Posts tagged kitchen

What Makes Solid Wood Worktops Such an Attractive Proposition?

Worktops are made from various materials ranging from granite, quartz, acrylic polymers and more. These materials come with their own set of merits and demerits, and differ in terms of appearance, shades, textures, finishes, density, durability and strength. However, one option that is arguably the most popular one among discerning homeowners is solid wood worktops. And there are more reasons than one why wooden worktops remain the worktops of choice for both modern and conventional/country-styled kitchens today. If you wish to install a new worktop in your kitchen or replace an existing one, here’s what you should know.

Pros

Solid wood worktops are today the most widely used alternatives in kitchens. This is attributed to a number of factors. They are made from natural wood – a renewable resource – which makes them eco-friendly. They have a beautiful, natural appearance and look even more appealing with age. They are hard-wearing and extremely durable. If properly and regularly maintained, these worktops will last longer than most other countertops. They are lightweight, and thus, easy to install. Best of all, wooden worktops are the least expensive of all other options.

Choices

Today, homeowners have the luxury of an extensive range and variety of choices in solid wood worktops. While the ones considered most practical and suitable for busy kitchens include beech, cherry, oak and teak, you may choose from several others. These include exotic hardwoods such as ash, apple, maple, mahogany and walnut, or those imported from Africa such as iroko, ebiara, wenge, and many more.

solid oak worktops

Amazing lines and textures make Oak an ideal worktop material.

 

Advantages

Beech worktops are the most versatile alternative. They are soft-grained and have a natural light tone and finish which is a mixture of ash and maple in color and texture.  Cherry worktops are the most elegant option around. Their subtle, autumn-like reddish coloration usually darkens beautifully over time.

Oak worktops are exceptionally strong, durable and long-lasting. This is what makes them the most practical and economic choice among all options. An oak worktop also creates an atmosphere of old world charm in kitchens with their timeless appeal.

Maintenance

Like all wooden products, solid hardwood worktops need good maintenance to retain their original appearance, condition and longevity. Remember, all species of natural woods have pores, which often absorb moisture and bacteria into their surfaces. Moisture can damage the wood while food can be contaminated with bacteria contact. Although most wooden worktops are pre-oiled, coated with a transparent laminate or painted, they will still be susceptible to stains, cuts, scratches, cracks and other forms of wear and tear over time. This makes it imperative to wipe, clean and disinfect them soon after use.

Re-sanding, repainting and re-oiling are advisable at least once every six months. Linseed oil or pure lemon oil are ideal for cleaning. To learn more about regular cleaning and maintenance of your solid wood worktop and the products needed for both, consult a qualified kitchen countertop installer.

 

How to Cut a Blue Pearl Granite Counter

Blue pearl granite is a popular choice for modern kitchen countertops, mainly because of the granite’s durability and the blue pearl color’s beauty. Normally, these countertops can be ordered pre-cut to suit most applications. However, if you want to have a more unique shape for your granite counter, then you may need to cut the blue pearl granite down to size. Here are the things you need to make it happen.

Like all construction projects, it comes down to preparation. The main tool you will need is a cutting instrument. You have three choices here: a grinder with a diamond blade, a circular saw with a diamond blade, or a laser-sided saw, the one which uses a short-pulse laser for cutting. After obtaining your cutting instrument, you will also need a vacuum to suck up the granite dust particles as you cut. Ideally, this vacuum will be an attachment to your cutter, but it can also be separate equipment. To protect yourself, you will also need a mask and goggles.

Before the actual cutting, you need to do very careful measurements first. You need to measure the final location, as well as any cutouts you need to fit in (some faucets, for example). To make the job easier, you can fit pieces of plywood over the final counter location, glue them together, and place the thing on top of your blue pearl granite as a template. Now you can trace the outline with a piece of chalk to serve as your guide for cutting.

A beautiful blue pearl granite counter

Now, turn on the vacuum and begin cutting. As you cut, you need to work slowly and cautiously, keeping the saw steady at all times. You should also ready the different blades for your saw, to cut the edges and curves as you go along. Check the manual to see which blades are appropriate to use at any given time. When you finish a section, smooth them out with a small grinder. Then, when you are finally done, clean and polish those areas you have grounded.

Now that you know these steps, you should select a good location to do all the cutting. The process is very, very messy, so somewhere outside the main house is most ideal. But needless to say, it is best if you have some cutting experience beforehand, because a steady hand is very crucial to the final beauty of your blue pearl granite. That being said, however, there is always a sense of fulfillment in doing it yourself, and some trial and error should not deter you from this project.

 

Caring for and Using the Oak Worktop in the Kitchen

Having an oak worktop in the kitchen can be a great option for those who like to spend time cooking and preparing various dishes. It is a great surface for cutting, preparing dough or for trimming various cuts of meat. Not only is the surface very functional, but it can look great as well. However, using this type of surface requires some special care. When the below tips are followed, the wood surface can remain attractive for many years down the road.

Oiling kitchen worktops made of wood should be done periodically. Twice a year is all that is required for surfaces that have been in use for a while. Newly installed surfaces will need to be oiled three or four times in the first few weeks after installation to condition the wood and protect it. Linseed, tung and teak oils are the best for extending the life of the wood surface.

It is recommended that the underside and edges also be oiled to prevent bowing of the wood. Not as much care is required with surfaces that will not be seen, but they still need some protection. Any excess oil should be wiped off, and the oil should soak into the wood overnight. It may be an inconvenience to not use the surface for a while, but the longevity and the look will be worth the wait.

A durable oak worktop can double as a cutting board.

To get a smooth, glossy finish, some light sanding with fine paper should be done between oil applications. This accomplishes two things, it smoothes any rough spots that already exist. Oil also raises the grain of the wood, so sanding is necessary to remove the slight roughness or uneven feel on oak worktops.

Keeping the surface dry is another part of caring for the kitchen oak worktop. Promptly removing any standing water or other liquids is necessary for several reasons. The moisture from standing water will aid in rotting or destroying the surface over time. Standing liquids can also cause dark, unsightly stains.

For scratches or nicks, sanding of the surface may be required. It is a good idea to take care of such imperfections right away. Any depressions or areas where food particles can get trapped can lead to the formation of harmful bacteria on the oak kitchen worktop, which may get into food. For deeper scratches, it may be necessary to use wood filler or putty on the oak kitchen worktop. Colors should be matched as closely as possible, and then followed by sanding and oiling the entire surface for a more uniform effect.

 

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