From Our Blog
Wood Countertop FAQ’s
Yes it is. There are guidelines for installing gas ranges for all countertops and those guidelines are the same for wood countertops and butcher block tops. Follow those and everything will work very nicely. They can be found in your installation manual for the range.
Yes, all the woods can be stained. This is useful when wanting to move the color a little or go from blond to dark. We don’t have standard stain colors like some cabinets companies though. All the staining we do is a custom color to match a provided sample.
All the blond woods have the best price point. Hard maple, hickory, oak, ash and beach. Hickory is our favorite wood period. It is extremely hard and the color shifts make for a very attractive counter.
The plank construction style is the best value in wood countertops. It has the lowest scrap rate and it’s easier to assemble the the slab.
In this time of constricted budgets we find that many homeowners and trade professionals alike want to know how much a wood countertop or butcher block costs when compared to stone or other material. The simple answer is, it can vary.
That’s a very frustrating answer to a straightforward question, we know. For example if you asked your mechanic how much to fix my car with no other information it would be difficult to estimate because there are so many variables to consider. The best way to find out is to call us at 866-583-4200 or go to our Get A Quote page and fill out the short form. We’re usually very quick to turn your quote around and then you’ll know exactly where you stand.
Ways to save money when ordering a wood countertop.
- We offer tops that are made from mostly 3/4″ thick material with added built up edges to give you a thicker look. They are just as durable and if you don’t know how it’s made you can’t tell it’s not solid. The down side to this is the labor so it provides a great value for larger tops but can actually cost more for smaller tops.
- You can measure and install the top yourself. Check out the video below to see how easy it is.
- If you’re ready to take on more of a project you can order a DIY wood countertop. Learn how to finish a DIY wood countertop.
Some woods have more knots than others but most have some. When we put together a top we remove as many of these as possible but most tops will still have a few. These are part of counter top’s character and are not considered defects. If you prefer your counter top has no knots please specify that when getting a quote.
Yes, this is normal. Throughout the year as humidity levels change glue joints may start to have a texture to them. This does not mean they are coming apart. It is simply the natural movement of wood.
Wood has texture and it will vary from board to board and even within the same board. Wood grain will be denser in some areas and more open in others. This is typical of all woods and is not considered a defect.
Wood, as you know, is a natural product. Unless requested we do not stain our countertops like most cabinet companies or furniture manufactures. This means that if you’re working from one of our samples the actual product you get can vary in color. Color consistency within a top is important to us and we sort lumber and hand select each board that goes into any given top.
Many people are familiar with a wood surface in the form of a table top or piece of furniture. Most of these, even very high end pieces, are made of laminated plywood and veneer. This is done because it is very structurally stable, meaning it moves little in changing climates. A solid wood counter is different. It is made up of large volume planks of wood that can expand and contract up to a ¼” throughout the year. This can causes glue joints to have very slight texture and can cause a top to warp if it’s not properly sealed and secured to its base. These are all natural movements which don’t compromise the structure or durability and are not to be considered defects in the top.
As we all know, wood is a 100% rapidly renewable resource. Pritzker Prize winning Austrian architect and AIA Gold Medalist Glenn Murcutt said “One of the few sustainable materials is timber”. In the production of our wood countertops we use wood from sustainably harvested forests with much of it certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. This process is still in its infancy so not all lumber is certified due to complications in the procedures and storage of the lumber. In efforts to go beyond this we offer Lyptus, a brand name lumber which is 100% sustainably grown in special forests. Even the mills that process the boards are operated on the unusable remnants of the trees. We also offer reclaimed lumber which has been gathered from construction tear downs and river beds.
Are you an architect or specifier? Would you like to learn more about the sustainability of wood? Here’s a great PDF resource from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Products Laboratory.
Many people ask us how durable are wood countertops are? To answer this completely we need to include scratch resistance, impact resistance, stain resistance and water resistance. When you think about it, a kitchen countertop has to deal with a lot in an average day. Having a sink in the top adds to the potential issues.
Lets break this down and deal with the elements of the question individually.
Scratch Resistance Of Wood Countertops
Scratch resistance of a wood countertop is determined by a couple of things. If the wood is sealed with a sealer like the Monocoat, it’s only as scratch resistant as the wood itself. Because Monocoat is an oil finish that is absorbed by the wood it doesn’t have a “shell” that protects against scratching. It can, however, easily be re-oiled occasionally to maintain its water barrier.
If a topical sealer like conversion varnish or polyurethane is used the scratch resistance goes up significantly. Still not as resistant as stone, but if you do get a scratch it’s easy to repair with products like Howard Restor A Finish.
Impact Resistance Of Wood Countertops
Impact resistance is much the same as scratch resistance, in that a top sealed with a penetrating oil will only be as hard as the wood. You can find ratings on woods’ hardness here. Topical sealers will greatly improve this rating by penetrating the woods fibers, hardening and thus reinforcing the wood.
Stain & Water Resistance Of Wood Countertops
Stain and water resistance go hand in hand and are both dependent on the sealer used. The glue used also plays a role in water resistance.Topical sealers will always perform the best for this. Older topical sealers would occasionally peel, allow water rings to appear or, in some cases, completely smother the woods natural texture. New technology has solved those problems. At J. Aaron we use a high quality polyurethane that soaks deep into the wood’s fibers and literally becomes part of the wood. There is nothing that can make them peel, they will never be affected by water or any other common household liquid and do not smother the natural texture of the wood. There are some solvents you need to be careful of. Acetone which is present in fingernail polish remover, is one of these. Penetrating oils like tung-oil and Monocoat are great sealers as well, but don’t have quite the protective qualities as a good topical sealer. The Monocoat is superior to tung-oil. At J. Aaron we’re completely confident in it to provide a very good seal even on countertops with undermount sinks.
Wood is not as hard as granite or quartz countertops. That’s part of its character. If you want your kitchen or bathroom countertop to look the same 5-10 years from now you do not want wood, or marble or stainless steel for that matter. Wood is unique in that blemishes form a patina. Like a leather chair, wood countertops gain character as they grow older. Time and use adds rather than subtracts from their overall appearance. Enjoy the process and don’t worry about small nicks and scratches.
No. We recommend using a trivet instead. You can damage the finish and/or the wood if the pan is too hot.
Yes. Our countertops are sealed to protect them against water damage.
You may if your surface is sealed with mineral oil. Chopping and cutting food directly on a wood counter with other sealers isn’t recommended.
Yes. During different times of the year they will move or change dimension. This is a natural fact of solid wood. Remember that we are not talking about plywood, which makes up virtually all wood furniture. Plywood has a much reduced reactivity to climate change.
They can developed small cracks or checks. These are not considered defects as solid wood will do this naturally. They rarely become structural problems and if desired can easily be repaired by the home owner.
They can warp at times due to changes in the humidity levels. This is not a problem if you follow recommended installation directions.
No. There is no good evidence that wood harbors more bacteria than plastic. There is evidence that many woods actually kill bacteria. Have you visited a real butcher shop of late? Do you see the butcher cutting the choice pieces of meat on granite or stone? No, the butcher uses what his profession has used for centuries – wood – butcher block. And his health inspection certificate behind his counter verifies the ease of clean up and disinfecting.