Are Butcher Block Countertops Durable? (4 Pros and 3 Cons)

A butcher block countertop is a perfect accessory for kitchens.

It gives country cottage vibes that are hard to imitate otherwise.

However, before you decide to invest in it, there’s an essential question to ask: are they durable?

Butcher Block Countertop Durability

Yes, butcher block countertops are highly durable if you take proper care of them. It all depends on the type of wood used and the grain direction. With constant maintenance, butcher block countertops can last for many years.

Here’s everything you need to know about butcher block countertops and their pros and cons.

Durable butcher block countertop

What Is a Butcher Block?

Butcher block is a countertop style favored by many people for its rustic look and the warm atmosphere it provides.

Mainly, it’s made by gluing together straight cuts of wood to make a thick slab.

Butcher block is perfect for cutting boards, countertops, and tabletops.

Butcher Block Countertop Wood Types

There are different types and styles of butcher block countertops to choose from.

Countertop durability varies depending on the wood type and grain construction.

The most commonly used wood types for butcher block countertops are cherry, maple, walnut, and oak.

There are other less common types of wood too, like teak wood, tigerwood, zebrawood, and bamboo.

Below, you’ll find a brief about each type of the four most commonly used wood types.

1. Cherry Hardwood

American cherry has a mid-tone and slightly red-tinted color, which makes it aesthetically appealing.

Additionally, it’s a closed-grain type of hardwood, meaning it has smaller pores and a smoother surface.

Closed-grain hardwoods are more durable than other types.

2. Maple Hardwood

Hard rock maple has a light color tone. It’s the most durable out of the different woods on this list.

In addition, it’s the most affordable type to use for butcher block countertops, which is a plus.

Like American cherry, hard rock maple is also a closed-grain type of hardwood, which makes it really durable.

3. Walnut Hardwood

As the name suggests, American black walnut has a rich, dark, and deep color tone.

It’s also a closed-grain type of hardwood. So, it’s as durable as the previously mentioned types.

4. Oak Hardwood

Appalachian red oak is an attractive choice with its different color hues.

In addition, it’s considered an open-grain type of wood, meaning it has more visible grain than other types.

It’s the least durable of the four types here as it’s prone to dents, knife marks, and scratches.

So it’s best not to use it for busy food prepping areas.

Butcher Block Countertops Construction Styles

There are three main construction styles for your desired butcher block countertop.

These are edge grain, end grain, and flat grain.

There’s also the blended style, which has the same qualities as the edge grain style but with a slightly different look.

Below, you’ll find a brief about each style.

1. Flat Grain Butcher Block Countertops

The flat grain countertop consists of wide flat planks of wood glued side by side. Those planks are of random sizes.

In this type of construction, the surface of the woodblock is the same as the surface of the wood planks themselves.

Though it looks great, a flat grain countertop is unsuitable for hard labor.

It’s often used for decorative furniture and countertops because it showcases the beauty of the wood grains.

2. Edge Grain Butcher Block Countertops

The edge grain wood is made by cutting full-length stripes of wood and then laying them on their sides.

Those stripes of wood are glued together with their side edges forming the top of the wood block.

Edge grain countertops are more durable than flat grain countertops.

In addition, it’s usually the most common construction style used for butcher block countertops.

3. End Grain Butcher Block Countertops

The end grain wood is made by gluing together small blocks of wood standing on their ends.

The blocks usually vary in size and color, which makes the end result visually appealing.

In addition to the gorgeous look, end grain wood is perfect for direct food preparation.

It’s the most durable type and also the most expensive.

Additionally, end grain butcher block countertops don’t show knife marks as much as flat or edge grain tops do.

4. Blended Butcher Block Countertops

The blended wood is a bit similar to edge grain wood; however, the stripes of wood aren’t at their full length.

It’s usually made by gluing together small bars of wood of random sizes, with only full-length exterior rails.

This creates a random hue and color-variated look.

Pros and Cons of Butcher Block Countertops

Egg on butcher block countertop

Undoubtedly, butcher block countertops never go out of style, and they work perfectly to match any interior design.

However, there are a few things to consider before deciding to remodel your kitchen and use wooden countertops.

Here are the pros and cons of having butcher block countertops…


1. Butcher Block Countertops Look Perfect

Butcher block countertops add a lovely touch and earthy element to your kitchen.

Not to mention that they’re biodegradable and, consequently, eco-friendly countertops.

You don’t have to go with all wood countertops. Instead, you can mix wood with other materials for a more edgy look.

Similarly, you can combine different types of wood into one countertop piece.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with butcher block countertops.

2. Butcher Block Countertops Are Utensil-Friendly

Unlike other countertop materials, butcher block countertops are easy on the knives.

In fact, it’s the only surface that you can use as a cutting surface without fearing that your knife will get dull.

Additionally, kitchen utensils usually create noise against stone or concrete surfaces, as opposed to wooden countertops, which are much quieter.

Also, glass and China are less likely to chatter when hitting a wooden surface.

3. Butcher Block Countertops Are Durable

The lifespan of a typical butcher block countertop might extend to 20 years with proper maintenance.

They’re designed to withstand the daily cooking processes, especially edge grain style countertops.

In addition, butcher block countertops conceal knife marks pretty effectively and are easy to restore.

Similarly, they’re easy to clean and disinfect.

4. Butcher Block Countertops Are Affordable

Going with a butcher block countertop is an excellent investment because they’re durable yet perfectly affordable.

Additionally, there are many styles and types of wood to fit every budget.

Butcher block countertops are not as expensive as marble countertops, and they give a rustic vibe that’s hard to match with other materials.


1. Butcher Block Countertops Require Maintenance

Butcher block countertops are more prone to scratches, stains, dents, and knife marks, unlike harder surfaces.

That’s why you still might need to use a chopping board.

The good part is that butcher block countertops can be easily restored, but they need constant maintenance.

You’ll need to sand the surface every now and then with fine sandpaper to get rid of scratches.

For cleaning, you’ll need soap and water, and maybe some vinegar for disinfecting.

Deep stains, however, might require extra rubbing. Try using half a lemon dipped in salt; it works like magic.

2. Butcher Block Countertops Are Not Water or Heat Resistant

It’s known that wood absorbs liquids pretty quickly, which can make your countertop prone to staining and mold.

It’s also known that heat can burn and crack the wood.

That’s why you should be extra cautious when handling hot pots and pans around wooden surfaces.

3. Butcher Block Countertops Tend to Dry Out

By nature, the wood dries out. So, you need to apply oil to your butcher block countertop every few weeks.

The oil should be safe to use around food, like food-grade mineral oil.

Reapplying oil to your wooden countertop after sanding is also essential to keep the soft surface intact.

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