One of the best things we’ve done in this humble home of ours is when we made the decision to install butcher block counter tops in our kitchen. You guys have been curious because I’ve been getting emails and direct messages with questions about them ever since. I thought today was a good day to share my thoughts on them with you all. Here’s my butcher block counter top review one year later.
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Butcher Block Counter Tops 1 Year Later
When we purchased our house the original 80’s laminate counter tops where still there. They were in pretty good shape so we lived with them for a year. I went over all the counter top options, quartz, marble, etc. I loved the thought of marble but I didn’t love the price tag or the thought of having to baby them. I’m not a huge granite fan and after looking at many historical colonial homes I realized that butcher block was very commonly used and I loved the character it added. They don’t require too much care and they’re affordable! Shortly after we moved in we removed the stove top from the island and relocated it. When we did, it left a hole in the island counter top. We thought it was the perfect time to install the butcher block on the island and take it for a test drive. I’m so glad we did because it didn’t take us long to find out that we loved it! Months later we came across an amazing deal and purchased our counter tops a lot sooner than we had planned. You can see our kitchen’s before and the complete makeover here. It’s been well over a year since we installed them and here’s how it’s worked out.
How Have They Held Up?
Our counter tops are wood and were purchased from Ikea. Our particular counter top has since been discontinued bit they still have a great selection. I’m happy to report so far everything has been great! I can honestly say there has not been any staining, scratching or splitting. They look just as good today as they did the day we installed them. I believe that a lot of that is due to how we sealed them. Before we decided to install butcher block I did hours of research on the sealing process. I wanted to make sure that they were sealed correctly so that we’d have years of use from them. Almost everywhere I read the Waterlox was the sealer of choice. It’s a professional grade sealer and cannot be purchased in store but is available online. This stuff doesn’t mess around. It has a very strong smell. We cut and dry fitted our counter tops and moved them to the garage to seal them. The sealing process takes several days and can become a little annoying. The impatient side of me wanted to install them right away but in the long run it would have been a mistake. Take the time to complete the recommended amount of coats. It’s worth the wait friends!
Are they high maintenance?
One question I get all the time is how do I take of of them? I certainly don’t baby them. I do try to keep spills wiped up. When I’m done doing the dishes we always make sure to take a towel and soak up any standing water that might be beside the sink. Here’s a look at the butcher block by the sink. This area is constantly damp and it’s not showing any trace of water damage.
Don’t worry though because they can take a punch. Short story, I left our instant popsicle maker out on the island to thaw and did not realize that it had a large water puddle under it. I tell myself it was a crazy week because that thing sat there for over three days before I realized it. Ah! I thought the counter top would be ruined for sure. I was pleasantly surprised once I dried up the water that the butcher block was perfectly fine. I could believe it! Back to my point, it’s all in how you seal them. Do I cut on them? I do NOT cut on them. That’s what cutting boards are for, friends.
When it comes to cleaning them I just use a damp soapy rag. I will use Clorox wipes from time to time but I try not to use any kind of harsh cleaner on them. Just good old soap and water does the trick! Here’s my favorite soaps to use here and here. Not only do they smell fantastic, they’re gentle and work great on butcher block.
I can honestly say that I love our counter tops. I love the look, price and durability. In a few years we plan on sanding and resealing to keep them in tip top shape. I might even stain them and go a shade darker. For now, they’re just perfect! I couldn’t be more pleased with how they look today. I hope if you’ve been on the fence about butcher block this helps you.
Carole Strawn says
I am so glad that you posted this update. We are getting ready to put an island in our kitchen and I’ve really been agonizing over what top to put on it. I love the look of butcher block but wasn’t sure how it would hold up. I think you’ve helped with my decision. I forwarded the info to my husband so that he’ll know how to seal it. Your kitchen is beautiful.
Oh I’m so glad! I know you’ll love the counter top as much as we do. 🙂
We have IKEA butcher block counters also in our small galley kitchen. Like you, we cut and installed them ourselves. We love them! The stain I used is a bit darker and goes well with our white cabinets. Even if I could afford a more expensive counter top, I would still go with butcher block. To me, they are classic. I think our total cost was about $175! How can you beat that?
