How to care for timber bench tops

Timber benchtops are a natural and sustainable countertop option and will bring a sense of luxury, warmth and texture to your home. But from a practicality perspective, are they durable and easy to care for? The simple answer is yes!

Laundry and kitchen timber bench top by RAW Sunshine Coast

If you’re considering adding a timber benchtop to your next build or renovation, whether it’s a kitchen island countertop, to accentuate you stone benchtops, a timber bathroom vanity or office desktop, then you may have some questions around cost, durability and maintenance. These are questions we often get asked and below we hope to provide you with some useful answers to determine if a timber benchtop is the right choice for you and your project.

How durable are timber benchtops?

Despite wood’s softness, it can actually last much longer than its sturdier counterparts. Timber benchtops can be susceptible to scratches, chipping and staining, therefore simple regular maintenance is required (see maintenance tips and the end of the article). However even the most neglected of benchtops can be brought back to life. The beauty of timber is that it can be re-sanded and refinished at any time during its life to maintain the timbers natural beauty.

Are wooden bench tops expensive?

With numerous benchtop options available on the market today, solid timber tends to be priced around the mid to high range, with quartz and engineered stone at the top and laminate at the lower end. Factors impacting the final price include the species of timber, dimensions, thickness, cut-outs, edge detail, installation and the finish you select.

Are certain timber species better than others?

We are fortunate in Australia to have so many wonderful native and imported species to select from. The most popular benchtop timbers for their durability and appearance include:  

  • Spotted Gum
  • Blackbutt
  • Walnut
  • Victorian Ash / Tasmanian Oak
  • Brushbox
  • Ironbark
  • American White Oak
  • American White Ash
solid timber counter top laundry sunshine coast kitchen

Is timber an environmentally sound choice?

There are many benefits of using responsibly sourced wood. According to Make it Wood, responsibly sourced timber is the only renewable building material available on the market. It is naturally grown and removes CO2 from the atmosphere. The carbon that is removed from the air as trees grow, is then stored in wood products, with approx. 50% of the dry weight of wood is carbon.

The production and processing of wood uses much less energy – called embodied energy – than most other building materials, giving wood products a significantly lower carbon footprint. Wood can be used to substitute for materials that require larger amounts of fossil fuels to be produced. https://makeitwood.org/benefits/

We like our timber suppliers, are committed to our forests, our community and our future. All of our timber is sustainably sourced from local suppliers and is Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC), with a traceable chain of custody. This ensures environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable forest management. Find out more at https://ic.fsc.org/en/what-is-fsc.

Solid timber is a beautiful natural material and unlike its cheaper counter parts like veneers, it can be re-sanded and refinished at any time during its life to maintain the timbers natural beauty. This makes solid timber an ideal material for benchtops.

Does timber move?

Every benchtop at RAW Sunshine Coast is crafted from select grade kiln dried timber. As timber is a natural material, it will continue to expand and contract with changes in humidity. We use high quality poly urethane glues to ensure a long-lasting bond. Changes in timbers moisture content can be due to many factors including the climate (moisture in the air – dry or wet), air conditioning and appliances such as dishwashers, ovens and kettles. The timber will expand with increased air moisture and contract as it decreases. Movement across the grain can be up to 7%. Although rare, this movement is quite normal and when correctly installed, this movement will not be noticeable.

What if there are knots and veins on my countertop?

There exist natural variations in wood, including knots, cracks, colour, and grain. These are unique to every tree and piece of timber, and therefore benchtops. These should not be considered faults but serve to make each and every piece individual.

What finish should I select for my timber benchtop?

We offer a couple of fantastic options when it comes to selecting the right finish for your timber benchtop:

OSMO PolyX oil

OSMO is an eco-friendly option, made from natural plant oils and waxes and is 100% food safe and meets all of the food safe regulations in Australia (certificates available on request). It has a beautiful light finish and will keep the timber looking closest to its natural colour (available in a variety of sheen levels – i.e. matt, semi-matt and satin).

