Types of kitchen counter tops
Table of contents
When one considers a kitchen counter top, one usually thinks of only the following materials:
- Granite counter tops
- Marble counter tops
- Laminate counter tops
- Exotic timber such as Ash, Beech and Oak counter tops
- Soapstone counter tops
- Concrete counter tops
- Formica counter tops
- Corian or Montelli counter tops
Over the last few years that has been changing in favour of new countertop ideas, including mixed media, e.g. granite + solid wood, as per the picture at the top of this page.
Kitchen countertops need to be durable, beautiful, easy-to-clean and food safe.
Bamboo counter tops have all the properties of a timber countertop plus:
- Bamboo is food safe – that is why bamboo chopping boards are so popular
- These countertops are durable but gentle on your crockery
- Are tolerant of water – a must for a kitchen countertop
Counter tops suitability
Bamboo countertops are a great alternative to using cold and hard concrete, granite or marble counter tops. Being the perfect “solid wood replacement”, bamboo countertops add the warmth of a timber countertop to your kitchen while being gentle on your crockery.
Bamboo is food safe. This is the reason bamboo is so popular as a cutting board material. A kitchen countertop is a surface that needs to be suitable as a food preparation surface.
Unlike most hard and soft woods, bamboo is hypoallergenic.
Plastic countertops on the other hand become less and less food safe as they are used over time. See what a study at the University of Wisconsin revealed …
Wood is considered to be the most eco-friendly option when it comes to choosing a kitchen countertop as wood is a renewable resource.
Wood countertops must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after contact with foods such as raw meat. Although the use of wooden work surfaces is prohibited in commercial food production areas in the EU and the US Department of Agriculture advises against the use of wooden chopping boards, research by the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin has shown that wooden work surfaces are no more dangerous, and in some cases safer than plastic alternatives.
They have shown that whilst that bacteria does get absorbed by the wood it does not multiply and eventually dies.
Whilst brand new plastic work surfaces are indeed easy to disinfect, once they have become heavily knife scarred they are nearly impossible to completely disinfect.
This is not a problem with wooden work surfaces where the number of knife cuts made little difference.
Counter tops refinishing & durability
Eco-Logic Bamboo countertop boards are available in the standard bamboo colours; lighter Blonde (Natural) or the darker Coffee (Carbonised) colours, as well as in the vertical and horizontal surface construction formats.
Bamboo stains wonderfully, so whatever colour or finish (stain, paint, wax, oil, polyurethane, etc) you want, can be applied to your kitchencountertop. So if you’re wanting a dark finish, no problem, any colour you want and it’s possible.
What about burns from hot pots, etc? Well, we’d obviously recommend you use a suitable material for placing hot pots on and not putting them directly on the countertop surface.
It is more likely that the top coat on the bamboo countertop will suffer damage first before the bamboo itself scorches. And if you do end up with a scorch mark? Simple, sand and finish.
As granite is permeable, if something “stains” a granite countertop, you get to live with it or go through the costly exercise of replacing it. With bamboo countertops, you can simply sand the stain out and finish.
Counter tops moisture tolerance
One special characteristic of bamboo countertops is their moisture tolerance.
With post-formed plastic laminate countertops and similar products, water is always a concern – especially around the prep bowl & washing up areas. Excessive water exposure, and they start to expand. The only option for repair is to replace.
Bamboo is affected by moisture, but is a LOT more tolerant. In fact, whilst we were testing the product, we popped a few boards into a dish washer and ran them through two hot cycles consecutively – the result?
After the bamboo boards had dried properly, they returned to their original dimensions.
Chip based counter tops will eventually expand to up to 2x their original thickness The same for MDF. Solid timber will often warp and buckle, never to return to shape.
In each case prolonged water exposure will need a complete replacement.
Sealing the bamboo countertop correctly will limit the water related swelling so commonly experienced with post-formed plastic laminate countertops.
Have a look at this video to see the results of the dishwasher test for yourself!
Kitchen Countertop Price
Countertops cost varies based on the length and thickness required for your countertop.
Bamboo countertops have a very high tensile strength – higher than cold pressed steel – so you don’t need the thickness (typically 30 mm or thicker) that you would need with a countertop such as a post-form top (Formica) or thenatural stone countertops.
You can comfortably use the thinner 20 mm thick bamboo countertops.
Typically one would only need a 30 mm bamboo countertop if your were butting the top next to a thicker top such as granite.
Eco-Logic Bamboo countertops are available through a number of timber merchants nationwide.
Do you have more questions? Click to contact us for further information.
Here are a couple of other kitchen articles for further reading -
Do It Yourself Countertops
Countertop materials like bamboo countertops respond very well to machining; routers, CNC, laser and water jet cutting.
So you can machine a simple Bullnose to whatever complex shape your design requires.
Boards are supplied with a ready-to-use 120 grit sanded finish – ready to apply your desired stain or top coat. You can also sand the surface to a very fine grit, creating a luxurious finish.
Bamboo countertops also work great all the standard wood finishing products. So whether it is a paint technique, oil, wax, polywax, UV coat or hardener you want to use for your finish, you’ll find that our counter tops are very accommodating.
The countertops are cut and sanded using conventional woodworking equipment. Gluing or mechanically fastening (screws) using the same materials and fasteners commonly used with solid wood.
Sign up for our “Working with bamboo timber boards” email tips series. It’s loaded with tips for those starting out.
Solid Bamboo Counter tops Dimensions & Options
|3,600 x 600 x 20 mm||NH, NV, CH, CV||A/B, B/B||NV not available in B/B option|
|3,600 x 600 x 30 mm||NH, NV, CH, CV||A/B, B/B||NV not available in B/B option|
|3,600 x 900 x 30 mm||NH, NV, CH, CV||A/B, B/B||NV not available in B/B option|
|NH = Natural (Colour), Horizontal (Surface Construction)||A/A = Both sides are colour matched|
|NV = Natural (Colour), Vertical (Surface Construction)||A/B = One side is colour matched|
|CH = Carbonised (Colour), Horizontal (Surface Construction)||B/B = Both sides are not colour matched|
|CV = Carbonised (Colour), Vertical (Surface Construction)||N/A = Not Available|