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Does anyone have butcher block countertops? Pros and cons?

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basil

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I''m trying to do a DIY kitchen remodel on a budget (see previous thread with photos here)

I was originally going to do stock laminate from HD/Lowes to replace the awful yellow, but when I was at Ikea yesterday I saw that they had real wood countertops for a similar price as laminate. They come in birch, beech, and oak.

I know that it would stain or burn more easily than laminate, and that you have to oil it. I can be careful with things, but my husband may need some training.

We''re moving out in 1-2 years, so unless people are going to look at it and wish it were laminate when we go to sell, I don''t care what it will look like in 10 years. I just think it will be so much more attractive than the laminate.

Any experiences, good or bad?
 

soocool

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My work area is butcher block and I ordered it especially for that reason. I oil it on a regular basis (I also oil my cabinets every month) and love it. The rest of the kitchen countertops is granite and I love it. When we priced it out believe it or not the granite wasn''t that much more than the high end laminate. We went to Lowe''s and Home Depot to check on prices and they were high. I found a private business that does granite and it came out to $49.99 a linear foot, but that was a few years ago.

Who knows what will be in demand 10 years from now and I know kitchen and baths are big selling points in a house so if you think you''ll be in your house less than 10 years, you might want to consider what will "sell" your house and place the money there. I also know that there is a granite that fits over your existing countertop that is not very expensive (friends of mine had it done ) and you can''t tell the difference from mine.
 

rainwood

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Beech is a soft wood so if you drop something on the counter, it can dent. You also need to be careful about the installation and care if you install butcher block around the sink. If the wood gets and stays wet, it will start to rot. And use mineral oil, not vegetable oil.
 

soocool

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Ok I should have answered you roriginal question:

Pros: cheap, looks nice if maintained, great work surface, easy to clean

Cons: Can stain easily,
cannot place hot items directly on it unless you have trivets underneath
haveto wipe down with water and an non-abrasive cleanser after each use,
Need lemon oil to remove odors
Initially you have to oil (mineral oil) every week (after 6 mos I do it once a month.
If the surface doesn''t feel smooth after a while you have to smooth it out with sandpaper

I prefer it just for a work surface area instead of the whole kitchen, because it will be a pain to oil each week if you have a lot of counters
 

Hudson_Hawk

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I love love LOVE butcher block counter tops and your house having them would make it that much more desirable for me. I love the look and I love that they''re not as common as granite. Yes you need to maintain them, but you have to treat granite specially as well. If it''s in your budget, I would do oak, which is a hard wood. I agree that beech isn''t the way to go, nor would I do pine. If you don''t have walnut as a choice, I''d go with oak.
 

basil

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Thanks!

Yeah, ideally I would do something nicer, but it''s just not in the budget or the time limit at this point. It''s not my dream kitchen, it''s my starter home, so I don''t want to sink too much time/money into it at this point because I know we won''t be able to recoup it when we sell.

My dad and I are doing the installation ourselves, and we only have one weekend (he''s flying in to help me) so unfortunately granite and tile are kind of out of the question. If this were our forever house, unquestionably I''d save up for nicer, but right now I just want it to look reasonable and sale-able.

Thanks for the tip about beech vs. oak! They are the same price, so will definitely go with the oak if I decide to do it.
 

cara

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I have it on one larger countertop in an older rental. Its definitely scratched and worn and the softness of the wood is an issue, so definitely go with a harder wood, but preferably one with a smaller grain than oak if you can. It will scratch and wear, but I love the convenience factor. My old roommate wasn''t a fan cause it couldn''t be sterilized to her satisfaction, so she always used cutting boards. I use cutting boards for meat, countertop for everything else. I would worry about it not being as popular as granite if installing it in a home I owned, but relative to laminate I think enough people will appreciate the wood.

But don''t put it next to the sink (water) or right next to the stove if you can help it. If you can swing it, just putting a little bit of tile or something heat resistant next to the stove (so that you can put pots down on it) is really handy.

Good luck!
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Date: 3/3/2009 2:19:34 PM
Author: cara
I have it on one larger countertop in an older rental. Its definitely scratched and worn and the softness of the wood is an issue, so definitely go with a harder wood, but preferably one with a smaller grain than oak if you can. It will scratch and wear, but I love the convenience factor. My old roommate wasn''t a fan cause it couldn''t be sterilized to her satisfaction, so she always used cutting boards. I use cutting boards for meat, countertop for everything else. I would worry about it not being as popular as granite if installing it in a home I owned, but relative to laminate I think enough people will appreciate the wood.


But don''t put it next to the sink (water) or right next to the stove if you can help it. If you can swing it, just putting a little bit of tile or something heat resistant next to the stove (so that you can put pots down on it) is really handy.


