Wooden countertop offers a classic look that quartz or marbles cannot achieve. Also known as the butcher block countertop, wooden countertop gives a farmhouse-like vibe. The soft, subtle elegance makes your kitchen look warm and inviting.
Wood offers advantages and disadvantages, like every countertop material. Check out its characteristics to determine whether a butcher block countertop is ideal for you.
1. Why Choosing Butcher Block Countertop?
The wood countertop is an environmentally friendly option, perfect if you apply green lifestyle. Since it is a natural element, you bring in the “nature” vibe. The wood’s natural color and grains add a unique element to your kitchen. It also complements a lot of color options for the kitchen interiors.
Wood has “inviting” vibe, ideal for a multipurpose kitchen. You can install wooden countertop on a kitchen island and turn it as a social event setting. Wood is also more forgiving for your kitchen knives because it will not dull the blades after repeated uses.
2. Types of Butcher Block Countertop Wood
Butcher block countertops are made of various wood species. Ideally, wood for countertop must be hard (bonus point if it’s attractive). The most common wood types for countertop include:
Maple is the hardest wood ideal for the countertop, but also the cheapest. The wood’s dense structure makes it more durable for long use. Maple has a light tone that is ideal for any kitchen designs.
Oak is the next favorite wood type for countertop. It is less hard than maple, but the grains are more visible. The darker tone and visible grains give the wood a unique look.
Walnut butcher block countertop is less hard than maple or oak, but it has deeper brown hue. The darker wood tone makes it look expensive. Walnut happens to cost higher than maple.
Cherry is considered a mid-tier material for the countertop. It has a beautiful reddish-brown tone, with grains that are more visible than maple.
Janka scores are used to determine the hardness level of wood. Maple holds 1,400 points, oak 1,300, walnut 1,000, and cherry 900. The higher the scores, the harder the wood.
3. Types of Butcher Block Countertop Grains
Wood grains provide the visual aesthetics of butcher block countertops. Choosing which grains that are showcased on top also determines the thickness and cost. Typical wood has three types of grain patterns based on their directions, which are:
Edge grain is the actual top surface of the wooden planks. Edge grain usually has smooth vertical lines. They can be dark or light, depending on the wood species.
Face grain comes from the side parts of the wooden planks. The face grain also has unusual markings and lines, perfect for a more artistic touch. Face grain can only be created from hardwood, like maple and oak.
End grain butcher block countertop is the thickest type, which is great if you look for durability. End grain is also the most expensive of all the types. The visual looks like small squares, which are the results of constant scrapping, sawing, and carving.
Despite being the most durable, end grain is now decreasing in popularity. It is expensive and labor-intensive, making it less ideal for common households.
4. Tips to Clean and Maintain Butcher Block Countertop
Wood is highly absorbent. Even with sealant, you should not work directly on it. Prepare cutting blocks and coasters to deal with cooking steps. When spills happen, wipe them off immediately with a nonabrasive cloth. Avoid using household cleaners to prevent coat damage from chemicals.
Wooden countertop has pores, which can become breeding grounds for bacteria and germs. If you have less hardwood, like cherry or walnut, disinfect the surface once a month.
Dilute one part of white vinegar in three parts of water. Wipe the countertop with the mixture. Let it dry naturally or turn on the fan for quicker drying.
Another simple disinfectant is a mixture of salt and lemon juice. Sprinkle salt on your countertop and press half lemon on the salt repeatedly. Wipe off the residue with a dry cloth.
5. Sealant Types for Butcher Block Countertop
Sealing butcher block countertops is important to prevent damage from absorbance. It keeps the wood from getting decayed quickly. Stores sell three types of sealing agent to treat wooden countertop. They are:
Mineral oil protects the countertop by “conditioning” the wood pores. The oil keeps moisture from leaving the wood. This oil is safe, perfect for a household with kids or pets. Mineral oil is not recommended for face grain countertop, because it will damage the surface textures.
Wood wax from countertop consists of a mixture between beeswax and mineral oil. The wax in the mixture keeps the oil sealed to the wood. You can apply this sealing agent less frequently than if you use mineral oil.
Food-grade penetrating sealant
The penetrating sealant works better than mineral oil and wax. It keeps your countertop in good condition longer. However, the price is higher, and it may not be available widely.
Polyurethane sealing agent offers the strongest effect on wood. However, since it is not food-safe, polyurethane product is not recommended for a kitchen surface.
6. Is Butcher Block Countertop Ideal for DIY Project?
Yes, the wooden countertop is an ideal DIY project. You can buy precut boards from any wood, and prepare materials like wood glue, gel coat, and wood stain. Prepare basic woodworking tools like power planner, table saw, drill, jointers, sander, and clamps.
The cost of DIY countertop is affordable once you acquire the tools. Basic pine boards are sold at around USD7.50 per piece.
You probably need to spend between USD100 and 200 for the additional materials and tools. Depending on the countertop size, you may finish it in two or three weekends.
Wooden countertop has a warm, classic, and inviting feeling. You must protect it by keeping spills and heat off the surface. Treating the surface regularly is important to keep wooden countertop neat and smooth. You must also treat it with natural disinfectant to keep bacteria and germs away.
Butcher block countertop is a beautiful option for any kitchen. Make sure to maintain and treat it properly to keep the countertop intact for years.