This high-quality finish penetrates deep into the wood, forming a low-maintenance, protective barrier and leaves a hard-wax finish on the surface. Benchtops become highly resistant to spills, dirt, dust, and minor damage, as well as liquids such as coffee and wine. However, it is recommended that spills be cleaned immediately with a damp cloth.

No harsh chemicals should be used on the finished timber, nor should any abrasive products as these will cause the finish to break down quickly. 

The beauty of OSMO is that any small scratches can be easily hand sanded away and a fresh coat of OSMO applied. This will bring your benchtop back to brand new. If you need advice on how to re-coat your benchtop with OSMO yourself or would like our team to re-coat it for you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Benchtops finished with OSMO should be recoated when they are starting to show signs of wear. This timeframe will depend on usage by can range anywhere between 12 months to 5 years.

2 PAC

We also offer 2 PAC non-grain filled and grain filled options. 2 PAC is more resistant to chemicals in comparison to OSMO. In particular, for areas such as laundries that require more protection against water and accidental chemical spills, we recommend selecting a 2 PAC finish for your benchtop.

The negatives to a 2 PAC finish are that it tends to darken the timber more than OSMO and if a 2 PAC benchtop finish is damaged, then the benchtop must be removed and sent away for stripping and re-finishing. It will however come back looking brand new.

Speak to our friendly staff about 2 PAC non-grain filled and grain filled options.

timber benchtop raw sunshine coast laundry design inspiration

How do I care for my timber benchtop?

By following our simple maintenance tips, solid timber benchtops should remain in excellent condition for a long time:

  • No chemicals should be used on the finished timber, nor should any abrasive products or cloths. Clean with a lightly sprayed water-based cleaning product. It is recommended that an OSMO maintenance kit be used to prevent deterioration.
  • Benchtops should be dusted regularly with a clean, cotton cloth.
  • Coasters and placemats should always be used under plates, cups, utensils, and glasses, regardless of whether they are hot or cold.
  • Use chopping boards and heat mats to protect the surface from cuts and heat.
  • When writing, it is best to use a mat to prevent dents.
  • Any spills should be wiped up immediately so as not to cause the finish to break down.
  • Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, heating/ cooling vents, or fireplaces should also be avoided. These may damage or discolour the wood/finish.
  • If necessary, the wood can be refinished with OSMO or 2 PAC. If you wish for the finish to be redone, or for any stains, scratches, chips, or other damage to the repaired, contact RAW Sunshine Coast for expert advice.

Why select RAW Sunshine Coast to make your benchtop?

At RAW Sunshine Coast, solid timber craft is our speciality. All our benchtops are manufactured in our Maroochydore workshop by our team of qualified and experienced furniture makers and joiners, who take great pride in creating quality pieces that will last a lifetime.

All of our timber benchtops are made to order. We craft bench tops to your exact dimensions and offer a range of timber species and finishes for you to select from in order to achieve your desired look and function. We have the ability to cut both undermount and top mount sinks on our CNC.

Our timber benchtops are crafted from select grade FSC certified timber and feature wide board laminations. The term ‘laminations’ refers to the joining of solid timber. This can include full lengths of timber edge-glued or multiple pieces edge and butt joined to make up a larger piece.

Our benchtops are proudly manufactured from full lengths of solid timber and our laminations are generally between 150mm and 200mm wide, unless otherwise specified. In comparison to other timber benchtop on the market, our laminations are often wider. Teamed with full lengths of timber, we believe a sleeker and more sophisticated look is achieved over butt joined benchtops with narrow laminations.

Got more questions?

Whether it’s a timber kitchen island bench with waterfall edges or maybe an office desktop that you’re after, we hope that we’ve been able to answer some of your benchtop durability and maintenance questions. However,  if you’d like to know anything else, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our team on 0413 111 595 or info@rawsunshinecoast.com.au

timber benchtop raw sunshine coast laundry design inspiration