Oak wood countertops: practical, durable and traditionally beautiful
Wood countertops lend a natural feel to any kitchen. Despite a common misconception that wood is difficult to maintain and not always sanitary, they are actually very practical and durable. Among wood countertops, or any interior wood product for that matter, oak is perhaps the most popular choice (although maple and cherry are top competitors). Like its rivals, an oak countertop usually isn’t made from a single piece of wood, but rather several segments glued together and smoothed over. This style is known as butcher block.
Oak is especially diverse in that it mixes well with other countertop materials, such as natural stone. Oak is popular on kitchen islands or where food prepping is commonly done due to its ability to cut and chop on the countertop. Although, in the interest of countertop longevity, it may be best to use a separate cutting board to avoid blemishes. That being said, oak is easier to maintain than many think. A light sanding and some re-oiling is typically all it takes to erase a scratch.
Oak countertops should be cleaned with just soap and water; abrasive cleaners will damage the wood surface. It should also be periodically sealed with a food-grade mineral oil. The misconception that oak is an unsanitary surface stems from using vegetable oil or animal fats, which can go rotten and breed bacteria.
Oak ranges in price from $30 to $100 per square foot, standard widths ranging from 1-12 feet. Prices do not include backsplash and installation.
Photo Credit: Davenport
Wood countertops lend a warm, natural feel to any kitchen. And despite the common misconception that the material is difficult to maintain and not always sanitary, wood is actually practical, durable and naturally clean.
Among the top choices for wood countertops is oak—and for good reason. Here’s some information to help you decide if oak countertops are the right choice for you.
Oak ranges in price from $30-$100 per square foot, with standard widths from 1-12 feet. This will vary depending on the quality of the materials used and the cost of installation. Get a couple price quotes from local installers to learn more.
Oak has natural properties that protect it from bacteria build-up, making it a great choice for the kitchen.
Oak is extremely durable and can last for decades.
Oak can add warmth to any kitchen.
Oak can warp if exposed to too much moisture.
Oak may be damaged by hot cookware.
The material requires regular maintenance, more so than other countertop options.
With the proper maintenance, oak countertops can look like new for years to come. In fact, they are one of the most durable countertop options available.
Oak countertops should be cleaned with a simple solution of soap and warm water, as abrasive cleaners will damage the wood surface.
Your countertops should also be periodically sealed with a food-grade mineral oil. The misconception that oak is unsanitary stems from using vegetable oil or animal fat sealants, which can rot and breed bacteria.
Common Questions and Answers
Is it necessary to use a cutting board on a wood countertop?
While using a cutting board on wood may seem unnecessary, wood is still prone to nicks and scratches. These often small blemishes can be fixed with a light sanding and some re-oiling—it’s just a matter of wanting to do the extra maintenance.
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