Which butcher block countertops are best?
Planning a kitchen remodel? Butcher block countertops are an affordable and gorgeous counter solution. Their functionality, price and aesthetics have made them an increasingly popular choice for people who like natural spaces and functional kitchen solutions.
While stone countertops have their place, a natural wood butcher block countertop stands alone for its timelessness, warmth and functionality. Not only do they immediately brighten your kitchen, but they age beautifully with regular oiling. For affordability, aesthetics and durability, the Hardwood Reflections Unfinished Hevea Butcher Block Countertop is the best choice.
Why you should choose butcher block for your countertops
Have you heard that butcher block isn’t a durable or long-lasting option? Luckily, this is largely a myth. Butcher block countertops do require a bit of biannual maintenance to keep up, but butcher block counters professionally installed and properly cared for will last a lifetime.
Do you love to cook? Butch block counters aren’t just for show. For chefs, slicing, cutting and chopping can all be done directly on your butcher block countertops. A butcher block countertop is also the ideal surface for bakers because a floured wood surface is perfect for kneading and rolling dough. It’s an excellent choice for people who use their kitchen frequently.
Easy to keep clean
Many kinds of wood have natural antimicrobial properties. As long as you select a wood that isn’t very porous, your countertops will be easy to keep clean. Soap and water are ideal for spills and daily wipe downs, and natural cleansers, such as plain white vinegar diluted in water, are all you need to keep your countertops germ-free and smelling good.
A butcher block surface imparts a unique look on a modern kitchen. Warm, organic, timeless and versatile, it looks stellar with both warm and cool tones. These counters are especially popular in kitchens with white subway tile backsplashes and bright white cabinets balanced with black shiplap wall paneling.
Butcher block countertops are typically cheaper than quartz and other stone options and cost far less than marble ones. Many people considering their options for countertops ultimately land on butcher block precisely because it’s the most economical option and holds up better over time.
If your household tends to be noisy, with devices, children, pets, blenders and more creating a constant stream of sound, butcher block counters will help you turn down the volume by absorbing some sound. For example, running a blender on a stone countertop will amplify and echo loud sound throughout your kitchen and home, whereas a butcher block counter will dull the sound, leading to a calmer atmosphere.
Many butcher block counters are sustainably grown and harvested, which means you can feel good about your kitchen renovation choice. Look for Forest Stewardship Council-approved woods for assurance that the wood you’re selecting for your butcher block counters is green.
What to know before you buy butcher block countertop
Type of wood
Butcher block is made from durable hardwoods like maple, walnut and bamboo and is often made of blends of multiple types of wood. Each type of wood has its own benefits. Generally speaking, exotic and durable woods are pricier.
- Maple is among the most popular choices for butcher block counters because it’s hard, nonporous, durable and scratch-resistant. It also has beautiful tones and grains.
- Cherry wood is popular for its red hue. It’s among the pricier options and looks great in a high-end kitchen for a luxurious and functional accent.
- Bamboo is a modern and bright innovation in butcher block counter manufacturing. It’s an economical option because it’s easy to harvest sustainably, and it’s malleable, durable and easy to keep clean.
Finish and stain
If you plan to use your butcher block counters to cut on, it’s important to select unsealed wood. Otherwise, your countertops won’t be suitable for knives. Sealing your butcher block counters defeats their purpose, as it covers the natural wood with a plastic coating. To keep your counters shiny and clean, apply a food-safe oil like walnut oil or mineral oil.
Staining your butcher block counters can make them easier to care for, as they’ll require less frequent oiling to prevent staining. However, you’ll pay more per square foot if you buy stained wood, and you’ll be unable to use the butcher block counter as a cutting surface. This is why it’s typically advisable to stick with unfinished, unstained wood to get the most out of your butcher block counters.
How much you can expect to spend on butcher block countertop
If you’re trying to keep your kitchen remodel affordable, you’re in luck. Butcher block countertops are among the most economical options for replacing your counters. The price varies depending on the wood used and the thickness and cut of the wood. Expect to pay between $40-$100 per square foot for your butcher block counters, not including the cost of installation.
Butcher block countertop FAQ
How do I clean and maintain my butcher block counters?
A. Clean your countertops regularly and after every use, the same way you would a cutting board. Always wipe up any moisture surrounding your sink because stagnant water is the enemy of unfinished wood. Sanitize with a damp cloth and a bit of dish soap, then wipe down with another clean, dampened cloth. Opt for natural cleaners rather than those with harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia. These will ruin your countertops. Vinegar mixed with water works well for sterilization.
Apart from regular cleaning, you’ll need to give your butcher block counters some serious love about twice a year — possibly more — depending on how you use them. This involves light sanding and the application of a finishing oil for conditioning. Which oil you should use depends on the type of wood your counters are made from. Your countertops should include the manufacturer’s instructions indicating which oil to use. Don’t use cooking oil on your countertops. Instead, opt for oils like linseed oil, walnut oil and almond oil. This will make your countertops look brand-new.
Can butcher block be used as a cutting surface?
A. One of the major perks of butcher block countertops is that they function as a giant built-in cutting board. This is how butcher block counters have traditionally been used. Be sure to purchase unsealed wood — a plastic seal will render your butcher block counters unusable as cutting boards. Over time, using your counters as cutting boards will create scratches. You can remove these with routine maintenance.
Can I install butcher block countertops myself?
A. Butcher block countertops are a relatively DIY-friendly project and can be done by anyone who feels confident with basic woodworking skills like cutting the wood, matching it and making cutouts for the sink. You’ll need another set of hands because the countertop will likely be too heavy to place yourself. You should count on spending about two days on the project.
If you aren’t confident about cutting the wood without making a mistake, hire a professional. The labor will be worth the price if it saves you from buying a new piece of wood and starting over.
What’s the best butcher block countertop to buy?
Top butcher block countertop
What you need to know: Versatile and dense grain. An elegant and warm wood ideal for kitchens, laundry rooms, shelves and more.
What you’ll love: Either side of an Hevea (aka rubberwood) countertop can be used as the surface, allowing you to pick which grain you find more attractive. It’s also scratch- and cut-resistant. Hevea wood is the most environmentally friendly option because it is harvested after a tree completes its life cycle naturally.
What you should consider: Hevea wood isn’t as dense as other woods in the maple family.
Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot
Top butcher block countertop for the money
What you need to know: Acacia wood is a stunningly beautiful and warm option for durable and high-quality butcher block counters.
What you’ll love: This countertop is naturally antibacterial and therefore ideal for preparing food on. One of the hardest and most durable woods with great scratch resistance. Beautiful light wood hues and texture transform your kitchen to feel more organic and bright.
What you should consider: It’s susceptible to damage and cracking from heat, so you can’t place hot pans on it.
Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This countertop is an unparalleled option if great aesthetics and bright hues are your main priority.
What you’ll love: It has stunning neutral hues and tones with color that becomes richer and more gold with time. It’s also soft enough not to dull the blades of knives or damage delicate dishes. Compared to woods with closed grains, it is very affordable.
What you should consider: Walnut is one of the softer wood choices for butcher block counters, so it’s more susceptible to damage. Walnut butcher block requires care in the form of regular oiling.
Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot
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Evelyn Waugh writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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