It’s been a while since I’ve featured the kitchen on the blog and more shockingly, it’s been FOUR YEARS since it’s been installed! I know – where has the time gone? If you aren’t familiar with our kitchen renovation, you can read all about the work we’ve done here.
Now we’re four years on from installing our kitchen and the worktops (you can also read about our DIY worktop installation here), I’m collaborating with Worktop Express to share an update on our worktops and how they’re holding up. Although this post is sponsored by Worktop Express, please note that we purchased the worktops ourselves.
It’s probably worth mentioning that we also purchased from Worktop Express in our previous home and the worktops we used in Grants parents kitchen renovation were, you guessed it, also bought from Worktop Express too. You could say, we’re happy repeat customers, so this post will partly be a bit of a Worktop Express review too.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which allows me to receive a small commission if you visit a link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products I have bought or used myself. Affiliate links are marked with an asterisk (*).
Why We Purchase Our Worktops From Worktop Express
I get asked this a lot, considering our kitchen itself was from DIY Kitchens whom also stock kitchen worktops. Simply put, Worktop Express* has a much bigger selection of wooden worktops and in my opinion, at more competitive prices. Whether you’re looking for a simple worktop on a budget or have a much higher budget for a more luxury showstopper variety of worktop, such as their premium solid surface* and FENIX range*. Worktop Express offers something for both ends, and of course, there’s a whole bunch of options if you’re somewhere in the middle too!
The other reason we particularly love Worktop Express is because of their bespoke worktop cutting service*, saving time and money on installations. It makes DIY installations MUCH easier and means you don’t necessarily need to pay a carpenter to fit your worktops. By using this service, your worktop can arrive pre-cut to the exact size you require, with all holes and cutouts (like for a hob, tap or sink!) already done for you.
We used this service ourselves, as even though we’d probably be capable of making these cuts, the bespoke cutting service cost less than buying a router (which we still don’t own!) or the necessary router jig to make those cuts. It also took the stress out of doing it ourselves and the possibility of it going wrong.
It also goes without saying, now being a customer three times over, we also really rate the quality of the worktops too! All the worktops and upstands we’ve purchased over the years arrived straight with no bowing, splits or cupping.
We also really like that Worktop Express deliver their worktops themselves using their 2-Person Home Delivery Team into a ground floor room of your choice. This means your worktops are handled and stored correctly, which may not be the case if they were simply handed over to a third-party courier. Their delivery prices are also really reasonable too at just £25 for the first worktop, and £15 extra for each additional worktop (price capped at 4 worktops) and what’s more, most are available for next-day delivery too!
Our Ash Worktops Four Years on: Now Vs Then
We picked an ash worktop from Worktop Express* for our kitchen as we wanted quite a traditional look, something similar to oak, but a little lighter. Ash perfectly fitted the bill – a slightly lighter wood than oak, but at the same time has a very similar grain to it. Price-wise it was also one of the more affordable woods Worktop Express offer, starting at £150 for 2m lengths, which was only a tad more expensive than oak, but much cheaper than some of their more exotic woods!
So how is our worktop holding up after 4 years you ask?! Can wooden worktops really stand the test of time? I won’t lie, wooden worktops do require a bit of maintenance from time to time, but I’ll talk about that shortly. For now, let’s take a look at some ‘now and then’ comparisons and hopefully these photos will speak for themselves!
As you can probably see, there really isn’t much change in our worktops at all! I know some of the colours on the worktop look a bit different between the two years, but this is actually down to the time of day/light of the room, not the worktop itself. I would say some of the grain is a little less prominent in some of the 2021 photos, but the worktop is actually due a re-oil soon, which would re-enhance those details!
There are a few little imperfections which I’ll talk about below, but on the whole, it looks pretty much as good as it did the day we purchased it, don’t you think?
Do Wooden Worktops Stain?
Wooden worktops can stain, especially from particular spillages like curry sauce or red wine, however, as you can see from our worktops we have absolutely no stains whatsoever!
I’m typically quite “on it” with spillages, mopping anything up as soon as they happen, but we have had parties where beer or wine has been sat on the worktops overnight and it’s still sponged off the next day, albeit sometimes with a bit more of a vigorous scrub.
We also get quite a lot of oil splatter from the hob too and this has never caused any staining, even if it’s not wiped until several hours later. As long as your worktop is protected with an oil protectant, stains shouldn’t be a huge problem, although I would still say it’s good practice to clean up any spillages as soon as you can.
There was one very slight section of ‘damage’ to our worktop, which was from our coffee machine, where the drip tray had overfilled and leaked. This was annoyingly right after we installed the worktop and before we had built up a decent barrier with an oil protectant. The water from the leaking coffee machine had been sitting underneath out of sight, so we hadn’t noticed for a few days. This left a small patch of darkened wood, which I sanded back and re-oiled. You now wouldn’t even know there had ever been any damage as it’s been repaired pretty darn well. Can you spot it?
Are Belfast Sinks and Wooden Worktops a Good Mix?
One thing I get asked a lot is whether I regret installing our wooden worktops with our Belfast sink. The assumption is that wood and water don’t make a great combo and because the wood is exposed around the perimeter of a Belfast sink, it means any splashes from washing or running the tap are likely to land on this wood and therefore is more exposed to water and potential water damage!
