How much does it cost to install butcher block countertops?
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Butcher Block Countertop Installation Cost Guide
Updated: August 18, 2022
If you are looking for a warm, rustic, or natural-looking countertop, consider butcher block. Butcher block countertops are wood that has been laminated into a large slab. Like other slab countertops, it can be cut to fit your cabinets and come in a wide range of colors, wood species, and styles.
With these options comes a wide range of associated costs. The national average range for a butcher block countertop is $2,475 to $4,620. Most people pay around $3,750 for a 30 sq.ft. kitchen countertop made of maple with an edge grain and tungsten oil finish with a square edge. This project’s low cost is $750 for a 10 sq.ft. face grain birch butcher block countertop in a bathroom. The high cost is $10,500 for 30 sq.ft. of teak countertops with a blended end grain and Roman ogee edge.
Butcher Block Countertop Cost
|Cost to Install Butcher Block Countertops
|National average cost
Butcher Block Cost per Square Foot
Like many countertop materials, butcher block countertops have a range of costs. The total cost range for this countertop is between $30 and $280 a square foot, but most pay between $70 and $150 a square foot. The wood type, countertop grain, edge detail, and finish influence your final costs.
|Average Costs (Installed)
|$300 - $2,800
|$600 - $5,600
|$900 - $8,400
|$1,200 - $11,200
Butcher Block Countertop Prices by Location
Butcher block countertops can make a beautiful statement anywhere. This includes kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, and outdoor kitchens. The finish and way the grain presents can change, depending on the area and how you use it. For example, a face grain is a good option for bathrooms but can get easily nicked and dented in a kitchen. A naturally oiled countertop like teak works best outdoors because it resists fungus, while kitchens can handle a wider range of woods without issue. The total cost depends on these factors and the average countertop size in each space:
|Average Costs (Installed)
|$180 - $2,800
|$360 - $5,600
|$900 - $11,200
Butcher Block Countertop in a Bathroom
Butcher block countertops in the bathroom cost between $180 and $2,800. Most bathroom countertops range in size between 6 and 10 square feet. However, you can have smaller or larger countertops. In these cases, your costs may vary. Butcher block countertops work well in the bathroom, provided they are oiled regularly or given a polyurethane coating. The oil and urethane protect the wood from moisture and keep its appearance long term.
Butcher Block Countertops for an Outdoor Kitchen
The cost of a butcher block countertop in an outdoor kitchen ranges from $360 to $5,600. Outdoor kitchens have countertops between 12 and 20 square feet. You can have a smaller or larger countertop in your outdoor kitchen, affecting the cost. If your outdoor countertop is not under a cover or roof, ensure you choose a naturally resistant wood like teak or regularly oil the surface. Oil protects the wood from rain and snow damage.
Wood Kitchen Countertops
The cost of a wooden kitchen countertop averages $900 to $11,200. Most kitchens have around 30 sq.ft. of countertop space, with some having up to 40 sq.ft. However, small galley kitchens need considerably less, while larger kitchens with matching islands need more. This causes your costs to fall outside of this range. Most wood countertops work well in the kitchen, provided they are regularly oiled. An edge or an end-grain is usually preferred for kitchens because this prevents scratching and denting and can preserve the countertop’s appearance.
Butcher Block Countertop Cost by Type of Wood
Butcher block countertops are made of wood pieces glued or laminated together. And like wood floors or wood furniture, the countertops are available in a wide range of wood species. Each species has a color, grain pattern, cost, hardness, and durability to consider. Some do well in busy, high-use areas, while others do better as an accent or in a bathroom. All wood species can be stained for a different color or appearance, and all can be found with different grain arrangements, which impacts how well they hold up in certain areas.
|Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Material Only)
|$15 - $20
|$35 - $40
|$40 - $45
|$40 - $45
|$40 - $45
|$85 - $90
|$100 - $110
|$110 - $120
|$130 - $150
Birch Butcher Block Countertop
The cost of a birch butcher block countertop is between $15 and $20 a square foot for the material. Birch is a light-colored wood with a straight, even grain. The grain is fairly fine in texture - not overly pronounced or dramatic. Birch takes stain very well, so while its natural color is blond, it could be stained darker. Birch is not very hard, however, so it can scratch and dent easily. Using it with an edge or end grain can improve durability.
