Hardwood work surfaces have long been an favorite but often prohibitively expensive option in kitchens of all sizes and styles. There’s nothing to equal the warmth and tactility of wood.
Dozens of species, options for grain pattern and graceful custom edge profiles make wood one of the most versatile material available for counter and island tops. Even as a 100% renewable natural material hardwood costs can be high as a result of the amount of skilled man hours and equipment involved in the fabrication of a countertop. With a lot of homeowners getting involved in the do it yourself movement, the hardwood industry has adapted to allow those of us who want to invest a little time to have a gorgeous wood countertop much more economically than we could have a few years ago. The two most common choices are the simplest and most low cost option which serves well for smaller and less complex installations with the second possibility which is a compromise between DIY and full custom.
In the first instance you can simply buy a blank piece of wood that has been fabricated and cut to a stock size and go from there. You’ll need to do your own measuring and cutting and all the finish work. Making cuts for the exact shape of your countertop is very straightforward and well within the scope of anyone who has a bit of experience with a circular saw. The complexity of cutting sink openings, for example, is more demanding. If you choose this method you might consider a drop-in sink as the exactness of the opening is a little more forgiving than it would be with an under-mount sink which requires a perfect cut. The edge profiles are another issue here unless you prefer a simple straight edge or are confident you can handle a router efficiently enough to create a custom profile. Once you have the countertop in place there will be the finishing. With this option there is a good deal of sanding to be done and then the application of what ever sealer you choose. If your a novice DIY-er you might consider this as a great option for an island top. If you have more experience you’ll feel comfortable with the more meticulous measuring and cutting needed to do your own new countertop.
The second option is to buy a counter top that is cut to the exact size and shape of you need and has the edge profile and cut-outs for sinks or other custom features you need pre-cut at the factory. A wider variety of wood species is often available with this choice. Going this way is a little more pricey but still far less than a fully custom finished and installed wood countertop. The company you work with will give you pointers on creating an accurate measurements or a template if necessary which you’ll then send to them so they can fabricate your surface to the exact measurements needed for your installation. In most cases this type of top will be more finely sanded than the first option although the finish sanding and sealing will be on you. Again, the company you work with will help you out with instructions. It’s not rocket science and it will save a significant amount. A case of having your cake and eating it too.
Which ever choice you come to there are few DIY projects that add as much to a kitchen of any sort than the warm beauty of a hardwood counter or island top.
Image provided by www.jaaronwoodcountertops.com