I can only speak from my own experience but we’ve had absolutely ZERO issues with water and the edge of the worktop around the sink. It’s worth mentioning, that we specifically installed a drip groove to the underside of the worktop, which you can’t see, but acts as a ‘break’ in the wood. This means any water that splashes against the edge will drip straight off. Without this, there’s the potential for the water to run along the underside of the worktop (i.e it doesn’t drip off) and could soak into the worktop causing marks/water damage. But as I say, we have had absolutely no issues and I don’t even wipe the edge at all! The photo below shows the drip groove on the underside of the worktop before we had installed the worktop.
The other thing to be mindful of is any splashes around the tap itself. Turning off a tap with wet hands will usually result in water dripping off and sitting on top of the worktop. As this water has nowhere to run off, it leads to standing water which can eventually lead to watermarks, so this is probably the only thing we are quite cautious of. When I dry my hands, I dry any water on the worktop too. It’s not a huge task and perhaps not something you need to do religiously, but it’s baked into my routine and something I do every time I wash and dry my hands. As you can see, we have absolutely no watermarks or water damage.
When we purchased our worktop, we opted to add drainage grooves alongside our Belfast sink, which are designed for drying wet pots and allowing water to simply ‘drain away’. I have to say, as fab as they look, we absolutely never use them. I simply don’t find they drain quick enough and do in fact, lead to water standing on the worktop for too long, which I think with daily use, would eventually lead to black watermarks.
So instead, we use an absorbent drying mat. Unless you absolutely soak the mat, it typically stays dry on the underside, keeping the worktop free from water damage. Once the pots are dry, we then hang this up on the oven to dry and reuse the next day.
I think unless you were to re-oil the drainage grooves regularly, they would probably be the first part of a wooden worktop to shart to show its age and have that ‘used’ look. I love the appearance of them and have no regrets having them cut onto the worktop (for the visual look!), but turns out they just aren’t for us when it comes to actually being used as a draining board.
Wooden Worktop Maintenance
If there’s one thing to note about wooden worktops, it’s that they’re most likely going to need a bit of maintenance from time to time to keep them looking at their best! This doesn’t mean you need crazy DIY skills or need to hire a carpenter out every year. The maintenance we do is really quite simple and barely takes any time at all!
I plan to do a full blog post documenting this in more detail, but in a nutshell, I simply re-oil once a year with some danish oil (I use Rustins Danish Oil*, as recommended by Worktop Express). I don’t typically give the worktop a deep sanding for this, I just clean it down and reapply. It’s probably good practice to give a light sand every few years if your worktop needs it, otherwise, when it comes to regular maintenance, I wouldn’t bother! (photo below from 2018)
When we first bought the worktop, I re-oiled the surface more frequently as new wood will need more treatments to build up its ‘barrier’. I also made sure to re-oil around the sink twice a year for the first couple of years thereafter. Nowadays, I just do this year with the rest of the worktops, as I simply don’t think it needs any extra oiling, however, you may find yours needs more than this.
You’ll know when your worktops need re-oiling as water droplets will no longer ‘bead up’, or you might just feel your worktops looking a bit ‘dull’ visually. How often you need to re-oil depends on how much use your worktop gets, as well as the type of cleaning products you use (degreasers will typically strip oils away over time and vigorous scrubbing will also wear away the oil), but I would say re-oiling once a year should be the bare minimum.
Wooden Worktops from Worktop Express: Would We Recommend?
I absolutely LOVE our wooden worktops and would 100% recommend to anyone who wanted that traditional look to their kitchen and doesn’t mind a bit of maintenance now and then to keep them looking at their best!
The good thing about wood and its maintenance though is it means you CAN repair most damage and at a DIY level. You can sand back most surface stains or light water damage and with a bit of work, rejuvenate the surface completely. With other materials, like laminate or even stone, repairing damage isn’t so easy and often does require a professional.
If wood and its maintenance isn’t for you, then I completely recommend taking a look at solid laminate worktops from Worktop Express* (not to be confused with regular laminate!) which is super durable, heat resistant up to 220 degrees and is low maintenance. This would personally be my second choice when it comes to kitchen worktops and we actually used this at Grants parents house, again, ordering via the bespoke cutting service from worktop express. I think these worktops are perfect for rentals or holiday lets where you can’t always guarantee the maintenance of the worktop.
I do, however, also recommend considering wooden worktops as a great option for desktops, benchtops or other areas of the home. The fact you can resand and rejuvenate makes it the perfect material for these uses. I know more and more people are now working from home, so if that’s you and you’re after a quick set-up, a wooden worktop with some simple trestle legs looks great and is super practical too.
If you’re interested in seeing more of what Worktop Express offer, then please click here to view all their different worktops and don’t forget – you can order some samples here to check out the quality for yourself too!
So those are my thoughts on wooden worktops in the kitchen. I’d love to know if you have any tips, experience or advice to share. Just leave a comment below! And as always, please feel free to get in touch with any questions I may not have covered as well.
This blog post was sponsored by worktop express, however, as explained, all worktops have been purchased with our own money.
*This post contains affiliate links where an asterisk (*) is used.