Eco-Friendly Wood Countertops
Wood countertops are both beautiful and functional. They bring warm to the kitchen in comparison to the stone or granite or the laminate countertop. Wood countertops are divided into two broad categories- decorative and functional. Decorative countertop is usually meant for a kitchen that doesn’t really go through the work progress of a typical kitchen scenario. On the other hand, the functional countertop is meant for the kitchen that requires a work surface for the usual daily activities in the kitchen. The butcher-block countertop is a perfect example of wood countertop. The decorative countertop is intended for kitchens that don’t involve any cutting or activity that might mar the surface.
The wood grain orientation of a wood countertop is an important aspect while choosing the right surface for a kitchen. Wood countertop can be a hard task to maintain. Thorough research is needed in order to understand the surface that is right for a kitchen. There are three basic ways to position a wood countertop based on a kitchen’s activity. They are- face grain, the edge grain and the end grain. A face grain orientation is more for a decorative countertop as it reveals more of the wood’s grain. Wood planks are glued together with their wide surface as the countertop surface. The edge grain assembles the countertop surface with the edges of the boards in the upright position forming the work surface of the countertop. End grain countertop is constructed by orienting the ends of the bard upwards so as to form the work surface of the countertop. End grain countertop is where most of the cutting boards are made. The end grain countertop is the most durable and offers a complete work surface. It is meant for cutting potentials as well as easy on cutting utensils.
Wood countertop generally needs a finishing touch in order to get that glossy surface be it a functional or a decorative countertop. There are two kinds of finishing touches- one that is temporary and requires periodical application and the other that is, well, a permanent finish. The most common types of wood countertops finish are- mineral oil or tug oil, wax or beeswax or a combination of bees and wax and the polyurethane or the permanent finish. Oil finishes and wax finishes will need to be renewed periodically to maintain the protection of the wood. Polyurethane and other similar coatings are meant to be permanent without the need for reapplication.
Wood countertops that are meant for food preparation surface are finished with a food safe like mineral oil or tuna oil. Oiled surfaces provide some protection to the wood and keep it from wearing out. Moreover, mineral oil is common food-safe oil that is used for wood countertops but it offers limited protection from water. Tung oil offers a greater resistance to water and wetness. A polyurethane finish is intended to be a permanent finish that doesn’t require reapplication unless it gets damaged by cutting equipments or other forms of damage.