Wood countertops can add warmth and natural beauty to any kitchen. National brands include Craft-Art and Endurawood. They can be used throughout the entire kitchen, or just in select areas. Many different wood choices are available. Butcher block countertops are some of the most commonly known in the kitchen industry. The primary benefit with Butcher block is the ability to use the surface for chopping and cutting. It was commonly used in butcher shops and meat processing plants, which is how it got its name.
Butcher block is not the only type of wood countertops found in kitchens. Lacquered, veneered hardwood or oiled planks of solid woods such as Hard Maple, Red Oak and Teak are commonly recommended by professional wood countertop fabricators.
The benefits of a butcher block countertop are that it is a durable surface designed to be cut and chopped on. It is unaffected by moderate heat exposure such as crock pots, toasters, griddles, etc. It typically does not chip; crack or break without significant abuse, and it is a very re-finishable and modifiable surface.
Drawbacks of the butcher block countertop are that it does require regular maintenance. Most professionals recommend re-oiling with a pure white mineral oil every four to six weeks, as well as occasional sanding to remove minor nicks and scratches. It is also susceptible to staining, absorbing odors as well as trapping bacteria if not properly cleaned and maintained.
Lacquered or oiled planks of solid hardwood are aesthetically very warm and rich. These types of wood should not be used to cut or chop on as they can easily be scratched or nicked. They are also susceptible to stains, odors and bacteria and are can also sustain damage with exposure to moisture.
Butcher block countertops are good choices for both residential and commercial countertops as long as they are cleaned and maintained properly and regularly. Lacquered or oiled planks of solid hardwood are more commonly found in residential settings. However, these types of counters are highly sought after because of the wide variety of aesthetics that can be achieved using various types of wood and various edge treatments.
Generally speaking, wood countertops are known to be very repairable / renewable surfaces in that scratches, burns, cracks, etc. can be sanded down and refinished.
- Look for a local fabricator that specializes in wood counter fabrication.
PROS – Can be used as a cutting surface. Warm appearance and feel.
CONS – Scratches easily and is not very heat resistant. If not sealed properly, water can damage the wood especially around the sink.
CARE & CLEANING – Clean with warm soapy water. Seal monthly with oil (ask fabricator for correct oil type).
COST – The installed price for wood countertops generally range between $50 – $100 square foot. However, the cost of highly custom, exotic wood countertops can be as high as $100- $200 square foot.