BVI 593 A CLM March 18, 2016

10 things to know if you are considering a wood counter top

There are many wood species that can be used in kitchen design. Many prefer the visual warmth of a natural oil finish to the coolness of natural stone. But just as stone has its preferred features wood also has its benefits and quirks that may or may not serve your needs in the kitchen. From Walnut to Wenge wood or the exotic beauty of Zebrawood, here are some fast facts on wood surfaces to help you make a smart choice when designing your luxury dream kitchen: #1 -Know your finish. There are 2 main kinds of finishes for wood counter tops. Our vendor, Grothouse Lumber, uses a Durata® finish which creates a scratch resistant and waterproof surface. While this is a nice option for a low maintenance surface, if you plan on chopping and preparing meals, a mineral oil is the best finish for your kitchen. [caption id="attachment_3549" align="aligncenter" width="549"]Kitchen remodel by Past Basket Design in Lake Forest featuring 8" thick checkerboard walnut and maple butcher block.(Kitchen remodel by Past Basket Design in Lake Forest featuring 8" thick checkerboard walnut and maple butcher block.)[/caption] #2 - Got allergies? Grothouse also uses a mineral finish that is safe for people with nut allergies as it does not contain Tung oils. #3 -Refer to the Janka Scale. The softer the wood surface, the easier it is to scratch. The hardest wood is Brazilian Cherry at a 2820 on the Janka Scale, which measures the hardness of wood. #4 - Think temperature. Wood has a visual and natural warmth as opposed to stone counter tops, which present a cool palette not only in aesthetics, but an actual colder surface. #5 -There is a little maintenance involved. Depending on the frequency of use, wood counter tops finished in mineral oil should be re-oiled monthly. If you put your kitchen to good use, make sure you condition your surface frequently. #6 -Invest in a few cute trivets. Never, ever put a hot pan or dish on a wood surface. Use a trivet. [caption id="attachment_3551" align="alignleft" width="1024"]Butlers PantryButler’s Pantry in Door County, Wisconsin by Past Basket Design featuring teak counters.[/caption] #7 - Think beyond the surface. Don't limit using wood in your kitchen design to just the counter tops. Wood can be used as a backsplash... #8 - Ditch thoughts of poor hygiene. An old wives’ tale warned that wood surfaces posed a non-hygienic concern, however, the University of California – Davis declared in a 2005 *study that wood surfaces are more hygienic than a plastic surfaces: “Although the bacteria that have disappeared from the wood surfaces are found alive inside the wood for some time after application, they evidently do not multiply, and they gradually die. More bacteria are recovered from a used plastic surface than from a used wood surface.” - Dean O. Cliver, Ph.D #9 – The choices are endless! There are oodles of looks available in wood: breadboard ends, “live-end” detailing, striped, cubed, reclaimed, with drain boards, with trivets installed… The list goes on and on, so to say a wood surface is unique is not even “scratching the surface.” ;) [caption id="attachment_3303" align="alignleft" width="1024"]Waterfall Countertop in walnut by Grothouse. Design by Past Basket Design.(Waterfall Countertop in walnut by Grothouse. Design by Past Basket Design.)[/caption] #10 – Wood surfaces can be mended. If you do gouge or damage your counter top, never fear, it can be sanded and refinished. A warm alternative, wood is a rich aesthetic to add to your kitchen design. In fact, trends for kitchens in 2016 are calling for an eclectic approach to not only counter top surfaces, but backsplashes as well. We hope our guide has eased this process and put some misconceptions to rest. *Study from UC-Davis