How to choose and care for butcher block wood countertops

December 23, 2014

Butcher block is a generic term for wood countertops. Butcher block countertops can be made from a variety of different types of wood, each with their own look, feel and care instructions.

You can include elements of butcher block in your kitchen design as a beautiful accent – such as a wood island or large cutting board to add warmth to a modern kitchen – or make an entire kitchen countertop out of butcher block for a more homey, rustic feel.

Just remember that wood is a natural material that can move and change ever so slightly when exposed to humidity, heat or cold. As long as you properly seal and maintain the wood, it will remain a beautiful, functional surface for your kitchen countertops.

Some types of wood butcher block can be made from:

Hard maple – The simple, straight grain is beautiful and durable.

Teak – Sturdy and reliable, yet exotic-looking, with a naturally high oil content that makes it resistant to moisture.

Tigerwood – Striped, hard wood that makes a strong, lasting countertop.

Black walnut – One of the most popular woods to use in home décor because of its beautiful grain and toughness.

Cherry – More often used in furniture, this classic American wood with a subtle red hue can also be used for butcher blocks.

Zebrawood – Less common in kitchens, though incredibly tough and strong, the striking stripes make a great accent in a kitchen.

Bamboo – A beautiful and eco-friendly choice, bamboo is clean, modern and sturdy.

Wenge – African hardwood with a natural dark brown/black color. Its rich hue, straight grain and high durability is great for kitchen countertops.

Beech – Relatively affordable compared to some other woods, it is also a good looking, heavy and tough wood that can stand up to kitchen tasks.

Hickory – The strongest American wood, it can stand up to the most wear and tear in a kitchen while still looking beautiful.

Taking care of your countertops

As beautiful as butcher block countertops are, they do require some extra care and maintenance. Here are some general tips for caring for wood countertops:

  • Always put hot pots on trivets to protect your countertop from stains, burns and scratches.
  • Do not cut directly on wood countertops. Always use a cutting board.
  • Wipe up spills quickly, especially if they are a staining kind such as red wine or berry juices.
  • Always place tea and coffee cups on a coaster to avoid tea rings on your countertop.
  • Avoid using harsh cleaning products and chemicals on wood. Instead, clean with mild soapy water, and diluted vinegar to disinfect. You can also use baking soda mixed with warm water to gently scrub away stains.
  • Try to always keep your wood countertop dry.
How to choose and care for butcher block wood countertops
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