When choosing a kitchen countertop, it's important to consider the function of the material in addition to its style. For the optimal blend of pretty and practical, look no further than a butcher-block counter or butcher-block kitchen island. This material is known for its durability, and its rich wood complexion matches nearly every kitchen style.
Learning how to cut and install butcher block isn't difficult. We'll walk you through the basic process for creating custom butcher block countertops. You can also use our how-to to install a butcher block island. For this project, you'll need a few materials, a few hours, and basic carpentry skills.
Editor's Tip: Before getting started, remove any existing countertops. If they're in good condition, consider reinstalling them in another area of your home (like a garage or basement workstation) or donating to a resale store.
What You Need
- Butcher-block countertop (most come in 8-foot lengths; we used the Williamsburg Butcher Block in Maple from Lumber Liquidators)
- Tape measure
- Scissors or utility knife
- Mineral oil
- Dry cloth
- Clear silicone
- Caulk gun
Step 1: Make a Countertop Template
With cardboard, make a template of your existing countertop. Measure, mark, and cut where the sink and faucet will go. Don't feel as though you have to get the placement perfect on the first try—rearrange on cardboard until you've achieved the desired look.
Step 2: Trace on Butcher Block
Once you feel good about placement, trace the template onto the maple butcher-block countertop piece and cut out marked holes with a saw. We recommend a jigsaw for cutting out holes since it allows you to easily maneuver around corners. Cut between 1/4 and 1/2 inch inside the traced sink hole line to ensure the hole isn't too large; you can always go back and make it slightly bigger.
Step 3: Attach Butcher Block
Place the kitchen butcher block on top of base cabinets and secure with screws. Drill from the bottom up through corner supports. If you're particularly tough on your countertops, consider securing the countertop to your base cabinets with an adhesive in addition to the screws.
Step 4: Treat Countertop
Pour mineral oil onto the butcher block, sand, and then wipe clean with a dry cloth. This step helps protect the wood.
Editor's Tip: To maintain the beauty of the butcher block countertops, you'll want to oil them about once a month (or more often in dry months).
Step 5: Install Sink
Install and plumb the sink per manufacturer instructions. Use a bead of clear silicone to seal the seam between the countertop and backsplash. Once silicone has dried, install the faucet per manufacturer instructions.