Ikea butcher block countertops

dirtymartiniMay 31, 2009

yea or nay?

If you have them...can you post a picture?

They have oak, beech and birch...any preference?

I am planning on waterloxing whatever BB counters I end up getting, I do not plan on cutting directly on the countertops.

Thank you!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have them and we really like them. They've held up well. Mine are the pronomen. I saw no reason to spend more on BB. We initially put them in as temporary counters until we could afford soapstone, but I think we'll end up keeping them on the perimeter. I also used waterlox as a finish - the "original". I LOVE the waterlox.

They have gotten a few stains here and there, and need to be lightly sanded with new a coat of waterlox. I've had them for 2-3 years. A few in-progress pics are below.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA pronomen in my kitchen

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 5:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have the oak one on my sink island - absolutely love it. I've used mineral oil and have cut on it. Now I'm re-thinking the look and will consider sanding and then waterloxing it instead.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 6:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok, I am excited because both the pronomen (which is beech, I think)and the oak look a lot darker than when I saw it in Ikea. I wanted a darker look...but apparently you shouldn't stain wood where food prep will take place? I am not sure about this, and since I don't plan on cutting directly on the surface, not sure that it matters (although of course food will touch the surface at one point or another...)

Is there any reason why you chose your species of wood over the other?

Thank you for sharing...both of you have beautiful kitchens. I originally chose BB as a temporary "fix" until I can afford granite...but now...the more I think about it, granite will not suit my 70's ranch style home.

Thanks again! I wil check back periodically for other posts!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 7:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have the birch counters from Ikea. It seems to be the lightest wood of the three (birch, beech, oak). I treated it with IKEA's Behandla oil and really like the satin finish. I have done one light sanding and re-application this first year. I really like it, and the price was right--about $300 total.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 8:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here are our beech butcher block counters. We will be adding two "satin" topcoats to tone down the shine from the "original" Waterlox. Top picture is sitting on the counter, and the bottom two show before and after Waterlox (three coats of the Original finish - we will add 2 coats of Satin.) The color of the beech tends to become darker/more caramel-like with each successive coat. It is VERY easy to apply. We wanted soapstone as well, but have been very happy with this compromise.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here are some shots of ours - we have beech with three coats of original waterlox that we applied with a cloth, followed by 1 coat of satin applied with a cloth and 2 coats of satin applied with a brush.

To us, beech and birch were both pretty light, one is more pinkish, one more yellowish. We went with beech because the undertones looked better with our floors which are stained mahogany.

They really do darken up quite a bit. We still have one exposed edge that we have to waterlox, and the difference in color is significant.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 10:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We got the beech and had it stained and polyurethaned. This counter is in our pantry and we won't be using it for any kind of food prep at all. Kitchen isn't quite done, but we're loving the counter so far. (sorry for the ridiculously large picture, need to do some resizing!)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 10:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Fori is not pleased

I have the oak that came on the Bravaad unit I've been using as a baking table. Mine is oiled with mineral oil. I don't cut on it. It's really pretty nice and I clean it with dish soap. It's enough to repel red wine, but if I were using it as a full time counter I'd want a more durable finish.

It's a very nice top, and not at all "budget" looking.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 10:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have the oak in this house finished with 5 coats of polymerizered tung oil. I don't cut on them, I see them as countertops, not cutting boards. I had european beech in my last house, (not from Ikea, but very, very similar) which was finished with mineral oil. I found the mineral oil not as nice as the tung oil.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 2:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, thank you, thank you! First of all, I am absolutely SWOONING over these kitchens. You have all done BEAUTIFUL work. Seeing these pictures makes me really excited for these countertops. I was just devastated that we couldn't get granite right now (we are doing major renovations thoughout the house) but now I see where being on a budget is in some ways actually GOOD for you...you have to get creative, look around and not do what everyone else is doing...and it seems granite is just everywhere these days. I do love granite, but in a newer house where it is appropriate. I am realizing now it would look silly in this house.

Did anyone here do the cutting and installation themselves? if not, who did you have do it? My husband is confidant he can do it, but I am a little nervous about the undermount sink.

