How to Flatten Warped Wood Worktops
Solid wood worktops look impressive in any home and – when due care is given – will remain a hardwearing and enviable kitchen feature for many, many years.
Warping is a general term that refers to the distortion of wood worktops, and is commonly used to describe worktops that are in the process of cupping or bowing (for clarification, cupped worktops are warped across the width, whilst bowed worktops are warped along the length). This type of worktop damage is highly unlikely and usually only occurs if the installation instructions and aftercare guidelines have not been followed correctly.
Do not panic if your wooden worktop has bowed or cupped. Accidents happen – and we have provided the following suggestions to help return it to its former glory.
If your worktop is already installed:
Warping may occur if the top side of the worktop reacts to changes in temperature or humidity at a faster rate than the bottom; in a sense, this is a natural occurrence, as the top face is more exposed to changes in the surrounding environment.
We strongly recommend installing wooden worktops using slotted angle brackets, which allow for this natural contraction and expansion of the wood. If these fittings are not used, the worktop may warp or split when it expands.
If your worktop has warped upwards, the solution is relatively easy. Simply place a large weight across the bowed section of the worktop; this will cause the surface to return to its original shape gradually.
If your worktop has warped downwards, the most likely cause is that the incorrect type of bracket has been used. You will need to remove the worktop and place it in between two pairs of battens. Place an additional hard, flat piece of wood (or other strong material) on top of the upper pair of battens, and place a weight on top (this should be substantial but not enough to split the wood if it is significantly warped). The wood may return to its original state naturally; however, if the damage is significant, you may need to purchase replacement worktops.
If your worktop is not yet installed:
If your wooden worktop has been stored incorrectly, or has been insufficiently oiled and then left for a significant amount of time prior to installation, this could be the cause of warping. As your worktop has not been installed yet, the remedy is much simpler.
First, apply at least three coats of Rustins Danish Oil to all sides of the worktop, allowing 6-8 hours of drying time in between coats. This provides the wood with essential protection before installation.
Next, place the worktop on a pair of battens and use weight to flatten it slowly. Do not apply too much weight to begin with or the timber may split. This process can take a few weeks so it is important to be patient.
Once the worktop has returned to its natural shape, it is ready to be installed. It is essential that you follow our oiling instructions to keep the worktop sufficiently well nourished during and immediately after installation.
How to avoid warped worktops in future:
- Be sure to follow our pre-oiling guidelines rigorously. We recommend oiling every edge three times (up to six times for the end grains), repeating this process once a week to build up sufficient protection and water resistance. After the first six weeks, you will only need to oil your worktops every three months or so.
- Before installation, we recommend storing your worktop in a room with consistent humidity and temperature. If you have purchased more than one, lay worktops flat, one on top of another, separated from each other and the floor by supporting battens.
- Install using slotted brackets, which will allow for the natural expansion and contraction of the wood.
- If you are installing your wood worktop above an appliance that may emit moisture – such as a dishwasher or washing machine – we strongly recommend fitting a moisture barrier above the appliance to protect the work surface.
- If you are installing your worktop beside a free-standing oven, we advise fitting the worktop with an end cap, which will cover the exposed end grain of the wood.
Because we only source timber of the highest quality, warping is fortunately a very rare occurrence. However, if disaster strikes, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we are always happy to help! To get in touch, telephone us on 0345 22 22 644 or email .