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.