FAQs About Wood Countertops / Butcherblock
What are the least expensive woods?
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.
What is the cheapest construction style for wood countertops?
The plank construction style is the best value in wood countertops. It has the lowest scrap rate and it’s easier to assemble the slab.
How much do wood countertops costs?
Most people think that wood countertops are the cheaper route. In most cases, this is not the case. Wood countertops are considered a luxury item. Yes, 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 (760) 233-4955 or email Jason Shephard our butcherblock/Wood countertop specialist at and estimator at email@example.com. He will be happy to help you! You can also fill out our Contact us today box. Just get fill out your contact info and Jason will get back to you shortly.
Are there knots in wood countertops?
Some woods have more knots than others but most have some. When the tops are put together they remove as many of these as possible but most tops will still have a few. These are part of the counter top’s character and are not considered defects. If you prefer your countertop has no knots please specify that when getting a quote.
Sometimes I feel the glue joints, Is that normal?
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.
What should I expect when It comes to texture?
Wood has texture and it will vary from board to board and even within the same board. Woodgrain will be denser in some areas and more open in others. This is typical of all woods and is not considered a defect.
Do wood countertops and butcherblock vary in color?
Wood, as you know, is a natural product. Unless requested we do not stain our countertops as 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 they sort lumber and hand-select each board that goes into any given top.
What are the structural considerations of wood and butcherblook countertops?
Many people are familiar with a wood surface in the form of a tabletop 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 cause glue joints to have a 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.
What is the sustainability of wood countertops?
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.
How durable are wood countertops?
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 on an average day. Having a sink in the top adds to the potential issues.
Let’s 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 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 under-mount 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 add rather than subtracts from their overall appearance. Enjoy the process and don’t worry about small nicks and scratches.
Can I set a hot pan on my wood countertops?
No. We recommend using a trivet instead. You can damage the finish and/or the wood if the pan is too hot
Can I have an undermount sink?
Yes. Our countertops are sealed to protect them against water damage.
Can I cut or chop on my wood countertops?
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.
Do butcherblock countertops ever move or change shape?
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.
Do wood countertops crack?
They can develop 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 homeowner.
Do I need to worry about my wood countertops harboring bacteria?
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.