What to Know About Butcher Block Countertops

What to Know About Butcher Block Countertops | Diary of a DIYer

When it comes to kitchen designs and trends, there are a few that stick out to me as styles I’d love to incorporate into my own space. One trend that’s been on my radar for a couple years now is butcher block countertops.

Butcher block countertops have been in style for quite some time (or so I’ve noticed once I started using Pinterest regularly). Butcher block is essentially pieces or strips of wood adhered together to create gorgeous slabs that can has various uses, including counters.

If you like the look of butcher block countertops but aren’t sure if they’re the right choice for your kitchen, keep reading to learn more. I’ll lay out some facts and you can (hopefully) make your decision from there.

Types of Wood

Hardwoods like maple, oak, and cherry are popular choices for butcher block countertops. And though it’s technically a grass, bamboo is sturdy enough to make the cut. Bamboo is also eco-friendly. For a more interesting look, you can also find butcher block counters with mixed wood types. 

Grain Styles

Face Grain

One of the basic styles of wood grain you can get is the face grain. It can also be called plank grain, stemming from the fact that wider wood planks are used for this type of butcher block.

Edge Grain

Similar to the face grain, edge grain butcher block has a striped pattern, but the pieces of wood are thinner. I personally like this grain style the best.

End Grain

Butcher block with an end grain pattern features small blocks of wood, giving it a checkerboard-like appearance. That can make this style look busy, so I wouldn’t recommend using it throughout your entire kitchen. Just on the island? Maybe. It adds enough personality in an isolated spot that it isn’t overwhelming.

Three common wood grain styles for butcher block countertops include face grain, end grain, and edge grain.


Add Warmth

Butcher block countertops bring a certain warmth to your kitchen – aesthetically, with its earthy colors, but also physically. Wood countertops aren’t cold to the touch like stone counters are (which can be a plus in the winter!).

Focus on Natural Beauty

Butcher block countertops bring the rustic look of wood into your kitchen. This look works great if you love the farmhouse style that’s taking Pinterest by storm. And since these countertops are made from a natural material, their color will change over time as they age. 

DIY Installation

You can call a professional to install butcher block countertops, but if you have the tools and resources available, installing yourself is usually the cheaper option. A few tools you’d need for a DIY butcher block installation are a circular saw, a sander and a power drill with drill bits.



You’ll need to pay more attention to this type of countertop than others when it comes to upkeep. It’s for good reason though – proper upkeep will keep your butcher block clean and sanitary

Water Damage

If water sits too long on the wood without proper sealing, it can seep in between the strips and ruin the counter. I’m sure you can guess why this would be bad in a kitchen, especially near a faucet. Need I say more?


You’ve probably seen cutting boards made from butcher block around, so it’s safe to assume you can use your butcher block countertop as one, right? The answer is a little iffy – I would say yes and no. If you don’t mind minor damage and having to sand more often, go ahead. But if you want to keep your counter looking new, I’d avoid it.


Butcher block countertops need to be resealed at least once a year to keep them in tip-top shape. To get rid of scratches, you can sand the butcher block down and reseal it.

Use food-safe mineral oil to give your butcher block counters a vibrant (but not overpowering) sheen. It also helps protect against minor dings.

Photo courtesy of Reclaim Detroit

Final Thoughts

I love how butcher block counters look alongside white kitchen cabinets. Whether it’s in a farmhouse kitchen or one with a more modern feel, I think it’s such a timeless look.

So, would I put butcher block counters in my kitchen? It depends. If anything, I would use it as an accent material on an island (with white cabinets, of course).

If you like the look of butcher block but can’t commit to filling your kitchen with it, try a butcher block cutting board. It’s definitely cheaper than a full install and you still get a taste of the rustic wood look.


What do you think? Would you install butcher block countertops in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments or reach out to me on Facebook!