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Why Wood Does Not Work Well as Kitchen Countertops


Kitchen with wood countertops look very homey and rustic, and many people love the effect. The warmth and naturalness of wood work in any type of kitchen, and its beauty and grace increases over the years. Additionally, wood is biodegradable, so if it comes from sustainable sources, it is friendly to the environment. This is why the most popular material for kitchen cabinets is still wood.

With all its advantages, you would think that wood countertops would be a great idea. However, wood does not work well as kitchen countertops as it does for kitchen cabinets. Below are some of the reasons why people opt for granite, marble, or quartz for kitchen countertops instead of wood.

Fewer options

gallery of wood countertops
Despite the beauty of wood, it has certain esthetic and function limitations when it comes to kitchen countertops. The wood has to be sturdy, so softwoods are not good candidates. The best wood species for kitchen countertops are the hardwoods such as Brazilian cherry, walnut, oak, teak, and maple.

Unfortunately, hardwoods grow slowly and in select areas. It is extremely difficult to find sustainable sources for these types of wood, and even if you can find them, they are quite expensive.

Aside from availability, wood for kitchen countertops come in limited colors. Blonde, red, brown, and occasionally black is about the range you have for wood countertops. Of course, you can paint them in the color you want, but that would be a shame as it would cover up the natural look of the wood. It is also not a good idea to use paint for a surface you use for food preparation.

Maintenance heavy

cracked wood countertop
Kitchen countertops are the workhorse of the kitchen, so they need to be able to withstand almost any type of use. Wood is an organic material that does not hold up well to typical uses for kitchen countertops. It warps in the presence of heat and water, it discolors or burns on direct contact to heat, and it scratches easily.

Most people have to be very careful when using wood countertops to avoid these problems, and go through some lengths to seal and sand it regularly. This type of maintenance is not typically compatible to the modern lifestyle, so if you are a busy homeowner, wood countertops could be the bane of your existence.

Water damage

sink on wood countertop
Water is always present in the kitchen, especially around the sink and cooking area. This is not a problem with granite or quartz countertops, but it can be a very big problem for wood.

Wood is extremely porous, and readily absorbs water. In a living tree, this is a good thing, but not so much for kitchen countertops. Water absorption can cause the wood to swell, split, and in some cases, rot, over time.

The best way to protect wood countertops from these effects of water is to make it waterproof by putting a coat of urethane or other plastic material. Of course, these are not food safe, so you should not used them for any surface you use for food preparation. In the case of kitchen countertops, this is practically everywhere.

A food safe alternative is mineral oil. However, if you do that, you have to strip the old coat and reapply a new one quite frequently, depending on use. In a typical kitchen, that means a new coat of mineral oil every month. As with other types of heavy maintenance, it is not compatible with modern lifestyles.
Additionally, you have to be most vigilant in protecting your wood countertops along the sink edges, where constant exposure to water is a real problem. It does not even matter what type of sink you have. If you do not protect these areas from water, it will eventually rot.


on wood counters
Stains also result quite frequently from the porosity of wood, and kitchen counters get all kinds of liquids spilled on them. The real problem with stains on wood is that they tend to go deep once it penetrates, and it is almost impossible to take it out without sanding.
You can prevent stains by keeping liquids away from the surface, and mopping any up as soon as they occur. Since this is not always possible, you have to protect it with some type of waterproof layer that is also food safe.


shipping of wood counters
Wood is quite durable, but not proof against physical damage, especially during transport. Wood countertops shipped long distances are particularly vulnerable. Some manufacturers do make the effort to protect their products by packing them into sturdy crates, but most simply pack them into cardboard packaging. .

Your best bet for an intact countertop is to get it locally or have it made on site. Since wood countertops are not all that popular, it may be difficult to find a reputable supplier for them.


(high price symbols)
Wood countertops cost about the same as or slightly more than quartz and granite countertops overall, depending on the source and type of wood. Since wood has so many issues when used as kitchen countertops, it does not make much sense to prefer it to other, less troublesome, materials.


Wood is a great option for most furniture in the home, including kitchen cabinets. One of the few exceptions is kitchen countertops. If you want beautiful, natural, and durable kitchen countertops that require little maintenance, you are better off with granite countertops.

If you are in the market for wood kitchen cabinets or granite countertops, Cabinet Land Kitchen and Beyond is your best bet in the areas of Chicago, Schaumburg, Arlington Height. Des Plaines, Hoffman Estate, Elk Grove Village in Illinois. We are a local remodeling company with a showroom located in Schaumburg, Illinois.

We work only with the best brands at the best prices compared to our competitors such as Advance Cabinets and Handsome Cabinets. Also we offer better free consultation services and quotes, so you know exactly what to expect from your purchase.

We have the expertise and resources to complete virtually any type of kitchen remodeling – ON TIME and ON BUDGET with top quality craftsmanship that will exceed your expectations.

Visit us today to see what we have to offer. We service Chicago land and have the expertise and resources to complete virtually any type of kitchen renovations – ON TIME and ON BUDGET with top quality craftsmanship that will exceed your expectations.