Monthly Archives: March 2017

Wood Countertops?

Wood Countertop Strengths

Appearance: The number one reason people choose wood countertops is their beauty. They give any kitchen a warmth that can’t be achieved by any other countertop material.

Variety: There are many types of wood countertops from which to choose. Hardwood continues to be used extensively. Wood types include maple, cherry, oak, birch and teak. Bamboo is a grass, but offers a wood-like appearance. Stains and finishes complete the look, giving each one a customized appearance. Stylistically, your options include butcher black, parquet, face grain or end grain planks, panels and other designs. Edge treatments are also made in a wide variety of looks.

Work with All Design Styles: Wood counters go well with all styles including traditional, country, French country, Mediterranean, Old World, modern, contemporary, transitional and eclectic.

Warmth: Not only is wood warm in appearance, it’s literally warmer to the touch than many materials such as tile, stone or concrete.

Recycled/Recyclable: Most wood countertops are not made from reclaimed wood, but that is changing. Wood is being salvaged and re-purposed for green countertops at a growing rate. Most wood countertops are recyclable.

Excellent Work Surface: Wood is easy on knives – though they may not be so easy on it. The edges on your cutlery will last longer than if working on granite or concrete.

Wood Countertop Weaknesses

Requires Proper Sealing: If a wood countertop is not sealed correctly, it offers a porous surface where germs may hide and multiply.

Water Damage: If the surface isn’t consistently treated with mineral oil or other protectant, damage can occur is water sits on the countertop too long or seeps into seams.

May Need Refinishing: With time, a wood countertop will begin to show some wear and tear. The finish may need to be reapplied, or the entire surface sanded and refinished. Expect to refinish wood countertops after 10-20 years depending on the amount and type of use they get.

Scratch and Dent Problems: Since wood is softer than tile, stone and metal, it can be more easily damaged. Some homeowners consider these blemishes as giving character to the counters. Using a separate cutting board will help save your countertop surfaces.

Cost and More for Refinishing Cabinets

A great way to breathe new life into your old cabinets is to have them refinished. Refinishing is a process whereby the old paint or stain is removed, the surface is sanded and repaired, and new, paint, stain, or varnish is applied to the bare wood. By refinishing your cabinets you can completely change the look and feel of your entire kitchen. Cabinet refinishing allows for a light wood to become much darker or for color to be added to a room that might previously have been neutral. Refinishing also makes old worn cabinets with scuffs, scratches and old paint look like they are brand new. Refinishing your cabinets is more affordable than replacing them. So if your cabinets are in good shape, they just don’t have the look you desire, refinishing is a great choice.The process of refinishing cabinets isn’t complicated but it does require experience and precision and is therefore best left to a professional. The money you may save by doing your own refinishing may not be worth it if the final product isn’t done well.

Number of Cabinets
If you have a large kitchen with many cabinets, then the cost of your cabinet refinishing will go up proportionally. However, the cost of refinishing a dozen cabinets is not the same as refinishing one cabinet 12 times! Most pros will charge you less per cabinet, the more of them you do as long as all of the cabinetry is receiving the same finish. So it can make financial sense to do all your refinishing at one time.

Refinishing Complexity
Smooth front cabinetry without detailing, carving, or trim is simpler to refinish than cabinets with complex designs and details. Evenly refinishing complex carved or detailed cabinets takes more time and skill and is therefore more expensive.

Preparation and Repair
Before any refinishing can take place, your cabinets must be stripped of all previous coats of paint, stain or varnish. Any places that are broken or splintered will need to be repaired, and all surfaces must be sanded until they are clean and smooth. Without adequate preparation the new finish will not adhere evenly and smoothly to the old surface. If your cabinets are very damaged, need extensive repair or have many previous coats of paint or stain, the preparation work will be more time consuming and therefore more expensive. Prep work is NOT a place to cut corners! If you try to save money by refinishing your cabinets without removing all the old paint or repairing the surface, the new finish may appear bumpy and uneven, or may even peel off after a short period of time.

Materials for Repair
Refinishing materials come in a variety of quality levels. There are higher grade stains and varnishes and cheaper versions as well. If your cabinets will be in direct sunlight or located in an outdoor kitchen, you may need higher grade materials than if they do not get exposed to the elements at all. If you are spending the time and money for refinishing, it makes sense to buy the highest quality materials. However, in some cases, a lower cost option may be similar in quality to its higher priced counterpart. Talk to your refinishing professional about the bet materials for your job.