Red Oak Butcher Block Countertop
The cost of a red oak butcher block countertop ranges from $35 to $40 a square foot for the material. Red oak is a medium-brown color with red and pink undertones. Its grain is more pronounced and noticeable than birch and maple. It is stronger than birch, so it holds up better when used with a face grain. It takes stains well, particularly those that bring out the natural red undertones. This is a good wood for a warm, rustic-looking countertop.
White Oak Butcher Block Countertop
The cost of a white oak butcher block countertop averages $40 to $45 a square foot for the material. White oak is a slightly lighter color than red oak. It has a light to medium color, with a blue-gray undertone. It is cooler in appearance than red oak and works better with cooler-toned kitchens and bathrooms in whites and blues. It is harder and more durable than red oak and also takes stain well. The grain can be fairly pronounced on this countertop.
Maple Butcher Block Countertop
The cost of a maple butcher block countertop ranges from $40 to $45 a square foot for the material. Maple is the most common and popular type used for butcher block countertops. It ranges from a very pale, creamy-white in the heartwood to sapwood that can be creamy-white with deeper brown tones. Depending on whether you get the heartwood or sapwood, maple may have a lot of grain variation or very little. Maple is a hard, durable wood that holds up well. The face grain can still scratch and dent in high-use areas, which makes an edge or end grain preferable.
Beech Butcher Block Countertop
The cost of a beech butcher block countertop is $40 to $45 a square foot for the material. Beech is a light to medium-toned wood. It has a fine, straight grain that can be readily pronounced on some boards. Beech takes stain very well, so it can be stained or colored in a wide range of tones. Beech is not as durable as other woods. If using it in a high-use area like a kitchen, consider using it with an edge or end grain. These are more durable and less likely to scratch or dent.
Bamboo Butcher Block Countertop
The cost of a bamboo butcher block countertop averages $85 to $90 a square foot. Bamboo is not wood but grass. Bamboo can be ethically and sustainably harvested because it is fast-growing, making this a good green option for eco-conscious homeowners. Bamboo ranges from a very pale white to a rich, caramel color. It also has a unique appearance as a countertop, with the knuckles showing rather than a grain. Depending on which direction the bamboo is laid, it can appear busy or quiet.
Cherry Butcher Block Countertop
The cost of a cherry butcher block countertop ranges from $100 to $110 a square foot for the material. Cherry is hardwood with a rich, reddish-brown color. When exposed to sunlight and humidity, cherry grows darker with time. It also takes stains very well, especially those that enhance its natural red color. Cherry is very durable and holds up well in most areas. This makes it a good choice for those who want a face grain rather than an edge or end grain. Cherry also handles all edge types well.
Walnut Butcher Block Countertop
The cost of a walnut butcher block countertop is between $110 and $120 a square foot for the material. Walnut has a beautiful, dark brown color that can also deepen with age, sunlight, and humidity. Walnut is a very hard wood, so it can handle a lot of use and abuse without the scratches and dents seen on less hard woods. For that reason, it can be used with a face grain rather than an edge or end grain. Walnut also takes most edges well. It can be stained darker if desired.
Teak Butcher Block Countertop
The cost of a teak butcher block countertop averages $130 to $150 a square foot for the material. Teak is one of the hardest and most durable woods that can be used for a butcher block countertop. It produces natural oil, which makes it lower in maintenance, especially in wet areas. It naturally resists things like mold and fungi, so it does well outdoors. It has a beautiful medium-brown color with a straight grain. Teak can be hard to work with, so it can have increased labor costs over other woods.
Butcher Block Countertop Cost by Type of Construction
All butcher block countertops are made of many pieces fitted and glued together, then sanded down and shaped into the final slab for your countertop. The actual construction or piecing together of the pieces can be done in a few ways. Each method changes the countertop’s look and how well it performs. The appearance and durability should be considered when you choose the countertop for your home to fit your aesthetic style and lifestyle.
|Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
|$30 - $200
|$32 - $220
|$40 - $280
|$40 - $308
Face Grain Butcher Block Countertop
The cost of a face grain butcher block countertop averages $30 to $200 a square foot. Face grain takes long pieces of wood and lays them edge to edge. This means you see more of each piece, which includes more grain and movement. Fewer boards are needed to make a face grain countertop, so they tend to cost less. Face grain can be more easily scratched and dented, however. This is particularly true for softer woods like birch and beech. If you like the look, opt for a harder wood like walnut or teak to avoid extra maintenance.
