Wood countertops are the go-to option for most homeowners. No other countertop material beats the wood’s aesthetic qualities. Also, wood is an excellent choice for kitchen countertops and butcher block countertops.
Wood offers a warm, marvelously forgiving cutting surface in the kitchen, is easy on dishware, and can absorb the noise of a busy house. Wood is an affordable countertop material you can repair if it gets dinged, gouged, or stained.
There’re no hard and fast rules to the best wood for countertops because what may work for someone might not work for you. Here are a couple of wood species that can make great countertops.
Best Wood for Countertops
13 Best Wood for Countertops
Walnuts are available in different colors. Some walnut has a rich golden color, while others closely resemble ebony. Walnut countertops will look great in any kitchen. Go for dark walnut for a more modern look or vintage walnut for a more rustic feel.
Unlike soft wood such as pine and maple, walnut is very durable if properly cared for. As long as you avoid cutting directly on the counters, it’ll only need regular oiling and resealing of the worn-out areas.
Walnut Wood Pros
- It is tough and stable
- Can withstand elaborate carving
- It has a stunning color
- Some individuals might not appreciate color variation from light to dark that can happen on a single board
- It is pricey
Maple is the most sought-after wood for butcher block countertops. It is an affordable countertop material that goes with almost anything. It is also widely known as the best wood for kitchen shelves.
Whether you pick curly maple slabs or hard slabs with clear grain, the refreshing tones of maple will shine through. Maple is durable despite its low cost.
It’s not as tough as a tropical hardwood, but it will last as long as any other expensive wood if adequately cared for. Maple could be your wood if you need something inexpensive that will not detract from established focal points.
Maple is still prone to heat damage. It’s wise not to place hot pans directly on it.
Maple Wood Pros
- Maple is inexpensive, and you can use it for years and still look terrific.
- Since it takes stains very well, you can stain it to mimic pricey woods such as mahogany or cherry.
- It is an eco-friendly choice
- Simple to clean and maintain
- It can yellow over time due to constant exposure to direct sunlight.
- You’ve to seal it properly before staining it to stop the staining from appearing blotchy.
Bamboo countertops are popular as they’re an eco-friendly choice and aesthetically pleasing. It is ideal for edgier parquet design. The woody touch and feel are appealing, particularly in a kitchen setting.
Bamboo countertops are made of grass rather than wood. Bamboo countertops are formed by assembling many pieces to create boards and panels.
Bamboo countertops are less expensive than other materials such as granite quartz or marble countertops. This is due to the short time frame for growing bamboo and the straightforward manufacturing process.
The finishes, colors, and stains determine the cost of bamboo countertops. There are a lot of pros to staining bamboo.
Bamboo Wood Pros
- It is lightweight and hence easier to transport than other woods
- It poses no threat to the environment
- It is durable with appropriate care
- It shrinks considerably more than other woods when it loses water
- It is prone to insect and fungus attacks, so you have to treat it before installation
Mahogany sands easily due to its straight, even end grain. It is less prone to warping, contracting, and swelling than other woods. It readily accepts stains, hence a favorite among homeowners.
These characteristics of mahogany wood make it suitable for best wooden Adirondack chairs, custom hardwood countertops, veneers and cabinets. It darkens over time and has a reddish hue when polished.
Mahogany is the go-to wood for a kitchen countertop. It can withstand standing water and resists rot, insects, and decay.
Mahogany Wood Pros
- Holds stains and paints incredibly well
- It is easy to work with
- Resists rot and decay
- Shortage of wood due to high demand
- It’s challenging to identify authentic mahogany unless you buy from credited sources and look for certification from Forest Stewardship Council
A cherry countertop could do the trick if you need to inject life into your kitchen. Cherry is an expensive wood for a custom wood countertop. Cherry wood is the most pricey wood for counters per square foot and the most durable.
Cherry wood will brighten up any room, whether used generously or sparingly. Unlike lower-priced woods such as pine, you won’t have to worry about cherry rotting, which will last for decades.