You really can’t beat it! We lucked up and found these discontinued counter tops for only $30 a counter top. We jumped on it! I may eventually stain my a darker shade. I didn’t stain these but I love the thought of a warmer look.
What color stain? Photos? Thanks!
Hi Juanita, we didn’t stain the butcher block. We only sealed it with Waterlox.
If you don’t mind me asking, what stain color did you use on yours? We are looking to install butcher block and I can’t pick a stain to save my life!
We didn’t stain them. The sealer does give them a slightly darker color than their natural one. I may stain them with a warmer color down the road. I completely understand though. Those decisions can be hard. Good luck!
Christine Marie says
What color are your cabinets? Love the butcher block with that color!
Thanks Christine! They’re painted in fieldstone by Benjamin Moore.
Absolutely beautiful kitchen…thank you for sharing. Can I ask what kitchen cabinet color you used? And it looks like a marble like backsplash subway tile? Love it!!
Thank you so much Shelley! The cabinets are painted in Fieldstone by Benjamin Moore and the back splash is marble. ????
Michelle Jones says
I am curious as to how your White Diamond countertop performed. I did not see an update on that, only on the new butcher block cupboards. Does that mean the Giani did not hold up more than a year? Did you put two or three finish coats on it and would you recommend using the Waterlox on top of the sealer provided by Giani?
Hi Michelle, the Diamon counter top kit worked and held up great. We had planned on keeping it for a longer period of time but unexpectedly found our butcher block counter tops on clearance. At $30 a slab we jumped on them and installed them much sooner than we had planned. We had a great experience with the Giani kit. We had never planned to keep it permanently, only until we were at a place to purchase our permanent counter tops. As far as the Waterlox, I believe it’s just a finish you want to use on wood products. The Giani kit does come with a heavy sealer they recommend.
This is exactly what I am wanting for out kitchen remodel. I am curious about your floors. What do you have? Could you post a picture. Thank you so much. Your kitchen is beautiful.
Thank you so much, Samantha! We have older white oak hardwood floors. They’re the original floors. You can see the floors here – https://sincerelymariedesigns.com/our-home/kitchen/ There are also some photos on my Instagram feed. Hope that helps! 🙂
What kind of sink do you have? I’m looking at doing this in our kitchen and would like a sink that extends to the wall.
Beautiful remodel! I’m working on putting in my butcher block countertops myself this next week! I’m going to seal them with Waterlox but I have a question which version did y’all use? Original or did you try the Urethane one they also offer? I read that there is some ambering tendencies over time with the original version I’m mostly trying to avoid.
Thank you so much, Megan! We used the original. I haven’t noticed any ambering in ours and it’s been several years now since we installed them. We left ours the natural color, so that could be with stained woods. We plan to refinish ours sometime next year maybe because I want to warm them up with a deeper stain. I’m curious to see if that will effect the color now.
kathy Malmberg says
We are thinking of using butcherblock for our counter tops. I really like the color of yours. Do you know what kind of wood was used?
Hello! I am looking to do the same to my kitchen! Wondering where you found your sink? Thanks!
Where did you purchase your sink? I am in search of a apron style that is not an undermount.
We purchased it from IKEA a number of years ago. I believe they have since discontinued it but I think they have another one that is similar.
Can I ask where you got that white utensil holder?? Love it so.
Thank you 🙂 If found it at the Pottery Barn outlet store.
Dina Jacobs says
Hi, do you know what type of butcher block yours was? I know it was from Ikea. I really like the color- it isn’t too too light (too blonde) – it looks a bit richer. I know you said it was discontinued-
Love your kitchen! It is very similar to what I am planning for our kitchen renovation next month. May I ask where your light fixtures are from?
Curious what color your cabinets are?
Yes I want to know too! They are the perfect color!
Your kitchen has been my inspiration for our kitchen remodel! I’m wondering where you got your backsplash and what tile did you use? Thanks!!
Mary Watts says
You have helped me decide to use tung oil and not polyethylene my new countertops.
I believe that Waterlox is tung oil. Is that right?
this post says the color of the cabinets is field stone, but the link to the redo says you used Swiss coffee