Good luck!
This is a great idea Cara.
 

basil

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I''m not too worried about lack of granite being a detriment, cause I looked at a bunch of houses for sale and only one had granite, in a group $30k above my price range.

My mom said I''d be nuts to get butcher block. Sigh. My husband says "why are we replacing the counters again?"

It just seems like a waste to go through all this effort and money to install new Formica. But I guess new Formica is better than old Formica.

I''m frustrated cause I hate doing things half-assed, but it''s just not practical to completely redo the kitchen right now. It''s silly to put nice counters on old cabinets, but it''s silly to spend money on counters that are not nice, so I''m kind of stuck.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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butcher block will set you apart in my opinion. Another option is to do tile. I know some people hate them, but I prefer them to formica/linoleum.
 

Haven

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I love butcher block. I don''t like the granite at all, it has such a cold look and I think it looks very trendy, and I imagine it will look extremely dated in about ten years.

Go for the butcher block. I can''t wait to see pictures if you post them!
 

elrohwen

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I don''t have 100% butcher block counters, but I have a single large butcher block that I use as a counter all the time. Honestly, I wouldn''t get it for all of my counters, as much as I love it, because it''s just too hard to clean. There''s always something that gets spilled on the counters during cooking (or even just heating up left overs) and I like a smooth surface that I can spray down with cleaner and wipe clean. Whenever I spill anything on the butcher block it tends to stain and it doesn''t clean up easily at all.
 

luckystar112

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE the look of butcher block! Even moreso than granite. Unfortunately, DH is making us replace our current countertops with laminate....actually, I''m pretty sure it was the laminate that you were looking at in your other thread....is the name "jamaico" or something like that?

DH was worried that the butcher block would be too much maintenance, and granite is just not something that you see in our neighborhood, so laminate it is.

I HATE our current countertops. They are white 6-inch square tiles and the grout gets SOOOO dirty and gross looking. In fact, everything in our kitchen was white. White appliances, tile floor, countertops, backsplash.
We just recently replaced our appliances with stainless steel, and we think that replacing the countertops and backsplash might help break up all the white. We''ll still have white floors and cabinets though. Here''s to hoping!
 

oobiecoo

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I love butcher blocks... you should definitely go with that!

I mean, think about it... cheapy fake stone (or whatever) looking laminate or REAL wood? Go with the wood!
 

Hudson_Hawk

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LOL and you''re doing it with the intent to sell, so who cares if it stains!
 

Blenheim

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We have the Ikea butcherblock countertops and we''ve been pretty happy with them.

They are higher maintenance than a lot of other options (frequent oiling at first, can''t put hot things on them, etc). We also have some slight staining on one place where hubby placed a wet pan and left it overnight, but if we had the motivation we''d probably be able to sand it out. We haven''t had any other problems with staining in about a year and a half, but we''re pretty good about wiping up spills.

At the same time, they look so much better to me than other similarly priced options and so I don''t mind the extra hassle. They''re also really easy to install if you have a circular saw and a sander.

Some pictures, if you''re interested.
 

basil

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Well, thanks for your help, but I think the butcher block is going to be a no go. I measured things out and the longest section they sell at Ikea is not long enough, so there would be multiple seams, and one would be right next to the sink, which I guess is not ideal. DH wasn''t a big fan because of the issues with durability and maintenance either...It''s probably not a good idea anyway because he is a very messy cook. My dad said he would worry about resale because he thought some people might be scared of them and the maintenance, so the safer choice would be the laminate.

So I think I''m going go ahead and order the laminate, much as it pains me to do it. I found one that matches really well with the dark-medium brown of my floor. I''m going to get it without a backsplash and with a square edge, cause I think that looks a little bit more modern than the molded backsplash and rounded edges that you see on a lot of laminate.

Blenheim - your kitchen is gorgeous! I like your cabinets too - are they from Ikea too? I think they are the ones I was going to pick when I was thinking of replacing mine.

When I have my forever house, I want soapstone. And an undermount sink.
 

Italiahaircolor

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Have you priced out the composite granite? That is the man-made countertop that can be put directly over your exsisting laminate.

It's incredibly afforable...very close to laminate.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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I''ve never heard of this. Do you have any information about it?
 

basil

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I did look into it a little bit...www.granitetransformations.com

I couldn''t find any store near me that sells it, but when I did a search for "granite transformations reviews" and looked at the price people were quoted per square foot, it was a substantial amount more than laminate. Especially because we would not be able to DIY install that, which is what we were planning to do with laminate.

Maybe there is another brand that is cheaper?
 

Italiahaircolor

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Date: 3/4/2009 3:25:18 PM
Author: basil
I did look into it a little bit...www.granitetransformations.com

I couldn't find any store near me that sells it, but when I did a search for 'granite transformations reviews' and looked at the price people were quoted per square foot, it was a substantial amount more than laminate. Especially because we would not be able to DIY install that, which is what we were planning to do with laminate.