Cheery wood is effortless to machine, glues, and nails excellently. When you sand and stain it, it produces a super smooth finish.
Cherry Wood Pros
- It’s gorgeous even without staining
- It’s flexible- You easily carve, cut, and shape it easily
- It’s durable since it resists rot and decay
- It’s damn expensive
- It shows dust and dirt on the wood surface and furniture
A hickory countertop is perfect for kitchen countertops in appearance and functionality. It’s very hard, but the wood is stable and plentiful in the United States since mills use responsible harvesting techniques.
Its color variation is unique among other materials. Hickory is thick and tough, therefore an excellent choice for areas with standing water.
It is the most common type for traditional kitchens, contemporary, antique rustic charm, and mixed-style kitchens. Hickory end grain butcher block has an even more stunning appearance.
It is suitable for a food prep surface as it is long-lasting enough even for the ever-elaborate commercial kitchens.
Hickory Wood Pros
- It is highly durable
- Exceptional aesthetic appeal
- It raises your home resale value
- It’s not DIY friendly
- It’s prone to swelling and you have to acclimate it to your room a few days before installation to prevent warping.
Oak has a beautiful grain and is available in two varieties. Based on the style and layout of your kitchen, you can go for a beautiful white oak or red oak countertop.
Most homeowners go with the white oak, but either choice is an attractive option that will add character and value to your kitchen.
White oak is particularly water and rot-resistant Red oak has open grains and is much more porous. Because of its well-defined patterns, oak wood can be left unfinished and still look great.
Oak can make your kitchen stand out from the pack. It is durable, popular, scratch-resistant, and simple to repair.
Oak Wood Pros
- It resists water and moisture
- It’s durable
- It has attractive wood grain
- Polishes and stains exceptionally well
- It has limited workability in a detail-oriented project
- Red oak warps easily when continually exposed to the elements
Tigerwood is the best wood to make your wood countertop the room’s central focus. Tigerwood, also referred to as Brazilian Koa, African walnut, goncalo alves, and Brazilian, has bold splotches of color that set it apart from other wood types.
This wood’s durability and water resistance add to its value as butcher block countertops. However, due to strict environmental regulations and installation challenges, you’ll need to plan if you want to use this wood in your house.
Tigerwood has a significant advantage in water resistance due to its thickness and abundance of natural oils. Even in a considerably damp environment, Tigerwood will not warp, crack, or rot once finished.
It is durable, affordable, water-resistant, and easy to maintain. Nonetheless, it is challenging to install, and color changes as time passes.
- It’s unique and beautiful
- It’s long-lasting
- It’s water-resistant
- It’s easy to maintain
- It loses its natural color when constantly exposed to sunlight
- It’s very tough so not DIY friendly
Teak is a medium-density hardwood that is both sturdy. Teak has a uniform grain and all of the qualities you’re looking for in a countertop. It is resistant to fire, moisture, and termites due to its naturally high oil content.
Teak is a gorgeous and super strong hardwood ideal for a countertop and a cutting board. It is simple to work with and not necessary to treat, but it will still last for generations.
Teak is the preferred wood for wood countertops because it is pretty sturdy and waterproof. With its rich color, it is the word’s beautiful wood.
It will not rot or crack even when under heavy use. Teak is expensive, but that makes up for its quality, gorgeousness, and durability.
Teak Wood Pros
- Easy to work with
- Strong and durable
- It’s resistant to termites, rot, and decay
- It’s an excellent insulator
- It’s expensive
- It’s challenging to identify genuine teak wood
10. Wenge Wood
Wenge wood’s origin is Central Africa. Wenge is on-trend due to its durability, coloring, flat grain, and other characteristics.
It is an excellent choice for kitchen countertops, flooring, furniture, butcher block, cabinets, and millwork. It is the go-to wood for both indoor and exterior use.
Its color varies from medium to dark brown but will have a dark uniform color once aged. Wenge wood adds a glamorous, bold, and sensational feel to any space. It resists termites and is durable. Even so, it is expensive due to its high demand.
