March 01, 2019 6 min read

Cutting Edge Butcher Blocks for Your Home


When it comes to selecting kitchen countertops, most homeowners simply opt for the conventional stone or laminate choices. However, there’s one more entry in the market that’s taking the world by storm. It’s the butcher block countertop and here’s everything that you need to know about it:


What is a butcher block countertop?



Just as the name suggests; a butcher block is either a countertop, table-top, or simply a chopping board that has been assembled from hardwood pieces. Although it has been functionally relevant for years, it’s just now carving itself a place in the interior design niche as a stylistic kitchen symbol. It is a great replacement for stone and laminate countertops as it is extremely versatile in both pragmatics as well as visuals. It can also be honored with a badge of eco-friendliness as it can be assembled or constructed from left-over wood. All the pieces are glued together with food-safe adhesive, so it’s incredibly hygienic as well. Butcher block countertops are a very flexible choice. It has a naturally distressed finish due to its unique assembly, so you any nicks or unforeseen burns can simply merge with the surface. It comes in three styles: edge-grain where the wood strips are laid length-wise, face-grain where the boards are laid flat, and end-grain where the wood strips are laid width-wise. Butcher block countertops are visually as well as functionally adaptable.


Butcher Block Countertop Cost Factors



Typically, butcher block countertops cost less than stone or engineered quartz. Their prices usually depend on the type of the wood as well as the thickness and grain construction. Many manufacturers offer ready-made off-the-shelf versions of butcher block worktops in standard sizes and lengths, which is even more affordable. However, if you want to customize the slabs and their specifications then the general price ranges from somewhere around $75-$150 per square foot. You can add an estimated $71.50 per hour price of installation charges to this cost. You should also consider the price of nuts, bolts, oil, and sealants to this cost as well.


Advantages Of Butcher Block Countertops



There are a number of different advantages of butcher block countertops, so let’s take a look at a few: - Hygienic: As previously mentioned, the blocks of wood from which these countertops have been assembled from are joined with a food-safe adhesive, so you can prepare food directly on top of the surface. - Sanding the imperfections: Like all materials, butcher block countertops will show nicks and surface stains over the course of some time. But the good thing is you can sand away the imperfections. - Self-maintenance: If you ever feel like your butcher block countertop is drying and may eventually crack, you can easily re-seal or re-oil the surface yourself. - The sustainable choice: Such countertops can be made from discarded or left-over wood, so they have a carbon-neutral constitution. - A warm alternative: Compared to the sleek and cool surfaces of stone countertops, the warm wooden highlights of butcher block are an excellent nature-inspired alternative. - Largely inexpensive: Compared to the cost of stone or engineered countertops, butcher blocks are relatively affordable.


Proper Maintenance & Cleaning



Like all kitchen surfaces, the proper maintenance and cleaning of butcher block countertops is absolutely imperative. Here are a few tips for you: - Daily maintenance: Daily maintenance of these countertops includes a simple wipe with a soft cloth and water. You can also use mild household cleansers, but it’s best to stay away from harsh chemicals. - Spot checking: You must wipe up all spills and stains immediately from butcher block countertops as wood is a porous material and the stains might seep into the surface. - Regular oiling: To maintain the overall aesthetic of these countertops, you must apply mineral oil or beeswax seal regularly. Make sure that any sealant you use is food-safe. You should do this approximately every six months for regular upkeep.


Different types of butcher block

Since the price of any butcher block countertop varies from the selection of wood, here are 16 of the more popular types in the market to narrow down your range:


1. Wenge



A coveted African Hardwood, Wenge makes an incredible statement. You can easily find butcher block countertops made from this material and feature them in your kitchens. Since it’s on the darker side, it looks extremely attractive against lighter surroundings.


2. Zebrawood



The unique aesthetic of Zebrawood is something that always manages to stand out among the butcher block countertops. Its cream colored visuals imprinted with zebra-style grain can emulate stylistic beauty in a natural form within these countertops. It’s also a sturdy wood form, provides great accents, and looks brilliant with any color scheme or interior style.


