3 Facts You Need to Know About Butcher Block Countertops Before Buying

3 Facts You Need to Know About Butcher Block Countertops Before Buying

Posted by The Hardwood Lumber Company on May 10th 2024

When you’re creating your dream space every decision you make brings you one step closer to having a home you love to live in. Anytime you’re updating your counters you should consider butcher block countertops.

Before committing there are three truths you should know about Butcher Block to make the best decision for your dream kitchen.

Fact #1: Butcher Block Countertops Can Be Made With Exotic Wood Species

If you go to a warehouse big box hardware store you’ll see the exact same kind of butcher block countertop found in everyone’s home. One wood grain pattern and a limited color palette to match.

The truth is that any wood species can be made into a gorgeous custom butcher block countertop. At Hardwood Lumber Company, you aren’t limited to the off-the-shelf inventory of big box stores. We source everything from domestic classics like Oak, Hickory, Walnut, and Cherry to exotic and rare wood species like Purpleheart, Burmese Teak, and Tigerwood.

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You don’t have to settle for a limited selection or cookie-cutter styles that you see in-store. If you’re making the investment in a new countertop you should take the time to find a wood species you’re in love with because with proper maintenance these countertops will last decades.

Which brings us to our next fact…

Fact #2: Butcher Block Countertops Require Maintenance, and It's Easy

Yes, butcher block requires maintenance if you plan to regularly prepare your food directly on the countertop.

It’s going to need to occasionally be reconditioned with mineral oil to ensure it remains sealed to keep bacteria and moisture out. We typically recommend reconditioning your butcher block countertop once a month if it’s being used regularly.

The good news is that caring for your countertop can be done with low-cost, easy-to-find, and non-toxic, supplies. Your butcher block countertop’s best friend will be bulk medical-grade mineral oil.

Maintenance Tip #1: don’t spend more on mineral oil marketed for cutting boards, butcher blocks, or other wood surfaces. The exact same mineral oil is sold in bulk as a food-grade product online or in pharmacies.

Once a month, simply apply a coat of mineral oil to your butcher block countertop. Wipe up any excess with a soft, absorbent cloth. A plush, microfiber cloth meant for car detailing usually works fine. Give the oil a few hours to settle into the wood, then use another clean cloth to vigorously polish the wood and remove any remaining excess surface oil.

Maintenance Tip #2: Designate a food preparation counter space and only prepare food in that spot of your counter. Then that section will be the only section that needs monthly maintenance while the rest can be conditioned for either three or four months.

Maintenance Tip #3: You can avoid monthly maintenance all together by choosing to not prepare food directly on your butcher block countertop. This will allow you to use a different long-lasting finish rather than mineral oil. Keep in mind, your counter would not be considered safe for cutting and you would have to continue to use cutting boards. 

The good news is that hardwood cutting boards can be conditioned and made to last using these same maintenance tips. If desired we can match a set of cutting boards to your countertops for you.

Within your first year, you’ll be able to sight identify when your counter or cutting board needs reconditioned. You’ll notice the color change and even the change in touch, and it will be evident that it's time.

Fact #3: Butcher Block Countertops Make Great Kitchen Island and Bar Tops

You don’t have to use a butcher block countertop as a countertop. In fact, many of our customers love to use them as kitchen island tops or even bar tops, like the examples pictured below.

Butcher block is great for prepping drink ingredients like limes and lemons for cocktails or other mixed drinks. We also see homeowners opt for butcher block counters in their basement kitchenettes, outdoor bars, or screened-in patio tables.

If you’re limited on space but love the look and feel of authentic butcher block wood, don’t fret! Use these examples and see others in our customer gallery for inspiration using butcher block, live edge, and more in small spaces.

Butcher Block Should Work for You

Overall, it’s important to remember that butcher block countertops are designed to work for you. Whether you’d like to use it for every counter surface or a select space, it can be easily paired, sized, and cut to fit and provide you with a permanent food preparation area.

If you have any questions about incorporating butcher block countertops into your dream kitchen, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experts are happy to answer any questions or review any specialized customizations you may be interested in.

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