What to Know Before Installing Butcher Block Countertops

What to Know Before Installing Butcher Block Countertops | GreyDock Blog
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Thinking about installing butcher block countertops? Read about their pros and cons before making the plunge.

As rustic decor continues to grow in popularity, butcher block countertops have proven their place in the kitchen. This farmhouse staple brings a warm and inviting look without any effort. While they’ll add a beautiful accent to your kitchen, there’s a lot of maintenance to keep them looking their best.

Do you think you’d like them in your kitchen? Keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of butcher block countertops.

What is Butcher Block?

Butcher block is a relatively inexpensive countertop material. It’s made from strips of wood that’s glued together to create a solid slab. It’s great for kitchen counters, islands and cutting boards.

Types of Wood

Hardwoods like maple, oak, and cherry are popular choices for butcher block countertops. For an eco-friendlier alternative, you can find butcher block made from bamboo too.

Grain Styles

Face Grain

One of the basic styles of wood grain you can get is the face grain. It can also be called plank grain, stemming from the fact that wider wood planks are used for this type of butcher block.

Edge Grain

Similar to face grain, edge grain butcher block has a striped pattern, but the pieces of wood are thinner. This is our personal favorite.

End Grain

Butcher block with an end grain pattern features small blocks of wood, giving it a checkerboard appearance. This style tends to look busy, so we don’t recommend it for a full kitchen install.

The three types of butcher block countertop wood grains. | GreyDock Blog

Benefits of Butcher Block Countertops

They add warmth.

Butcher block counters bring a certain warmth to your kitchen – aesthetically, with its earthy colors, but also physically. Wood countertops aren’t cold to the touch like stone would be, which is a plus in the winter!

Natural beauty is the focus.

Butcher block countertops bring the rustic look of wood into your kitchen. This look works great if you love the farmhouse style that’s taken the decor world by storm. And since these countertops are made from an organic material, their color will change ever so slightly as they age. 

You can install them yourself.

You can call a professional to install butcher block countertops, but if you have the tools and resources available, installing yourself is cheaper. A few tools you’d need for a DIY butcher block installation are a circular saw, a sander and a power drill with bits.

Butcher block countertops in a farmhouse kitchen.

Drawbacks of Butcher Block Countertops

There’s a lot of upkeep.

You’ll need to pay more attention to this type of countertop than others when it comes to upkeep. It’s for good reason though – proper maintenance will keep your butcher block clean and sanitary. 

Water damage can be hard to avoid.

If water sits too long on the wood without proper sealing, it can seep in between the strips and ruin the counter. Considering you’ll be dealing with a lot of water in the kitchen—especially around the sink—you’ll need to make sure you reseal regularly.

It’s more susceptible to damage.

You’ve probably seen cutting boards made from butcher block, so it’s safe to assume you can use your butcher block countertop as one, right? The answer is a little iffy – we say yes and no.

If you don’t mind minor damage and having to sand more often, go ahead. Stick to cutting boards if you want to keep your counters looking new.

Maintenance

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to butcher block countertop care.

As we mentioned before, they need to be resealed at least once a year to keep them in tip-top shape. To get rid of scratches, you can sand the counters down and then reseal. This gives butcher block counter a level of flexibility that stone counters don’t have.

A food-safe mineral oil will give your butcher block a vibrant (but not overpowering) sheen. It also helps protect against minor dings.

To take your counters to the next level, you can use a butcher block conditioner. The combination of mineral oil and beeswax gives butcher block a richer color and creates a water barrier.

Final Thoughts

We love how butcher block counters look in a kitchen full of white cabinets. Whether it’s in a farmhouse kitchen or one with a more modern style, we think butcher block is a timeless look.

If you like the look of butcher block but can’t commit to filling your kitchen with it, try a butcher block cutting board. It’s much cheaper than a full install and you still get a taste of the rustic look!

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