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Wood Countertop FAQ

Thomas Creek and Countertop FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions . . .

What do I need to know?

Thomas-Creek wood tops are more than just a cutting surface.

Our wood tops make excellent surfaces on which to prepare food; they have the ability to give your home the elegant rich look that only wood can achieve.

Our tops can be finished to meet your requirements in the kitchen. Whether you’re a professional chef or just have great tastes, wood counters are a great choice. 

What does Grain Orientation mean?

Countertops are made using two grain orientations - End Grain and Edge Grain.
Imagine a piece of lumber standing straight up and down. On its long end, the board is the strongest; with this orientation, you’re looking at its end grain. If you were to lay it on its edge lengthwise, it would be an edge type grain and be slightly weaker.

  • End grain countertops are made from blocks of wood positioned vertically like a butcher block. When cutting on this surface the blade is able to slide with the grain of the wood as opposed to across it. The result is a hard durable surface that’s easy on cutlery. Knifes stay sharper longer and are less resistant to nicks and gouges.
  • Edge grain countertops are long strips of wood laminated together with the long edge positioned along the length of the countertop. Here the edges of the wood strips form the surface of the countertop.

Edge grains are more likely to show knife marks because cutting is done against the grain.

Why does how I use the countertops matter?
If you intend to use your countertops for cutting and chopping you’ll want to finish them with a food safe mineral oil rather than a synthetic finish. Mineral oil preserves the wood and helps it not to harbor bacteria. Cutting on a synthetic finish can damage the finish and expose the wood beneath.

Work surfaces treated with mineral oil need to be cleaned often and re-oiled every 4 to 6 weeks.

However, if you would prefer the beauty of wood without the required maintenance, you can choose a countertop with a non-permeable finish. This is especially important near sinks where mineral oil can’t provide the protection your wood top requires.
In either case the countertop manufacturer will have recommendations on the care and maintenance of the specific kind of countertop you purchase.

Are Countertops Sanitary?
Wood countertops are a hygienic way to prepare food. In fact, they have been proven to be more sanitary than some other popular countertop choices. Please see our hygiene page for more information on this topic.

What are the pros and cons of wood countertops?

Just like all decisions wood countertops have some pros and cons. We feel it’s important to provide the all the information so that you can feel confident in your decisions.

The Pros:

Wood makes a great cutting surface.
Just like your grandmothers butcher block, wood is an excellent surface for cutting upon. Wood, particularly end-grain is durable, hygienic, and friendly on knives.

Wood has a renewable surface.
A quality well maintained cut and chop countertop can last for decades. Eventually when cuts or stains do appear in the surface, it can be sanded and re-oiled for a like brand-new appearance. Try that with laminate!

The rich, warm feel
No other countertop can match the warm feel of wood. Granite, stone, and laminate are popular but are cold to the touch and can make a kitchen look sterile and institutional. The rich natural beauty of wood is inviting and stays warm to the touch.

You can install them yourself.
Wood countertops are easier to install and don’t require the same specialized training required to install solid surface countertops. With a little bit of handy work wood tops can be attractive to your eyes and your pocketbook.

The Cons:
Not recommended for high water areas.
Long-term exposure to water can be harmful to a non-protected countertop. Cut and chop wood counters that are unfinished can be damaged by standing water. Water can stain the wood and loosen the glue. This can be remedied by finishing the counters or at least ones in water areas with a synthetic finish.

Ongoing maintenance is required for working counters.
Unfinished wood countertops that are used for direct food preparation need to be cleaned frequently and thoroughly. In addition they need to have mineral oil re-applied on a regular basis.

About expansion and contraction
Wood has the ability to expand and contract depending on the amount of moisture in the area. This is a normal process and with correct installation and proper fit this is minimized.