Edge Grain Butcher Block Countertop
Edge grain butcher block countertops cost between $32 and $220 a square foot. Each board has been turned on its side in an edge grain countertop so that the edges are the surface. This means you see more individual rows and less of the grain, along with more movement. More boards are needed to make this countertop, so the cost is higher. Edge grain countertops are more durable than face grain, so they do not dent or scratch easily. This makes edge grain better for softer woods, particularly in the kitchen.
End Grain Butcher Block Countertop
End grain butcher block countertops range from $40 to $280 a square foot. In an end-grain countertop, the boards are turned so that their ends make up the surface. You have more ends per countertop, so the result is patchier. They also cost more due to the number of boards needed. End grain is very durable because the ends are “self-healing.” This means you can cut on the countertop, and the knife marks smooth out. This is a good choice for busy kitchens with a lot of cooking.
Blended Butcher Block Countertop
Blended butcher block countertops average $40 to $308 a square foot. Blended countertops can have any grain arrangement. What makes them different is the boards may be a mixture of colors, species, or grain directions. This can create various looks, from stripes and checkerboards to more interesting grain placements. Because care must be taken to arrange or color the different pieces separately before gluing, this is the most expensive type of butcher block countertop. As with the other types, end grain blended is more durable than face grain blended.
Butcher Block Countertop Edge Costs
Butcher block countertops can be given a range of edge treatments. Most have a square edge as standard, but you can have your fabricator put a different or more decorative edge onto your countertop. Doing so increases your project’s cost.
|Average Costs per Linear Foot (Installed)
|No additional cost
|$3 - $5
|$5 - $7
|$5 - $7
|$7 - $10
|$10 - $15
Labor Cost to Install Butcher Block Countertops
Butcher block countertops are similar to other slab countertops like granite, porcelain, and quartz when it comes to fabrication and installation. Labor includes countertop templating, slab cutting and finishing, transportation, and installation.
The shipping and installation can sometimes be in addition to the material and fabrication costs. If this is the case, shipping costs $150 to $300 per countertop, and installation costs $200 to $300. Otherwise, the material makes up to $15 to $150 a square foot of the cost and fabrication. Other labor costs make up $15 to $130 a square foot, with additional costs for edging, shipping, installation, and sink cutouts ($100-$150/per cutout).
Custom Butcher Block Countertops Cost
Most butcher block countertops are considered custom because they are cut to fit your cabinets. However, you can commission a countertop in a range of colors, patterns, or wood species. This can include inlays, checkerboard and stripes, or a custom stain. These countertops have a starting cost of around $100 a square foot and go as high as $400 a square foot for very involved patterns or color combinations, particularly those involving more exotic hardwoods.
Waterproofing Butcher Block Countertops
Butcher block countertops are frequently sold “raw” or unfinished. This means that while the wood may be stained in many colors, the wood is unprotected from moisture and water damage. This means it may stain if you spill juice or wine, and it may mean the wood can swell or warp when it comes in prolonged contact with water or moisture.
You must finish or waterproof your countertop. Sometimes, the countertop may be waterproofed during fabrication, while at other times, you must do it yourself. Some finishes are permanent, while others need to be reapplied. If you choose one finish, you cannot switch to another easily, so make sure you understand the finish. There are five waterproofing finishes for butcher block countertops. Since most must be applied monthly or regularly, most fabricators apply the first coat at no additional cost. You are responsible for applying the subsequent coats.
|Type of Finish/Waterproof
|Less than $5 / per Application
|Wax and Oil
|$5 - $10 / per Application
|$10 - $15 / per Application
|$20 - $25 / per Can
|$20 - $25 / per Can
Mineral oil is the most basic finish for butcher block countertops. It is also the cheapest, costing less than $5 per application. This finish leaves a slight sheen on the wood but does not dramatically change its appearance. Mineral oil protects against small and light spills. It does not protect against prolonged contact with moisture or water. It must be reapplied monthly.
