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Routed kitchen worktops - laminate vs solid wood

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:50 pm
by Why Did I Try To DIY
Hi there,

As part of my ongoing 'low budget' renovation planning, i'm looking to replace the kitchen worktops.

A few quick questions before embarking on this please:

a) solid wood vs laminate (chipboard) - aside from cost (which in some cases isn't much), are there any issues with having them routed? I'm thinking in terms of finish, as i'd prefer not to have metal strip joins and seal them edge to edge. From what i can gather solid wood probably has a slightly better finish?

b) In terms of thickness, i assume laminate 38mm thickness & solid 27mm thickness will be fine

c) any other advice or issues with worktops (buying, fitting, etc)

Not sure it makes any difference, but it'll be a u-shaped kitchen with 2 router joins plus a sink and hob cut into them 3m back board, with the 2 sides almost 2m long each

Many thanks for your help

Routed kitchen worktops - laminate vs solid wood

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:24 pm
by dewaltdisney
I have no experience of solid wood worktops but solid wood is not stable and it is prone to movement, cupping and warping and although if sealed all around it will prevent a degree of hygroscopic action there is no guarantee on the cross grain joint of two boards at right angles. Normally these will be bolted underneath and pulled up tight but you never know.

I think a laminate is more stable and purpose built for a kitchen. I am sure there are differing points of view.


Routed kitchen worktops - laminate vs solid wood

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:10 pm
Speaking from experience as a DIYer:

a) No issues having either of them routed as long as it's done by a competent person
b) Thicker feels more premium, but I guess it's personal preference unless you have any needs that require 38mm, e.g. an unsupported section of worktop more than say 700mm
c) Are you fitting yourself? If yes, you need to do some practice cuts and joins. If you are getting a kitchen fitter to do it, then try and see their work first, as this requires someone who knows what they are doing.

To add to what DWD said above: Laminate is fit and forget - no maintenance required and you don't have to worry about and wood movement, expansion gaps or re-finishing with oils/varnishes etc.
That said, solid wood worktops are quite often made up of lots of thin strips of solid wood laminated together, which is supposed to limit the cupping and bowing and warping (but it still moves - expands and contracts - a bit)

Make sure whatever you go for, you have good sealant around the sink etc.
Also, the kitchen fitter should be scribing the worktops to your walls (which will be most uneven) - again, an experienced fitter will just get on and do this. This makes sure it's nice and flush against your walls.

Routed kitchen worktops - laminate vs solid wood

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:12 pm
by fin
laminate worktops depending on the radius profile you either go for a mason mitre join or if its square edged worktop ya can peel the edging back and butt join them. i use colorfill to join them together (99% of the time its a howdens kitchn that i fit) fairly straight forward to do either

if its solid wood worktops you butt them together and bolt em up dont do a mason mitre its not correct. also the worktops will expand and contract so need washers and screws and the like.

a fair bit of maintenance involved on the solid worktops. danish oil looks a good finish.

Routed kitchen worktops - laminate vs solid wood

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:14 pm
by fin
you can get jigs for mason mitres that make the inset at 23mm or i think its 12mm..... depending on if you have the old fashioned style larger radius or the more modern smaller radius

solid wood worktops i also have bellfast sink jigs an worktop drainer groove jigs.