Again, thanks for all the gorgeous pictures. I am drooling over here!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 8:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

dirtymartini, I don't know if this will work if you're not registered there, but here's a link to the ikea installation video on the ikeafans site. It shows how to do the BB countertops yourself (it's after the cabinet installation section, about the middle of the video)

Here is a link that might be useful: streaming installation dvd content

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 9:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oops, sorry. That link seems to be dead now. Here's another, to a download version of the installation video. You'll need flip4mac to view it on a mac:

Here is a link that might be useful: download installation content

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 11:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We're using the pronomen in our laundry room. DH put in one of the counters last month. We purchased it about 3 years ago and stored it in our barn. We were thankful that it hadn't warped over that time.

Not the greatest picture for seeing the countertop with the glare from the window:

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for posting that, writersblock. I am saving it to watch when I have time later!

Zelmar-Pretty laundry room! Good to know it didn't warp during the 3 years....I guess that says something, too.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey there - if you haven't already, check out ikea fans - they have tons of information on how to install the countertops on your own. I think it's a pretty DIY friendly project, especially if you have the proper tools and know how to use them.

The counters really are awesome - we had an inside 'L' shape (to the left of our sink) that ended up with an exposed edge - our contractor just sanded the edge a little and it has the same little bevel as the finished edges.

I'm with you on appropriate materials. We have a little 50's ranch and my fiance REALLY wanted granite, but I thought it would be beyond silly (also the granite I like was always in a super high price grade!) The butcher block is much more appropriate to the house.

I love our counters - they are so beautiful and warm. The waterlox has an awesome feel to it.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love all your BB CT! They look great. Ok, dumb question, but do you just buy the stuff at IKEA and then install yourself (or have carpenter install)? I was going to get a piece of oak BB from bbco.com, but the IKEA is a lot cheaper (although the shipping is outrageous - I'd have to make a trip to Stoughton).

The piece I need is not as deep (19") or as long (86") as the piece I would have to buy - no issue ripping it?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 1:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cutting was no problem, just buy a new fine blade.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 1:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hi dirtymartini.
i don't have a picture, but we have birch numerar, about 2 years old now. one counter is treated with mineral oil and beeswax only and we cut on it. we got a stain from a tomato, but we sanded it out successfully. the other counter has a sink (also ikea) mounted in it and is treated with waterlox.

just to let you know, we put the waterlox (many coats) on the counter in our basement. after the first side was coated, the perfectly flat numerar counter warped. quite a bit. i was pretty upset. we turned it over and waterloxed the other side. it settled back down and stayed flat. when it was finished, we installed it and there has been no warping since. i think it was just adjusting to our (humid) house. we would have returned it to ikea, but we were too busy and when we finally had time, it had flattened back out again. good luck! we're very happy with the birch numerar... kren

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 2:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am considering wood counters too, and have a question for you all.

We only need two small pieces and can get John Boos blended maple butcher block for about the same price as we'd have to pay for getting the IKEA Numerar counter and having it cut (we can't cut it ourselves).

What do you think of the blended maple butcher block vs. Numerar? Does anyone have any opinion about the John Boos "Varnique" finish? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 2:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hi dirtymartini,

DH cut and installed ours - really easy if you have the right tools (table saw, circular saw (or was it a jigsaw?), etc). Our sink is an undermount also. The seam ended up on part of the sink cutout but that was because we wanted to use as much length of the board as possible with the fewest cuts. Had we put more thought & effort into it, we could've avoided that, but we haven't had any problems with the seam or the undermount.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 6:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We cut ours ourselves. Read over at IkeaFans for more tips, but here are some:

Tools: Thick straight edge (to run circular saw against) and clamps to clamp it to your butcher block.
Pieces of small wood to protect your top while clamping
2x4's (4 to raise the block above the surface while fully supporting it on either side of the saw blade.)
Plug in circular saw (a battery powered one will not have the power you need.)
New blade
Jig saw with new blade
We used a hole cutting blade on our drill for the inside curve.
We used a forstner bit in our drill to cut holes halfway down for the miter bolts to hold two different sections of countertop together - we also needed to borrow a router to rout the channel between those "holes" - we used wood cut, routed, glued, used the bolts, sanded, then used the Waterlox.
If you install an undermount sink, you will need to create a template out of luan plywood, and use a pattern bit in a router to rout the opening. We almost did that, but decided instead to use a counter depth sink. You can see in my post above where the counter meets the sink. We wanted fewer seams and found a great sink on Craigslist.