Wenge Wood Pros
- It resists moisture
- Availability in broad range
- Durable as it resists termite attacks
- Pricey due to high demand
- It’s too tough for DIY projects since it can blunt tool edges
“Chestnut” refers to nine deciduous tree species in the genus Castanea. They are only found in the Northern Hemisphere.
Chestnut species produce some nuts. Birds, humans, and squirrels eat them. The four major species of Chestnut are JapaneseAmerican, European, and Chinese.
Chestnut’s properties are strikingly similar. The species of chestnut determines its use because each wood species has its distinct characteristics.
Chestnut is a light and dark brown color with a homey appearance. It is a perfect choice for a butcher block counter since it is thick and easy to maintain.
Some species of this wood darken with time as it ages. Because of its light color, it accepts stains readily. It is an affordable countertop material that offers you incredible style options.
American chestnut cost range is between $15 and $20 per square foot. However, location, quality, and grade determine the price of wood counters. Some species of chestnut may split easily. If you use it for a butcher block, you need to be gentle with it.
Chestnut Wood Pros
- It’s durable
- Easy to work with even with hand tools
- It’s available in different hues
- It’s not attractive to most people
- It darkens with time
This straight-grained wood is well-known for its ability to shine with virtually any finish and color. It is dense and lays uniformly across the entire piece, making it an excellent choice for use as a cutting board.
Beechwood ranges in weight from medium to heavy. It is complicated and demanding. Beechwood comes from the beech tree, and it resists abrasion and is very tough.
The wood is more susceptible to shrinkage and movement than other wood types. It would be best to avoid exposing it to moisture fluctuations before or during operation.
Despite its hardness, it is simple to work with. You can plane, drill, cut, and mill it hassle-free. Beechwood is also helpful in making Plywood, Bent-ply, pianos, toys, Interior furnishing, stairs, model buildings, parquet flooring, Tools, and household equipment.
The only downside of beechwood is that It is not ideal for long-term exterior use as it is not resistant to changes in moisture. Because of its density, it can be challenging to work with if you do not have the right tools.
Beech Wood Pros
- It’s durable when used indoors
- It stains and polishes exceptionally well
- It resists shock and wear
- You can’t use it outdoors because it can’t withstand moisture changes
Zebrawood is a dense hardwood with distinctively patterned timber. This pricey tropical lumber is exceptionally eye-catching due to its light and dark brown grain interchanging.
Like other wood species discussed here, Zebrawood is a prevalent choice for woodworkers and homeowners. Its texture is coarse and has open apertures and wavy interlocked grain.
Most people regard Zebrawood highly because it is sturdy and thick. However, it is not the most durable wood because it does not resist insects very well.
The best cutting boards come from wood that’s not too hard or too soft. with a Janka rating of 900lbf-1500 lbf. Janka scale determines the strength of wood by measuring the pounds of force it takes to bend.
Zebra wood’s Janka rating is 1800 lbf, meaning that you can’t use it as a cutting board because it is too complex and will damage your tools.
Zebrawood is not safe for food prep since it can trigger skin allergies in some individuals. Even so, it can make durable, beautiful countertops.
Zebra Wood Pros
- It’s one of a kind- exotic
- It’s ideal for long-term use
- It easy to stain
- It’s pricey
- It’s challenging to work with due to interlocking grains
Why Wood Countertops?
- Aesthetic appeal: Wood countertops provide a warm, natural, and timeless look that can complement a variety of kitchen styles.
- Durability: High-quality wood countertops can withstand regular use and last for many years with proper maintenance.
- Versatility: Wood countertops can be customized to fit any kitchen layout, shape, or size. They can also be sanded and refinished to change their appearance over time.
- Sustainability: Wood is a renewable and eco-friendly material that can be responsibly sourced and harvested.
- Resistance to bacteria: Some wood species, such as maple and walnut, have natural antibacterial properties that can make them a hygienic choice for food preparation.
- Cost-effective: Wood countertops can be a more affordable option compared to other materials like granite or quartz.
