Best Wood for Countertops For Kitchen & Bath (Affordable to High-End)


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Baking ingredients on wooden countertop
Baking ingredients on the wooden countertop (Image: FrauLehrerin)

Going in for a wooden countertop is something that might not appeal to you. You would probably be in favor of the variety of other materials that you can get for countertops today instead of wood. In this article, we examine why a wooden countertop could end up being the right choice for your kitchen or bathroom.

You can get several advantages with wooden countertops. However, the wood you choose is a critical consideration. Once you see what benefit you can get from having countertops made of wood, you will wonder what wood to use. Here, we highlight some of the best wood for countertops for a successful kitchen project or even for your bathrooms if they are spacious enough.

Best Wood for Countertops

Once you have decided to get wooden countertops installed in your kitchen or bathroom, you need to select the wood. Here are some of the most popular types of wood for countertops that you can use:

Hard Maple

Hard Maple 1.5" Commercial Top - 36" Wide
Hard Maple 1.5″ Commercial Top. See on Amazon.

The smooth texture and straight grain of hard maple offer a suitable option for a wood countertop. Add durability and resistance to abrasion to the list of benefits, and you’ve got a great countertop that will last for decades.

Salient Features Of Hard Maple

  • Appearance: Creamy-white to a light brown or dark golden brown. Straight grain with a beautiful texture.
  • Durability: Extremely durable
  • Hardness: 1,450 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.6-0.75 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work with
  • Cost: Expensive, but cheaper than other hardwoods

Cherry

John Boos CHYKCT10930-V Countertop - 109" 109" W x 30" D x 1-1/2" thick Cherry w
John Boos Cherry Countertop. See on Amazon.

Cherry is the go-to wood for all varieties of furniture in America. Hence, there is no wonder that this wood occupies a prominent position in constructing wooden countertops. The subtle red hue of cherry wood tends to darken with age, adding to the elegant appearance of the surface of the wood. You can get more information about cherry wood in another interesting post of ours, entitled “Cherry Wood FAQs.

Salient Features Of Cherry

  • Appearance: Reddish-Brown
  • Durability: Dents and scratches easily
  • Hardness: 950 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.38-0.56 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work with, glues well and easily takes screws and nails
  • Cost: Moderate to highly-expensive

Hickory

Forever Joint 26" x 38" Butcher Block Wood Top (Hickory)
Forever Joint 26″ x 38″ Hickory. See on Amazon.

Hickory, considered to be the “Hercules” of American wood, makes extremely robust tabletops and durable wooden countertops. The light brown shade with a smooth, straight grain makes the surface appealing to the eye. However, this wood tends to warp and crack with prolonged exposure to moisture. Hence, you will need to ensure that you use a proper sealant.

Salient Features Of Hickory

  • Appearance: Light brown with dark brown overtones
  • Durability: Strong wood but prone to warping and cracking in high humidity
  • Hardness: 1820 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.83 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work with but with chances of tearout. Glues well and takes stain readily.
  • Cost: Expensive, but not as expensive as oak or walnut

Teak

Teak Counter Top With Oil Finish 1.5inch Thickness, Kitchen Counter & Island Tops, The Modi
Teak Counter Top With Oil Finish. See on Amazon.

Teak, a tropical hardwood, comes from the Pacific coast and Asia. It is reliable and sturdy, and those who have exotic tastes will find it appealing. Teak contains oil that offers natural resistance to moisture and insects, making it a preferred choice for wood countertops.

Salient Features Of Teak

  • Appearance: Dark brown to a golden brown
  • Durability: Very durable
  • Hardness: 2,330 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.65-0.98 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Moderately easy to work with
  • Cost: One of the most expensive kinds of wood

Black Walnut

Wood Welded 120" x 25" x 1-1/2" Walnut Counter Top | 1-1/2" Thick, 25" Wide
Wood Welded 120″ x 25″ x 1-1/2″ Black Walnut Counter Top. See on Amazon.

Here again, is another wood that has the kind of appealing grain that makes it suitable for countertops. Walnut is tough and durable, and the dark brown color with black streaks makes for an attractive wooden countertop.

Salient Features Of Black Walnut

  • Appearance: Dark brown with black streaks
  • Durability: Highly durable
  • Hardness: 1,010 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.49-0.7 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work with, depending on the grain
  • Cost: Expensive

Mahogany

Mahogany by the Piece, 1/4" x 5" x 24"
Mahogany wood. See on Amazon.

The rich brown color of mahogany makes it a good choice to use on a wood countertop. The dull, smooth finish that mahogany gives you is unique to the wood itself. Although not recommended for cutting boards, you can use mahogany to make a classy countertop for your kitchen or bathroom.

Salient Features Of Mahogany

  • Appearance: Blood red to reddish-brown to blood red
  • Durability: Extremely durable
  • Hardness: 800-3,840 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 497-849 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to cut but needs to be finished properly
  • Cost: Moderately cheap to expensive depending on how the wood is cut

Why Go in For A Wooden Countertop?

French country island wooden countertop
French country island wooden countertop (Image: Nancy Hugo, CKD)

Wooden countertops or butcher block countertops as they are more commonly known have several advantages as follows:

Cost-Effective

The cost of a wooden countertop will be as expensive or cheap as the wood that you use. However, proper maintenance goes a long way in making your countertops a cost-effective venture. The key to getting long life from your wooden countertops is to seal them regularly. Wipe up all spills promptly.

Can Be Waterproof

If you seal your wooden countertop adequately, you can make it waterproof. For instance, if you use mineral oil, it will make a butcher block countertop waterproof. You would do well to use mineral oil because, unlike plant and seed-based oils, it won’t turn rancid. And mineral oil is food safe as well.

Beautiful Patterns

You get three types of wood grains, edge grain, face grain, and end grain. These different grains get their name from the cut of the wood. Traditional butcher block counters use end grain construction. They are typically extremely thick. The combination of strong grain and extreme thickness makes this type of countertop extremely durable.

Locally Available Material

You may find it harder to find a wood countertop fabricator than one who works on granite. However, your local lumber yard should be able to direct you to a suitable woodworker to make your wood counter.

Heat Resistant Properties

The capacity to withstand heat definitely puts wood countertops at an advantage over the stone ones. You can put a hot pot directly from the stove onto a wooden countertop; you don’t have to worry about developing cracks the way a granite countertop may.

Durable Material

You get a clear advantage with a wood countertop with regards to durability. The most durable material that you can get, for example, like hard maple, will ensure that your countertop lasts for decades.

You Can Use A Knife Directly

Although you probably shouldn’t substitute your wooden countertop for a cutting board, you can cut directly on it occasionally. Ensure that your countertop is clean before you cut anything edible on it. If you keep your knives sharp, you will minimize the chances of developing scratches on the surface, as you only need light pressure to cut.

Conclusion

If you want to break away from tradition and do something unique to your home décor, wooden countertops can be the solution. There are numerous benefits to this category of countertops. The key is to select an appropriate type of wood and maintain the surfaces properly. You can create masterpieces in your kitchen or bathrooms by installing wooden countertops that will not only look great but will last literally for decades.

Featured Image by oliverreh