Last, check the butcher block while there, but don't open the plastic the wood is wrapped in until you are all set to cut and Waterlox the first coat. We cut and waited a few days on one piece, and it did warp. We had to turn it over and keep checking until it was level. A little nerve wracking. After we sealed it there was no problem.

FYI,if you want a section of counter that is food safe (to roll out dough, for example) you can melt beeswax into warmed mineral oil, then oil that separate section. You need to keep oiling, but I like having one area that is food safe.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

>but don't open the plastic the wood is wrapped in until you are all set to cut and Waterlox the first coat

FWIW, the Ikea installation instructions say to unpack it and let it acclimate in the room it's going to be in for a few days ahead of time.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 8:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi. Mostly confirming what others have said. Ikea beech here with Waterlox finish. We've very happy with it and get lots of compliments.

We chose beech for its lightness (compared to the lovely cooler-brown oak) and for its slight pinkish tone (compared to the birch) to coordinate with our floors.

The Waterlox (like virtually all quick-drying finishes) adds a gold/caramel/yellowish tone. Ours look like honey to me. Only one coat of Satin on top of 2 or more of Original Waterlox for a soft glow. Waterlox shows off the wood truly beautifully, but Satin achieves its glow by suspension of particulate matter (you can actually see the tiny particles floating in it), so it's not clear like Original. Waterlox itself recommends no more than 2 coats.

The surface is very tough and is just fine for allowing food to sit on and for letting liquids pool on as well. As long as you don't cut or otherwise break the finish, you're working on a plastic counter.

It's VERY easy and forgiving to apply with one caveat. It ages quickly after opening; the less left in a can, the quicker it turns into a gel (a chemical reaction, not a drying). Finish the job as quickly as you can get the various coats on, and plan on buying a second can if you think it'll run more than 3 days or so. When the not-clear Satin ages, it goes on unevenly and you can see the ridges.

After trying various stain colors, I decided not to stain (wanted just slightly more red/slightly darker). The many different pieces of wood vary greatly in their absorption, and my results were all very spotty and irregular. Working at it with a small paintbrush and multiple coats of dilute stain was a possibility, but I'm an amateur and was worried about my ability to achieve something I'd like as much as what I already had.

My husband and son, who'd never done this before, installed ours and did a very handsome job with no trouble except that they goofed up the cutout for the undermount sink, so a skilled carpenter with good tools certainly can.

Jenswrens, some time ago now your kitchen was a big influence on our decision to go with this counter. Thank you for sharing.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 12:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wonder if Ikea changed the install instructions? - on the paperwork that came with my Numerar top:

"1) Do not open the sealed plastic packaging until you are ready to install the worktop. Store unopened worktops at normal room temperature (approx. 20 degrees C) and normal humidity. Avoid placing the worktop next to a hot radiator or laying it down flat on a cold floor."

It goes on from there, giving instructions for the Behandla oil.

If anyone wants me to type up the rest of that page, I will. There is a second set of instructions that came with it that is mostly pictures of the install (those are available on the Ikea instructions pages as well.) IMO, leave the butcher block in the plastic until ready to cut and seal. The only time we had problems warping was when we did not seal immediately.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 10:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

>"1) Do not open the sealed plastic packaging until you are ready to install the worktop. Store unopened worktops at normal room temperature (approx. 20 degrees C) and normal humidity. Avoid placing the worktop next to a hot radiator or laying it down flat on a cold floor."

Yes, I think you're right. The video seems to say to unpack it: the voiceover says to store it in or near the room and you see the actors unpacking it, but the narrator doesn't specifically say to do that, although it certainly looks like that's what they're recommending.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 10:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi dirtymartini,

I spent the weekend cutting the sink opening on a pronomen countertop. I thought I wouldn't have any problem using a jigsaw and a sink template to make the cut and sand it out. I was wrong. I went through 6 jigsaw blades, and ended up with a pretty rough sink hole, with a couple wood splinters around the top. Even with several hours of sanding, it didn't look good enough for an undermount sink. Fortunately, my sink also works as a drop-in top mount...so that's what I ended up doing.

