The Case against Wood for Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen design is often more than a sum of its parts. Kitchen countertops typically play a major part in this, and the material you choose will determine just how much of an impact they will make.

The most popular types of kitchen countertops are granite and quartz, but some people maintain that nothing beats wood when it comes to imparting a warm and inviting feel to the kitchen. This is undeniable, especially if you have a rustic or country style of kitchen. Wood is also about as environmentally friendly as granite and other natural stones when they come from sustainable sources, and they age beautifully. However, wood is not a great idea for kitchen countertops for several reasons. Below is the case against wood for kitchen countertops.

Limited varieties

gallery of wood countertops
Many species of wood are available for various uses. However, not all of them are suitable for use as kitchen countertops. Kitchen countertops need to be hardy enough to stand up to the amount of use in a typical kitchen.

The best types of wood for kitchen countertops are hardwoods. These include maple, teak, oak, walnut, and Brazilian cherry. These all look fantastic in the kitchen, but unfortunately, it takes a long time to grow and mature these types of wood for kitchen countertops. Sustainable sources for hardwood are limited, so availability is a problem.

Additionally, wood comes in a narrow range of colors, which can be a problem if you need a color to fit your design. It is easy enough to paint them for kitchen cabinets, but not a good idea for kitchen countertops. You also cover up the best feature of wood, the grain, if you paint over it.

Maintenance issues

warped or cracked wood countertop
Kitchen countertops are subject to conditions that may be detrimental to wood. They crack, split, warp, discolor, and burn quite easily under typical kitchen use. The best way to avoid these common problems is to seal the wood regularly, and sand away any damage that might occur. However, many homeowners do not have the time or inclination to take all this trouble. You could end up having to replace your kitchen countertops much sooner than you might like or can afford.

Porosity problems

sink on wood countertop
Most natural materials have some type of porosity. Natural stones such as granite and marble are porous, but certainly not to the extent of wood. Wood is extremely porous, so humidity, steam, water, and other sources of liquid is a big problem for kitchen countertops. It can lead to splitting, swelling, maybe even rot. This is especially a problem for the areas around the sink, near the cook top, and the dishwasher.
Some people protect their wood countertops from water damage by coating it with lacquer or urethane sealers and finishes. These can work very well if you do not place anything hot directly on the surface. However, if you are going to use it for food preparation, such as a butcher block, you should only use mineral oil, which is food safe.

If you do use mineral oil, you need to reapply it periodically, at least once a month. Many homeowners are not willing to go through the hassle. You can avoid this by using a chopping board instead of the butcher block.
Additionally, the porosity of wood makes it especially vulnerable to staining. Some stains seep so far down that no amount of treatment will remove them. You need to move quickly to clean up any spills before they can do any damage and check periodically to make sure the seal is intact.

Construction concerns

finger jointed wood sample
You need to be careful when selecting the supplier for your wood countertops. Most will construct the kitchen countertops using finger joints of wood because these are cheaper than using planks. However, finger joints are less durable than full planks of wood, and the cutouts for the sink and features tend to expose the joints. You can hide these uneven edges by selecting a drop-down sink instead of an undermount one, but that can lead to hidden water seepage that will eventually ruin your wood countertops.

Transportation questions

 wood counters
Countertop suppliers most likely must ship wood countertops considerable distances. The problem with this is that wood is quite delicate and require careful handling. Some suppliers will package them securely in crates to protect them from damage during handling and stacking, but most will simply pack them into cardboard boxes. It is common for these countertops to show significant surface damage upon delivery. You can send it back for a replacement, but that means a delay in putting in your kitchen countertops.

Cost considerations

 price symbols
Wood suitable for kitchen countertops is going to be on the pricey side. On average, you can expect to pay the same per square foot for wood countertops as you would for granite or marble countertops. Unless only wood countertops will do for your kitchen, then it does not make any practical sense to choose it for your kitchen.


Wood was the only material available for kitchen countertops back in the day, but it is no longer a good fit for the modern lifestyle. With all the drawbacks of wood countertops enumerated above, you must really want wood countertops to choose it over other, more practical materials. Wood is certainly a beautiful choice for other components in the kitchen, but not for kitchen countertops.

If you are looking for a more durable yet equally beautiful material for your kitchen countertops, granite and quartz are the top choices of many homeowners. You can find out more about your options with kitchen countertops by contacting a reliable countertop specialist.

Silver Marble Granite  is your best bet in the areas of Washington D.C., Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, among others. You can visit our showroom in Sterling, VA to see the products before you buy.

We are your ONE-STOP SHOP for home improvement, and we specialize in the best kitchen countertops in Northern Virginia. We work only with the best brands in the business and can offer better prices and faster turnarounds than big box stores. Aside from granite and marble, we also carry top brands in engineered quartz, including Silestone, MSI, Cambria, and Caesarstone.

Check out our website for some of the best deals in kitchen countertops and other products to make your home a better place. While you’re at it, take advantage of our free quote. You will be amazed at the deal we can offer you!