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How Much Does It Cost To Install Wood Countertops?

Typical Range: $30 - $150

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Wood countertops are an old world trend making a comeback in home design. Rather than sticking with traditional granite or laminate, homeowners are turning to more old-fashioned ideas like wood. While costs vary depending on the type of wood, brand, and installation factors, the average is around $40 per square foot, with most homeowners spending between $30 and $60 per square foot.  Installing wood countertops also comes as part of the green movement, which pushes the use of renewable and recycled sources in the home. These counters are biodegradable when uninstalled and can be made from recycled lumber if homeowners so choose. Keep reading to learn about wood countertops and how they fit into your home.

On This Page:

  1. Wood Countertop Installation: What to Consider
  2. Styles and Types of Wood Countertops
  3. Taking Care of Wood Countertops

Wood Countertop Installation: What to Consider

When you have wood counters installed by a countertop contractor, you should have a thorough understanding of the process and the costs. Since this is a major part of your kitchen, there are several factors to consider. The general rule of thumb when buying wood counters is that the more durable the wood is, the more expensive it will be. As costly as that may sound, remember that you’ll be investing in a material that lasts longer and requires less maintenance than other options.

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Wood Countertop Price Factors

Costs for countertops include more than just the materials. Some typical prices involved in the installation process include:

  • Material Cost: this can range anywhere from $30 to $200 per square foot depending on how much you need and the wood type you choose.
  • Edging: this process costs up to an additional $10 per square foot.
  • Staining: this process costs up to an additional $20 per square foot.
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Prices per Square Foot

The price for wood counters varies significantly depending on the type of wood you choose. Here are some typical prices for common wood types:

  • Maple: $45 to $75 per square foot
  • Walnut: $100 per square foot
  • Teak or Sebrawood: $130 per square foot
  • Butcher Block: $40 to $65 per square foot
  • Wide Plank: $30 to $150 per square foot
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Prices by Brand

If you prefer to shop by brand, here are some big names in the business and their average costs:

  • Brooks Woodworking, Inc.: offers custom wood countertops that echo traditional and country style for an average of $125 per square foot.
  • John Boos: known for butcher block countertops with standard edges and natural finishes for about $30 per square foot.
  • Cheng Design: has contemporary style wood kitchen islands with undermount cutouts for anywhere between $6,000 to $7,000.
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Relocating Fixtures and Appliances

When you install new counters, you also have to consider where your plumbing fixtures and appliances are located. Countertop installation will involve removing and then reinstalling some of these depending on their location. This could include the sink, oven, stove, dishwasher and smaller appliances.

Sinks

Sinks should be reinstalled at least eight to 10 inches away from the wood counter to avoid excess moisture absorption. Countertop professionals use an acid-free silicone sealant to help prevent some moisture from getting into the counter when the sink is reinstalled. You should also prevent stagnant water from collecting on your wood counter as a result of cleaning dishes, washing vegetables and other kitchen chores.

Ovens and Stoves

Ovens and stoves should also be eight to 10 inches away from a wood countertop’s joint. Countertop professionals should also allot space between the front and back of the oven and range to prevent heat from damaging the counter. If your range was built into the old counter, the cutouts in the new wood counter should be up to one-quarter inch larger so the wood’s natural swelling and shrinking won’t affect the placement.

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Questions to Ask a Contractor

When hiring a contractor, you should make sure he or she is versed in installing wood countertops specifically. Some professionals might be experts in stone counters, which means they might not have the background needed for your installation. Some questions you should ask include:

  • Are you experienced in installing wood counters?
  • How long have you been installing them?
  • Who else will help install this countertop, and how much experience do they have?
  • Do you have any past clients I can call as references?
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Styles and Types of Wood Countertops

When determining what kind of wood countertop to install, it’s important to determine the style you need. The three main styles are:

  • Flat grain: You should install this type of counter when you want a stylish look to show off the grain of the wood. This is also known as wide plank style.
  • End grain: This style is best for preparing food and is also known as butcher block countertops
  • Edge grain: This style is very stable and works well as a surface counter. Any counter that’s considered edge grain must have a minimum thickness of one inch.

Once you decide on the style, think about the species. Designers can make beautiful products from a wide variety of trees. Hardwoods are usually the best way to go, but there are many types to choose from. Options for homeowners include:

  • Wenge: This dense African wood hides knife marks and won’t warp with exposure to moisture. It’s very durable and is frequently used in furniture construction.
  • Cherry: This has a smooth and even finish that’s used in everything from butcher blocks to some furniture.
  • Bamboo: This type of wood is usually used for butcher blocks. It’s sturdy, clean and an eco-friendly choice.
  • Maple: This is another good butcher block material, due to its durability and ability to hide knife marks.
  • Walnut: This is a tough material that comes in a variety of hues. You might find that some of your other furniture is also made of this material.
  • Teak: This wood is very durable and can handle moisture. It can be an edge or end grain type of countertop.
  • Reclaimed wood: Many options are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.  Reclaimed lumber materials can also be durable, resistant to moisture and sustainable in your home. Some can also be cheaper than hardwoods.
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Advantages of Wood Countertops

Wood countertops have numerous advantages. Here are some of the biggest benefits:

  • Wood absorbs sound waves, so they’re very quiet.
  • Wood complements other countertop types.
  • Wood can last for a long time with the right care.
  • Nicks, scratches, burns and other damage can be repaired.
  • Some types of wood are naturally heat-resistant.
  • Wood has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial resistance.
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Disadvantages of Wood Countertops

One potentially major disadvantage of wood countertops is the maintenance involved to keep them in good shape. Other drawbacks include:

  • Wood countertops require oiling two to three times each year.
  • Some wood is not heat- or stain-resistant, so you can’t set hot or cold cookware on these countertops.
  • Because it’s made of natural materials, wood can swell and shrink in moisture and cause cracks or peels.
  • Too much standing water can cause rot and discoloration.
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Taking Care of Wood Countertops

Because they are made of natural materials and need to be oiled on a regular basis, you will need to do regular maintenance on your wood counters. With regular cooking, food preparation and general counter usage, you’ll encounter scratches, stains and potentially burns. Here are some maintenance tips for keeping wood counters looking as good as new.

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Stain Removal

There are a few ways to handle stains on your wood countertops. Whenever you remove a stain, be sure to reapply the oil afterwards, or else your counter could dry out.

  • Lemon: Sprinkle the salt on stain and rub half a lemon into it. Let sit overnight to eat away at the stain
  • Baking soda: Work baking soda into the stain and let sit for a few minutes. This should draw the stain out.
  • Bleach: Mix water and bleach and apply to the stain with sponge. Let stand overnight and wipe clean. This could change the wood’s color, so use as last resort.
  • Scrape: Scrape or sand that portion of the wood away if you don’t want to take time to remove the stain.
  • Sanding: Use coarse paper to remove the layer of wood with stain. Sand the surrounding area to make it less noticeable.
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Scratches, Knife Marks and Burns

To remove scratch marks or burns from the surface of a wood counter, you’ll need to sand the area. Use 120-grit paper to prepare the area, and then use 180-grit paper until the surface is smooth. Next pour on some mineral oil and use a rag. Let it sit for half an hour and then wipe away with a paper towel. Never use cooking oil on your wood countertops.

When planning new counters for your home, consider the look, maintenance level and cost that you want for your space. Depending on the kind of wood countertops that work best in your home, they can range from very affordable to extremely expensive. With their aesthetic appeal, straightforward maintenance and ability to mask damage, wood can be a great, long-lasting choice.

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