Important Advice when Considering Wooden Worktops
Just Wood Worktops recommend that all hardwood worktops are installed by reputable and experienced joinery fitters, ideally craftsmen that have been recommended by word of mouth.
A professionally fitted top will clearly cost a little more than a DIY installation but an experienced installer will be fully conversant with all relevant factors such as site condition and suitability, humidity levels, the use of damp proof membranes, stretcher plates, appropriate adhesives and finishes etc. etc.
Always check that conditions on site are suitably dry and appropriate to receive kiln dried, solid wood worktops with a moisture content of 8-10%. This can be checked using an appropriate moisture meter (that can be hired from major tool hire companies.)
Always use a quality damp proof membrane fitted over the kitchen unit or other base. The membrane should continue around the back edge (and ends) of the top where these are built into plaster work or tiled in. The DPM should be trimmed off with a sharp knife once the plaster skim or tile grout has fully dried.
Always fit solid hardwood worktops to base cabinets using stretcher plates or brackets. These are plates / brackets that allow a retaining screw to move within a slot as the top expands and contracts slightly with natural humidity variations throughout the seasons.
Always seal the hardwood worktop on both faces, ends and edges with a good quality food safe oil. The exception to this rule is where the end of one top is being glued to another (for example in a corner situation) here, the sealing is provided by the adhesive. Oil contamination on the ends could compromise the glue joint.
Never run a hardwood worktop close up to a kitchen range. To do so would risk splitting on the end grain close to the range. It is advisable, therefore, to consider the use of a bridging material such as granite between the wood and the range.
Where end grain exposed, say around a Belfast sink and where a drainage grooves are machined into a wooden worktop, the oil finish MUST be regularly maintained AND a suitable wax should be considered over the oil. This is to provide essential moisture resistance – otherwise localised expansion and discolouration of the top would likely occur. Common sense measures should be applied such as immediately wiping up spills and standing water with a dry cloth.
Regularly re-oil and maintain your hardwood worktop, doing so will ensure that it retains its beauty and will greatly increase its longevity. A well looked after top will last for generations.