A functional kitchen requires a long-lasting worktop that is easy to maintain and keep hygienic.
Wooden worktops do double duty as they’re naturally durable and work well with a range of styles for an aesthetic feature too. Once you’ve chosen the right worktop for your home, it’s time to install it.
The good news is you don’t need to hire a professional to help you – our ultimate guide to fitting a wooden worktop will cover all the necessary steps for a great result you can be proud of.
Which wood to choose
There are various woods to pick from when purchasing a wooden worktop, from oak and pine to ash or beech, which makes choosing the right option tricky.
Oak is up to 15% denser and hard-wearing, making it a popular choice for many property owners.
An oak worktop, whether you opt for classic or rustic, is an addition to your kitchen that will last a lifetime and will resist ageing, making it a cost-effective solution.
For a modern kitchen, maple or beech work well as they are paler woods which allows you to experiment with a bolder colour scheme elsewhere in the room, while walnut or cherry woods are more indulgent and provide warmth and elegance to your kitchen.
Before you can begin installing your worktop, you will need to prepare the materials and make sure you’ve measured everything correctly for the right fit.
Double check all measurements before you start making cuts in the wood. If you’re replacing an old worktop that fits correctly, you can use this as a template.
Kitchens can be humid places so, when you’re measuring, make sure you allow for movement from temperature changes or humidity – allow for between 4 to 5mm around walls and appliances.
It is also worth making a few practice cuts on a spare section of the worktop to check the direction you’ll be cutting the worktop will provide you with the cleanest edge.
Step 1: Scribe for a Perfect Fit
To begin, you need to ensure that the worktop is being installed against a flat surface. Walls are rarely completely straight, so you might need to scribe the surface to achieve an even overhang over the units if there’s a gap larger than 4mm.
Scribing is the term for cutting the worktop to match the shape of the wall by cutting a line from the back to avoid gaps against the wall.
Step 2: Drilling
Determine where you want to fix the worktop to the units – there should be three screws at the back of the unit and three at the front for a secure fit.
When you’ve decided on the positioning, drill 4mm holes into the base units and then into the base of the worktop, aligning the holes with the base units.
Don’t drill too far into the worktop as this will show on the surface – you can use a piece of masking tape on your drill bit to keep the holes consistent in depth. You can then fix the worktop in place using 4mm screws.
Step 3: Butt Joints or Mitre Joints
If you need to fix two worktop sections together, such as for a corner, you’ll need to create a butt joint or a mitre joint if the worktop has a radius.
Make sure you use three standard worktop bolts on each joint and seat the end grain using an appropriate sealant, which will securely hold the worktops together while still allowing a small amount of movement if the wood expands or contracts with temperature changes.
Step 4: Use A Template to Outline
With the worktop secured, you can outline any holes that need to be cut, such as for your sink. A new sink will likely come with a template, or you can use your existing sink by turning it upside down to draw around it in pencil.
Remove the sink or template and mark the overlap needed to enable the lip of the sink to sit on the worktop. Draw carefully with a ruler to ensure the lines are straight inside the template line.
Then, drill four holes into each corner of the inner line so you can use a jigsaw to cut through the worktop. Seal the cut edges to prevent water damage from ruining the worktop once the sink is in place.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
When the worktop is secured and you’ve cut out any holes or sections needed for your sink or appliances, you can apply a silicone sealant along the back edge of the worktop where it meets the wall to prevent water and moisture from dripping down the back of the worktop.
It’s also a good idea to protect the wood with a food-safe protective oil to provide a hard wearing finish.