Factors to Consider When Buying Wood for Countertops
It is critical to select wood countertops appropriate for your needs. Hardness and grain are two factors to consider when evaluating wood countertops.
Fine-grained wood such as hard maple is the best wood for countertops. This wood has tinier, more closely packed cells, making it more resistant to moisture, mold, and mildew.
Other wood species in the market can also make excellent countertop materials. Consider the factors below to help you pick wood ideal for your project.
How much are you willing to spend on wood for the countertop? You can mix almost any type of wood for $30 to $160 per square foot. Consider combining the end grain, face grain, and edge grain to add visual interest.
The combinations of woods used determine the Pricing. You can combine hard maple and cherry for $42 per square foot or walnut and Zebrawood for about $149 per square foot.
Some factors can increase the cost of wood countertops. The cost will naturally increase if you desire custom hardwood countertops designed by a professional over a DIY project.
The quality of the wood determines the price. Cherry and teak are more expensive than birch or walnut because they are more durable. A stained countertop will cost more than an unstained one.
Can you install the countertop yourself, or do you need to hire a pro?
Before buying a wood countertop, determine whether you can install it on your own or you need to engage an expert. This will help you know the total amount of money you need to part with.
You don’t want to buy a countertop only for it to gather dust in the basement because you can’t install it yourself, and you don’t have the funds to hire a pro.
Any installation that requires precise measurements and knowledge of working with wood may not be the easiest of do-it-yourself projects. It is possible to install a wood countertop by yourself if you have the right tools, time, and guts.
However, just because does not mean you should. You may run into problems halfway, get frustrated, and leave it half done. Hiring a pro may be pricey, but it’ll save you a lot in the long run.
Is it Ecofriendly?
Before buying wood for kitchen countertops, determine how friendly they are for use in the kitchen. The eco-friendly wood ideal for the kitchen is the one that comes from fruit-bearing trees such as cherry, chestnuts, walnut, maple, etc.
Some other woods, such as teak, mahogany, and oak, pose no danger even for food prep surfaces. However, some woods, such as Zebrawood, are not suitable for use around the kitchen.
It may set off skin allergies in some people. Hardwoods such as teak and acacia produce the most sought-after cutting boards.
They absorb minimal water, so they harbor no toxins and bacteria. When buying new wood products, keep an eye out for Forestry Stewardship Certification.
Do you need hardwood or softwood?
Your budget and project determine the wood you settle for. Softwood is cheaper, easier to work with, suitable for different applications, and durable with proper care. On the hand, hardwood is pricey but durable with minimal maintenance.
It’s critical to consider the natural lighting in your room and the color of the surrounding surfaces when shopping for wood countertops. Also, pay attention to the size of the room.
Colors can expand small spaces and contract larger ones. If your room is tiny, light-colored countertops are ideal for making it appear larger.
Dark colors in a little room have the effect of making it feel smaller and more confined. Nevertheless, if the colors contrast excellently with the bordering tones, you can choose dark-colored countertops with light shades.
Wooden Kitchen Countertops Pros and Cons
- Easy to install
- Soft and warm to the touch
- Resistant to bacteria
- Easy to repair
- High maintenance
- Prone to scratches and stains
- Susceptible to heat damage
- Limited color options
- Not suitable for heavy use
Related search: best wood front porch columns
Tips to Help You Make Better Informed Decisions When Buying Wood Countertops
Buy solid wood
Please go for solid woods and research thoroughly to differentiate between authentic wood and fake wood. It’s challenging to tell the difference unless you have a few pointers.
Avoid buying MDF or particle boards with wood veneer because they will swell if you expose them to moisture. Also, you can not sand them as you would wish when fixing stains or scratches.
Keep an eye out for gaps
Look for any gaps. Joints between boards should be as small as possible and consistent. If there are visible gaps, they’ll open up further, becoming visibly unglued.
You can buy cheap wood and stain it to make it look expensive.
A stain can improve the grain and color of a wood countertop, but it will cost five to ten percent more than the same genus in its natural condition.
