Timber has been proven time and again as a versatile choice for practically every decorating style. "Timber benchtops pair well with light cabinetry for an on-trend Scandi look, work perfectly to create a country aesthetic, and will also complement darker shades such as grey, black or navy to create a striking and modern contrast," says Kaboodle Kitchen senior product manager Luke Cerra.
When paired with other complimentary colours and finishes, there’s no end to the decorating potential of this sustainable resource. Be it a slab of Jarrah lovingly reclaimed from your Grandfather's Queensland farm or a solid timber benchtop in the latest trending varieties of Victorian Ash or Tasmanian Oak, timber tops are a great way to include a nod to the Australian landscape in your kitchen decorating scheme.
It's important to consider your practical needs in the kitchen and take style cues from your own taste, as well as the timber itself. “Every worktop is unique, with varying grain pattern and natural colour shifts that are part of the charm of the wood,” says IKEA Kitchen Sales Leader Daniel Hood. "Birch or Ash worktop finishes are a great choice to complement the Modern Scandinavian kitchen and bring warmth to an often white or neutral expression."
Whilst they are generally easy to cut, join and install, many renovators are apprehensive about the care and durability of a timber benchtop. How does it compare to other benchtop options, such as natural or engineered stone, laminate and concrete? We weigh up the differences.
How much does a timber benchtop cost?
Timber benchtop price usually sits in the middle of the scale of benchtop options on the market - they are at least half the price of quartz and engineered stone benchtops, but are priced higher than most laminate benchtops.
How to look after a timber benchtop
"A timber benchtop needs to be sealed when installed, and recoated when the coating starts to wear off," advises Luke. "Timber benchtops are more vulnerable to scratches, chipping and staining so it’s important to be attentive when it comes to maintaining and using the surface."
There's also the option to sand and reseal a kitchen benchtop down the track. "To ensure that your worktop ages gracefully, treat it regularly with wood treatment oil," Daniel urges. "It gives the surface a beautiful sheen, protects the wood and prolongs the life of the worktop."
Once in use, "Always ensure spills are wiped up and not left for a prolonged period of time," says Daniel.
How to prevent marks on a timber benchtop
"Timber benchtops are softer than other benchtop materials, making them more vulnerable to scratches, chipping and staining so it’s important to be aware of maintaining the surface to ensure longevity," says Luke. "To prevent water damage, it’s best to wipe up any sitting water after use."
"It’s best to refrain from placing anything too hot directly onto the timber surface," he warns. "Ensure that the timber remains sealed and that the coating hasn’t worn away to maintain durability."
"Keep your worktop looking as good as new by using chopping board and a heat mat to protect the surface from heat and cut marks," Daniel suggests.
What kinds of wood is used to make a timber benchtop?
Depending on the look you're after, there are countless natural timbers to choose from. The Bunnings offering alone (including the Kaboodle range) totals almost fifty different styles, with bamboo and timber variations in wood, depth, size and finishes.
Hardwoods such as walnut, oak and beech are all used as they are strong and durable. Jarrah also has a high resistance to weather, rot and termites so can be used outdoors too. "Oak is an exceedingly strong and durable hardwood with a prominent grain," says Daniel. "It darkens beautifully with age acquiring a golden-brown undertone." Made with a focus on sustainability, IKEA timber worktops are finished with a 3mm layer of solid wood, which covers a particleboard core, making it feel and look the same as solid wood. "With this technique, we can create new unique expressions and use less wood, which reducing impact on the environment," says Daniel. With the Australia-wide reach of the IKEA stores, worktops are also pre-cut and available to take home from the store on the day.
Also spreading from Sydney, Melbourne and cities all over Australia, the Bunnings kitchen benchtops offering totals almost fifty different styles, (including the Kaboodle range) with variations in wood, depth, size and finishes.
Both retailers will install your benchtop for you as part of the service when you buy. IKEA will provide a quote and put you in touch with to install your benchtop for you with experienced installers of IKEA kitchens.
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