Kitchen worktops

Poetica Image
10/24/2010 - 11:42

A local kitchen supplier advised that solid wood worktops are not favoured because of problems from humidity. Wondered what are others' views or experience ? While inclined to take notice of the kitchen supplier it could be case of we don't stock it and therefore prefer to sell you what we do stock, plus there is so much other wood in the propertry and which hopefully is unaffected by humidity.



Over the years of differnt kitchen worktops, although initially expensive, I'd go for stone that doesn't stain. We've had over 20 years experience in 3 houses now of granite tops that have remained the same now as when they were put in. Wood around sinks tends to swell and age. Could just be that my father was an Aberdonian and the granite city holds a  thrall...

We heartily agree with the other two replies to this post that stone is far better than wood for worktops.  My husband's business sells woodworking cutting tools and over the years he has had endless carpenters and joiners moaning about having to fit or replace wooden worktops and how short a time they last.  Wood is not the material to put in close proximity to water, because of course it will cause it to swell and I wonder whether your local kitchen supplier means "dampness" rather than humidity of the air. There are also other man-made stone materials, Corian being one brand, which are widely used as an alternative and which can be worked with specialised woodworking cutting tools, whereas stone is more difficult to work.  Some of the solid surface materials are liable to stain, however, but so also is marble.  All in all, if we were doing our kitchen at home (which we are not!), I would choose granite any day. Hope this helps.

Wood is perfectly do-able, but you have to be prepared to treat it properly (oil, and lots of it, or some kind of varnish). Otherwise it will stain and swell, because it is basically a fibrous mass. Block worktop is helpful, as any influencing stuff like liquid tends to be restricted to a more local area. Ikea does reasonable block tops. Whatever you go for, look at the price difference between buying in, say, France or UK versus Italy. In the five months we've been freighting stuff between the UK and Italy for clients, we've moved quite a lot of outdoor woodwork (gates, pergolas etc), tiles, flooring and kitchen materials. Even after my bill has been settled, these materials are significantly cheaper than gettting supplies locally. This is odd, and in many ways (unless you ask my bank manager) quite sad.

Thanks for the counter view - sort of bears out my thinking from having experience of solid oak here in UK; providing properly installed, finished and treated I had imagined the water absorbtion was no more riskier in Italy. Useful tip on the price differential - thanks. We have found a similar position when looking for a stove, cheaper to buy in the UK and take it over.