Butcher Block vs Granite Countertops

Butcher Block Countertops

   PROS
  • Can prepare food on
  • Rustic appearance
  • Cost-effective
  • Easier installation
  • Eco-friendly
  CONS
  • Not completely resistant to water
  • Must regularly be treated
  • Requires refinishing
  • Does not resist heat
$1,320 - $1,820

(for 30 sq. ft., installed)

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Granite Countertops

   PROS
  • Beautiful appearance
  • Durable, hard material
  • Heat resistant
  • Eco-friendly
  CONS
  • Cannot use knives on
  • Harder installation
  • More costly
  • Needs to be sealed regularly
$3,000 - $3,500

(for 30 sq. ft., installed)

Get free advice and estimates from countertop installers in your city.

The kitchen is the hub of the home, which means that the way it looks is going to make a difference. Countertops are one of the first things to be changed out during a remodel. Granite and butcher block countertops are both popular choices for homeowners. We will provide the benefits and downfalls of each of them so that you can make an informed decision.

Convenience

Butcher block countertops provide convenience for the homeowner because food can be prepared on the surface of the counter. There is no need to transfer the food to a cutting board to chop, and everything can easily be wiped.

While you can prepare food on a granite countertop, you cannot cut the food there. You must use a cutting board to do so because granite can become ruined if it is scratched or dug into with a knife.

Appearance

Granite countertops are mostly chosen because of their beautiful appearance. There is nearly an endless number of colors and patterns that a homeowner can choose from, allowing them to customize their kitchen look. No two stones are the same due to the mineral composition. Granite countertops do not come with an even appearance and are filled with different colors and patterns. The variations found in granite are unique and the reason why many homeowners choose this material.

Butcher block countertops come in several wood types such as walnut, cherry, mixed woods, maple, and birch. They provide a rustic charm that you’re unable to get with granite counters, but they can be an outdated choice when reselling the home.

Installation

Granite countertops are harder to install because of the material and its weight. These countertops are fabricated specifically for the kitchen that they’re going in. The stone is cut to fit the cabinets perfectly. These countertops are extremely heavy, and some cabinets may not be able to support the weight. They can take a professional an entire day to install, longer to cut and perfect, and then at least 24 hours for the epoxy 1 to cure.

Butcher block countertops can take around the same amount of time to install, though it may take less time because they are not as heavy. Butcher block countertops are also fabricated to match the tops of the cupboards. It is important for the bottom of the butcher block to be supported, so installation may require some blocking underneath to ensure the butcher block is properly supported. Once installed, the butcher block will need to be sealed and treated.

Costs

The cost of installation for a butcher block countertop varies. Based on 30 square feet of countertop, expect to pay around $1,050 to $1,500 for the countertop, another $200 to $250 for labor, and $70 for any extra supplies such as the sealants. The costs can range between $1,320 and $1,820 for the entire project. The prices may change depending on the type of wood chosen, as well as the shape of the countertops.

Granite is sold by the square foot, with additional costs for the edging and sink installation. Because it must be fabricated and installed by professionals, the cost of installation is usually added to the cost of the stone. Granite can cost between $30 and $500 a square foot installed, but most stones fall between $40-$75 a square foot. Edging is priced by the linear foot, with costs starting around $10 a foot. Sink cutouts are approximately $100 a piece. The average kitchen is around 30 square feet of counter, with one sink cutout, for an average cost of $3,500 installed.

Durability

Granite does not scratch easily, and this is why many people choose it for their kitchens. While granite is scratch resistant, it is not scratch proof, so you must pay attention when using knives and other sharp objects on it. If the granite does scratch, you must learn to live with the scratch or replace the entire slab because there is no way to fill in a scratch. Granite is susceptible to damage from other substances. For example, if you drag a granite item across your granite countertop, it would scratch the surface. Granite is vulnerable to small gouges and cracks in the surface and over time juice, oils, and other materials may spill into these cracks and become trapped, which can lead to discoloration.

The surface of butcher block countertops has to be continuously treated with mineral oils or another protectant to ensure that it is not ruined by water. These countertops can hold onto the water that sits on the surface for too long, causing warping. Butcher block countertops, however, do not scratch easily, as the wood is thick and durable.

Maintenance

Both of these countertops require regular sealing to continue working correctly. Butcher block countertops have to be sealed regularly, as well as cleaned when food is prepared on the surfaces. When they start to look worn, refinishing is needed to keep their natural luster.

Granite countertops require sealing periodically to prevent stains but not as often as wood does because the stone is porous and soaks up the finish. To determine if your granite countertops need to be resealed, drop a bead of water onto the countertop. If the water beads up, then the countertop does not need to be resealed, but if the water is absorbed into the countertop, you should have it resealed.

Heat Resistance

Butcher block countertops are less resistant to heat than granite because they hold the heat. This can make the surface crack or break with time. A pot holder, towel, or other cover should be used when placing any hot pans or pots on the wooden surface. Granite is a cool stone that can actually cool the item placed on the surface.

Environmental Concerns

Wood countertops are recyclable, making them an eco-friendly choice for those who want something that is not going to cause too much damage to the environment.

Granite is also an economically friendly material that is a natural rock. It has been buffed and then sealed, but the rock itself can be broken down and reused.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Epoxy: An adhesive, plastic, paint, or other material made from polymers containing epoxide groups. Epoxy is best used for bonding or for creating a protective coating

Cost to install butcher block or granite countertops varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Alpharetta, GA
+9%
Anaheim, CA
+21%
Ann Arbor, MI
+13%
Arlington, TX
+6%
Athens, GA
-9%
Auburndale, FL
-15%
Augusta, GA
-13%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baton Rouge, LA
+19%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Covington, GA
-12%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Wayne, IN
-7%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Gainesville, FL
-12%
Garland, TX
+8%
Holland, MI
-13%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Irvine, CA
+23%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Kent, WA
+9%
Lahaina, HI
+19%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lewisville, TX
+17%
Little Rock, AR
0%
Littleton, CO
+2%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Marshfield, MA
+24%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Midlothian, VA
-3%
Milford, CT
+21%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Nashville, TN
+21%
Newton, MA
+41%
North Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Palmdale, CA
+9%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Plano, TX
+24%

Labor cost in your zip code

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