Question about Butcher Block Countertops.

DJ493July 21, 2013

This may be a dumb question. For those that have butcher block countertops do you actually use it for cutting and chopping?

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I am planning on having one on the island in my new kitchen to be installed hopefully before the end of this year. I don't plan to cut and chop much on the butcher block counter but use cutting boards mostly. There may be an odd time here and there where I cut on the countertop (sort of like now with my laminate).

I'm told Butcher block does require maintenance, every 6 months or so. (If you don't use Waterlox or something that is meant to be nearly 100% inpenetrable from water.)

One common practice is to sand a little the dry or discolored spots and follow with using mineral oil (and/or beeswax) for soaking overnight with wipe off the next morning. Voila - I'm hoping it will be that easy though probably will need to accept that no matter what, there will be some "patina" that will prevent it from looking new forever, a good thing IMO.

I've done enough reading on this to have a sense that the faucet area can be most problematic (there will be a prep sink in mine). I am thinking of having a couple of squares of tile (or maybe a 12X24 porcelain tile cut so it is 6X24) somehow installed in a cutout section of the butcherblock where the faucet will go. Haven't seen this done by anyone on the web though I did talk to my contractor and he thought it was doable- still thinking .

And now since I'm wondering if tile will be under the faucet, why shouldn't I investigate if I can put a strip of tile around the undermount sink border?

Hope I'm not hijacking your thread (too much) but your post is very timely and I would like to hear about any regrets with others who have gone down this path of using butcher block. From your post, I thought you might be interested in that too.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 12:34PM
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DJ - No ... We use the thin plastic cutting sheets. I started using them because you can't cut on laminate.

The wooden counters are alder sealed with multiple coats of Waterlox. They are holding up well to normal use

Elphaba: The problem with wood is that if it gets wet, it swells and NOTHING can resist it. A tiny crack lets in some water, then the wood swells and enlarges the crack ... then the counter falls apart.

Consider using an over-mount sink because the edge can be sealed far better. We spread a layer of silicone caulk around the cutout to seal it, and under the rim of the sink was filled with that caulk before it was screwed down. The sink and counter were upside down briefly, so we took advantage of it to fill the gap completely.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 12:47PM
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We had butcher block countertops for 19 years prior to remodeling the kitchen. They were in the house when we bought it and they looked great in the beginning.

I think people either love them or hate them. I did not love them as time went on. I found them to be alot of work to keep up, especially when our kids were small. As lazygardens indicated, if they are by the sink and get wet, they will be affected. We did not cut directly on them. They showed their wear and we really didn't have the time to spend maintaining them.

When we renovated the kitchen we opted for quartz countertops this time.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Had oiled john Boos hard rock maple in my old house in the island.

Just put he same thing in my new kitchen. We just love them.

We cut right on them, and had them in the old kitchen about 10 years.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:20PM
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We have a designated 39" wide Maple chopping counter, that has served us well for 27 years of good hard use. About the only thing I don't chop or prep on it is uncooked chicken. After all those years of use, it had developed a patina which just adds to the character of a working kitchen. Nothing but mineral oil on it. Soapstone on our other counters fit in the same "living counters" family...

This post was edited by ctycdm on Sun, Jul 21, 13 at 15:50

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:45PM
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We originally planned bb counters and talked to the contractor about insetting tile by the stove and around the sink. He thought it was a horrible idea--we'd end up with water going into the cutout when we (inevitably, for us) failed to re-seal. Even with a lift-out inset by the stove he figured it would get grungy. We eventually admitted that we're not good on maintenance and switched to tile.

If we HAD done it, to address the original question, I'd still have used a cutting board--habit, and reluctance to incur extra maintenance. (You CAN cut a pomegranate on bb...but it's probably not going to end well.)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 4:16PM
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My walnut counters have been in use for about 10 months. I do not do the bulk of my prep on them, but use my pine-topped antique table for that. I have a Whitehaven farm sink, and the faucet all in the walnut. The sink and faucet are not my problem area, nor is the range. My problem spot is where family sets jars and leaky stuff out of the refrigerator, then don't wipe it up.

I call it patina, but it's a little annoying. It cannot compare to the patina on my work table, and I really like the wood counters. I have the Osmo Polyx finish, and they have 3 coats so far. They need another now. The wood gets dull where I dry the pots and pans, and in that spot by the refrigerator.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 4:40PM
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