Looking for an alternative to a stone or granite countertop? Butcher block might be a good choice and in many cases it’s less expensive than stone. There are other cool things about butcher block – it’s anti-microbial, biodegradable, and naturally beautiful. It’s not without ‘personality’ that requires a knowledge of how to treat it.
There are so many beautiful varieties of butcher block. Maple, Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Wenge, and sustainable Bamboo can add a warm, vibrant color to your kitchen. Each variety is different – some are best suited as end grain and others are better suited with a flat grain – referring to how they are cut and glued together.
If you’re installing a new un-sealed butcher block, you’ll need to build up a moisture barrier naturally.
Here’s how: Wipe down the countertop to remove any dust or food crumbs. After it’s dry, apply mineral oil to the surface and rub it into the wood. I like to go with the grain on this, and remember to coat the face and any edges you can see.
At the beginning, this treatment can and should sit on the surface of your butcher block for a full day or two. Don’t put anything on the countertop during this time. Your wood is thirsty and you’ll see a beautiful sheen as it absorbs the mineral oil.
Many installers suggest oiling your countertops every two months.
Here’s how: Apply mineral oil to the surface and let it stand for about 45 minutes to an hour. Wipe it down with a gentle detergent. It’s not required, but it can keep your countertops gorgeous and in great shape longer! Scrub with lemon halves and coarse salt for a natural refresh.
If the idea of this type of maintenance is scary – consider installing butcher block countertops on an island instead of your entire countertop area. Water and wood aren’t always friends, so plan carefully or ask your contractor to help you get the look you want if you want to install it near a sink.
Are you thinking about installing a wood countertop? What are your concerns?