5 Wood Countertop Materials To Consider In Your Kitchen

Date: March 27, 2022
Author: Jon Smith
Need A Local Countertop Professional? We have local professionals standing by to service you:
Find A Pro

Wood countertops in the kitchen add warmth and work with almost any style of interior design. Wood countertops have noise dampening properties, which makes them a great choice for busy households. Although you can cut directly on wood countertops, most people prefer to use a cutting board to keep their countertops looking great and scratch free as long as possible. When properly cared for, wood countertops can last a lifetime.

One of the best things about wood countertops is the number of wood species that can be used as a countertop material. In addition to this, there are several basic style options that can be used, including end grain, edge grain, and flat grain. Finally, a number of inlays can be fabricated into your wood kitchen countertops, including borders, stripes, and checkerboard patterns.

Understanding the Different Grain Options

There are three basic grain options to choose from when it comes to wood countertops. Each grain option is created differently and offers a number of benefits. We will describe each type of grain as well as the best areas to use the countertop.

Edge Grain

Edge grain is the most common type of wood countertop. This style is often referred to as butcher block countertops. Thin slats of wood are stacked on their sides and glued together. The narrow edges form the countertop surface. The strips can be continuous lengths across the depth of the countertop, or different length pieces are finger jointed together.

Edge gain countertops are great for large areas like an island countertop or a long stretch of cabinetry. The wood only moves across its width, which makes it more stable than other grain options. Because of the way the countertop is made, it is less expensive than other wood countertops.

End Grain

End grain butcher block countertops use blocks of wood that are turned on end and glued together. Because of the design of this type of countertop, it is more labor intensive and requires more pieces of wood. You can expect to pay around 40 percent more for these end grain countertops than edge grain countertops. Due to the design, there is an increased risk of movement in end grain countertops. To reduce the risk of warping or cupping, the end grain countertop is cut thicker.

End grain countertops are often used for cutting boards or areas of a butcher block countertop where cutting will take place. End gain is easier on knives than other wood countertops. Furthermore, they will not show blade marks as easily as other grain options. End grain countertops are often chosen for their checkboard look rather than their functionality.

Face Grain

Face gain wood countertops, often called plank grain or flat grain, use 4 to 12 inch wide boards. These boards are laid flat, and the sides are glued together to form a seamless surface. This design highlights the beauty of the natural grain and patterns of the wood. Because this grain option exposes soft areas of the wood, these countertops are at an increased risk of developing dings, dents, and scratches.

Face grain is best used for bar tops, desks, table tops, or non-working islands that are used primarily for dining. Face grain wood countertops for kitchens are another affordable option. However, it cannot withstand the demands of a working kitchen.

The Top Five Wood Countertop Materials to Consider for Your Kitchen

When you first begin shopping for wood countertop materials for your kitchen, you will realize the sheer number of species that can be used to create wood countertops. Although any of these countertop materials can be used for kitchen countertops, there are a few that stands out and remain a favorite among homeowners. Here are the top five kinds of wood to consider when purchasing wood kitchen countertops.

Cherry Countertops

When cherry wood is used as countertops in a kitchen, it adds warmth to the space. This hardwood has even grain and a plethora of color variations that increase the interest in your kitchen design. The deep red colors in cherry countertops can feel dark if lighting and paint colors are not carefully considered.

Cherry countertops look beautiful when placed atop white or black cabinetry. For best results, we recommend using recessed lights throughout the kitchen space and LED under cabinet lighting. Cherry countertops can withstand everything you throw at it. It is hard to scratch or damage these beautiful countertops. However, we always recommend using trivets and cutting boards to protect the surface of your countertops.

Maple Countertops

Maple is one of the top wood species used for countertops. This species of wood is revered for its light coloration. The light hues of the wood blend with almost any kitchen design and cabinet color. Maple wood countertops also help to add an open feel to your kitchen.

The movement and veining in maple are minimal, which means it can be stained to mimic the look of other wood countertop materials. This moderately priced wood kitchen countertop is a great choice in busy kitchens; however, you must be aware that there are soft and hard species of maple. You want to choose a hardwood maple to ensure it can withstand the demands of a busy kitchen.

Oak Countertops

Oak is a hardwood that creates a light, clean feel in the kitchen. Oak is a gorgeous wood that can have grains of deep browns, grays, or even blues. The warmth of this wood can be used atop light colored cabinetry as well as dark colored cabinetry. When oak countertops are placed on white cabinets, it brings warmth to the kitchen. When used with dark cabinets, oak countertops can lighten up the kitchen. Oak countertops are budget-friendly and are often the preferred wood countertops in the kitchen.

Oak countertops can withstand everyday use in the kitchen; however, care must be taken to minimize damage. Use cutting boards to prevent knicks and cuts in your kitchen oak countertops. In addition to this, always use a trivet for your hot pots and pans to prevent burning or scorching your oak countertops.

Walnut Countertops

Walnut kitchen countertops are used to add warmth to a kitchen. This gorgeous wood is revered for its beautiful colorings which range from golden brown to near black. Walnut works perfectly in traditional kitchens as well as modern kitchens with splashes of bright colors. We recommend placing walnut kitchen countertops on white countertops.

Walnut is an extremely durable hardwood, which means it can stand up to the demands of a busy kitchen. Whether you love entertaining or you prefer to cook for your family, walnut countertops are a great choice. The gorgeous grain and color variation adds interest and dimension to your kitchen. When you use walnut countertops, your kitchen will be the envy of your neighborhood.

Wenge Countertops

Many people have never heard of wenge countertops. This wood countertop material is an exotic hardwood that looks great in modern kitchens. The color of wenge ranges from a beautiful pale yellow to dark brown. The heartwood, which is typically used in countertops is dark brown. The wood features black veins and white lines, making it absolutely gorgeous.

Wenge is extremely durable and resistant to abrasion. When wenge is sanded smooth and a glossy, waterproof finish is used, the wenge wood countertop will provide a lasting finish. Wenge looks beautifully when used in a black and white kitchen as these colors pull the black veins and white lines found in wenge.

Final Thoughts

There are several things that you must look for when shopping for wood countertops. First, make sure that the wood kitchen countertop is made of solid wood. MDF or particleboard with a wood veneer can swell if exposed to moisture. Furthermore, you cannot sand and fix nicks or stains. Then, choose a wood species that will work best with your lifestyle, your interior design, and your kitchen. Finally, choose a countertop specialist who has the experience needed to assist you in choosing your solid wood countertops. The countertop specialist will then ensure they are properly installed.

Wood countertops will last a lifetime when properly installed and cared for. There are many species of wood that can be used as wood countertops for kitchens.  Consider one of the top five wood countertop materials described above. You will be awarded with a warm and inviting kitchen that will make your friends, family, and neighbors envious.

Need A Countertop Professional? We have professionals standing by to service you: FIND A PRO
Top Pages:
Best Granite SealerBest Kitchen SinksBest Kitchen FaucetsBest Bathroom Faucets
About Jon - Website Owner

Jon Smith

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith. I have been in the granite business for many years and have worked my way up from an installer helper to an installer and then a countertop business owner. 

I started my countertop company with very little and grew extremely fast because of my knowledge and helpfulness. I started this countertop resource for 1 main reason. That reason is that there are no countertop websites with all the correct information and none of them are from an industry expert like myself. 

I am still in the trade every single day installing countertops, educating people on the type of material they are using for their homes, and making people's dream kitchens a reality.
Copyright © 2019-2021 CountertopAdvisor.com All Rights Reserved! All photos used are copyright to their respective owners.