If I were to do it again (and I wouldn't...I'd hire a professional to do it), I'd use a router to cut the hole for an undermount sink and not a jigsaw. Or better yet, just do a topmount sink, like I ended up doing after many hours of trying to get a perfectly shaped opening. Just my experience...I'm not a pro, just a weekend DIYer.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jayco, I know nothing about the manufacturer you mention. But maple is the classic material for working butcher blocks. I love the IKEA counters and they are a super bargain for the price, but maple butcher block is an excellent product.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 9:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are getting ready to put in our butcher block countertops from Ikea. We are going to use waterlox to protect them, especially since they will be installed near the sink and the dishwasher. Do we need to waterlox the underside as well as the sides and the tops?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 10:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is the butcher block countertop heat resistant? If I put a hot pan on it, will it leave a burn mark

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love looking at the examples. Ours is Ikea beech.

Haven't put a finish on ours yet. Here's just the suggestion of how we use it. We hope to have it for secondary chopping but mostly just to serve as a durable heat tolerant surface next to range and a break in our very long formica runs. I'm not sure yet what product we'll use, but it will be more permanent than mineral oil. I really liked looking at the walnut wood island that was recently posted by petestein1--that one has beeswax and mineral oil. I do know that spatters of grease from frying need to be sopped up quickly--there are some marks on this already, but we haven't even sanded yet. And if in the long run this is not a showplace area, I don't care. This is a working kitchen.

photo from corridor side of peninsula.

Here is a link that might be useful: unfinished Ikea beech needs treatment soon

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 3:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would avoid putting a hot pan on any wood counter: we rented a house in the UK for a trip home this summer which had butcher block counters (lovely they were - and I have one at home) but a previous renter had put a hot pan on it and it left a big black scorch mark. Definitely use trivets.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 4:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used a different product to Waterlox, but I did apply two coats to the underside, as it was going to be exposed (used it on a table frame, at counter height). I don't think people bother if it's installed over cabinets, except for the overhang.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 4:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Glad to hear all the positive reviews of these butcher block counters! I have noticed that this type of counter is often used in more traditionally styled kitchens. I am going for a more modern look using slab cabinet doors (i.e., Ikea white Applad). Will the BB seem too rustic?

Has anyone used butcher block in a modern kitchen? If so, please share pictures. Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 2:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Interestingly enough, I was up late looking for an alternative to replace my butcher block island top. I love the wood but the top is small and boxy with no overhang off the cabinets. I think it looks odd. A new one, 2 inch maple, would be quite expensive. Came here and on the front page was this thread about the Ikea butcher block and my problem was solved! Especially loved the pics of Jenswren's counters.

I will be going to the big city within the next few months and will pick up my new island top then.

Thank you all.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So disappointed, bought the Ikea NUMERAR oak countertops, when we made our first cut, this is what we found... (see pic). Ours apparently are NOT solid all the way through....hmm....now what.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

??? That seems strange. I have seen these counters cut and never seen that. Did you call Ikea? Which store did you purchase from?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 9:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We put in IKEA 1 1/8" beech BB countertop May 2012. IKEA doesn't list them online anymore, I think it was called Lagan. I chose the thinner counter for ease in handling and much cheaper price. I have a 'U' shaped counter and BH wasn't sure we could butt the joints at the bottom of the 'U' well, so I decided to overlap the two long ends across the short end of the 'U'. Three 8" pieces @ $59 each did the job nicely. After 3 coats of waterlox the counter almost matches my 1957 birch cabinets that are original to the house. I did refinished them and re-organized the layout in 1988 and again in 2008. So far I'm still loving the counter. Sorry I can't say the same for the Boholmen sink with drainboard. Love the drainboard but the 20 Ga SS is too thin. Also not crazy about the Ringskar faucet. The pullout is fine but the lack of a spray function is annoying.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 5:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We just installed Ikea Lagan countertops with an undermount stainless steel sink 2 weeks ago. We bought the counters in May last year and seems like they have been discontinued. We used Waterlox original - 2 coats on the underside and 5 coats on top.
I have never posted on this forum before, but I have to say that it was the main source of information that influenced our decision to go with Ikea butcher block. When I saw jenswrens' counters, I was convinced - thank you Jenswrens!
I would like to ask those of you who have had the counters for a longer time about the way to deal with scratches. We've had the counters for 2 weeks only and even though we've been really careful and using chopping boards only, I noticed that we've been able to scratch the surface already. Should I just apply more Waterlox on the spot?

