Wooden worktops and ceramic sinks - help!

(44 Posts)
batfuttocks Sat 27-Jul-13 20:24:32

We are about to move into a new house and will need to install a new kitchen almost immediately.

It's an old cottage and we are looking at a cream painted kitchen, shaker style units, with a solid timber worktop.

The worktop is oak and beautiful, but expensive. Is it madness to install this in a house with three young children and a feckless husband?! I've read that lots of maintenance is required (this doesn't faze me, if it works) but is it inevitable that we will get black marks if we have a butler or Belfast sink fitted?

If you oil it regularly, does it still mark if the kids place a glass with condensation on it on the top and I don't get there quick enough?

I lOVE the worktop, it's a 60mm deep one and so much nicer than the granite and stone alternatives, but don't want to be weeping in twelve months over the money I have wasted if we go for it.

Daisybell1 Sat 27-Jul-13 23:03:46

I am planning a similar style kitchen and there is no way I am having real wood. Your family may be better trained than mine!

DP is a farmer who is constantly in the kitchen making cups of tea, powerwashing out tea mugs and leaving tea bags all over the work top. I'm on the hunt for the best wood effect laminate...

heartichoke Sat 27-Jul-13 23:34:37

I have solid oak worktops (cheap ones from eBay) that I oiled several times after installation - three times with silver-based specialist kitchen worktop oil (that didn't seem to create a seal or make much difference to the original finish), and twice with Danish Oil from Wickes that made it look all shiny and 'sealed'. Two years later the worktops still look great, and have no marks on them. They're starting to look a little dull, so I'm about to sand them down with a palm sander and put a coat or two more of Danish Oil on them (when I can get around to it, probably in the next year or so...).

I don't have a built-under sink and I think that using them as a drainer regularly is probably pushing it a bit (!), but I'm not particularly careful with the surfaces, and water has been left to lie on them from time to time with no ill effects. I only clean them down with soapy water, rather than chemical cleaners, and perhaps this has helped. They look great - much, much nicer than laminate alternatives - don't let the rumours of 'difficult to keep' put you off!

amistillsexy Sat 27-Jul-13 23:56:35

We have (cheap and nasty) wooden worktops that we inherited when we bought the house 9 years ago.
We have a butler's sink as well, and yes, there are black marks around the taps, and in the general sink area.
A few years ago we had the wooden worktop next to the sink replaced as it had rotted. We simply had it cut away and a piece of white granite inserted as a draining board. It works well, and looks lovely next to the sink.
If/when we replace the kitchen, I'll definitely have the same again, but with much better quality wood for the worktops.

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 07:23:06

I like the idea that we could always cut out the section around the sink in the future, if all else fails! I'm looking at the ikea dromsjo sink as it lies flush with the wall and sits a little proud of the worktop. I imagine that will protect the wood a bit more, especially if we get a ceramic or wooden drainer to sit next to it (I've seen some on eBay which look promising!) oiling and sanding doesn't worry me, nor does getting the odd mark as we're buying and old property and some character in the wood would be fitting. It's black water marks that I'm really concerned about - I think the husband can be trained but the children are more tricky! I've not seen any laminate I like as much as real wood, though we use our kitchen a lot as we are keen cooks and I worry that real wood is nice to look at but may not survive my family!

I'm in love with some 60 thick solid oak from wickes but perhaps I'm better getting something cheaper (although I get the impression the quality stuff lasts longer?) that I won't be so devastated about trashing. Anyone has any experiences of worktops express (prices are astonishing but we'd need to do the initial oiling ourselves) or barnacre?

I'm new to this and the possibilities are killing me!smile

CinnamonAddict Sun 28-Jul-13 07:31:41

Have you looked at worktopexpress online? They do a lovely prime oak thick worktop. We've got it since last year and it can take all sorts of abuse. I oiled it 3 times before installation and once after, with Tung Oil. Takes some time but has no chemicals added to speed up drying time.

We have a ceramic sink as well, a double one which goes all the way back and has a really wide edge, wide enough to put hot pots on.

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 07:38:07

Yes, I was looking at the site last night and the prices were way better than our kitchen fitter.

How much of a pain was it to do the initial oiling yourself? I somehow have a feeling that whilst I can handle the maintenance, i would get the initial oiling wrong or not do a good enough job on the cut edges.

Do worktops express supply stuff like end plates to go near cookers and moisture guards for above appliances?

CalamityJones Sun 28-Jul-13 07:49:08

I have pretty much exactly the kitchen you've described - oak worktops, cream wooden cabinets in a Shaker style and a ceramic Belfast sink. I've had the kitchen for two years and it's taken quite a hammering but still looks great.

The initial oiling was not a big deal. We've put a pretty tray underneath our draining board to protect that part of the worktop from getting drenched, but marks from leaving glasses of water etc haven't been an issue. We have made marks from leaving wet metal on the worktops (eg from rinsing out cans and leaving them on the side) - when those got numerous we simply lightly sanded down the worktops and reoiled them.

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 08:01:21

Belfast sinks are the ones that sit under, right? I love the look of these but assumed the cut edges of the wood would be vulnerable to water staining?

