There's no such thing as too much information - not where Worktop Express® are concerned! That's why we've decided to launch this helpful information section, designed especially for our customers and chock-full of handy hints on measuring your radius corners, why and when to choose certain products (from end caps to edge profiles) and lots more.
And if you have any suggestions for an information guide, please don't hesitate to contact us: we're going to be updating this section regularly and are always on the lookout for new ideas.
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Wood is a naturally resilient material and generally requires very little maintenance. However, in order to uphold its stunning appearance, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that your wood worktops are protected for years to come. This guide will offer a few tips on how best to achieve this, taking the most common ‘pressure points’ into account.
Extreme heat can permanently damage your timber – but never fear, there are accessories available that can eliminate this concern. Hot rods are one such item and can be purchased as standalone items or as part of our bespoke cutting service. To use hot rods successfully, simply rout grooves into your worktop surface in your required formation (or we can do this for you as part of our fabrication service) and place the stainless steel rods inside. Items such as hot pots can now be placed directly from your hob onto the hot rods without burning or charring the worktop beneath it, making it the perfect protective barrier.
If installing a worktop next to a heat source (such as a range cooker), we’d recommend adding end caps for extra protection. End caps are produced by cutting a worktop across the width into section, which can then be affixed to the end of the required worktop. This conceals and therefore protects the end grain (and as a result prevents damage caused by prolonged exposure).
As mentioned, timber is a natural material and as such can be susceptible to changes in the surrounding condition (most importantly, humidity). Taking some simple measures can prevent this ever becoming an issue.
During installation, you should only use slotted angle brackets to fit the worktops to the wall or cabinets below, using the slot that runs across the grain. Furthermore, leave a 3-4mm expansion gap between your worktop and the wall. This will prevent your worktops from splitting or bowing by leaving sufficient room for them to naturally expand and contract.
Installing a moisture barrier to the underside of your worktop will protect it from appliances that release moisture, such as washing machine and dishwashers. For more information regarding moisture barriers and their application, please consult our moisture barrier installation instructions.
When liquid is left to sit on the surface, it affects the moisture content in your timber. This can cause expansion of the timber and, in extreme cases, bowing. We therefore strongly advise customers to clean up all spillages as soon as possible: do not let liquid pool on the surface.
This can be more difficult to monitor in the areas of the worktop that are closest to liquid sources, such as sinks and taps. In this instance, drainer grooves are an ideal accessory. These grooves are routed into the surface of the worktop and set at an angle so that when water falls on the surface, it will drain off into the sink, preventing stagnant water from damaging your worktop.
You should also monitor leaks and damp areas in the kitchen which could affect the overall moisture levels in the air, just to be on the safe side.
There are further measures you can take to protect your worktop against damage. For example, if your worktops are not being installed immediately, be sure to utilised approved methods of storage. Your worktops should be stored flat and in the room of installation, to give the timber time to acclimatise. If you have multiple worktops, separate them with battens to allow space for air ventilation. Our aftercare instructions can provide further details.
Solid wood chopping boards provide good protection for your worktops, too. You can order one to match your worktop or create an aesthetic centrepiece by opting for a contrasting timber. Use them when you’re preparing food or using sharp objects as it doesn’t matter if they get scratched.
The easiest way to effectively protect your worktop is to apply oil frequently; before installation (unless using our pre-oiling service), after installation (both DIY and pre-oiled worktops) and then at regular intervals throughout the worktop’s life. Please view our guide to worktop maintenance for some more detailed recommendations or contact us.
Choosing the right worktop is very important: it can be the most valuable component within a kitchen. Moreover, kitchens now play a much more varied role in the home; rather than simply being a place to cook in, we now relax, dine and entertain within this room, so comfort and satisfaction is vital. This information guide aims to distinguish the differences between our exotic and traditional solid wood worktops, helping to make your decision making process as smooth as possible.
Though we don’t categorise the worktops as such on our website, we tend to think of our European timbers as ‘traditional’ – simply because these are not exotic in the strictest sense of the word, and so have been popular in households for many years. There are a huge range of classic timbers to choose from, from beech to cherry to walnut and of course, oak; so many so that we can’t discuss all here! Here are some pointers on two of our most popular ‘traditional’ timbers.
Oak worktops are blessed with a rustic and charming appeal, but can be suitable in both traditional and modern interiors. For example, our standard oak worktops contain lots of beautiful natural features such as knots, and when combined with the strong overall grain pattern and rich colour variation, make a lovely choice for a country style kitchen. However our prime oak – still classed as a traditional timber – is a sleeker, more uniform worktop and as such is more fitting with a modern kitchen (prime oak worktops have minimal colour variation and a delicate grain pattern). Oak is a brilliant example of how one natural material can be suitable for any interior design.
Another favourite from the ‘classics’ collection is European walnut. The wavy grain pattern makes it an attractive, characterful wooden worktop, with a strong colour variation that is attributed to the high presence of heartwood within the timber. An elegant choice, European walnut is guaranteed to bring warmth to any room.
Why to choose traditional: if your look is clean, classic, and versatile. Traditional worktops are very ‘yielding’ in a design sense, and can easily be the star of the show or complement a variety of colours, appliances and accessories. The choice is yours!
Our ‘traditional’ timbers may be seen as mellower than their dramatic ‘exotic’ companions. Sourced from further afield, our exotic range includes some of our most interesting and visually appealing worktops: zebrano, wenge and black American walnut, to name but a few.
A toffee coloured surface interlaced with dark brown grains gives zebrano its exciting, stripy appearance (and indeed its name). These worktops are a striking statement; ideal for adding a little extra spice or a hint of modern flair to your kitchen.
Another one of the exotics – hailing from Africa – iroko is an extremely popular timber. Durability, natural hygienic properties and water resistance (due to a high oil content) make iroko worktops ideal for use in the kitchen. The colour naturally darkens over time, changing from a pale yellow to a rich bronze shade; this distinctive worktop is a stylish and classy kitchen addition, we’re sure you’d agree.
Eye-catching properties, exciting colour variation and the rise of bold colours in the kitchen means that the demand for exotic timbers is on the increase. We stock a large selection of such timbers in our UK warehouse, so if you’re considering moving away from a classic aesthetic, look no further than Worktop Express®.
Why to choose exotic: if your look is one that demands attention. Exotic timbers always make a statement, and can complement a generally striking design scheme or create an eye-catching centrepiece in a more subdued aesthetic. The choice is yours!
Ultimately, there is no hard and fast rule to choosing a solid wood worktop; the beauty of solid wood is that it is totally unique – no two timbers are alike. As such, you must choose a worktop that truly reflects your character and style.
However, no matter what kitchen design you decide on, investing in a solid timber worktop is sure to bring warmth, value and character into the room. Our sample service is a useful tool when it comes to making your choice, so please do take advantage of it; for a small sum (£5 per sample including VAT and delivery) you will receive a small piece of your selected timber(s) – which serves as a great example of the full-size worktop – allowing you to make an informed decision.
Why not take your samples into your room of choice, line them up, and let your imagination run wild? Finding your perfect timber has never been easier!