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Are wooden kitchen worktops really a high maintenance choice for kitchens?

(78 Posts)
reastie Fri 04-Jan-13 13:04:48

Would appreciate any input from anyone who has wooden work surfaces or has experience of them. They look so lovely, but we're put off by the potential staining/looking mucky after a few years. Any advice to keep it in good condition or whether to steer clear entirely?

SheepyFun Thu 24-Aug-17 15:55:50

We had teak work surfaces which were about 40 years old in a rented house, and they were pretty much bomb proof (we, or more accurately our friends, tested them pretty hard - the wok straight off the heat didn't leave a mark).

We were given oil to put on them every few months, but I don't know what it was. The surfaces were very dark though, so may have been treated with something more than oil?

They weren't sanded in the 5 years DH was there, and still looked really good. However they were ever so slightly sticky, and used to strip the print off plastic bags! The stickiness could have been due to a very well used kitchen with no extractor - we've no similar problems in our current house, but have melamine surfaces and an extractor, so hard to know.

The kitchen with teak work surfaces had a double drainer sink, which was stand alone (cupboards underneath, but not contiguous with any other work surface). We weren't particularly careful with spills, but having the sink separated meant there wasn't much liquid standing around on the work surfaces.

flolockwood Thu 24-Aug-17 15:32:50

We have them in our house and honestly.. would never even consider a house with them again! The upkeep is ridiculous and never feel like I can get them completely clean and sanitised for fear of destroying the finish. Doesn't help that we are renting though..

wowfudge Thu 24-Aug-17 11:36:03

Lacquer is varnish - if you have applied oil the worktops will need to be sanded back to remove the oil first. Ours were oiled using Danish oil when they were installed. I have since used Osmo Polyx Oil on them; it's a mix of oil and wax. I had to sand the oiled tops back first though. It was worth it as the Osmo looks better and gives a harder wearing finish.

drspouse Thu 24-Aug-17 08:48:29

We loved ours in our old kitchen. DH sanded and oiled about every 6 months.

wilsongr Thu 24-Aug-17 08:47:19

Having oiled our wood tops but having read about the comment on floor lacquer I am asking if we can lacquer the tops having oiled them?

Mick081 Tue 04-Aug-15 10:32:35

I have a wooden worktop light oak for about 10 years and have had it sanded off and re-oiled once. I have found it very time consuming and labour intensive to maintain and am currently looking for a cost effective durable material to cover it with. I would not ever consider having a wooden work top again.

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DTM218 Sun 25-Jan-15 11:10:23

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hilary2312 Fri 27-Jun-14 16:34:55

I have recently had a new kitchen with an oak worktop that my builder wanted me to have. I failed to read about the maintenance required before it was installed and was heart broken after the installation feeling I had made a major mistake.

However after thinking about getting a loan to replace it with a granite work top , I found recommendations on the Internet - including here on Mumsnet- for an oil product called Osmo.

My builder kindly came back and re-sanded the whole worktop to remove the Danish Oil he had used and between the 2 of us , we applied 4 coats of Osmo Top Oil (clear Satin-Matt) and wow.......the surface is amazing.

The water does not seep through into the wood - it looks and feels fabulous and I honestly can say I would never have Granite again!!

I know I have to re-oil it (not sure how frequently but am guessing maybe every 4 months or so)...but having done it now , it is so easy to do and actually quite fun.

So if you are like I was , in despair and feeling I had ruined a lovely new kitchen by having an Oak worktop - just buy and try Osmo and you will never look back.

Thank you Mumsnet for suggesting it , I am so grateful - and you have saved me about £3-4,000 (in fact even Granite Transformations which I also considered would have been £2,500)

sophiecentaur Sun 18-Aug-13 23:52:53

We have recently fitted iroko worktops and they look absolutely smashing. Lovely to touch and stroke, too! For people who don't want to tidy up as they go, in the kitchen, then they are probably not destined to last well. But there's 40mm of thickness of the same stuff beneath the surface so you can always get below any discolouration. Cost-wise, timber is cheaper than anything else that's got any class at all. Hot rods and some cast iron trivets are the answer to protecting from hot pans.

IWipeArses Tue 18-Jun-13 15:59:48

It's not hot pans that's done ours in its wetness. Black rings. I've got sandpaper, wood bleach, wood oil. Just need several evening with nothing better to do to actually make some progress on it.
The tiles here are a pain in the arse too. Lino and plastic counters all the way as far as I'm concerned. Kitchens should be functional and easy to use.

valiumredhead Tue 18-Jun-13 15:37:43

Wax not ex!grin

valiumredhead Tue 18-Jun-13 15:36:50

Oh I use that fiddes ex for the oak furniture in the front room, will try it on the work tops.

valiumredhead Tue 18-Jun-13 15:34:21

I would never put a hot pan down on any work surface so that has never been an issue.

valiumredhead Tue 18-Jun-13 15:32:34

Square dog-sand them down and use ikea mineral oil every now and again, it soaks in instead of sitting on top.

