Fitting Wooden Worktops

Summary: Useful information and facts about fitting wooden worktops and maintaining wooden worktops. Advice on the best surface oils to use and finishing details such as wooden upstands.

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For more information on cutting and fitting wooden worktops, please click on the link.

Hardwood worktops give a timeless look usually often associated with the traditional Olde Worlde type of kitchen but can look equally at home in a contemporary kitchen. There is a large range of alternatives; Oak, Beech, Birch, Teak, Iroko, Cherry, Maple etc.

Teak and Iroko have their own natural oils, which make them naturally more water resistant. They are often used for garden furniture. Beech seems to be one of the more popular timbers for hardwood worktops.

Wooden Work Top

Wooden Work Top

Wooden worktops should be stored flat away from a direct heat source such as a radiator and must be left in the room where they are to be fitted for a few days prior to installation.

All freshly plastered walls and brick/block walls should have completely dried out before the worktop is introduced into the room.

Before installation, most wooden kitchen worktops need to be oiled on all surfaces with a high quality oil, such as Danish oil, Rustic oil, Teak oil etc. At least two coats of oil are needed; special attention should be paid to any end grain as this is always more vulnerable.

After fitting, oil about once a week for the few months and then as and when required. With wooden worktops it is time to re-oil when it starts to appear dull. This may sound a chore but only takes a few minutes and is worth the effort and is all part of the pleasure of owning this type of worktop.

One word of warning; do not store the used oily clothes in an enclosed tin; they have been known in the past to spontaneously combust.

Hardwood worktops have antibacterial qualities, which make them ideal for worktops and chopping boards. Have you ever wondered why butchers use hardwood worktops? Anti-bacterial oils are now also available to treat your wooden worktops.

Prices vary considerably with solid wood worktops. They do not come as one solid piece of wood; they are made up of staves or strips of wood. The staves are joined end to end using a finger joint, which is a very stable, strong woodworking joint.

Most solid wooden worktops are manufactured from selected material and are subject to quality control procedures. These worktops may contain knots, natural colour variations and drying splits as normal features of the product and as many wooden worktops are supplied untreated, it is up to the owner and contracted installer to treat and install them correctly.

Many Hardwood Worktop suppliers source their materials from legal and well-managed sustainable forests, so this is also consideration that you should bear in mind.

Many suppliers also supply solid wooden upstands, which are radiused on one long edge providing an attractive finishing detail to the work surface area. It is also advised that all solid wood worktops are fitted with an upstand, which will require fixing to the wall and not the worktop. The wooden upstand will cover any possible shrinkage of the wooden worktops that may occur.

You might find it useful to go to our video section on worktops and countertops and watch the two films on "oiling wooden worktops" and "worktop end capping". There is also a film about "how to replace a kitchen worktop" in our fitting worktops section.

When fitting wooden worktops it's always a good idea to have a few decent clamps to hand as you will find yourself needing to hold items firmly for cutting, fixing, positioning etc.... Check out our reviews on the following clamps:

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