There are a whole host of available materials that can be used to create your kitchen benchtops, from concrete to marble. However, many people prefer the more natural and welcoming appearance of wood, but that still leaves them with a final decision to make: solid wood or veneer?
There's really no right option – you simply have to weigh up the pros and cons on both sides, and then decide which material best suits your needs.
The Pros and Cons of Solid Wood
If you want a thoroughly natural appearance, it's very hard to go wrong with natural wood. A single slab of solid wood used for your benchtop will look absolutely outstanding. As well as many species of wood, there are many treatment options.
The main advantage that solid wood holds over veneer, beyond its more authentic appearance, is its durability. If you scratch or stain the surface, you will be able to simply sand the wood down and then reapply varnish over the top. Of course, it's not something you have to do; scratches will age to add to the natural appeal of your benchtop, so many people prefer to just leave them. Additionally, solid wood is the same all the way through, so it won't look worn around the corners after a few years.
Of course, solid wood isn't without its drawbacks. For one thing, it tends to be more expensive to buy, and the fact that solid wood is heavier than veneer means that installation costs will also be higher. Also, moisture can be lost over time, so you'll need to re-treat the wood every year or so to keep it looking its best.
The Pros and Cons of Veneer
Veneer places a surface of real wood across a slab of pressed wood. This results in a material that is a lot more cost effective than solid timber, and it will be a lot lighter and easier to work with. There are actually normally a few more style variations since veneer doesn't require as much solid wood material, meaning it can make use of rarer species.
People also like using veneer because it is often more eco-friendly, and using a high moisture-resistant treatment method will mean that moisture problems can be practically eliminated.
That said, veneer won't last forever. Corners can start to look worn as time passes and the underlying pressed wood starts to show through. You'll also forgo the option of sanding away any damage since you will quickly sand through to the pressed board beneath.