Wood countertops are becoming popular again in modern kitchens. We now know that wooden countertops, when properly cared for, are both long lasting and sanitary. The modern adhesives are strong enough to keep the wood staves bonded together even the butcher block is submerged into the water. The finishing oils (mineral oils) are safe in contact with food products and preserve the wood surfaces.
The solid wood, as a material of choice for counter tops, exhibits incontestable advantages such as:
Imparting a warm, relaxing feeling, the wooden top is the natural complement of any solid wood or veneered cabinetry. The wooden tops will wonderfully go together with hardwood floorings, moldings, cornices and mantels, conferring a genuine sense of balance to your kitchen space.
A hardwood top is very easy to cut to templates and even easier to install. Unlike the solid surface or laminate, wood tops have a minimum of chemical components, which make them extremely safe in contact with foods. Unlike the other countertop materials, any occurring scratch can be easily removed by sanding the area; the wood tops actually constitute the only known surface that can be renewed without employing special tools or requiring special skills. Hardwood surfaces can be used as kitchen island tops, inserted sink covers, sections of countertop, or as butcher block hidden under the countertop that can be pulled as drawer or cart. Your imagination will surely find plenty of other interesting, visually attractive applications.
If properly sealed and installed, a wooden top can literally last a lifetime. Unlike marble, granite or tile, the wooden tops have a great shock absorbing capacity that further assures considerable life span.
For a quite few decades, the plastic and laminate surfaces, due to their non-porous structure were considered much safer than wood for applications such as chopping meat or slicing vegetables. The wood, because of its porosity was thought an ideal surface for harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Staphylococus or Escherichia coli to thrive. However, a study undertaken in 1993 by the microbiologists of Wisconsin Food Research Institute and another one carried out in 1998 at university of Florida discovered the strong antibacterial properties that wood surfaces exhibit, properties that no other cutting surface appears to possess.
According to these studies and to others that followed them, on wood surfaces, bacterial populations disappear quite fast, without external intervention, while on plastic surfaces they persist and actually multiply. Although these properties vary among wood species, the wooden cutting surfaces are increasingly accepted as the first choice of health-conscious individuals.
Hardwood is usually priced higher than laminate but are far less expensive than stone, granite, solid surface, tile or steel.