Sunday, August 18, 2013

All About Butcher Block Countertops


 This weekend included re-sealing our existing butcher block countertops and prepping new butcher block for our new open shelving (I want to put about a thousand exclamation points here)!  I thought it would be a good opportunity to share with you a little about my personal experience living with wood countertops.   


 I'm not sure there is another material I would use for countertops... I love butcher block.  One of the first blog posts I ever wrote was about the reclaimed wood butcher block countertops my husband and father-in-law built for our kitchen.  They are made out of 100 year old oak wood and have held up better than I would have ever imagined after over two years of heavy use.  

It seems strange, since you wouldn't think wood would be a practical material for the kitchen, but they are easy to maintain, durable, natural, and beautiful. 


 Now, occasionally a mishap will happen... something gets accidentally set down that leaves a ring, or like me a couple weeks ago, you accidentally set your knife down in the countertop while cutting an apple in a hurry.  Yikes!  But it just happens!  If this had occurred after we first installed them, I most likely would have panicked... nowadays, I just thought to myself, Well, I guess it's time to re-oil the countertops anyway. 


 In the case of a knife mark or a ring mark, all that is required to fix the mishap is some light sanding with a fine grit sandpaper and some oil, which I apply at least twice a year anyway.  This is what the countertop looked like after I sanded the knife mark and re-sealed.  The small knife gouge is gone and nobody would ever guess. 

As the butcher block wears, it only becomes more beautiful.  The grain in the wood seems a little more pronounced, the wood darkens and it becomes smoother.


 This is our new oak countertop, which came from Ikea.  After Justus cut the countertop, I sanded with a fine grit sandpaper.  The countertop was already really smooth, so I just had to sand the edge well and do one pass through the rest. 


 Once I sanded, I applied two coats of butcher block oil (allowing for dry time in between).  After the countertop was installed, I used 400 grit sandpaper lightly and applied two more coats of oil. 

I've only ever used two products for our countertops: Behlen Salad Bowl Finish and Rust-Oleum Butcher Block oil.  I've been very pleased with both products, as they are quick to dry, food safe and leave a very natural finish.  It's a cinch to re-oil your countertops a few times a year.  

(My mom recently used tung oil on their butcher block and loved it... she wrote a post on it here.)


 The purpose of sealing the countertops is so that the wood doesn't absorb any water, thus warping and causing other damage to the wood.  If the oil is applied properly, drops of water will actually sit on top of the wood without absorbing. Obviously I'm careful not to leave pools of water on the countertop, but I will admit that it has happened a time or two and hasn't caused any permanent damage.


This is our new countertop installed.  It's a bit lighter than our existing, but after time it should darken and hopefully will complement our reclaimed wood well.  

As far as cleaning, on a day-to-day basis I use a little warm water and mild dish soap. If I feel like I need deeper cleaning, I use some vinegar.


 Of course I can't help but give you a quick peek of our new countertop space in the kitchen.  I'm not sure I have been this excited about anything in our house!  If you live with minimal countertop space, I'm sure you can imagine how I feel having about 6' of additional space now... it is wonderful!  Now I need to get to painting the shelving, but I don't think I'll mind (smile).

P.S.  There is still time to enter the giveaway for the Creatively Made Home e-course!  Check it out here and simply leave a comment. 

32 comments:

  1. I am in love with the butcher block countertops! I plan on putting them in our new/old farmhouse kitchen!

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  2. That will be great extra space Andrea, and so pretty! We are in the middle of making countertops out of wormy chestnut, but because this section is around the sink, I chose a floor finish instead of an oil. Your are just gorgeous, and I'm glad to hear how easy they are to maintain:-)

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  3. Your counters are gorgeous and the tips you have shared are great. I hope to have butcher block one day.

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  4. Love them! Great to know they're easy to take care of.

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  5. Beautiful and Perfect! Love wood!

    Marina

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  6. Love the countertops and looking forward to seeing more of the space when you are done!!

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  7. Andrea your new space is beautiful. Love the interior boards on the shelving.

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  8. Seeing your pictures makes me want to redo our kitchen. I love butcher block countertops!

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  9. lovely, I so want wood countertops...

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  10. Your countertops are beautiful. We have wooden, sort-of butcher block countertops in our current rental house but they are horribly done, not all one piece but instead planks with all sorts of unevenness, and always look filthy and just have major issues in general. I don't know what possessed the owners to install something like this! I would love to replace with solid, smooth butcher block like you have (if we weren't still renting).

