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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    29

    Default Wide Plank Counters

    Recently I have been dancing around the idea of changing my laminate countertops out with either butcher-block or a wide wooden plank style. After some thought and consideration I think I (and my wife) will like the wider plank version better. By wider plank I mean alternating strips 3-6 inches in width. I have templated my existing top using CAD and do not plan to change the layout or locations of appliances. My cabinets are in great shape as well so this is merely a swap out of the countertops. Right now I have it in my mind to use hard maple 1x or 1.5x custom cut and plained material overlaid on either MDF, Particleboard or a plywood substrate for stiffness and ease of installation. The pieces will be glued (titebond III) and pocket screwed together on the underside, then attached/ fastened to the substrate. I will also add a routed molding around the front and sides. Backer board will be put around the dishwasher and around the sink areas to prevent any damage from humidity. Of course everything will be sealed using a food grade oil.

    So my question: Anyone have any experience with MDF or Particle board that can say which will be better. The counters I have now are particle board under the laminate, not a fan but if MDF does not hold any better then itís a tossup. Also how about MDO as an alternative for the substrate since itís a bit more water resistant, never tried/hear of that being used in countertops.

    Also if you think this plan is nuts or could be improved please comment because Iíd rather know now and not regret it!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,689

    Default Re: Wide Plank Counters

    I prefer plywood or Advantek substrates. Why? Because kitchen counters are a wet environment and every countertop structural failure I've seen was caused by that moisture. MDF, OSB, particleboard and the like don't deal with moisture well no matter what their other qualities are. The finished visible product is never better than what's supporting it.

    It sounds like you've got a do-able project- post pics somewhere and a link to them here when you're done!

    Phil

  3. #3

    Default Re: Wide Plank Counters

    I agree with Mastercarpentry. Don't cheap or short cut anything. When rebuilding our kitchen and baths I went above and beyond that and used 3/4 inch marine grade plywood under my countertops, on top of the cabinets that I built. I also used the same grade plywood on the subfloor in the kitchen and the baths, the sheeting on the roof and the subfloor on the porches. We live in an old Victorian, and things were at one time wet, toilets overflowed and leaked, water on the kitchen floors etc..... Some of the subfloor needed replaced. I replace every inch. No need to do a job part way, it will only cost more to have to go back and do the work again. Have not had a minutes trouble from the subfloor or the counter tops, solid as rock, and the drip edge on the roof looks brand new.

    Do the job right the first time, spend the little extra on better quality products, and you will never have to touch it again.

    Handy Andy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,375

    Default Re: Wide Plank Counters

    Hi,
    Be advised that 3/4" T&G flooring does not naturally take to being fastened together to itself; The T&G joints are undercut slightly so that the tops are tighter than the bottoms. So when you go to pocket screw it together from the bottom, you will be making a convex shape, not a flat one. You might want to think of using a t&g that's not for flooring, as then the joints will be more normal, or forgoing the t&g and doing a spline joint, etc. You really are after a glued-up panel, for which you don't need milled joints, just perfect straight edges.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Wide Plank Counters

    Thanks for the replies. I'll have to look into Advantek (EDIT: Never mind that's Huber's OSB panel). As for OSB, was not even on the radar. I work for a plywood/osb manufacturer (used to own a treating plant too) and I would never use OSB in that application. Structural paneling yes, countertops, no, Plywood is a much better substrate in my opinion. My only issue with 3/4 inch marine grade plywood would be the chemical treatment to make it marine grade. You are talking Creosote, CCA or Penta commercially. Having worked around the treating plant a few times I would not recommend putting that near food. I was not planning on using tongue and groove, mainly for the reasons that were listed. Probably biscuits to hold things during glue-up and pocket screws.
    Last edited by foresterpoole1; 12-23-2014 at 02:11 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Wide Plank Counters

    why are you going to use a substrate at all i have installed allot of wood counters and never used a substrate. Especially if you are talking about 1.5" thick material there is no need at all just make sure you seal the bottom side as well

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Wide Plank Counters

    That's a good point holler2, in my case I want to keep the thickness of my current countertops, which means either a 3" solid wood plank planed down, or a 1-2" with a backer. The price differences were staggering if I had to buy 3" material and cut it down vs using MDF or particle board. Even Plywood looks to be cheaper based on the prices I am getting. 1x6x10 material is relatively easy to find 2x6x10 a little harder, but 3x6x10 is a custom job or I have to special order and that's a pretty big price jump.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Wide Plank Counters

    Well that is a good reason. Just be aware that you need to allow for that solid wood top to expand and contract so you cant glue it to the backer or even screw it down with out allowing those screws to move somehow.

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