3. Bamboo



Versatile, flexible, and offering the best of functionality, bamboo butcher block countertops are the best fusion you could possibly ask for. Not only do they complement all sorts of interior design styles, but they can also be enjoined in any type of butcher block grain that you like. It’s also very hard and durable with a moderate price point to back it up.


4. Wormy Chestnut



If you’re furnishing your “dry” kitchen with wormy chestnut countertops, then there is no better option. However, you’ll want to invest in a harder surface for a functional or wet kitchen. This is because wormy chestnut is a reclaimed wood type which is softer than its conventional counterparts. On the other hand, it has a beautiful rustic quality and features stunning visuals.


5. Beech



Renowned as one of the sturdiest form of hardwoods available in the market, beech is a great option for functional butcher block countertops. Since this type of hardwood is popular for its toughness, countertops made from it will be absolutely durable. It also has a lighter constitution, which can look fantastic in bright and airy kitchens!


6. Red Oak



The light reddish-brown aesthetic of this wood is not only beautiful but also incredibly statement worthy. It looks stunning in neo-classical, neo-collonial, or traditional style homes, so you can choose a butcher block countertop of this type in a sem-traditional home ambiance.


7. White Oak



The medium to light tone and fine grain of white oak wood is perfectly suited to assemble stunning butcher block countertops. It has a very natural vibe that suits modern-contemporary home interiors just as well as eclectic ones. It’s already heavily used in kitchen designing and countertops made from it are especially sturdy.


8. Ash



The grey-brown aesthetic of ash wood is naturally attractive, but its grain stands out even more when it is engineered in the form of butcher block countertops. It’s a hardwood, so it’s inherently resilient. You can pair such countertops with a modern or a contemporary ambiance.


9. Pine



If you’re attracted to visual dissonance and enjoy complicated wooden grains then pine wood is the perfect choice for your butcher block countertops. It’s beautiful knotting looks even better in the customized graining of such countertops. But do remember that pine is a soft wood, so it’s not recommended to use it in high functioning kitchens.


10. Hickory



Known for surviving the Ice Age, hickory is one resilient form of hardwood – it’s also one of the toughest and most beautiful species. So, if you can get your hands on a butcher block countertop that has been constructed from this type of a hardwood, then you better get it. It’s going to be a great addition to your functional kitchens!


11. Maple's Marvels



Butcher block island tops are most commonly made from maple wood. This is mostly because it’s rather inexpensive (even within this particular genre). It can be easily treated and looks very elegant. It also darkens over time, which only enhances its natural charisma.


12. Colorful Cherry



The bright colors and gorgeous sandy-red appeal of cherry wood look especially stunning when paired with the interesting visuals of a butcher block kitchen countertop. It’s a wood type that stands out against light colors and has a very rustic appeal. You can use it in both traditional as well as contemporary kitchen styles.


13. Mahogany



Mahogany wood is the definition of luxury and statement worthiness, which is why butcher block countertops made from it are absolutely brilliant. It has a gorgeous sandy-red hue that contrasts beautifully with lighter surroundings. However, it is a relatively softer form of wood, so try not to place it in an area where it might face a lot of wear and tear.


14. Poplar



If you’re looking for a blend of fine grain with lighter coloring, then poplar is the best wood type choice for your butcher block countertops. It has a very minimalistic appeal that looks stunning in modern and minimal style aesthetics.


15. Alder



The rustic appeal of alder wood comes from its knotty surface and extremely unique coloring. It also has an inherent rustic charm that suits traditional style homes well, so if you’ve got a kitchen like that, then go for a butcher block countertop made from Alder wood.


16. Sapele



Featuring a great combination of half-modern half-rustic looks, Sapele wood butcher block countertops introduce an elegant richness to their surroundings. It’s a very warm and comfortable texture that works well in both simple and traditional surroundings.