Can you seam butcher block in middle of sink?

northcarolinaMarch 16, 2012

I am planning a butcherblock countertop in my upcoming kitchen remodel. The wood top I intend to use comes in 8 ft maximum sections and my longest countertop run is 14 ft. It is an L shape, so if there were a butt joint at the L, then the long section would be 12 ft. There is a sink in the long section and I am planning to topmount it.

Here is the question. I think a seam running across the middle of the counter, away from the sink, will look terrible; it would be right in the line of sight when you first walk in. Can I seam a butcherblock countertop across the sink? (8 ft from the butt joint in the corner would land in the sink.) Or should I give up and use a different countertop entirely, one that comes in a 12 ft length? I don't HAVE to use this one but it's from Ikea so of course other wood options are much more expensive. I know that other kinds of countertops get seamed at the sink as a matter of course, but I was under the impression that that is not a good idea with wood.


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12' Cherry BB @ Lumber Liquidators only $399. (Maple available also.) Note the undermount sink which works better than a topmount one. All of the water damaged bb's that I've seen have all been topmounted and the water accumulates behind the sink and backsplash and molds or rots.

Here is a link that might be useful: 12' Cherry BB @ LL

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Holy cow, that's pretty, wonder if they stained it or just let it age. Thanks, lwo! I'll look into it; it's almost twice as expensive as the Ikea one (I will need two of those lengths) but that's still a low price for that much countertop.

Undermount, seriously? I thought I was being all prudent and virtuous giving up undermount and going with topmount. I ordered a sink with a flat (1 mm) rim; think that would make a difference since there won't be a big dip between the sink rim and backsplash? I plan on using Rubio Monocoat (hardwax oil) to finish. They told me that it would probably be fine to undermount a sink with it but that they haven't tested it. I tried out a Waterlox sample and it nearly drove me from the house with the odor, so that is not an option.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 8:48PM
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Their cherry is out of stock for the next 2 months... oh well. They have maple but it won't look as nice with my cabinet color. Anyone else have experience seaming a wood countertop near a sink?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 11:52PM
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I have miles of butcher block that I bought in 2000 for $299 per twelve foot run, 30" wide, at an industrial supply. You might try checking in your area to see if there is a similar place.

The water will ruin your butcher block when it gets into the seam or under the sink rim. I urge you to consider an undermount sink if you will have the block around it, and seal it with something really water-tight, not just an oil or wax. Water sits in the edges between the sink and the counter and you don't even see it, and it unglues the blocks.

Have you considered tiling around the sink? I tiled around mine and faced it with the butcher block at the counter edge and I love the look. If you search in the kitchen forum you'll find lots of posts about butcher block inset into soapstone, marble, and tile.

You will love your butcher block counters. They are warm and beautiful.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:07AM
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It's a bad idea. Unlike other countertop materials, wood expands and contracts with seasonal changes in humidity. Since the sink stays the same size and the counter moves this way and that, the (probably silicone) seal between them is always being pulled at and strained. It's tough to get a seal there to last in even the best circumstances. When the seal begins to fail, water will infiltrate and be stuck there. Wood that remains wet for long periods of time will discolor and rot. Also, the ends of pieces of wood(e.g. the faces that would be butted together at your seam) are the most absorbent. It would be challenging to make a seam that wouldn't quickly soak up water and begin coming apart.

Wood counters around sinks are not the place to push your luck. Do it right, or don't do it at all.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 8:00AM
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Thank you, hosenemesis and jon1270, looks like I need to go to Plan B. Actually I have a few Plan B's on board, and hosenemesis, tiling around the sink was I think Plan B-sub-3. [grin] If you have a photo of yours and don't mind sharing, I'd love to see it!

Onward and upward.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Here you are, northcarolina. Sorry the photos are so big- I can't figure out how to get them smaller.

The chopping block next to the stove is unfinished, and I extended the tile on that side of the sink so I could set hot pots there. The block on the other side is a counter-height bar and is finished with polyurethane (WAS finished with poly years ago, I should say). I don't even see the small pieces of tile that butt up to the wood any more, but I thought I'd bring your attention to them. This kitchen was almost done 12 years ago. Still is.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:28PM
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Wow, hosenemesis, what a great kitchen! That is one spectacular view with all your windows. Your tile and butcherblock are a perfect fit with the cabinets (not to mention the phone!) -- thank you very much for posting! May I ask what you used for the seam between tile and wood? Did you leave it open, or is there a clear caulk that I can't see?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Thank you for the kind words. I was lucky to get that window from an acquaintance who had it stored for years and had already stripped all of the paint off. He GAVE it to me :)

I don't remember putting anything between the wood and the tiles- there's no caulk, for sure. I may have put some grout there originally. They fit pretty tightly and I have not had any problems. If you had the seam closer to the sink, you might have to use something like caulk.

The butcher block is really easy to install and to refinish. The wood in front of the sink has held up perfectly too. I would have preferred all wood, but the tile has been much more practical, in terms of water resistance and a place to put hot dutch ovens.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:34PM
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Thanks, Renee! Yes, I can see how the tile would be very useful -- and the butcherblock too, in its own way. I've been getting some quotes on different materials for around the sink and also looking at wood countertop options that come in 12-ft lengths. I appreciate all the help here!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 8:41PM
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