All about our DIY butcher block countertops

We did 90% of the install of our Lumber Liquidators butcher block countertops several months ago, but only recently finished one small piece behind the sink and, following the tile project, the final oiling and caulking. They look fabulous, add warmth and interest to our kitchen, and are easy to install and affordable!

We had a tight budget for our kitchen reno at our fixer upper, so we chose to keep our oak cabinets (we painted them!) and needed an affordable countertop solution. We were planning on doing DIY poured concrete ones, but with all the other projects we had going on and the time needed to build the frame and let the concrete cure, we figured we were in over our heads and should find something else. So we actually changed the color scheme entirely and went with dark grey cabinets instead of the white we were planning, and the dark grey looks fabulous with butcher block!

We shopped around and looked at IKEA's butcher block options, but a lot of it is particle board with wood veneer. I found that some of the Lumber Liquidators options were very similar in price to IKEA but are all solid wood!! Butcher block is probably the most affordable countertop option there is--could be as low as about $200-300 for all of the counters in a small kitchen, depending on wood and size--and while it's great for just an island, our kitchen is so small we don't have room for an island or a lot of variety in countertops throughout the room. And I love the look of it, and we can install it ourselves!! Lumber Liquidators provided the materials for this project and we chose the maple option.

We got two of these 8' maple countertops and I drove them home in a snowstorm in my Prius with the seats folded down. Ha!

We followed this tutorial on This Old House. You'll see in the photos we drilled large holes in the mounting pieces (and used large washers); this allows the countertops to expand slightly with temperature where screwing directly into them wouldn't.

Jason did most of the cutting and sanding in our garage on a 33 degree winter day. Very grateful.

The butcher block is too tall for the blade on the table saw so we clamped it down and used a circular saw, very carefully, over the lines we drew.

We screwed them in from the bottom (on top of the washers) and added some glue around the edges. Then we oiled them with butcher block oil.

We were so grateful to have countertops to put stuff on (we had gone a couple months in this kitchen with pieces of plywood on top of the cabinets...) and so exhausted that we didn't cut the piece behind the sink for a couple months. 

We did an apron-front farmhouse sink (this one) so we didn't need to cut around it much or mess with rounded corners, but it did not go all the way to the back wall as we had originally hoped. So we needed to cut a small piece for the very back behind the sink. It took us several months to get around to this. We finally did, before we did the tiling, and filled the seams with wood filler.

Once all of the tiling was done, we gave the counters a good scrubbing (I covered them but some grey grout still got on them, oops) and re-conditioned, this time with butcher block conditioner.

Now they are DONE and they are FABULOUS! We've had no issues cooking, cleaning, spilling coffee on them, etc. and they've held up great. The wood texture was something to get used to since our townhome had granite, but I've found I can just use a little more water and they clean off great (and don't get streaky like granite). Also, they're warmer in color but also in feel--leaning on the counter doesn't make your arms cold. Plus, I love how they look with the white tile and dark cabinets!

Thank you to Lumber Liquidators for providing the countertops!


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