What is The Best Type of Wood for Kitchen Countertops?

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Surface Kitchen & Bath
July 1, 2024

Best Types of Wood Kitchen Countertops

different wood countertops

Picking out the right wood for your kitchen countertops is crucial for both aesthetics and functionality. A great countertop should be durable, resistant to scratches and dents, and able to withstand the daily hustle and bustle of your kitchen. Plus, it should have a beautiful grain pattern and color that complements your overall kitchen design. Not all woods are suitable for countertops, though. Softwoods like fir and pine, while attractive and cost-effective, are too soft and prone to dents and scratches. They require extensive maintenance and just don’t hold up as well as hardwoods. On the other hand, hardwoods like maple, cherry, walnut, oak, acacia and teak offer superior durability, aesthetic appeal, and ease of maintenance, making them the top choices for butcher block style countertops in modern kitchens.

Cherry Wood

If you’re looking for warmth and elegance, cherry wood countertops are a fantastic choice. The rich, reddish-brown hues of cherry wood deepen with age, adding character and sophistication to your kitchen. Cherry is the most durable hardwood for kitchen countertops, offering exceptional resistance to wear and tear and aging beautifully to a deep, lustrous finish. Its smooth, fine grain adds sophistication, making it stand out from the more rustic look of oak. While cherry requires periodic oiling to maintain its sheen, this maintenance ensures its longevity and enhances its natural beauty. Though a bit more expensive, its durability and timeless appeal make it a worthwhile investment. Compared to softer woods like fir, cherry offers significantly better longevity and resilience.


Maple wood is an excellent choice for those who want a versatile and bright kitchen. Its light, creamy color brightens up the space, making it feel larger and more inviting adn. Known for its hardness and resistance to scratches and dents, maple is a practical option for busy kitchens, ensuring long-lasting use. Its fine, even grain adds a touch of elegance that complements various styles, from modern to traditional. Maple's less porous nature makes it resistant to moisture and staining, but like most hardwoods, it benefits from periodic sealing to maintain its finish and protect against wear. Despite its higher cost, maple offers both beauty and functionality, outlasting softer woods like fir in demanding kitchen environments.


Walnut is ideal for homeowners seeking a luxurious and strong material for their countertops. Its unique grain patterns and dark finish add a sense of richness and sophistication to any kitchen. Walnut’s deep chocolate brown to purplish-black tones create a striking, sophisticated contrast in design. As a hardwood, walnut is impact and scratch resistant, ensuring longevity with proper care. To maintain its appearance, walnut requires regular oiling, which helps to preserve its natural luster and protect it from damage. While more expensive, walnut's robustness and stunning visuals make it a top choice for those seeking both beauty and functionality, outperforming more affordable but less durable woods like acacia.


Oak is a great option for those who love a traditional look with versatility. It offers both durability and aesthetic appeal, making it a timeless choice for kitchen countertops. Oak’s rich grain patterns, available in red and white varieties, add rustic charm and can be stained in diverse shades to match various design styles. As a hardwood, oak resists scratches and dents, remaining long-lasting even in high-traffic areas. Oak countertops require regular sealing to prevent staining and ensure durability. Simple cleaning with mild soap and water helps maintain its pristine condition. Even though oak may be prone to staining if not properly maintained, its ability to blend with different styles and enhance home resale value makes it a versatile and practical choice, especially when compared to less resilient woods like fir.


Teak is an excellent choice for those looking for durability and water resistance in their kitchen countertops. Known for its rich, golden-brown color and straight grain, teak adds a touch of exotic elegance to any kitchen. Teak's natural oils make it highly resistant to water and moisture, a unique feature compared to other hardwoods. This makes teak particularly suitable for kitchens where water exposure is common. Its hardness and resistance to scratches and dents make it a practical and long-lasting option. Regular oiling is recommended to maintain its beautiful finish and enhance its natural resistance to elements. While teak is often more expensive, its combination of beauty, reliability, and water resistance makes it a top choice for high-end kitchen designs.


Acacia is an extremely solid (literally) choice for butcher block countertops. Acacia is harder than most other types of wood, making it resistant to scratches and dents. It is popular for its unique aesthetic appeal and sustainability. The vibrant grain patterns of acacia wood add a touch of elegance and exotic charm to any kitchen. To keep acacia countertops in top condition, regular oiling is recommended, which helps maintain their luster and longevity. It’s often compared to teak, sharing many similarities, offering a richer, more varied grain pattern and serving as its more budget-friendly alternative. Additionally, acacia is typically less expensive than other hardwoods like walnut or cherry, offering a balance of beauty and functionality at a more affordable price.


Hevea wood, or rubberwood, is an environmentally friendly option for those seeking sustainable kitchen countertops. Harvested from plantation-grown rubber trees that have completed their latex-producing cycle, hevea wood supports eco-friendly practices. As a hardwood, hevea is resilient to wear and tear, making it ideal for busy kitchens. It is also less expensive compared to other hardwoods, providing an affordable yet durable option. Regular oiling is necessary to prevent dryness and cracking, but this routine maintenance helps to enhance its natural resilience and aesthetic appeal. Compared to acacia, hevea offers a more subdued grain pattern and color.

Cost Comparison of Different Wood Types

wood countertop

When selecting wood for kitchen countertops, costs vary based on the type of wood. Maple ranges between $50 and $100 per square foot, offering a balance of durability and visual appeal. Oak is priced at approximately $60 to $100 per square foot, providing a timeless and versatile option. Walnut, known for its elegance and strength, costs between $70 and $130 per square foot. Cherry, the most durable option, ranges from $80 to $150 per square foot due to its quality and appearance. Teak, with its exceptional water resistance and durability, typically commands a higher price, while acacia is more affordable than other hardwoods like walnut or cherry. Hevea is a budget-friendly alternative to traditional hardwoods.

Finding the Best Wood for Your Kitchen with Surface 

Choosing the right wood for kitchen countertops requires careful consideration of several factors. The appearance of the wood is highly subjective for each person; some may prefer the rich, dark tones of walnut, while others might enjoy the lighter hues of maple. Maintenance is another crucial factor; while many hardwood countertops benefit from regular oiling or sealing to enhance their beauty and longevity, woods like cherry and teak become more beautiful with age. Finally, cost is a significant consideration, as exotic woods like teak can be pricey, whereas domestic woods provide budget-friendly options without sacrificing quality. 

If you’re looking to incorporate a unique and highly capable wood countertop for your kitchen, give us a call at (541) 213-2834 to set up an appointment with our team of countertop experts. We’re Bend’s leading kitchen and bath home remodelers, sourcing top of the line custom butcher block and natural stone countertops for the surrounding Central Oregon cities, from Sisters to La Pine!