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  11. I love it, that is on my wish list to replace my counter-tops with butcher block.
    Looking forward to a entire kitchen photo when you have it all done.

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  12. I have such a case of countertop envy! Ours are tile, and I can never get them to look clean. Replacing them is on our list of long-term goals, and butcher block is high on our list of possible alternatives. Yours look beautiful, and I can't wait to see the rest of your remodel. :-)

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  13. Your counters look beautiful! I've always wondered about how hard they would be to maintain and now I know. I'd love to get wood counters at our cabin.

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  14. You don't see too many butcher block counter tops in kitchens these days. I just love the rustic feel.

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  15. I love your counters and appreciate the practical tips you included in this post. We've been considering putting in butcher block. I love the look so much!

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  16. Beautiful! We started putting in wood counter tops in our house before we moved. If I ever get to "do" a house again, they are definitely on my list of will-have's!

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  17. Your counter top is gorgeous! When we have a budget to replace ours I think butcher block counters will be coming to my kitchen!
    xx
    Anne

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  18. we want to replace our counters and i was a bit leary of butcher block. thanks for sharing your experience with it, andrea:) enjoy that extra counter space!

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  19. Just popped over from Ann's. Your blog is just lovely!

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  20. We want to re do our kitchen someday...and this is beautiful. :-)

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  21. It looks just beautiful. My very first house had maple FLOORING as a countertop and it was wonderful! I love a wood counter top. xo Diana

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  22. I love your blog-it is one of my top favorites. I'm in the process of going through the archives. Found you a month or two ago. :)
    Joanna in Ca.

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  23. Hi Andrea! Your new countertops and cabinet are gorgeous! Are you going to leave it open? A cute little foot stool would be perfect for the opening under the window. When reapplying a touch up coat to the countertops, do you use an electric sander or simply sand by hand before putting on a fresh coat? It's time for me to apply another coat to mine. And yes, they hold up incredibly well!

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    1. Thank you, Deni! Yes, the cabinet will remain open with the shelves and I agree, a stool will be perfect under the window! I'm still debating between buying something or having Justus build something that will fit just right. :-) Well, it depends... if I'm just doing a really light sand (like with 400 grit paper), I'll just do it by hand, but in the case of the knife mark, I used an electric sander. I love my mouse sander! Hope you have a great week.

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  24. We used Ikea's butcher block counter tops when we redid our kitchen in 2011. I still love it! I think the knicks and rings just add character ;) You can see our butcher block counters here http://victorygardenfarm.blogspot.com/2011/04/green-clean-kitchen-pink-hydrangeas-and.html

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  25. Reading this and seeing your pictures of your beautiful counter top made me want to cry! We had wood tops for almost 10 years, we made them from old oak hardwood flooring we found in our barn, they were beautiful, wonderful and amazing. Well, 2011 we had to redo our kitchen and we decided to change and put in quartz, knowing all the time I would never love them like I did the wooden ones. Needless to say I almost grieve over the loss of those beautiful counter tops. After spending so much money on the quartz I can't just take them out, even though I would love to beat them to pieces with a sledge hammer! I hate them with the same intensity that I loved my wood tops!

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  26. Good morning! I just discovered your blog at Brenda's cozy house and I'm so glad I did. I have always loved butcher block counter tops and yours are wonderful! I look forward to catching up on the rest of your posts...

    Blessings,
    Dianne

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  27. andrea, your home is gorgeous! i just love seeing the way you're renovating and the thoughtfulness that goes into each decorating choice. so pretty. i have been woefully amiss in reading blogs lately but i just wanted to pop-in and say hello. hello! xo

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  28. Absolutely beautiful oak counter tops!! I love the wood counter tops, it makes the room warm and cosy and adds beauty to the rooms. You did a great job!

    I am a woodworker and make alot of butcher blocks and cutting boards. As you get nicks, knife marks, etc. you can apply mineral oil to that area. I use mineral oil on the raw wood of all my boards. Then I apply a mineral oil and beeswax mixture that I make (Board Butter). Check out my site..

    Your home is lovely!!


    Michael
    Cutting Board for Ina Garten

    Board Butter for cutting boards

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  29. Do you have any pictures of your cabinets under the butcher's block?! I love the open shelves

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    1. Heather, here is the link to our entire kitchen makeover: https://keepingitcozy.blogspot.com/2014/01/our-farmhouse-kitchen.html?showComment=1465862415118#c1708360479764801394

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