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Topping with Wood

September 4, 2023

Wooden countertops is where the action takes place. 

The lifespan of a kitchen’s decor is presumed to be less than a decade. Designers are well-aware about this fact and thus are particular while designing the kitchen in terms of styles and materials used. There are designs which are classic and then there are trends that fluctuate, depending on the fashion sensibility of those times. Wood, as a material, falls under the classic category. Known for its natural simplicity and elegance, wood has been an essential part of kitchen decor. From cabinets to countertops, it has been integrated in every which manner.

The kitchen countertop is a platform where a staggering amount of activity takes place. Typically, around 24 inches in length, it is designed to slightly overhang the standard kitchen base cabinets.

A homeowner, today, has an endless option of materials to choose from. But when it comes to timeless beauty, designers are opting for wood. The earthy tones and rich texture of the material have ensured its constant presence in the market.

Exploring wood

Today, architects and designers are amalgamating all kinds of wood in the kitchen area. In fact, to give an interesting twist to the kitchen decor, they are adding a wooden top to an island while using a different material for the perimeter counters, offering visual contrast.

In a more traditional sense, hardwoods such as maple, oak or timber are most often used for wooden countertops. Though architects continue using these materials, they are now also promoting homeowners to widen their choice.

Of late, reclaimed wood seems to have caught the attention of designers and architects all over. Designers are salvaging wood and restoring their beauty by integrating the wood in various areas of the kitchen, particularly countertops. Since here the wood is restored, the material is procured from older trees which are sturdier, as opposed to countertops made from younger ones. Moreover, withstanding years of harshness gives the wood a unique appearance.

The kitchen countertop is a platform where a staggering amount of activity takes place. Photo Courtesy- Unsplash

A great many designers are inclined towards reclaimed wood from an environmental perspective as well, as it is basically recycled. From the same perspective, another kind of wood that is appealing to the designers is cork. Moving beyond the wine bottles, cork is now being used in the kitchen space as well. Since the material is dense, lightweight and sturdy, designers are integrating cork countertops in the kitchen. Along with adding to the aesthetic appeal of the space, cork wood has a sound-cutting property and has strong resistance to heat and water. The versatile material also has anti-bacterial properties. Though cork is a rare sight in India, designers are encouraging homeowners to opt for the material.

Another material that is high on durability is laminated wood. Made from engineered materials like chemicals and paper, laminates are preferred because of their easy maintenance and cost effectiveness. Designers use this frequently as they are stain-proof and resistant to water, light acids, steam, moisture and abrasion.

The upside of wooden countertops

The greatest appeal of the wood lies in its beauty. Wood seamlessly fits into contemporary designs, yet radiates an age-old beauty. It can be chic along with being cosy and warm. The material can create a rough and rustic look without compromising on style. Moreover, installing wooden countertops, compared to other materials, is simple.

Another strong factor is the green benefits of wood. With its inherent anti-bacterial properties, wood is naturally resistant to the growth of bacteria. Besides being anti-bacterial, wood is the most eco-friendly material homeowners can go for. As mentioned earlier, the use of reclaimed wood is on the rise, which involves recycling of old wood for use in contemporary kitchens

With its inherent anti-bacterial properties, wood is naturally resistant to the growth of bacteria. Photo Courtesy-Unsplash

Countering the countertops

After going through the upside, glancing at the flip side is also in order. One of the main reasons that designers hesitate to use wood is that it is extremely damageable. Excessive amount of moisture, heat or cold can harm the wood. Though there are types of wood that have high resistance against fire, wood, by its very nature, is a fire hazard.

Moreover, the lifespan of the material is generally estimated to be between four to eight years at the most. This, in comparison with stone or stainless steel, is substantially less. The reason for this early degradation is because wood naturally oxidises with age, so it needs regular maintenance with regular treatment. Compared to other materials, wood is easily subjected to dents and scratches. To deal with this, wood can be sanded to remove scratches and then resealed.

Wood is an integral part of the kitchen area for centuries together. Even as other trends gain prominence, wood has always prevailed. The timeless beauty of the natural material has moved above pros and cons, alluring contemporary and traditional designers, alike.