“How can I avoid a wood worktop nightmare?” Question of the Week 21.05.16
“How can I avoid a wood worktop nightmare?”
Our third ‘Question of the Week’ for May was sent in by Elise in Peterborough, who is interested in solid wood worktops for kitchens, and would like some tips on maintaining them without running into any problems.
“I’m about to purchase some of your lovely wooden kitchen worktops, and I know they require some maintenance to keep them in the best condition. I realise if they are not taken care of properly there can be a few issues, so please can you tell me the best steps to follow so I can avoid a wood worktop nightmare?”
Thanks for contacting us! We are thrilled that you would like to purchase some of our stunning solid wood kitchen countertops. Wooden worktops make an eye-catching feature in any home and grow more beautiful with age, provided they are cared for correctly. The good news is that maintaining solid wood is easy – and we’re pleased to offer some advice to help ensure the longevity of timber worktops. Our recommendations are as follows:
- When storing: If you are not installing your worktops immediately, please ensure that these are stored correctly. First, we recommend that the worktops are oiled as soon as they are received (this will prevent the timber from drying out). Once oiled, lay them flat within their original packaging, separated from the floor and each other with battens. We advise against unpacking worktops before kitchen cabinets have been built and fitted, and before any dust or dirt from building works has been cleared.
- Before installation: All edges of your wood worktops should be oiled at least three times with Rustins Danish Oil prior to installation, allowing 6-8 hours drying time between coats.
- At installation: It is important to ensure that worktops are correctly installed to avoid the timber splitting. First, worktops should be fitted with a 4-5mm expansion gap between any worktop edge and a wall, to allow for the natural expansion and contraction of the timber with variations in heat and humidity. Next, when mounting worktops onto cabinetry, only slotted angle brackets should be used, fixed with a round head screw, and worktops should never be fixed directly onto cabinet units. The length of the slot used should be perpendicular to the wall.
- Additional protective features: When a solid wood worktop is fitted alongside a freestanding oven, a gap of at least 30mm should be allowed, and the worktop should be fitted with an end cap, which protects the end grain of the timber and helps to prevent it from splitting. Please read our handy endcaps guide to learn more about the benefits of this feature. What’s more, if a timber worktop is installed alongside an appliance that may produce moisture and heat – such as washing machine, dishwasher or microwave – it is also necessary to use a moisture barrier to protect the underside of the worktop.
- On-going maintenance: The final, vital stage of ensuring trouble-free worktop usage is the regular re-oiling of the work surface. In the first six weeks after installation, worktops should be oiled regularly – up to twice a week if possible. At this stage, it is important to avoid spillages, as the worktops have not yet built up sufficient oil protection. After this, re-oil once every three months. As a guide, worktops that are too dry look matt and dull; conversely, well-oiled worktops will have a healthy lustre, and any water droplets will simply rest of the surface of the wood.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch again. We understand accidents do happen, so remember not to panic if you have any mishaps, simply take a read of our information guide on How to Mend Small Scratches and Marks on a Real Wood Worktops.
Ben @ Worktop Express
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