Wood Countertops Vs. Solid Surface CountertopsCapitol Design Build
What kind of countertop will you choose for your new kitchen? Wooden countertops have been around essentially forever, and they’re experiencing a resurgence right now. Wood is beautiful and has a sumptuous, natural feel, but is it the best option for a countertop? Is the gorgeous look and feel of wood enough to recommend it in lieu of solid surface countertops? Let’s look at some pros and cons of each.
First, we’ll take a look at wooden countertops. Different types of wood serve different functions, so make sure you speak to your supplier and communicate your needs clearly. Your supplier will be able to help you decide what best to use in different applications like food prep areas or in a counter with a mounted sink. Some good wood species for kitchen countertops include bamboo, Brazilian cherry, Maple, Oak, Teak, Walnut, and Wenge. The cost of a wood countertop can vary widely, from inexpensive IKEA countertops to costly custom-build counters. Here are some general facts to know about using wood in a countertop.
- Wood is more forgiving than solid surface countertops. If you drop something, it’s much less likely to break when it hits a soft wooden surface. However, dropping something is likely to dent or scratch the wood. The good news is that minor scratches and cracks can easily be sanded away.
- You will need to protect your wood countertops. They’re fairly easy to maintain as long as you’ve protected them with a finish like food safe mineral oil. Unfortunately, this finish will have to be reapplied every month. Some food-safe finishes, on the other hand, only need to be reapplied every six months. Think of your countertop as a table instead of a true counter, and protect it accordingly. If you don’t use it for food prep, you can use finishes like urethane or lacquer, which are not food-grade.
- Moisture and wood countertops are not friends. If your countertop will hold a sink, it’s vital that you either surround the sink area with a different surface or finish the wood with a water-resistant finish. Water can cause wood to split, warp, and even blacken.
- Wood countertops are prone to staining. Many of these stains can be removed by sanding, but that ruins the finish. Prevent stains by wiping spills as quickly as possible and reapplying the protective finish frequently.
- One major benefit of wood countertops is their eco-friendly nature. While manufacturing solid surface, laminate, and quartz countertops requires considerable amounts of energy, wood countertops have a small carbon footprint. Because wood is an organic material, it’s highly regarded in the green-building movement, and many species used for counters are fully renewable or gathered from recycled sources.
Now we’ll discuss solid surface countertops, a mainstay in kitchen countertops. A perfect mid-range countertop material, solid surface resembles stone, though it lacks the visual depth of real stone or quartz. Solid surface materials are stable and homogenous, manmade and typically manufactured in sheet form. Corian countertops, introduced by Dupont in the 1960s, were the first solid surface countertops, though many other brands are on the market today. Here, we’ll look at some of the characteristics of solid surface countertops.
- Solid surface countertops are nearly non-porous. Like tile and quartz, they have extremely low porosity, which can mean a cleaner and more sanitary countertop, easy to keep free from bacteria.
- They’re, well, solid. Unlike laminate or tile, solid surface countertops are homogenous, which means the surface material is the same as the inner material. They’re completely the same, all the way through, which makes them stronger and more visually appealing than multi-layered products like laminate.
- A solid surface countertop can be managed with DIY repair. All a homeowner needs to remove scratches is an orbital sander and fine grain sandpaper.
- Obviously, if you can repair scratches, that means they can be damaged. Solid surface countertops are soft compared to some other surfaces, and can’t be used as a cutting board, because knives and sharp utensils will scratch them. What’s more, while they can stand up to boiling water, they may begin to deform at temperatures as low as 250°F. Hot pots and pans should never be placed on a solid surface countertop.
- Solid surface installation is not DIY friendly. It’s easier than stone or quartz, but solid surface still requires professional installation. What’s more, if you’re concerned about the resale value of your home, stone or quartz are better options.
No matter what kind of countertop you choose, Capitol Design Build can help. We’ve been performing custom remodeling since 1989 and building custom, high-end homes in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area for 29 years. We serve businesses and individuals in Virginia, Washington D.C, and Maryland, meeting every need from kitchen renovation and bathroom remodeling to custom home design and building. With experience spanning many disciplines, including engineering, design, remodeling, construction, and customer service, we look forward to working with you. Feel free to shop our website, call us at (703) 436-2069, or contact us online for a free, no-obligation estimate.