No matter how much you take care of your butcher block countertops, cracks and scratches will inevitably appear over time from regular use. Fortunately, in most cases, they are fairly easy to repair on your own. Here are a few tips on how to fix these imperfections and keep your wood countertops pristine.
1. Clean the Countertop Surface
First, inspect the butcher block countertop surface for any stains. Although it is best to clean up spills as soon as they happen, don't lose heart if you notice an old stain. In most cases, cleaning agents such as bleach and hydrogen peroxide will get most stains out of the countertop surface. Make sure not to spread extra chemicals on the surrounding wood, as it may discolor it. Consider using a cotton swab for precise application.
2. Sand the Damaged Area
Once you have removed any stains, you are now ready to tackle those cracks and scratches. If they are small enough, sanding could remove them entirely. Use a fine-grit sandpaper with an orbital sander to gently sand in the direction of the grain until the small scratches or cracks are completely gone. Make sure to go over the damaged part of the wood first, then the surrounding area to even out the surface. When finished, wipe off the butcher block countertop surface with a tack cloth to remove any dust and debris.
3. Fill in the Cracks
For larger cracks, sanding might not be enough. Another option is to fill them in with wood putty. Make sure that you use putty that matches the color and shade of your wood countertop. After filling in the crack, use a putty knife to smooth the putty so it is level with the surrounding wood. Then, wait for it to dry. Once it is dry, sand the countertop surface again.
An alternative to wood putty is a combination of glue and sawdust. Simply fill in the crack with wood glue, top it with sawdust shavings, and sand it. If the crack is fairly deep, use a plastic syringe to effectively sink the glue into the space. Most glues (depending on the brand) will completely dry within 24 hours.
4. Coat the Countertop Surface with Oil
A butcher block countertop is either sealed with oil or finished with a varnish. If your countertop is sealed with oil, apply a coat of food-safe mineral oil after repairing imperfections. Keep applying coats until the wood no longer absorbs the oil. Mineral oil is one of the most commonly used types of oil for wood countertops, but plant-based oils are popular as well. Another great option is our Butcher Block & Cutting Board Oil. Applying oil to the countertop surface is an important maintenance task that should be done every two to four weeks.
For countertops with sealed finishes such as acrylic urethane, polyurethane, lacquer, or any other type of varnish, there are other products recommended for this task. Perfect Blend by Mohawk Finishing Products is an aerosol nitrocellulose lacquer that effectively seals and "feathers out" around the general radius of the repaired area. Investing in products such as this will help you avoid having to refinish the entire countertop.
Butcher block countertops are a beautiful and functional part of any kitchen. With frequent use, they are susceptible to cracks and scratches. Remember that cracks in wood can harbor bacteria, so consider your health by keeping the countertop safe for food preparation. With these simple tips, you can repair these imperfections and restore your wood countertop to near flawless condition.
If you are interested in adding a butcher block to your kitchen, or need to replace an old or worn out countertop, we have you covered. At Hardwood Lumber Company, we carry a variety of countertops that fit any style or budget. Browse our selection of countertops today to find the perfect fit for your kitchen!