IKEA countertops in wood (NUMERAR) are a very affordable, yet stylish option and they are available in beech or birch. So, what’s the difference and how does it affect the style and budget of your project? More importantly: how does it affect your daily activities when your kitchen is finished?
Beech wood is primarily reddish-brown in color and slightly coarse with conspicuous rays and tiny pores. The grain is straight with a fine, even texture. This is a wood that has a medium stiffness and resistance to shock. It’s great for working because its easily treatable with hand and power tools and has good nailing and gluing properties. It also stains and polishes to a good finish.
Birch woodis a well-known hardwood. Birch has light yellow sapwood and reddish brown heartwood. Once stained, the color differences are less pronounced. It has straight, close grain and a fine, even texture. It has a high shock resistance and very good bending characteristics. It can be easily handled with both hand and power tools. It takes stain and polish extremely well, developing a golden, rich color over time.
Some PROS and CONS:
- It’s an eco-friendly option because these two wood types grow rapidly.
- The surface can be renewed by power sanding and oiling
- Gives an earthy, organic look
- Very affordable
- Easy to handle and cut
- Easy to repair and install, saves money
- Can be stained if not used as a prep surface
- Vulnerable to moisture and heat
- Some raw meat, liquids or high alkaline fruits and vegetables can stain it (such as papaya, saline solution, cofee or beets) can stain this countertop. However, you can avoid this by using cutting boards.
- Requires oiling and sealing every 3 to 6 months. IKEA recommends using BEHANDLA treatment oil
- Works better as an accent countertop than as a work surface
Additional tips from our experts:
When you re-oil your countertop, please make sure you work with enough ventilation and don’t stay in the room after the treatment has been applied to the wood. Make sure you do this on a day when your kitchen won’t be used and plan ahead accordingly, the oil needs a full day to sink in.
A moisture barrier should be mounted to the underside of the countertop above a dishwasher for added protection against moisture, IKEA recommends FIXA diffusion barriers.
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