There are four standard butcher block sealer options: mineral oil, oil and beeswax combination, waterlox, and polyurethane. The product you choose will determine how often your countertops need to be sealed, from weekly to up to 10 years.
Why Seal Butcher Block Countertops?
A butcher block counter contains several pieces of wood that are glued together. These counters bring a natural texture to your kitchen, but they are porous and require sealant on a regular basis. Sealers protect countertops from absorbing liquids, staining, and bacterial growth. Sealers also offer some protection against divots.
Choosing a food-safe sealer for your butcher block is important, especially if you plan to use the counter as a cutting board.
How to use different types of butcher block sealer
The butcher block sealer you choose affects the appearance of your countertops and how often you reseal them.
- mineral oil – Gives a matte finish. For the first week he uses once a day, then switches every 1-4 weeks depending on usage.
- oil and beeswax combo – Leaves a soft glow. Apply weekly for 1 month, then every 3-4 weeks.
- water rocks – Available in glossy, semi-gloss and satin sheen. It can provide protection for up to 10 years.
- Polyurethane – Available in a variety of finishes. It will last 1-2 years, depending on how often you use it.
How to Seal a Butcher’s Block Counter with Mineral Oil
Food-safe mineral oil works by penetrating the butcher block and forming a barrier on the surface. He’s one of the easiest butcher block sealers to apply, but it does require frequent application.
New butcher blocks should be oiled daily for the first week and weekly for the next month. From there, apply mineral oil every one to two weeks to prevent the wood counter from drying out or warping.
If your butcher block counter has a polyurethane or wax coating, Before using mineral oil, it must be removed with a file. Oil cannot pass through wax, waterlox and polyurethane coatings.
- clean the counter
Scrape off food residue, clean countertops, and dry. If the counter had a previous finish, sand it down and clean it again.
- apply mineral oil
Use a lint-free cloth to liberally apply the oil to the countertop, making sure to coat the entire countertop and edges. Let the oil harden for 15 minutes and wipe off excess oil with a clean cloth.
How to Seal a Butcher’s Block Counter with a Combination of Oil and Beeswax
The combination of mineral wax and beeswax (also known as butcher block conditioner) fills in the small cracks in the wood and leaves a waterproof coating on your countertop. Many homeowners prefer butcher block conditioner to mineral oil for dark wood.
If your counter has a stain, polyurethane, or film finish, it should be sanded before applying Butcher Block Conditioner.
howard’s butcher block conditioner One of the most popular oil and beeswax sealers for butcher blocks. Contains food grade mineral oil, beeswax and carnauba wax. Here’s how to use it:
- clean the butcher block
Make sure your counters are free of food debris and clean and dry.
- Apply Butcher Block Conditioner and leave overnight
Use a soft, clean cloth to apply product to countertops and edges. Leave it overnight and wipe off the excess in the morning.
- A total of 3-4 coats should be applied for new counters.
If the counter is new, repeat this process for a total of 3-4 additional coats.
- reapply as needed
If your counters start to look or feel dry, apply the product again.
How to seal a butcher block with WaterLox
Waterlox is a product made by processing tung oil with resin. It leaves a protective film on the countertop that lasts 7-10 years. It is food safe after curing, but it does contain VOCs, so be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear safety glasses and a mask.
For the first coat, use WaterLox Original Formula with medium sheen. If you want a different sheen, such as semi-gloss, satin, or gloss, use that as the final coat.
- Sand and clean the butcher’s block counter
Polish the butcher block counter to remove any previous finish and clean with mineral spirits.
- Apply the first coat of WaterLox
Apply the first coat of WaterLox with a soft cloth or buffing pad. Wipe off excess and let the first coat dry overnight.
- apply a second coat
Apply a second coat with a brush or pad and let dry for 24 hours.
according to WaterLox websiteAfter 24 hours, moisten a microfiber pad with mineral spirits and gently wipe the counter to remove any sanding residue before proceeding to the next step. Allow the mineral spirits to evaporate (approximately 30 minutes) before applying the final coat.
- apply the third coat
For the final coat, switch to the desired sheen if desired. Apply with a brush or finishing pad and let dry for 24 hours.
Do not use the countertop for at least 24 hours after the last coat and continue light use for 7 days.
How to seal a butcher block with polyurethane
Polyurethane forms a waterproof protective coating that prevents the butcher block from absorbing moisture and staining. One of the advantages of polyurethane is that it is available in multiple finishes, allowing you to customize the sheen of your countertop.
- sand and clean the counter
Sand the countertop to remove any previous finish. It is then washed with mineral spirits and dried.
- apply the first coat
Use a brush to apply the first coat of polyurethane to coat the counter top and edges. Work quickly to avoid leaving brush marks on the counter. Be careful with droplets.
Wait at least 6 hours before applying a second coat.
- apply a second coat
Apply a second coat of polyurethane using a brush. Again, don’t let too much product make your brushstrokes stand out.
The complete drying/curing time should be noted on the product packaging before using the countertop.