The rich, varied texture and warm look of natural wood is something many people love for their homes. That’s why butcher block countertops have been a popular choice in kitchens and bar areas for many years. Certain home styles even rely on these types of materials for their signature look. Today, there are wood-look countertop alternatives to natural butcher block that offer the same style with minimal upkeep, reduced cost and greater long-term durability.
These materials are so well-made today that even a discerning eye can’t tell the cream of the alternative crop from natural wood. Alternative materials that offer an updated twist on natural wood are available as well.
Use this guide to learn more about choosing the right wood-look countertop material for your home or commercial space. Wood-look countertops are right at home in high-traffic office kitchens too.
What Wood-Look Countertop Options Are Available?
Alternative materials made to look like natural wood abound in today’s market. From flooring tile to countertops, a range of materials can be made to look just like wood. These materials typically offer better performance than natural wood as well. Here are some of the most popular wood-look material options:
Perhaps the most popular choice for countertops, a range of composite laminate materials is available that mimic the natural look of wood. Laminate is highly durable and designed for high-use spaces.
Dense and extremely durable, porcelain is very hard and nearly impervious to water damage. This makes it a great pick for a busy chef’s kitchens and family kitchens. Minimal upkeep is required with porcelain.
Still very durable, ceramic offers a little less water protection than porcelain. Ceramic tile can be a particularly smart option for dry bar areas and spaces where you don’t expect a lot of moisture.
Offering a modern feel and a natural wood look, concrete is one of the more unique alternative materials available today. You can also find concrete options that are reminiscent of wood, but bring a more contemporary element to your interior design scheme.
Wood-Look Countertop Styles Can Last Longer
Natural wood is a strong material that can last for many years. Walk into any well-maintained home built 50 to 100 years ago and there’s a good chance you’ll see wood on the floor. When it comes to countertops though, alternative materials can last longer in daily use spaces.
Why? Because materials like porcelain, laminate and concrete resist nicks, scratches, water damage and cracks better than natural wood. Remember that your countertops can take a lot of abuse during food preparation. Water from sinks can also spill over onto your countertops and sit for hours without you knowing it.
With a little basic maintenance, wood-look countertop materials will look practically brand new years after you install them.
Day-to-Day Maintenance is Easier
Butcher block countertops are an elegant solution that can really look spectacular in almost any space. How long they last though really depends on how diligent you can be when it comes to maintenance. That’s because butcher block wood is naturally porous. While many installations use a sealant to protect against bacteria entering the wood and water damage, this sealant does wear down over time. It’s not a perfect protectant, either.
In high-use kitchens, you could spend a great deal of time cleaning and sanitizing butcher block countertops. Regular oiling will be required as well. Most manufacturers of butcher block counters recommend oiling once per week after your countertops are installed, then once per month for at least the first year. In a busy family home, these deep cleanings are often neglected because there are just too many other tasks to take on.
With wood-look countertop options, the same level of cleaning and sanitizing is generally not required. With water-resistant and nearly porous materials like porcelain, you won’t have to worry as much about bacteria and water damage. Alternative materials also resist grease stains and sticky buildup that can be very hard to remove from butcher block countertops placed near a stovetop.
Strong wood-look materials can simply be wiped down after daily use as well. Deep cleaning and polishing is also considerably easier and won’t need to be performed as often. That’s a big benefit for busy homeowners, as well as business buyers looking to outfit a high-traffic kitchen space used by multiple employees every day.
You Can Find Cost-Effective Wood-Look Countertops
Cost is a major factor when it comes to most building projects and renovations. Particularly in condominiums and single-family homes, major upgrades like new countertops can crush your budget in one fell swoop. Alternative wood-look countertop designs can help you keep a little money in the bank for other improvements and projects you want to take on.
Wood-look countertops vary in cost, but many are cheaper than thick slabs of wood used for butcher block designs. Broken down over years, you also get more for your money since your wood-look countertops can easily last longer.
Not sure which wood-look countertop option to go with? We can help you compare laminate, ceramic, porcelain, concrete and a host of natural materials. Reach out to one of our trained representatives today so we can answer any questions you may have.
We can also help you find materials for your countertop project not listed here, including natural stone. Contact us today so we can help you plan and execute your building or renovation project from the start.