Wood Countertops in the Kitchen: Yea or Nay?

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  1. Wood tops are certainly beautiful but maintenance is an issue. With so many other, more practical options such as natural stone and synthetic surface materials such as quartz, wood has to be an accent. I struggle with hardwood floors in my kitchen. While very pretty, in my opinion they are not practical. After a decade, I must now have them refinished to erase the dents and dings accumulated over time. Crossing my fingers that they will look the same and still match the adjoining rooms. The photos in this post are swoon worthy, as are all of your posts, btw. Being a practical person, I think that I agree with you that wood is great in a butler’s pantry, but not around sink areas or even on the busy, center island. Kitchens are the most loved room in everyone’s home.

    • I”m astounded that you find hardwood floors in your kitchen a “struggle”! Are they site-finished? I’ve had hardwood floors in two houses over the years and I have found them wonderful. Yes, I have dogs – at one time I had 5, plus some cats. Yes, my kitchen opens directly to the outside – no mudroom. A good mat at the door makes a big difference – I like the WaterHog mats.

      My daughter also has the same, plus 2 boys – the floors were there before the boys were and boys are now 16 and nearly 19. She also has a SAHH and he’s far from being the careful type.

      Hers have not worn quite as well as mine as she has a satin poly finish on them, as are the rest of the hardwood floors in her house. I have a high gloss (gym floor) finish and it holds up so well. SO easy to give a quick sweep to.

      • My husband wanted the satin finish and I wanted the high gloss finish. I wish we had done what I wanted. Mine need refinished in the walkway between the kitchen and our eating area. Otherwise, I have them in my entire first level and they are still fine.

  2. I found this post very interesting, and I loved seeing all of the beautiful examples of wooden counter tops. We renovated our kitchen 3 years ago and my husband installed ours I had known for many years that I wanted counter tops made of wood, and I have no regrets about our decision. I didn’t have the expectation that my counter tops would always look perfect, but I don’t mind the look of wear and tear since mine are in a kitchen that gets a lot of everyday use. I know they aren’t for everyone or every kitchen, but I’m happy with the warmer and softer look of wood over a stone or marble.

  3. Hi Andrea! We’re in California at the beach and I don’t think we can even buy certain sealers or paints here – even for boats. We’ve had so much rain our gates (plus all the other gates in our neighborhood) are swelling, cracking, rotting, bubbling and generally not functioning. I see repair people working on everybody’s gates all the time (ours too). I would be personally disinclined to use wood in the kitchen for this reason. I do love how wood gates look and wouldn’t change them but no wood in the kitchen and certainly not on floors (we have faux wood tiles that have been great with children, sand, golden retrievers, our life). Other states have more relaxed laws so perhaps they can use products strong enough to make it work in a high traffic kitchen.
    Xo Elizabeth

  4. I love the look of wood counters, but would just have the in butler’s pantry and on island. It adds a degree of warmth and beauty. The rest of kitchen I would have, and do, stone of some sort. Also, wood floors!

  5. If “Escape to the Country” homes are typical of many in the UK, then it appears that butcher block countertops are prevalent there! They never show a house where the countertop is just awful looking.

    But like everything, it truly depends on how one lives in ones kitchen. If there are a lot of things that are hand washed and not dried, but put in a drainer, I would think that even with a rubber mat, water would get under that mat and eventually look pretty awful. If people never wipe down water from the countertop and are “vigorous” when washing dishes, then it’s going to be a disaster around the sink. Glasses with moisture on them put down, wet towels – all will do such a countertop no favors, unless marine spar varnish is used.

    I have an Ikea island cart that has a solid birch top. I used mineral oil and applied it multiple times over a period of a few months. Then my cleaning woman set down an almost empty bottle of toilet bowl cleaner on it – it was wet. Yes, it left a ring. More oil has helped but it’s still there. This is not a problem for me as the cart cost $100 and I don’t require perfection. This past week, she left a pile of wet rags on it – found that in time.

    I love the warmth of it and the contrast from my Glacier White Corian countertops (talk about bullet-proof!). I’d use it in a butler’s pantry in a heart beat (those shown are fabulous – oh be still my heart!), but probably not an expensive mahogany one in my kitchen, even on an island. Too many people one just can’t control who just don’t think.

  6. I have solid wood cabinetry in our kitchen, a darkish reddish hardwood. It’s been fabulous and still going strong. But I didn’t want wood benches. We have light bone coloured corian benches which are a dream to clean and maintain and very forgiving of heavy handed husbands banging down china on them. The bone is the perfect match for the backgound colour of the tiles which are copies if the tiles in Monet’s kitchen at Giverny. I would be concerned about chemicals used in sealants for wood benches. Are they low voc and are there any other toxic materials. This is a kitchen after all. Is it safe to knead bread on or roll out pastry?

  7. Wood counters, especially the examples you found, are gorgeous. True, they need a bit more care and attention but most good things do….and are worth it! Definitely helps to have another surface on a focused work space which also adds to the thoughtful and custom feel in the room. I rarely comment but wanted to use this opportunity to tell you how amazing your work is, the photos and homes you found for this post are beautiful….something you seem to always give your lucky readers! I can’t imagine how you continue to create such a glorious blog every time. “The Glam Pad” in my inbox is always a moment of delight and always lovely time spent reading it. Thank you!

  8. All of these kitchens are gorgeous! However, I personally would not have wood countertops. I don’t even like wood cutting boards! Too unsanitary. While I realize they need to be sealed, I wouldn’t want the upkeep. Never mind the every day dusting! Natural stone all the way! That said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and should have what THEY like. ? Great post!! Thank you! ?


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