Not many items commonly found in labs and industrial settings are considered ‘beautiful’, but maple block countertops can add that special touch that will warm any interior while providing a durable work surface that can last for years. While maple block may be an attractive option as a lab countertop, it isn’t appropriate in every setting, so it is important to know as much as possible before you buy.
Here, we’re sharing everything you need to know about maple block countertops to make an informed decision.
What Is Maple Block?
Maple block is made in a ‘butcher block’ style, wherein straight cuts of sugar maple are tightly glued together to create a single solid surface. Maple is a tight-grain hardwood, making it the perfect choice for countertops and workbenches where they will endure frequent friction, pressure, exposure to moisture and solvents, and the regular wear and tear that occur with daily use.
Maple is a particularly tight-grain wood, making it extra resistant to moisture and difficult to dent, scratch, or splinter. With additional treatments like lamination and finishing treatments, maple block countertops can last for years, even with daily intensive use.
In addition to being super-durable, maple block countertops are more attractive than many other industrial countertop materials, making them a popular choice for designers looking to add a touch of warmth to laboratory, testing, and manufacturing environments.
How Maple Block Countertops Are Used
Maple countertops are not just a trendy home-design detail, they can be found in businesses and industrial settings around the country. Most commonly, maple block can be found in food testing, prep, and manufacturing, though maple block can also be a good choice for engineering and industrial workstations.
Some ways maple block countertops are used include:
- Meatpacking plants
- Food prep/industrial kitchens
- Mechanical repair
- Educational labs
- Research workbenches
Pros and Cons of Maple Block
To help you to determine whether this material is the right choice for your needs, consider some of the pros and cons of maple block:
- Anti-bacterial: Maple is naturally anti-bacterial, making it an excellent choice for food prep and handling raw ingredients
- Durable: A naturally durable hardwood, maple is further enhanced by the butcherblock construction. Sealed with laminate and a maple block finishing product, these types of countertops can last decades with proper care and maintenance
- Easy maintenance: Despite being made from natural materials, maple block countertops are easy to maintain and require little care beyond basic cleaning
- Simple to refinish: Over time, your maple block countertops may sustain nicks, scratches, or other surface damage; these small flaws can easily be sanded away and your countertops can be refinished to make them appear brand new
- Eco-friendly: Maple grows quickly, meaning it requires few resources for production. In addition to being low-impact to produce, maple is super durable and rarely needs to be replaced, creating less overall waste
- Affordable: Because maple is relatively easy to produce, requiring little time and few resources, maple block countertops are among some of the most affordable on the market. Quality maple block can be found for between $35-$70 per square foot, which is far more affordable than competing materials
- Attractive: Aesthetically, maple block countertops help to add warmth to a room, and can create a traditional home-style feel in kitchens and industrial food-prep facilities
- Maintenance: Although maple block countertops can be maintained with simple cleanings, they do require occasional maintenance in the form of sanding, re-sealing, or treating. Bi-yearly grindings and treatments can be a bit pricy, and your countertops may be out of commission for several days to complete the process
- Scratches: Despite being favored in food prep and industrial kitchens, maple block countertops cannot be cut on directly, and still require the use of a cutting board. Maple block can scratch and dent, so be careful when using sharp or heavy objects
- Stains: Highly pigmented substances and ingredients like tomato, colorful spices, and staining liquids can quickly soak into maple block if the surface is not adequately treated
- Water damage: Maple block countertops are resistant to water up to a point, but they are not waterproof. Large water spills should be cleaned up quickly to avoid damaging the wood, and prolonged exposure to moisture could cause warping
- Heat damage: Maple block countertops react to changing temperatures, and can expand and contract when exposed to high-heat or extreme cold
- Odor: If your maple block countertops experience water damage, they can begin to grow mold or mildew, which may produce an unpleasant odor
Caring for Maple Block
Caring for maple block countertops is a reasonably simple task, but there are a few keys to successfully keeping your countertops in great condition. For daily cleanings, wipe your maple block countertops with hot, soapy water, or use a small amount of bleach for added disinfecting power.
If you notice that your countertops are beginning to become less resistant to stains or are becoming damaged, a simple mineral oil treatment can help to restore their strength. If major scratches or damage occurs, maple countertops can be sanded and re-finished.
To prevent damage from occurring, avoid allowing water or spills to sit for extended periods and avoid cutting directly onto the surface.
Selecting Quality Maple Block Countertops
Convinced that maple block countertops are the right choice for your facility? Now it’s time to find a high-quality source for your new countertops or workstations.
At OnePointe Solutions, we have been helping to design and furnish labs and industrial facilities for years, and have become experts in providing the highest quality custom solutions for every client’s needs.
Our maple block countertops are treated with super durable laminate and finished with DURAKRYL 102, a food-safe, stain and spill-resistant finish that won’t wash off with regular cleanings and can easily be reapplied to restore the quality of your countertops. What sets our selection of maple block countertops and workstations apart from the competition is the option to customize.
Our designers work with each of our clients to discover their exact needs and design the perfect solution.
Countertops and workstations designed by OnePointe Solutions can include a huge range of optional add-on features and are built-to-order by our experienced craftsmen right here in the U.S. Once your custom furniture has been built, our team will install your workstations to ensure every detail is completed to perfection. The materials used by our manufacturing team are super-high quality and guaranteed to last.
With premium finishing and expert installation for maple block, these countertops will last for years, and you’ll get infinite use from your custom workstations.