought about wood countertops. I’m going to do some more reading and research. This might be a good idea for my kitchen, even though redoing the kitchen is line item 1001 on the honey-do-list.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 4105 days

#9 posted 02-11-2009 06:33 AM

I think butcher blocks are awesome. My only suggestion is that you only do one smaller piece. Like next to the oven. I personally think a kitchen done with All wood counters is kinda ugly (my opinion only), unless you do walnut end grain ;) If you want it to last and not be ALOT of upkeep, I would also recommend that you coat it with a poly, preferrably salad bowl finish. If you want to cut on it all the time, then just mineral oil, but alot of re-oiling will need to be done…especially in the beginning.

If you are going to make it, make sure you do the glue up right, if not, it can end up comming apart on you.

-- Childress Woodworks

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 4275 days

#10 posted 02-11-2009 06:54 AM

Go with wood. If you’ve got standing water on the counter a lot, you’ll have to keep a close eye for blackening and staining of all kinds…hit it with mineral oil REGULARLY. Don’t be shy with that stuff. Don’t worry about sanitation, most of that is old wives stuff. Wood has all kinds of properties we’re just beginning to understand, such as end grain sucking bad stuff inside of itself, for example. As long as you handle the water and stains, which really isn’t much work as long as you do it before it gets really funky, it’s not hard at all.

Tile is a bathroom. Generally, tile countertops lower the resale value in buyer/realitor eyes. Personally, it doesn’t bother me as long as it looks REALLY nice, but hey, if your goal is resale, keep it in mind.

Concrete countertops are getting hotter every year, and I’m a huge fan…however, if you’re having it made, it’s also the most expensive option, coming in well over $100/sq. ft. But, you can make your own for VERY cheap. There’s some great books out there on how to do it, such as “decorative concrete” which you can find at most home depot stores. Also, there’s some online magazines on decorative concrete you can check out for ideas, and many companies sell pre-mixed bags of material to pour your own contertops, such as Buddy Rhodes
So my vote would be go with butcherblock on about half the counter, and concrete on the other half or so.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View Straightpiped's profile


89 posts in 4054 days

#11 posted 02-11-2009 03:13 PM

Great tips guys. I am going to stay away from mineral oil as a finish. Go with somthing that holds up a little longer. I am also going for a country/western look as me and the wife are a little western ourselves. I think that some wood countertops would add alot. I am going to experiment with one half of my kitchen and I will post up some pictures as I go.

-- T. Nelson

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 4275 days

#12 posted 02-11-2009 08:00 PM

one note on mineral oil…my father was the one who had some BB tops put in the kitchen, and the guy sold him on some finish that would last longer, which was a nightmare…it didn’t do much better of a job, and repairing it is a huge pain, since you really have a lot more work in the sanding and treating…mineral oil from the start would of needed more frequent repair, but those repairs wouldn’t of been much work at all compared to the junk they put on it. There’s still a 10’ span I personally want to strip down and refinish with mineral oil.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

969 posts in 3956 days

#13 posted 02-11-2009 08:41 PM could be a cost effective option with butcher type counters.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View childress's profile


841 posts in 4105 days

#14 posted 02-12-2009 05:10 AM

Man, I recently installed some oak butcher block counters that were from IKEA, and they were horrible!!! First off, they were not even flat, kinda like someone who didn’t know what they were doing took a belt sander to them… When you rubbed your hand across the grain from front to back, it was all wavy. Second, When I cut into them, they were full of voids and the wood must not have been dried well or enough because there was alot of compression in them.


-- Childress Woodworks

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4324 days

#15 posted 02-12-2009 05:30 AM

If you watch HGTV very much you will quickly learn that home buyers and realtors are looking for granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Concrete tops, which can be colored, are also popular. If you are going to sell your house in the very near future, keep in mind the fact that a great and updated kitchen retuns 100% or more of the remodeler’s dollars, and is often the major reason why a house sells or not.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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