8 BEST Woods for Kitchen Countertops (Ultimate Guide!)

Choosing the right wood for your kitchen countertop is like selecting the best ice cream flavor. It can make everything perfect!

BEST Woods for Kitchen Countertops

As a woodworker with more than 40 years of experience, I’ve worked with many different types of wood for making kitchen countertops and able to find out what serves the best interest of beauty and the durability.

Let’s explore the world of woods and see which one will make your kitchen shine.

1. Hard Maple

Hard maple kitchen countertop

Hard Maple is an excellent choice for kitchen countertops due to its durability and light, clean appearance, which can brighten up any kitchen.

Here are some important characteristics that make Hard Maple an excellent choice for countertops:

  • Hardness: Exceptional durability and resistance to scratches and dents.
  • Grain Pattern: Subtle, uniform grain pattern that offers a smooth, consistent finish.
  • Color Stability: Light, natural color that ages gracefully over time.
  • Workability: Easy to work with, allowing for precision in custom countertop designs.

Pros and Cons Table for Hard Maple Countertops

Highly durable and long-lastingCan be prone to scratches if not properly sealed
Resistant to bacteria and easy to cleanSensitive to direct sunlight, may cause discoloration
Provides a bright and clean look to the kitchenRequires regular maintenance to maintain its finish
Sustainable option when sourced responsiblyCan be more expensive than softer wood options

2. Dark Walnut

Dark walnut kitchen countertop

Dark Walnut is renowned for its rich, deep color and striking grain patterns, making it a luxurious choice for kitchen countertops that can add warmth and elegance to any space.

Here are some key properties that make Dark Walnut a standout choice for countertops:

  • Color Depth: Provides a deep, chocolate brown hue that can make a statement in any kitchen.
  • Grain Pattern: Features a bold, straight grain that can vary to include elegant curves, adding character to your countertops.
  • Durability: While not as hard as maple, it’s still sufficiently durable for regular kitchen use.
  • Workability: Easily worked with tools, allowing for intricate designs and custom shapes.

Pros and Cons Table for Dark Walnut Countertops

Adds warmth and elegance to the kitchenRequires regular oiling to maintain its luster
Unique grain patterns add characterDarker color can show scratches and dust more easily
Naturally resistant to decay and insectsCan be susceptible to water damage if not properly sealed
Ages gracefully, developing a rich patina over timeHigher cost due to its premium quality

3. Oak

Oak kitchen countertop

Oak is a popular choice for kitchen countertops due to its classic beauty and remarkable durability.

Its distinctive grain patterns and warmth make it a versatile fit for both traditional and modern kitchens.

Here are some key properties that make Oak an excellent choice for countertops:

  • Durability: Known for its strength and longevity, capable of withstanding the rigors of a busy kitchen.
  • Grain Pattern: Prominent and varied grain patterns that add depth and character to countertops.
  • Color Variation: Available in a range of tones from light to medium, complementing various kitchen styles.
  • Workability: While hard, Oak is still manageable to work with, allowing for detailed customization.

Pros and Cons Table for Oak Countertops

Strong and durable, ideal for heavy useProne to warping if not properly treated
Timeless appearance that ages wellVisible grain patterns might not appeal to everyone
Naturally resistant to fungi and insectsRequires regular maintenance to prevent drying and cracking
Can be stained to match any kitchen decorLighter colors can show stains more easily

4. Birch

Birch kitchen countertop

Birch is an excellent choice for those seeking a lighter, more Scandinavian look in their kitchen countertops.

Known for its fine grain and pale hue, Birch offers a clean and minimalist aesthetic.

Here are some key properties that make Birch a great option for countertops:

  • Light Color: Offers a bright, clean look that can help small spaces appear larger.
  • Fine Grain: Subtle grain patterns provide a smooth, uniform appearance.
  • Affordability: Generally more cost-effective than other hardwood options.
  • Durability: While softer than Hard Maple or Oak, Birch is still durable enough for general kitchen use.

Pros and Cons Table for Birch Countertops

Affordable yet aesthetically pleasingSofter than some other hardwoods, making it more susceptible to dents and scratches
Light color can brighten up the kitchenRequires sealing to protect against moisture and stains
Can be finished to mimic more expensive woodsMay yellow over time if exposed to direct sunlight
Eco-friendly option when sustainably sourcedLimited resistance to water compared to more dense woods

5. Teak

Teak kitchen countertop

Teak is a premium choice for kitchen countertops, revered for its exceptional durability and natural water resistance.

Its rich golden-brown color and distinctive grain patterns add a touch of luxury and exotic appeal to any kitchen.

Here are some key properties that make Teak an outstanding choice for countertops:

  • Natural Oils: Teak’s high oil content provides built-in water resistance, making it ideal for kitchens.
  • Durability: Highly durable and resistant to scratches, dents, and damage from everyday kitchen use.
  • Grain Pattern: Features a unique, tight grain pattern with a striking variation of golden to medium brown shades.
  • Workability: Despite its hardness, Teak can be worked into intricate designs and shapes, allowing for beautiful, custom countertops.

