CARE AND THE MAINTENANCE
of Custom Wood Countertops, Butcher Blocks and Kitchen Island Tops
are a perfect combination of beauty and functionality. Made from European beech wood, maple, or cherry, these natural solid-surface tops bring an affectionate radiance to any kitchen. Beside the warm look that these natural materials provide, they also stand out for their remarkable functionality. Being hard, dense and durable, and imparting not taste or odour to food, hardwoods like beech wood, maple or cherry are ideal for counter tops, butcher blocks or cutting boards. Thick butcher blocks are made of hardwood strips glued together using waterproof glue. This is the ideal kitchen counter top for the cook who does plenty of slicing and dicing.
Here are some other characteristics of the solid wood butcher-block countertop:
- It is great for chopping, rolling out dough, and for working with bread; it is also gentle with china and crystal items.
- Nicks, cuts, and scratches give it character and charm.
- It is one of the most sanitary surfaces available; the wooden butcher block is naturally inhospitable and resistant to bacteria. Studies have shown that Salmonella bacteria live longer on plastic surfaces than on wood.
- Requires rubbing down with mineral oil periodically to protect its finish.
- Prolonged exposure to water should be avoided for an extended life.
Wood is a natural living material, subject to natural forces. We would like to draw attention to the maintenance instructions for your solid wood countertop, island top, or butcher block. Following these directions carefully, will result in having an easy to maintain, great-looking custom countertop that will last for many years. Failure to comply with the prescribed maintenance procedures can trigger damages that will not be covered by our warranty.
The basic care and maintenance for hardwood countertops:
Your top is sealed in plastic prior to shipping. The top has to be oiled when it is first taken out of the packaging. All sides of the top should be oiled (top, sides, and bottom) the way described below. After the countertop was installed, it is best to have three successive coats of mineral oil applied first, and then keep applying one coat per month, or as needed, on an ongoing basis. For extra protection, melt a 1 to 4 mixture of wax and mineral oil and apply to all sides of your top. This mixture will constitute additional defence against stains and moisture.
- The Tung oil does not require pre-warming. You can place it in a pan with hot tap water if it was previously stored in a cold environment, but don’t heat the oil on a stovetop.
- Pour a small amount of mineral oil on a paper towel or pour it directly onto the top.
- Wipe the oil onto the wood, leaving a thin layer of oil (remember to oil all the top’s sides).
- Let the top soak up the oil for about 20 – 30 minutes, and then remove the excess oil with an absorbent paper towel.
Do not cut, drill or change your top in any way without refinishing all exposed surfaces thoroughly.
Do not use or spill vinegar on a top that has a mineral oil finish. It might cause cupping, cracking and warping that is beyond repair.
Do not use harsh detergents or chemicals.
Do not place these tops near excessive heat sources such as stoves without proper insulation between the heat source and the edge of the top.
Do not expose tops to excessive heat, cold or moisture! Do not use the hardwood top as a hot pad and do not place on it items like microwave oven, dishwasher or stove burners.
Cleaning your top:
- Scrape any heavy food particles or foreign matter that may have adhered to the surface with a steel scraper or spatula.
- Brush or scrape any loose particles from the top surface.
- Dip a washcloth in warm soapy water and wash the top.
- Wash out the dishcloth in clear warm water, wring it out, and go over the surface again.
- Take a dry cloth and go over the entire surface. Dry it thoroughly.
- Apply a coat of mineral oil to all surfaces once a month or as needed.
Almost all problems on solid wood countertops, island tops, and butcher blocks are caused by dryness. Your butcher block will look great and have a long life if properly treated with mineral oil on a regular basis. For specific problems see the following:
End checks or splits: (separation of the joints along the end of the top or block). This damage is caused by excessive dryness or because the top is not oiled frequently enough. To repair, melt a 1 to 4 mixture of wax and mineral oil and fill all checks or splits. Make sure that wax mixture seals any split thoroughly. Alternatively, mix some wood glue with wood sand and fill all the splits. Continue oiling the top on a regular basis.
Warping, cupping: This damage is caused by uneven moisture level between the top and the bottom surfaces of the wood. To correct this situation, apply mineral oil abundantly to the concave side of the top. The procedure may need to be repeated several times to correct the problem.
Stains: Water spots, food stains, etc, can occur when food is allowed to remain on the top for too long. To correct this situation, use a sanding machine with a light sandpaper 160-200 grit, or fine steel wool on the stain. Then oil the surface liberally and continue regular maintenance practices. Applying a paraffin/mineral oil mixture to the top can minimize staining.
Colour Variations: Dark streaks can show up on the top’s surface. These are caused by a natural discolouring of the wood due to mineral deposits in the tree. Other colour variations are natural characteristics of the wood. This is not a flaw or problem, but a natural process that is normal and only adds to the individuality of your top.
Nicks, Gouges, etc: Knife wounds or other environmental damage can be repaired or minimized by sanding and re-oiling the top. Remember to oil freely, and then continue regular maintenance practices.