Butcher block countertops have become a huge trend and make their way into many modern homes. If you are considering this type of material for your upcoming kitchen remodel, you may be curious as to whether you are making the right choice. Replacing your kitchen countertops is a big undertaking and often comes with a price tag attached to it that may take up a large portion of your budget. With this in mind, you want to know that if you make the investment to get butcher block countertops, they will be worth it.
Butcher block is made up of wooden strips that are fused together to create a slab, which is then used to create countertops. While it has caught the eye of many people, there are some important must-knows about the trending material. To know if this material is perfect for your kitchen upgrade, check out these pros and cons to get the truth.
Pro #1: Cleaning the butcher block is easy with easy household ingredients.
Unlike other surfaces, cleanup of your butcher block countertop is extremely easy. In fact, you can use a mixture of soap to clean up the counter. In addition, you can even use other items such as coconut oil to keep it hydrated.
To clean your butcher block, you want to make sure that you remove all food debris on the surface first. Next, create a solutions of two cups warm water with 1 teaspoon of grease cutting dish soap into a bowl and mix well. Soak a sponge in the mixture and then squeeze. Wipe up the countertops and just like that, you are done.
You can also use a mixture of vinegar and warm water to not only clean the counters, but to also sanitize them. If you do find that you have a stain on your counter, simply sprinkle some traditional salt over it and then rub with lemon to lift the stain.
Pro #2: Butcher block is an affordable option for homeowners.
When shopping for kitchen counters, you will likely come across many different types with price points all over the place. Butcher block counters generally start around the $20 mark per square foot. They can cost as much as up to $60 per square foot.
The pricing for the butcher block is much cheaper than other popular options such as stainless steel, quartz, marble, and concrete.
If you are looking to save the most money, you could opt for a DIY installation of the counters. Typical labor costs will run you anywhere from $5 to $10 per square foot. Of course, if you are not handy or confident in your skills, it is not recommended that you install the counters as you will need to cut holes for the sink and other fixtures.
Pro #3: Many styles and grain types exist.
Unlike some of your other countertop options, butcher block does allow you to customize your counters with a pattern and hue that you like. You can choose from a number of different woods and wood grains to style your counters.
For example, you can choose a cherry wood for a dark and dramatic look or your can opt for oak, which creates a bright and modern look. When it comes to the grain, you can even style it the way you want. For example, you could choose a checkerboard pattern.
Pro #4: They can last a long time.
When you properly take care of your butcher block and keep it cleaned and sealed properly and according to its maintenance schedule, you can expect the surface to last you a couple decades or even longer. Other options such as laminate only last for about 10 years, maybe 15, so you are ahead in longevity when you choose butcher block.
Con #1: Butcher block countertops damage easily.
Butcher block is made from a softer wood and is not as strong as granite or stone, which means that the surface of the counter is susceptible to scratches, dents, and dings along the way. Many homeowners choose to use the countertop as a cutting board, which causes premature decline of the counter itself due to the scratches. In addition, food particles can become trapped in those scratches and become a health concern.
While you would think with a name like butcher block, you could use the counter as a giant cutting board, it is not recommended. If you have a kitchen that sees a lot of traffic or you have a household that is rough with pots, pans, and silverware, then butcher block may not be the right choice for your home simply due to the fact that it damages easily.
If you do find that your countertop does get a small surface scratch, you can attempt to correct it by sanding down the area and then applying some mineral oil to the affected area. You can also use this method to rectify any burn marks that may occur as well.
Con #2: Sensitive to liquids.
While butcher block looks beautiful and is a great addition to any kitchen, it should not be exposed to moisture. In fact, moisture and liquids are its worst enemy. Wood can absorb stains, germs, and mold over time, and it can also warp when it has been exposed to a lot of moisture.
It is vital that you clean up any spills on the countertop immediately to prevent any adverse effects from the liquid. You also want to make sure that you seal your butcher block counters at a minimum of once per month. You will have more involved maintenance with a butcher block counter, so it is important to be aware of this. Sealing the block can help keep it in good condition and prevent the issues you commonly see when it is exposed to water or moisture.
You can utilize mineral oil or coconut oil to seal the block. Simply apply a small amount using a clean cloth.
Con #3: Warping is possible and a concern for homeowners.
As we mentioned above, warping can occur when the butcher block countertop is exposed to moisture or spills. As the wood warps with liquid, it can also warp due to temperature. Wood shrinks and swells during changing temperatures, which means that your butcher block may change in shape or size over time. In fact, you can expect your counters to expand by up to an 1/8th of an inch in the summertime.
Since these fluctuations do happen, it is important that enough room is accounted for when the block is installed to ensure that no warping or cracking happens.
Should You Choose Butcher Block Counters for Your Kitchen?
Really, it is up to you. But, what we can tell you is that they are a timeless style that is not about to go anywhere anytime soon. They are quite affordable and they are customizable, which makes them an excellent option for homeowners who want some level of control over what they receive.
Butcher block is very versatile when it comes to style, so you never have to worry about it not matching your existing cabinets or bases. It pretty much goes with anything and can be used in any room such as a laundry room, kitchen, or even an office.
Something unique about these types of counters is that you can choose a live edge wood option when choosing your butcher block. The live edge will give you that extra oomph needed to really take your kitchen up a notch.
If you are someone who is not rough in the kitchen and you do not need to set hot pans down on the counter, then butcher block is an excellent option. It is affordable and will provide you with the elevation you want. If you are someone who is looking for an easy to clean option, something that is extremely stain and heat resistant, then butcher block is not the solution.
Whether or not you choose butcher block is a personal choice. If you do not go with butcher block, there are many other options for you to choose from. Butcher block counters are worth the investment for homeowners who do choose this option as they come highly rated by those who have had them installed.
Thinking about butcher block counters? Check them out and consider the pros and cons listed above.