Maybe there is another brand that is cheaper?
I am going to do some research tonight to see if I can find a sub. brand that has the same concept. But remember, when you're looking at the price per square foot for a countertop, you're also looking at the installation cost since thats more often than not included in price---esspecially with stone, or stone subsitute.

But, I have to say, I am really happy you didn't go with butcher block...I have large cutting board that I use, and it's a nightmare...seasoning it alone is overwhelming and tedious...I couldn't imagine a whole kitchen of it. Countertops make or break a kitchen...but they also need to be something you can live with that won't be a "look don't touch"...butcher block is very sensitive and once it's messed up there is no undoing that!

Have you also considered granite tile? This is absolutely a DYI solution to great countertops...totally cost effective. You're getting big bang for little buck, esspecially if you use a thin grout line--it can look just like slab.

ETA: You could even do your dream Soapstone tile...that would be awesome!
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Date: 3/4/2009 4:23:02 PM
Author: Italiahaircolor
Date: 3/4/2009 3:25:18 PM

Author: basil

I did look into it a little bit...www.granitetransformations.com


I couldn''t find any store near me that sells it, but when I did a search for ''granite transformations reviews'' and looked at the price people were quoted per square foot, it was a substantial amount more than laminate. Especially because we would not be able to DIY install that, which is what we were planning to do with laminate.


Maybe there is another brand that is cheaper?
I am going to do some research tonight to see if I can find a sub. brand that has the same concept. But remember, when you''re looking at the price per square foot for a countertop, you''re also looking at the installation cost since thats more often than not included in price---esspecially with stone, or stone subsitute.


But, I have to say, I am really happy you didn''t go with butcher block...I have large cutting board that I use, and it''s a nightmare...seasoning it alone is overwhelming and tedious...I couldn''t imagine a whole kitchen of it. Countertops make or break a kitchen...but they also need to be something you can live with that won''t be a ''look don''t touch''...butcher block is very sensitive and once it''s messed up there is no undoing that!


Have you also considered granite tile? This is absolutely a DYI solution to great countertops...totally cost effective. You''re getting big bang for little buck, esspecially if you use a thin grout line--it can look just like slab.


ETA: You could even do your dream Soapstone tile...that would be awesome!


FI and I looked into this last year. It''s really pretty inexpensive considering the other options. We were looking at a company called Bedrock Creations (http://bedrockcreations.net/). Basically you send them a sketch of your kitchen with dimensions and they cut and label the tile for you (including backsplash and bull-nose border). When you get the tile they''re all numbered and a drawing is provided so you can put it together like a jigsaw puzzle. The great thing about it is 1. you don''t have to have grout lines, you can dry set it(no grout lines, just on the bottom) and 2. you can install it over your existing laminate counter top with minimal preparation.
 

teapot

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Basil, I just wanted to add that I love soapstone too. When I redo my kitchen I was looking into soapstone or zinc, but since zinc is fickle and hard to maintain, I think soapstone is the way to go, especially the way my DH cooks.
 

LaurenThePartier

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What about concrete/stained concrete? I''ve seen several concrete countertops recently, and one couple I know did it themselves. Admittedly, they knew what they were doing since they had laid the concrete on their patio, too, but it looks really nice. Most are stained earthy colours, and they look so clean, and can take some abuse.
 

Italiahaircolor

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Date: 3/8/2009 6:26:38 PM
Author: LaurenThePartier
What about concrete/stained concrete? I''ve seen several concrete countertops recently, and one couple I know did it themselves. Admittedly, they knew what they were doing since they had laid the concrete on their patio, too, but it looks really nice. Most are stained earthy colours, and they look so clean, and can take some abuse.
Be aware that if you''re considering this...if you cannot do it yourself, you''re going to spend roughly the same price to have it done and finished as you would for granite or another natural stone. These are incredibly labor intensive and labor runs pretty steep.

Being that concrete tops are very labor intensive...doing it yourself includes having to build the model/blueprint, pour the concrete, polish it, stain it, seal it...If you can do it yourself, it''s very modern and contemporary and certainly affordable.
 

basil

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While concrete is really cool, I think it would look too modern in my 1930s place...plus the fact that I doubt I could DIY that!

I feel like I''m disappointing people here, since you were all so helpful and had good advice, but I ordered the laminate. It just made the most sense in terms of resale value, ease of installation, and price. Nearly all of the houses in my price range have laminate, so I feel like that''s what people will expect. Anything more would be a waste of money, and potentially people wouldn''t like it and trash it anyway. At some point, someone is going to have to redo the cabinets, too, so they might want to change the counter then anyway. So I''d hate to have invested a lot of time/money into something that the next owner is just going to tear out anyway.
 
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