To achieve an upscale appearance on a budget, choose a cost-effective, light-colored window sill wood type like beech and apply a walnut stain for a luxurious finish. This combination can create an expensive look without the high price tag.
Tips for Maintaining Wood Countertops
Wipe liquids immediately on all wood species
If you accidentally spill wine, vinegar, or other colored liquids on the counter, wipe them immediately before they permeate the wood’s cell structure and stain your countertops.
Prevention is better than cure
Wood does not fare well when in direct contact with hot pans and pots. Keep trivets and potholders on hand to safeguard countertops from stains and heat damage.
Apply oil regularly on butcher block countertop
After installing new wooden countertops:
- Rub tung oil into the surface and let it soak in to prevent the wood from daily wear and wear.
- Wipe off excess oil after half an hour.
- Apply oil once per year for best results.
Always use cutting boards
Kep cutting boards within reach to beat the temptation of using countertops as cutting boards. They may look the same, but you’ll feel bad when you see ugly knife marks on your expensive countertop.
Using poly is great but exhausting when refinishing
Polyurethane is a tough finish that seals and coats wood with a plastic-like finish and is unaffected by acidic foods, refreshments, or cleaning agents.
However, it is tedious to repair or refinish. A poly finish needs you to sand the entire service instead of an oil finish which you can spot clean and fix specific sections.
Here are the best polyurethane finishes for wood countertops to choose from.
What is the best wood for butcher block countertops?
Maple is the most common and best wood for butcher block countertops. The wood is hard and resists knife scarring, making it a good choice for busy kitchens. Maple also has a beautiful grain pattern that will add natural beauty to your kitchen. Other good options for butcher block countertops include oak, cherry, and walnut.
What is the best wood for kitchen island?
Quartz is a robust and nonporous option that will withstand everyday use if you’re looking for the best type of wood for a kitchen island. It’s one of the hardest minerals on earth, so it’s very durable and can withstand heavy use. Plus, it’s resistant to stains and scratches, so it will always look good.
Can you use red cedar for countertops?
Yes. Although cedar is a softwood lumber, cedar is quite durable and stable, making it a good option for countertops. Cedar is also naturally resistant to rot and insect damage, so it will stand up well to everyday wear and tear. However, it is essential to seal and finish cedar wood to protect it from water damage and stains.
See also: Is cedar wood good for outdoors?
What is the best hardwood for countertops?
Maple is the best type of wood used in countertops because it is durable, has a beautiful grain pattern, and is easy to care for. It is generally considered the best option because it is strong and resistant to moisture and damage. Maple also has a natural sheen that makes it look elegant and stylish.
Is hevea wood good for countertop?
While hevea wood is an excellent choice for countertops due to its durability and scratch resistance, it is not typically considered the best wood for a recurve bow. For bow making, maple and hickory are more preferred as they offer the necessary strength, flexibility, and snappiness needed for recurve bows.
Is bamboo suitable for making countertops?
Yes, bamboo is suitable for making countertops. Its natural hardness, durability, and water-resistant properties make it a viable and eco-friendly option for creating attractive and functional kitchen surfaces. Additionally, bamboo is the best wood for kitchen utensils.
Is teak wood suitable for making countertops?
Yes, teak wood is a great choice for countertops due to its natural oils, water-resistant properties, and durability. Its attractive appearance makes it a popular and practical option for stylish and functional kitchen surfaces. Also, teak wood is one of the best materials for desktops due to its natural beauty, high durability, and resistance to moisture.
Next read: wood and epoxy table top
If you want something different or incredible warmth amid cold stainless steel, wood countertops are the way to go.
Wood countertops are a trend nowadays because they let you make your living space as unique as you wish. Also, wood countertops have antibacterial properties and are gentle on your knives.
You can find great companies that make countertops locally sourced or reclaimed lumber. Buying locally also gives you significant control over the style and price.
The best wood for countertops should be durable, moisture resistant, easy to maintain, and should have style options.