Learning the pros and cons of butcher block counters can help you decide if it’s the right material for your kitchen. These wooden counters add a natural look to any space, but they require constant maintenance, which is a hindrance for some buyers.
Pros and Cons of Butcher Block Countertops
Butcher block counters are pieces of wood that are bundled together. There are several types, with prices ranging from $25 to $300 per square foot. Although these counters are popular, they are not suitable for every kitchen. Let’s look at the pros and cons here.
Pros: Butcher blocks add natural beauty to your kitchen
Butcher block countertops are a natural material and can evoke a rustic feel in your kitchen. It pairs well with other wood tones and can add warmth to a cooler color palette.
Cons: Butcher block countertops are prone to water damage and dents
Butcher block countertops are constructed from porous wood chips. Failure to seal countertops can cause them to absorb moisture and cause expansion and contraction. Similarly, low humidity in your home can cause your butcher block to dry out and warp.
Butcher block is often used as a cutting board material, but it is also prone to knife marks and dents. Cutting directly on the counter leaves many imperfections.
Pros: Butcher blocks are customizable with multiple wood species to choose from
Butcher blocks come in a variety of wood species with different grain patterns and colors. The most common types of butcher block are maple and acacia, which are affordable and light in color. You can also choose dark wood species such as walnut, teak, and cherry for a different look.
Cons: Butcher blocks can be expensive to maintain
You should periodically seal the butcher block to prevent it from absorbing moisture, warping or staining. The most common butcher block sealer is mineral oil. Mineral oil is food safe, but should be applied frequently, at least every 2-4 weeks.
Other butcher block sealer options are available, but not all are food-safe. One of the longest lasting food safe sealers is WaterLox, which can last for years.
Pros: Butcher blocks can be refinished to last for decades
One of the great things about butcher blocks is that they can be refinished. If your counters are worn, dry, or faded, you can sand them and then smudge or re-oil them.
A butcher block-friendly stain + oil combo that dries to a food-safe finish is also available, allowing you to change the color of your wood countertops.
Cons: Butcher blocks are not heat resistant
Be careful before placing a sizzling pot on the butcher block. Wood countertops are less heat resistant and may leave burn marks. Always put a potholder on top of hot pots and pans on the counter.
The good news is that you can polish imperfections or burn out rings.
Pros: DIY enthusiasts can place butcher blocks
Butcher block countertops are a great money-saving option for DIYers. Installing your own butcher block can save you money, as countertop installation costs $50 to $100 per hour.