Your Countertop Guide: Butcher Block

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Last month, it was stone. This month, we’re back, taking you through the ins and outs of butcher block countertops. These naturally beautiful wood countertops have a lot going for them: they are eco-friendly, anti-microbial, and even citrus resistant (unlike granite and some stone countertops). It’s easy to see why these countertops are so popular.

What are Butcher Block Countertops? 

Butcher block is one of the oldest materials used for countertops. Its use evolved very naturally; kitchen chefs would use thick slabs of wood as for cutting and chopping in their kitchens. Eventually, instead of just having a slab, kitchen designers thought to use long, thick planks of wood as countertop material.

Today’s butcher block countertops are made of long, thin pieces of wood fused together. This method gives you, the consumer, more control over the configuration of your countertop, as well as better quality material. You don’t have to follow the natural grain of the wood or include imperfections in your design. 

The four most popular types of butcher block countertops are made from maple, oak, bamboo, and antique pine. Each type of wood has its own pros and cons. Learning about each will help you make a more informed decision when you are thinking about adding butcher block countertops to your next new build, renovation, or remodeling project.

Maple Countertops

This most popular butcher block material today is maple. This hardwood is a natural choice for a couple of reasons. First, this wood has a simple, straight grain, which gives off an overall appearance of elegance. It also a beautiful blond to light-brown coloration, which goes well with many styles. Staining tends to bring out the spectrum of this wood’s coloration, making it an eye-catcher in any setting. 

These maple countertops from Lumber Liquidators would be perfect in our laundry room and the desk area we'll build in the kitchen.

Oak Countertops

My DIY kitchen oak cabinets painted Annie Sloan pure white chalk paint, ikea domsjo farm sink, butcherblock countertops sealed with waterlox, and white matte subway tile with oyster grey grout.

Oak countertops aren’t quite as durable as maple, but they do have their own perks. Oak gives you the greatest range of color variation, thanks to the numerous species of oak that can be used. You can have from rich dark honey tones of a red oak all the way to the subtle corn and hay tones in a white oak.

Bamboo Countertops

How to Create a Custom Bamboo Countertop in a Bathroom : How-To : DIY Network

You might have heard that wood countertops are impossible to sanitize. This is a myth. Most wood countertops naturally kill bacteria. Germs like salmonella and listeria need water to grow; wood binds up water, making it difficult for bacteria to grow. Wood consistently outperforms materials like plastic when it comes to controlling the spread of bacteria.And of the wood countertops, bamboo countertops are the most bacteria resistant.

Eco-friendly Kitchen Countertops - endgrain bamboo counter

Bamboo is also a great choice if you’re looking for an eco-friendly wood option. Bamboo takes only a few years to reach full maturity, making it a sustainable resource.

Antique Pine Countertops

Last but not least are antique pine countertops. These countertops have a unique look, thanks to their 100+ years of maturation. This gives the wood a close-grained texture and a super hard, durable surface. It also makes the wood more stable than young woods. The color will not change over the years as dramatically as with  other woods.

Reclaimed White Pine Kitchen Island Counter - yes please! In love! Not super fond of the white though.

Antique pine countertops are easy to clean and maintain.

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