We don’t know who needs to hear this, but butcher block countertops are one of the most versatile options out there for your kitchen. While so many other kitchen trends come and go, butcher blocks are a true classic. Wondering if butcher block countertops are right for you? Here are the pros and cons of these wood countertops—and some of them are likely to surprise you.
Pros of Butcher Block Countertops
1: Butcher blocks are more durable than plain wood countertops
A butcher block is different than a plain wood countertop. It involves thick strips of wood that are glued together for maximum strength. You have probably encountered this type of construction before in cutting boards, because they need to stand up to more wear and tear than other types of wood paneling.
2: Butcher block counter tops are beautiful!
You just can’t beat the beauty of real wood. Each piece of wood is as unique as a fingerprint, and the natural variation between wood pieces creates interest and dimension.
3: Adding wood to your kitchen is warm and inviting
Butcher’s block countertops are uniquely charming. The warmth of real wood works well in kitchens, and is a big contrast from the cold, shiny look of stone or marble. But don’t be fooled into thinking that wood counter tops always look farmhouse-y. We know those kinds of styles don’t resonate with everyone. Even if your design tastes lean more contemporary and sleek, there are wood species options for countertops that reflect that aesthetic, like Black Walnut or Sapele Mahogany.
4: Butchers Blocks are Customizable
One of the best things about wooden countertops? You can customize them to your heart’s content. They come in three different construction styles:
- Face Edge: This is the standard option here at RealCraft. It’s similar to how hardwood flooring is set up. Beautiful and versatile, it is a little bit less durable than end grain.
- Linear End Grain: End grain countertops have the most durability. When arranged in a linear pattern, end grain strikes a perfect balance between simple and intricate.
- Mosaic End Grain: When the end grain is arranged in more of a mosaic pattern, it creates beautiful texture and emphasizes the natural origins of your countertop. End grain variations are more durable because of the wood’s structure.
You can also choose the wood species that works best in your home. Certain wood species are well-known in countertops, including:
- Maple: Blond, neutral in tone, and ideal for minimalists.
- Black Walnut: Walnut has a lovely cool brown tone with lighter streaks throughout.
- Cherry: Warm and golden in tone, Cherry wood naturally deepens color over time to a reddish brown.
What do all these woods have in common? They are all naturally food safe. And their texture is nice and fine, which makes them excellent for countertops. We also have domestic hardwoods available like Hickory, or exotic choices like Sapele Mahogany.
Plus, the edge style can be customized to suit your style. From more ornate options like Roman Ogee, to boldly modern edge styles like bullnose, you can create the perfect countertop for your kitchen. Here are the seven edge styles we offer here at RealCraft:
5: They are safer to manufacture than the alternatives
One of the downsides of engineered stone or quartz countertops is that workers who make them are at risk of developing severe lung disease. All manufacturing carries risks, but wood countertops are less likely to cause severe health issues for the people who make them than stone or engineered stone. When you choose wood countertops, you can feel better about your decision.
Cons of a Butcher Block Countertop:
There are a few downsides to butcher block counter tops—but most of these have simple workarounds.
1: Wooden countertops require regular maintenance
Butcher block countertops require more maintenance than stone or granite. That’s why we manufacture ours with a wood finish that doesn’t need sanding to be reapplied—that way it’s one less step for you to do. Occasional reapplication of a high-solid wood finish is key to keeping your countertops looking their best. We finish our countertops with Osmo TopOil, a plant-based high solid food safe wood finish. So is regular cleaning with a gentle soap and water—we like Castille soap.
2: Care must be taken with heat and liquid
Wood does need to be protected from very hot temperatures, so make sure you have trivets or other ways to protect your countertop when taking hot pans out of the oven or off the stove. It is also more important to mop up liquid spills promptly.
3: Butcher blocks do not last as long as granite or marble
Of course, we have to admit that wood kitchen countertops don’t last as long as marble or granite. But with the care and maintenance we mentioned above, they can last for a couple decades, which is still quite a long time.