CalamityJones Sun 28-Jul-13 08:06:24

That's not been a problem, the water can't reach that far up before the overflow-y bit deals with it, if you see what I mean?

Jojay Sun 28-Jul-13 08:06:41

Don't be put off. We've gt an Ikea oak worktop that we fitted about 9 years ago. It's not perfect, there's the odd dink and stain but it looks fine to me and it has been abused mercilessly!

Do it!

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 08:11:14

Did you have to oil the ikea top yourself before installing it?

imme Sun 28-Jul-13 08:29:36

We got an ikoru work top from work top express and love it! Yes we had to do the initial oiling ourselves. It took a few days as it needed a few coats and we did both sides but it wasn't particularly difficult. Kitchen was a building site anyway so any drips and mess weren't an issue. I think work top express supplied the Danish oil and some sponge brushes so we just got on with it. We recently sanded it down again and reoiled, I think it's advisable to do this every half year or so. I really like the warm look of it and your kitchen plans sound fab!

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 08:35:51

Is iroko a better option than oak, do you think? The beams in the new kitchen are dark, and the ceilings lower than elsewhere in the house so we had been planning oak but I think with a pale stone floor the iroko could work. I've heard it's more resilient than oak but doesn't sand back as well??

middleagedspread Sun 28-Jul-13 08:39:47

I've got iroko. Round the sink is fine, but cans left rinsed ready to go to the recycling have left black rings.
I've also got granite & next time I'll have all granite.

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 09:04:59

So iroko is not much safer than oak then? Sounds like we may go for the worktops express stuff in oak. That way I haven't bankrupted myself and if it blackens I can afford to get a bit o granite or marble put in around the sink.

So, the jjury is out regarding which sink is better with wood? Belfast with drainer, or butler?

middleagedspread Sun 28-Jul-13 09:16:56

I think Iroko is more hardy. I've got a similar kitchen to the one you describe; cream shaker, butlers sink (double, it's great) & wooden top. I've got granite on the island though.
Don't forget room for a decent sized built in bin.

Pannacotta Sun 28-Jul-13 10:53:29

I am going to have walnut which is tougher than oak I think, iroko isn't usually sustainable which rules it out for me.

The Domsjo sink is a good option with wood worktops, I am getting one or a steel sit on sink like this

PolterGoose Sun 28-Jul-13 10:53:34

I've got oak, has been in 2 years now and I love it. I've got a double Belfast sink and there is blackening on the drainer side but I expected that and it doesn't bother me, it would sand out if I could be bothered! The installer tidied up the sink cutout and I use this as my main prep area and use a Joseph Joseph glass worktop saver for making tea on. Otherwise it is really minimal hassle, I wipe with a damp microfibre cloth and occasionally re-oil it.

theWookiesWife Sun 28-Jul-13 11:11:21

I have a maple effect worktop with a solid maple edging all around - makes it look more expensive than it was ! Our Belfast sink sits 15mm higher than the worktop - as I tend to use it as a prep area rather than washing up - as that's what my DW is for ! But on the odd occasion I do want to drain something - I have a thick chopping block with the 15mm routed out underneath - so it just sits 5cm over the side of the sink and any wetness can be wiped directly into sink that way !
Was a compromise as I have a messy family !! This way still looks good and no oiling or worrying about tea stains !!

CinnamonAddict Sun 28-Jul-13 11:35:56

We have a ceramic sit on 1,5 bowl sink, with drainer. The oiling is time consuming but after that you can forget about it. I slapped on the oil, wiped any excess off after 30 mins.

Pannacotta Sun 28-Jul-13 12:00:30

Polter your idea to use a glass worktop saver in your tea making area is inspired.
Am going to do this once I get my new kitchen...

Goooooooooooooooooooooood Sun 28-Jul-13 12:05:55

I had a wooden worktop but didn't like it as it never looked clean. It also ended up with too many stains despite me looking after it really well.

If you like the 'lived in' look then oak countertops look beautiful but if you are like me, and like things just so, then I woud avoid them.

ExcuseTypos Sun 28-Jul-13 12:11:41

I have the same as Cinnamon. Our kitchen is now 6 years old and the only stain has been where some bleach spilt when I was cleaning the sink. I didn't notice it and so it has left a mark behind the taps. Everywhere else is fine and I have a 2 teenagers and a messy DH who cook lots too.

Just go with what you like or you'll possible regret it.

treacleturkey Sun 28-Jul-13 13:08:15

I had thick wooden worktops from Worktop express put in about 8 weeks ago now. I had to oil them several times (but its quite fun!) but i already have several rings where mugs have been placed, and one black ring where my bf dumped a metal can when i was away for 24hrs! shock smile

They do look lovely but require constant care and non-dumping of mugs/plates etc! Have to be really careful of water splashes around the sink.

i bought a glass worktop saver and tend to dump stuff on there instead!!

treacleturkey Sun 28-Jul-13 13:11:32

I have Walnut worktops by the way.

CinnamonAddict Sun 28-Jul-13 13:24:00

I would strongly recommend oiling them BEFORE installation. At least twice. Then after it's in once more. Both sides and round all the edges. I think that's worktopexpress' recommendation as well.
After oiling you see which side is "nicer", otherwise you might end up with imperfections in the wood which could have been hidden on the underside.

