Despite their beautiful appearance, many peopleare put off having wooden worktops fitted in fear that they will require a great deal of maintenance and cause unwanted hassle. The truth is, whether youchoose oak, walnut or beech to fit out your kitchen, the majority of woods will require some degree of maintenance. However, with the right amount of love and care, wooden worktops can be extremely practical, durable and above all, give your kitchen a certain natural charm and warmth that only wood can create. Try before you buy
It's always worth consulting a joiner before you buy worktops, as some woods will require more maintenance than others. For example, hardwoods like oak and teak are hardwearing, whereas beech will require a little extra care.
It is also worth considering what types of wood are more prone to damage. Certain iron-based metals for example, can react badly with woods that are high in tannins, such as oak and beech. However, as long as your wood is properly sealed, this shouldn't cause a problem. Finishes
A lot of the time, wooden worktops are supplied unfinished, meaning that you are free to choose the look of your worktop before it is installed. On brand new wood, it's a good idea to use wood protector prior to applying oil or wax. Painting your surfaces with several coats of oil or wax can effectively improve their resistance to scratches, marks and water stains.
Make sure that you are prepared to treat your worktops regularly, as typically you will need to re-coat your surfaces at least 3 times throughout the year. You will of course, need to apply the coating more frequently around areas that require more thorough protection,such as the outer edge of the sink.
Hard wax oil is perhaps the most robust and long-lasting protection for wooden surfaces and is ideal for families with busy kitchens. This type of wax is also the most convenient, as it generally only needs to be applied a couple of times a year.General maintenance
Occasionally, excessive water on the worktops can cause the wood to discolor, but as long as you take care to dry them, you shouldn't have any problems. Most wooden worktops are surprisingly easy to clean and can be done using a damp cloth. However, you should avoid using bleach as this can damage the wood and instead opt for a mild kitchen spray if needed.
You can also sand and re-varnish wooden worktops if they become overly stained or worn down. For many, the process of nurturing kitchen worktops can be both therapeutic and rewarding, and as long as you don't mind putting in a bit of elbow grease every now and then, wooden worktops can retain their beauty for years.Other considerations
You may also want to consider having grooves cutinto the wood to drain water around the sink and prevent any discolouration.Using chopping boards and mats to hold metal pans is also a useful way to prevent any damage to the surfaces.While laminate or granite may be a more practical choice for some, there's no denying that natural character of a wooden worktopis unbeatable. Wood generally grows more beautiful with age, and in some cases, marks and stains can give your kitchen surfaces a rustic, shabby-chic look.Article kindly provided by