When properly installed and cared for your Barncrest worktop will provide years of service and pleasure. Like most natural products, wooden worktops simply need a little care and common-sense maintenance. @Important InformationBefore installation, hardwood worktops must be always stored completely flat (preferably on supporting bearers). They must be stored indoors (not in garages or outbuildings), away from extreme heat (radiators etc) and far away from any recently plastered areas.Wooden worktops must be treated with at least three coats of protective oil on all sides before installation. Your new worktop should then be treated with Danish Oil once a week for the first six weeks, and then approximately every three months thereafter.Hardwood worktops must be fitted to the base units using ‘slotted expansion brackets' only. Providing the screws are not over-tightened, these brackets will allow for the worktop to naturally expand and contract across the width in accordance with slight changes in humidity.* Failure to use the correct brackets, or if fitted incorrectly, can apply undue stress to the worktop and may cause splitting to occur.Please read all of our detailed advice and guidance below, for a trouble-free installation and to keep your hardwood worktop in pristine condition for many years to come. @StoragePlease ensure that your Worktops are completely re-wrapped after inspection and stored as per the following instructions.The worktops must remain in their original packaging and should be stacked flat and level, on a fully supported surface, using bearers. Do not store worktops vertically or on edges. If you have ordered more than one worktop ensure that the worktops are stacked separately with bearers in between - This will allow air to circulate between the worktops and prevent deflection. If stored for a long duration the worktops should be turned every other day as this will prevent the wood from cupping or bowing.Never store worktops in an unheated environment - especially outdoors, in sheds or garages.Keep dry and away from direct sources of heat such as radiators, boilers, AGA's, and intense direct sunlight etc.All wet trades (especially plastering) should be finished and a sufficient period of time allowed for natural drying out before storing hardwood worktops in the same room.Allow the worktop a day or so to adjust to the ambient temperature and humidity of its new surroundings prior to installation.If warping does occur, your worktop can still be screwed down to the base units and the wood will correct itself naturally after a short period (1-2 weeks). Please see the ‘Installation' section on this page for more thorough details on how to do this.Your worktops are dispatched in sound condition and it is your responsibility to store and maintain worktops correctly. Barncrest cannot be held responsible if due care and attention is not maintained. Our customer advisors will happily provide any additional advice that you may require concerning the installation or maintenance of hardwood kitchen worktops. @OilingHardwood worktops must be thoroughly treated with protective wood oil, to all sides, prior to installation. This can be carried out by yourself on site or, for your convenience, we can provide this service for you prior to delivery.Worktops should be applied with at least three coats of oil on all sides (including the underside) before installation. It is also beneficial to apply as many coats as possible to the end-grain of the worktops as this is the area which will absorb the most moisture. An extra four to five coats should also be applied around tapholes, sink cutouts and areas of heavy use or exposure.Oils are best applied by using a lint-free cloth rather than a brush. A lint-free cloth is any form of material that will not deposit any particles on the wood - an old T-shirt is usually ideal.When applying the oil yourself, it is best to apply several thin coats rather than one thick application. Always work the oil into the worktop in the direction of the wood grain for best results.After applying the first coat, you will probably notice that some areas are wet and others dry. This is because the wood will absorb the oil at different degrees in different areas. Wait for 15minutes and then run the cloth over the entire surface again to ensure an even spread. Do not allow large pools of oil to dry on the surface.Apply further coats in the same manner, allowing ½ hour -1hour for drying time in between coats. Some woods are more thirsty than others and may require up to six or seven coats before installing.If the surface feels slightly rough in certain areas, or if you wish to develop a smoother surface, then we recommend that you apply a further coat of oil using either a green nylon scouring sponge.Worktops can be finely sanded between coats (120grit - 180grit sandpaper). However, work surfaces should never be sanded finer than 180grit. To do so will prevent any future applications of oil from penetrating the surface. @CuttingWhen cutting the worktop yourself, ensure that you leave a small gap around taps, pipes, sinks etc. to allow for movement and expansion of the wood.Large cut-outs for hobs, sinks, etc. should be no less than 150mm from the end of the worktop panel, as this may weaken the worktop. @InstallationHardwood worktops must be fitted to the base units using ‘slotted expansion brackets' only. Take care to ensure that the brackets are always fitted the correct way round and do not over-tighten the screws. These brackets will allow for the worktop to naturally expand and contract across the width in accordance with changes in humidity. Failure to use the correct brackets or fit them correctly can apply undue stress to the worktop and may cause splitting to occur.Allow room for the expansion by leaving a 3-5mm gap between the worktop and any adjoining walls. A matching upstand is an elegant solution for covering this expansion gap - see our accessories page for more details.Ensure that the work surface is fully supported and fastened through its length and breadth using the slotted brackets. For Oak worktops, only use brass or stainless steel screws for fixing.If a worktop has become cupped or bowed due to moisture differences on site, or after lengthy or incorrect storage, the worktop will need to be installed differently. Firstly, fix the entire length of the rear of the worktop to the supporting base units. Then gently and gradually, using clamps and battens, pull the worktop downwards before screwing down the front edge. Please be advised that it may take 1-2 weeks for the worktop to completely settle down and resume its completely flat shape.Always leave a suitable gap between the worktop and direct sources of heat such as a Rayburn or Aga. These ovens produce a great deal of heat which can dry the wood and cause the worktop to split or crack. We strongly recommend that protective end-caps are fixed to all worktop ends that will sit alongside these appliances.It is essential that endcaps are fitted to worktops sited directly alongside Aga, Rayburn and Range ovens. These ovens produce a lot of heat and the end-caps will help to protect the worktop ends from drying out and splitting. End-caps are also recommended for use either side of a gas hob on a conventional oven.Worktops require extra protection in areas of high water build-up and where spills could cause the water to penetrate the wood. To prevent any ingress of water, a suitable waterproof sealant must be applied to these areas:*Between butt-joints before pulling the worktops tightly together.*Between the worktop and the underside of an overmounted sink.*Between the underside of the worktop and the top edge of an undermounted sink.*Between the worktop and the upstand (or tiles if an upstand is not being used).Always use a waterproof sealant - Do not use glue on any of these areas.If your worktop is being installed above kitchen appliances that produce a large amount of heat (washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, boilers or built-in fridges & freezers), then a moisture barrier MUST be fixed to the underneath to prevent excessive heat or moisture penetrating the wood. @You will remain a valued Barncrest customer long after your worktops have been installed. In addition to the wealth of installation and aftercare information available on our website, we will always be happy to answer any of your after-care enquiries, advise on maintenance and how best to repair accidental damage. For any additional advice please contact one of our customer advisors on 01326 368 390 who will happily answer all your enquiries and discuss your needs.