I would appreciate any comments regarding how your counters have been holding up when it comes to scratches, stains, or issues with water and undermount sink.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 3:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Fori is not pleased

(Patsy, your cabinets (and counters) are just gorgeous! Would you happen to remember what stain you used on the cabinets?)

My Ikea cabinet with the oak counter has been out of kitchen use for a while and just stores art supplies. The counter sees very light use because it's always protected by a layer of junk, so I can't comment on longevity in the kitchen. But it's still pretty!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 4:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am planning on installing Ikea oak counters, I am a bit discouraged seeing how much time it will take to seal with Waterlox but nice to see that others have gotten such good results. I am also concerned that a hot pan would hurt the finish. Would it look awful to finish the one with the sink with Waterlox and to do the one by the stove just with oil? I will have an inset sink so I guess I have to use Waterlox or similar sealant on that one, right?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Does anyone know if you can buy the ikea wood countertops in custom sizing? My counter is wider than what they sell. Also, did anyone hire Ikea to deliver and install the countertops? Did it work out ok?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 8:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They have stock sizing. We used the 73" X 39" for our separate peninsula and had a woodworker to the sink cut-out and routing. We also used the Lagan (now discontinued) for the seat of our banquette, which DH cut and joined together himself; the joint is covered by a cushion. IIRC, Lumber Liquidators also sells BB countertops in longer lengths. Or did you mean deeper, as in from front to back? You may have to go more custom route if you have more depth.

BTW, we have plenty of cut BB scraps, and none of them look like EmikoF2's. That definitely looks like a "bad" batch. So sorry. :(

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 1:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

These are Ikea oak counters. The perimeters have ebony stain on them. Waterloxed. The sink cut out was kind of a pain to do in the hard oak, but we managed.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 9:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

raenjapan, I love the ebony stain on your butcher block, and love the backsplash! Could you share what the backsplash tiles are? Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

erinrsanta ... "Perfect Plank" in California has a variety of widths in several woods. I was planning IKEA beech countertops, but they had supply problems and I ended up selling the IKEA on Craigslist and ordering alder from Perfect Plank.

NOTE: If your countertop needs exactly x feet, order one foot up and trim to fit. They can be 1/4 inch off on length because of their huge saws.


Here is a link that might be useful: Perfect Plank

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thinking of using Ikea Birch and Beech countertops for built in desk and surface over washing machine and dryer. I see Oak mentioned but no longer at Ikea. How easy are they to stain? Is the Oak available in stores but not online? The pictures posted are incredibly helpful. It makes it so much easier to see how something would look. Thank you all!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 12:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All the ikea real butcherblock is hard to find now. If you want to pursue it, be sure you are looking at Numerar. They have a new version which is particle board with a BB veneer over it, which is called something else.

Floor & Decor and Lumber Liquidators also have BB. No personal experience of either, so I don't know how they compare to numerar.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It must vary by location... We just installed ours, and it was in stock and not at all low in inventory. We used beech because it is slightly harder than birch. We sanded off the factory finish, applied 3 coats of stain, and then 4 coats of polyurethane. You can see a picture on my Instagram, link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stained Ikea beech counters

This post was edited by GenB on Thu, Sep 4, 14 at 9:34

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 9:34PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
White on White & other (mis) Matched Kitchens
I was at a friend's house, an artist, last week showing...
Carrie B
Ikea Cabinets & Butcherblock - Quality?
We're about 95% sure we're replacing our cabinets....
Does this butler pantry addition add or detract from my kitchen?
My midcentury home has a very open plan and lots of...
Week 44: Spring, spring, SPring, SPRING dreams!
I am having spring fever. I can't wait until it's...
Honed Vermont Danby marble countertop owners... Love it or leave it???
I am hoping to understand people's experience who have...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™