Pros and Cons Table for Teak Countertops

Natural water resistance ideal for kitchensHigher cost due to its premium quality and demand
Incredibly durable and long-lastingRequires regular oiling to maintain its natural luster
Adds a luxurious and exotic look to the kitchenCan darken over time if exposed to sunlight
Eco-friendly when sourced responsiblyMay be harder to source due to high demand and conservation efforts

6. Hickory

Hickory kitchen countertop

Hickory stands out as an exceptional choice for kitchen countertops due to its renowned toughness and distinctive, bold grain patterns.

With a rustic charm and a palette ranging from cream to brown, Hickory can add character and resilience to any kitchen.

Here are some key properties that make Hickory an excellent option for countertops:

  • Durability: Among the hardest of American hardwoods, offering excellent resistance to dents and scratches.
  • Grain Pattern: Prominent, varied grain patterns provide a rustic and natural look.
  • Color Variation: Exhibits a striking contrast between its light sapwood and darker heartwood.
  • Workability: While its hardness can pose a challenge, Hickory can still be crafted into stunning, durable countertops.

Pros and Cons Table for Hickory Countertops

Exceptional durability and hardnessCan be challenging to work with due to its hardness
Provides a rustic, warm aesthetic to the kitchenSignificant color and grain variation may not suit all design preferences
Naturally resistant to wear and tearRequires sealing to protect against moisture and stains
Adds character with its bold grain patternsCan show scratches and wear more visibly due to the light color of the sapwood

7. Acacia

Acacia kitchen countertop

Acacia is a standout choice for kitchen countertops, celebrated for its striking beauty, natural durability, and unique grain patterns.

With its rich colors and varied textures, Acacia adds a warm, exotic touch to any kitchen setting.

Read, How Hard Is Acacia Wood? (Ultimate Guide!)

Here are some key properties that make Acacia an attractive option for countertops:

  • Durability: Naturally hard and resistant to wear, making it suitable for heavy-use areas like kitchens.
  • Grain Pattern: Features beautiful, varied grain patterns with rich color contrasts.
  • Water Resistance: Has a natural resistance to moisture, making it a practical choice for kitchen environments.
  • Sustainability: Acacia grows quickly, making it a more sustainable choice than some other hardwoods.

Pros and Cons Table for Acacia Countertops

Highly durable and suitable for heavy useCan vary greatly in color and grain, which might not suit all design schemes
Natural resistance to moisture and water damageRequires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best
Adds a warm, exotic aesthetic to the kitchenCan be more expensive than some traditional countertop materials
Considered an eco-friendly option due to its fast growth rateMay darken or change color over time with exposure to light

8. Cherry

Cherry kitchen countertop

Cherry wood is a classic and elegant choice for kitchen countertops, known for its smooth grain, warm tones, and the way it gracefully ages over time.

Its rich, reddish hue and fine grain bring a touch of sophistication to any kitchen design.

Here are some key properties that make Cherry a favored option for countertops:

  • Aging Gracefully: Cherry wood is known for its unique characteristic of darkening to a deeper, richer red over time when exposed to light.
  • Smooth Grain: Offers a fine, straight grain pattern that provides a smooth and uniform surface.
  • Workability: Despite its hardness, Cherry is relatively easy to work with, allowing for intricate designs and finishes.
  • Warmth: Adds a warm, inviting atmosphere to the kitchen with its rich tones.

Pros and Cons Table for Cherry Countertops

Adds warmth and elegance to the kitchenSensitive to sunlight and can darken over time
Fine grain offers a smooth, premium finishSofter than some hardwoods, making it more prone to scratches and dents
Ages beautifully, gaining character over timeRequires regular maintenance to preserve its appearance
Eco-friendly when sourced responsiblyMay be on the higher end of the price spectrum for hardwoods

That’s it folks! Now you know all the best woods for kitchen countertops with their properties, advantages and disadvantages.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.


Can I use softwoods for kitchen countertops?

Softwoods are not typically recommended for kitchen countertops due to their lower durability and resistance to wear compared to hardwoods.

How do I maintain wooden kitchen countertops?

Maintain wooden countertops by regularly oiling them, avoiding prolonged water exposure, and using cutting boards to prevent scratches.

Are wooden countertops hygienic?

Yes, when properly sealed and maintained, wooden countertops are hygienic and can even have natural antibacterial properties.

Can wooden countertops be repaired if they get damaged?

Minor damages on wooden countertops, like scratches or dents, can often be repaired by sanding and resealing the surface.

How does the cost of wooden countertops compare to other materials?

Wooden countertops can vary in cost, but they are generally mid-range, more affordable than high-end stone but more expensive than laminate options.

Is it environmentally friendly to use wood for countertops?

Using wood from sustainably managed forests or reclaimed wood sources can make wooden countertops an environmentally friendly choice.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Best Wood for Kitchen Countertops?

In this article, I deeply discussed the best woods you can go for when making kitchen countertops with my experience and the information I collected from industry experts.

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

In our journey through the forest of options, we explored the sturdy Hard Maple, the elegant Dark Walnut, the classic Oak, the light and bright Birch, the luxurious Teak, the rustic Hickory, the exotic Acacia, and the warm Cherry.

Each wood brings its own special touch to your kitchen, from durability to style. Remember, the best choice is the one that makes you smile every time you step into your kitchen.

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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