The Benefits & Beauty of Butcher Block Countertops

Many home chefs see butcher block countertops as the best choice for busy kitchens. Butcher block is durable and easy to maintain, and adds warmth to your kitchen space. Is it right for your Virginia kitchen remodel?

The Advantages of Butcher Block Countertops

There are many practical benefits to installing butcher block countertops. And also some stylish ones!

  • Butcher block is incredibly easy to maintain. All it requires is cleaning with plain soap and water and occasional applications of food-safe mineral oil.
  • Repairs to butcher block require little more than sanding and oiling. Any scratches, stains, or burns can simply be buffed out.
  • You can have butcher block countertops made in virtually any type of wood.
  • Butcher block countertops add natural warmth to any kitchen space, and complement almost any décor.

Two Types of Butcher Block: Workhorses and Show Ponies

Butcher block countertops come in two finishes: sealed and unsealed. There are pros and cons to each.

  • Unsealed or unfinished butcher block: An unfinished wood countertop needs only occasional mineral oil treatments to keep it looking good. You can use it for cutting, and any stains or nicks can be easily buffed out. It’s best to keep unsealed butcher block away from your sink or other water source, as excess water can cause it to warp or even turn black. 
  • Sealed butcher block: When your wood countertop is sealed with polyurethane, it becomes more water-resistant, making it a good choice for installation around your sink. However, sealed butcher block shouldn’t be used for cutting because it will scratch and nick easily, and, because of its finish, be difficult to repair.

Both types of butcher block can be sanded down and refinished if you want to change the look of your kitchen. 

Are Butcher Block Countertops Sanitary?

In a word, yes. But they do require care and cleaning, as do all countertop materials. Though butcher block wood does have some naturally-occurring antimicrobial properties, it’s best not to cut or prepare chicken, fish, or meat on it, unless you are willing to bleach the surface after each use. The easier option would be to use cutting boards for poultry, seafood, and meat.

If you do, for any reason, want to sanitize your butcher block countertops, you can do so by first removing any dirt with your usual cleaning solution, then spraying the butcher block with a solution of one teaspoon of bleach mixed in a quart of water. After rubbing the bleach solution in with a clean rag, allow the block to dry. Finish by rubbing mineral oil into the wood with a soft cloth to keep it from drying and cracking.

Are Butcher Block Countertops Heat-Resistant?

Care should be used when putting hot pots and pans or other dishes on butcher block. Small burns can be sanded away, but to avoid big scorch marks, we recommend placing potholders or trivets beneath hot items.

Are Butcher Block Countertops Expensive?

Butcher block countertops are generally an affordable option, with price points ranging in the same area as granite; if you want them made in a fine or exotic wood, the price will be higher.

At Hambleton Construction, we can craft custom butcher block countertops for your Virginia kitchen remodeling  project. Contact us to learn more!