I'm stunned at the stories on this thread of black and damage etc. Had ours 6 years and no problems whatsoever apart from when I dropped a heavy sauce pan and chipped a bit which easily sanded down and I was very grateful I didn't have laminate.

valiumredhead Tue 18-Jun-13 15:27:44

I would never have any thing else I love our wood work tops!

IWipeArses Tue 18-Jun-13 15:21:05

They're a fucking nightmare. I'd never had thm before and landlord hadn't mentioned anything about them and I'd ruined them before I realised they needed special care. Restoring them is going to be hellish work. Avoid unless you enjoy tending carefully to counters, drying them, putting mats all over them etc.
they're probably ok if you have a dishwasher or don't cook though.

clb Tue 18-Jun-13 13:56:42

I have cherry wood work surfaces in my kitchen. Installed about 15 years ago. I think it still looks lovely, with a warm gleam to it which was why I initially chose it, though there are marks and a few little stains. I don't mind them at all.

It gets that Osmo stuff put on it perhaps twice a year - I agree that it works much better than Danish oil.

It's never been sanded. We do have one of those drop-in ceramic sinks which includes a draining board, so there's no particular problem with blackening around the sink. Incidentally, we were warned off oak because the tannin in it blackens easily. I wipe up any spills and never put hot pots down on the work top (but I was brought up never to do that - we had formica work surfaces in my childhood home). I'm by no means a super-careful housekeeper and cook daily.

In my next kitchen (we're moving) I think I may well have cherry again, but perhaps with slate on either side of the hob, for putting hot pots on.

TheThickPlottens Tue 18-Jun-13 10:21:08

I got mine from ikea and I can't remember what wood they are. I've had them 4 years now and oil them about twice a year.

I don't find them troublesome at all. I'm not meticulous about them and they still look good. I am careful about putting pot holders down first and use chopping boards. Watch out for strawberry juice and blueberry juice staining though. That thought me quickly.

Janine1081 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:07:29

What did you decide in the end Reastie? We're having the same dilemma at the moment. I love the look of wood vs laminate, but am unsure about the upkeep with 3 boys (+DH :D)(especially on a breakfast bar).

I was told that Oak and beech were bad because of the tannins, but Iroko and Walnut wasn't so bad?

We're going for an open plan kitchen/lounge/diner, so I really want it to look nice, and wood looks so lovely.....

Gailybelle Mon 10-Jun-13 23:50:00

We inherited an oak block worktop. We were planning on redoing the kitchen, so haven't looked after it at all. I now really like the way it has weathered our neglect. I may be kidding myself, but the slight burn marks, stains, etc add a patina of age and fun times, which looks good as long as the units are in contrastingly good condition. I wouldn't go back to pristine new oiled wood, lest it resemble the in-laws'... they spend their life oiling and wiping it (as well as rinsing their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher). We use it as a chopping board, dough kneading surface, and put reasonably hot pans on it. Clean with mild kitchen spray and occasional bleach. It is a different view of the beauty of the wood.

ursulariches Tue 28-May-13 15:20:47

if you move out try putting Fiddes hard was oil onto the worktops before you leave.

ursulariches Tue 28-May-13 15:17:04

sand it down and oil and oil and oil every day and keep drying it. If after some time yu get really fed up with oiling you can used FIDDES hard wax oil

ursulariches Tue 28-May-13 15:13:09

Try Fiddes online from woodfinishesdirectcom online. It is almost identical. The price is very different.

SingBrit Thu 16-May-13 00:22:35

Oak and Beech are high in tannins and tannins will react with iron based metals which will cause the wood to blacken. Do not place damp iron based metal objects on un-sealed wood surfaces. Many fitters discourage people from using wood because they do not know much about the product. They continue to use Teak oil/Danish oil/Linseed oil but there are other products such as Osmo Hardwax and Rubio Monocoat that can be applied to wooden tops. These finishes offer better protection for wood surfaces. You can also ask a carpenter with a spray booth to spray a lacquer on the worktop to give it a hard finish that is durable and water resistant. My associate in York has a spray booth and has sprayed worktops with a sealant and a lacquer. The lacquer can be AC or PU. Many people buy Oak worktops that are natural quality with a high percentage of sapwood (creamy white juvenile wood between the heart wood and the bark) on the surface which is more prone to staining than the straw coloured heartwood.

Oak is not the only wood specie used for worktops. You do not have to stain oak to achieve a darker colour. There are other wood species available such as European Walnut (Milk chocolate brown), American Walnut (dark chocolate brown), Teak (mid brown), Iroko (yellow brown darkening to a dark brown) Rubberwood (yellow), Ash (grey white), Wenge (black with partridge breast figuring), Elm (red brown with partridge breast figuring) and Maple (cream)

All products will require a certain amount of maintenance. At any rate, I always tell people to keep their kitchen surfaces dry no matter what type of worktop they use because a warm, damp kitchen is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Contact me if you need any further information on timber worktops.

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