I have a glass worktop saver where I dump my cooking spoons on, the kettle area is fine without any savers.

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 16:21:31

Thank you,all great advice. I'm just double checking quotes from various places, then I need to stick my many where my mouth is! Any views on wickes vs schreiber vs howdens for units (solid oak). Love the Tiverton bone from wickes but planning on comparing before ordering.

Pannacotta Sun 28-Jul-13 16:35:52

Benchmarx (trade arm of Wickes) is cheaper than WIckes.
Howdens and Benchmarx are similar price wise (around here anyway, but it seems to vary).

fossil971 Sun 28-Jul-13 16:58:59

I would recommend Osmo/ hardwax oil as here. It's completely waterproof, no worries regarding cups, water etc. I have used it on a lot of wood surfaces in our house over the years.

We have used the thinned version on our teak worktops with no problems, although they are reclaimed and one length stubbornly soaks up the oil and won't hold the satin finish, I think the teak has too much oil of its own.

I have no idea why so many suppliers of oak worktops persist with Danish/tung oil - perhaps because they aren't the ones who have to keep wiping and re-oiling for ever.

fossil971 Sun 28-Jul-13 17:02:02

Oh btw the DOMSJO is a lovely sink but a bit of a pig to fit into non-ikea units which are a couple of cm different in size. We had to pack our units 2cm out from the wall and there's a gap between the bottom of the sink and the door under it still waiting after 18 months to have a strip of wood to cover it

noddyholder Sun 28-Jul-13 17:04:25

You do need to maintain if you want them to look good.

valiumredhead Sun 28-Jul-13 17:22:47

I use cold wax on my oak work tops which is better than oil.

kitsmummy Sun 28-Jul-13 17:26:09

I agree that it's possible to keep them looking nice. Definitely oil beforehand but be careful which oil ou choose - Danish oil will give a shiny finish, whilst tung oil will give a much more satin finish which is what I wanted - much nicer than Danish/shiny IMO

valiumredhead Sun 28-Jul-13 17:36:30

I've had mine for 6 years and have no problems. I would never have anything else.

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 18:58:49

Just retreading the replies and the comment about the dromsjo sink.

Cinnamon, where is your sink from?

CinnamonAddict Sun 28-Jul-13 19:20:09


That's the one but I didn't buy from this website, I can't remember. It was £200. Our carpenter made the kitchen, I bought everything else (worktops, sink. tap, oven, hob, extractor) online. The carpenter was same price as Ikea btw, but I painted the cupboards myself.
Just to give you even more ideas to confuse you grin

fossil971 Sun 28-Jul-13 21:26:06

Those big ceramic sinks are like a French design, I thought of getting one too after staying in a villa which had one. The campsite we were at last week had 6 of them in a row for washing up! They are great if you have the space.

Beamur Sun 28-Jul-13 21:30:48

My Mum inherited wood worktops when she bought her house. She has done virtually no maintenance and they look fine, but the people who installed it put in a butler sink without a proper drainer which is a total PITA.

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 21:36:39

Probably a bit short on space but beautiful sink.

Carpenter? At ikea prices? confused

<brain meltdown>

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 21:37:08

<brain in meltdown>

CinnamonAddict Sun 28-Jul-13 21:54:38

Sorry grin
We were planning an Ikea kitchen all along but after we went there (several times) got fed up with their "filler spaces" meaning space we couldn't fill with cupboards because our measurements were not standard. I had certain things in mind - big cutlery drawer, small drawers for cooking spoons etc, open shelves, higher worktops, etc ...
Carpenter gave me a quote for the cupboards and doors, assembly, etc. and came to roughly same amount. I did paint it all (4 times, inside and out) along their assembly, which took me about 3 weeks. So to be fair, if you're not crazy enough you stay clear of this option. Not sure I would ever do it again.
Our kitchen is the standard 1930s kitchen - with the wall knocked out to the dining room, kitchen roughly goes 80cm into dining room. Not huge, but very functional <whisper> and beautiful, I love it. Had the plans up while we were gutting the place and everyone (plumber, electrician, roofers ...) made alterations and suggestions on it - quite amusing. Like a giant brainstorming kitchen plan (while we had actually no kitchen at all for 3 months) And tbh some things I would never have thought of. After almost one year I would not change a thing in the design and layout. Certainly not my sink <strokes sink>

batfuttocks Sun 28-Jul-13 22:07:44

Ah, we'll we have a baby due in four weeks, so perhaps the painting (as well as the oiling!) would push me over the edge smile

Your kitchen sounds beautiful. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the options! However need to crack on with some decision making as I'm not sure it will be much fun having a protracted period with no kitchen whilst busy with a newborn and two bigger children on summer holiday!

CinnamonAddict Sun 28-Jul-13 22:22:23

Aaah, no, stay clear of my version grin

I would still go for what you love, pay someone to oil it twice before installation and then forget about it. We are a messy family and the wood can take it.
Good luck with your move, kitchen, birth...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now