Wax and Oil
If you do not want to oil your countertop monthly, combine it with wax. Wax is cheap, at around $5 to $10. After you oil the countertop, wax is rubbed and worked into the surface. This protects the wood from surface moisture better than oil alone. It does not break down as quickly, so you can go several months before reapplication. This creates more of a luster on the wood than oil.
Tung oil needs to be applied monthly. It costs more than mineral oil, at $10 to $15 per application. This oil penetrates the wood, so it creates a deeper barrier against spills and stains. It protects the wood better than mineral oil, which can give you more time to clean up spills. Tung oil also leaves a slight sheen on the wood. It does not change the appearance radically.
Polyurethane is a more permanent solution for protecting wood from water and moisture. It costs around $20 to $25 a can. This material is made for decorative and bathroom countertops only. It should not be used with countertops that come in contact with food. Polyurethane completely seals and protects the wood’s surface and must be completely stripped off if you want to refinish your countertops.
Waterlox is a mixture of tung oil and resin. It costs between $20 and $25 and is considered one of the most effective waterproofing finishes for your butcher block countertop. Waterlox seals and protects your wood’s surface. This is a good choice for outdoor countertops or countertops in busy households. It needs to be reapplied, but not as frequently as oil by itself. This finish can be applied once or twice a year. It leaves a satiny sheen on the countertop.
Butcher Block Countertop Add-Ons
Like many countertops, you can choose to customize your final experience. This can be using the same material on your island or creating a backsplash that coordinates with the countertop. None of these are necessary for every installation. In some households, however, they enhance the room and give you a more complete-looking installation.
|Average Costs (Installed)
|$660 - $6,160
|$900 - $2,500
Butcher Block Island
The cost to add a butcher block countertop to an island is between $660 and $6,160. Most islands have around 22 sq.ft. of countertop space. They can be larger or smaller and have different tiers or overhangs, increasing the cost. Butcher block is frequently used as an island countertop, regardless of which material is used on the perimeter. Butcher block is an excellent material for prepping and cooking, particularly those with an end grain. Butcher block island countertops enhance a wide range of island and kitchen styles and work well with all wood species.
Butcher Block Countertop Backsplash
The cost of adding a backsplash to your kitchen averages $900 to $2,500. While you can use the same countertop material on your backsplash with some materials, butcher block is too thick in this area. However, butcher block can be paired with other materials on the backsplash for various looks. For a rustic appearance, consider a handmade ceramic tile. For something more formal, consider marble or another natural stone. You can also use a rustic cut glass to create a more transitional look. The key is to match the undertone or shade of color in the butcher block with the undertone color in the backsplash material.
Butcher Block Countertops Pros and Cons
Butcher block countertops have a natural beauty that cannot be duplicated with other materials. They can give you a formal appearance or a rustic one, depending on the wood and style. Wood countertops also work particularly well in certain home styles, such as Craftsman and bungalows.
Wood can be sanded down and refinished again and again, which makes this one of the longer-lasting countertops. When well-maintained, they can last for decades while retaining their original beauty.
However, they can require more maintenance than other countertops. They need regular oiling and waxing, and they scratch and dent easily. This means you must occasionally sand them down and refinish their surface. Because they can cut easily, they can also be harder to keep clean at times, and they may hold onto stains, debris, and bacteria more than other materials.
Butcher Block Countertop Maintenance
All butcher block countertops require a fair amount of maintenance. Those with a face grain and softer woods like birch require even more care. Harder woods like teak are lower in maintenance but still require regular treatment.
On a daily basis, your countertops can be washed with soap and water. Always use a cutting board to prevent surface scratches and marks.
Depending on the waterproofing method, you need to oil or wax your countertop between once monthly and twice yearly to prevent staining. Wipe up spills as soon as possible to prevent stains. Waterproofing and oiling only impede staining, so keep the countertop dry, and address spills as soon as they are noticed.
Periodically, you need to sand down the countertop’s surface. If your countertop is stained, you can reapply the stain and finish the countertop with a new coat.
Butcher Block vs Granite Countertops
Butcher block and granite countertops are natural materials in a range of colors and styles. Both are usually made to order with a template, then the countertop is made to fit the space.
Granite is considered a moderate-maintenance material. It must be sealed roughly once yearly and cleaned with pH-neutral cleaners to avoid etching and dulling.
Wood is a higher-maintenance material. You must be more diligent about spills and avoid cutting items on top of it. While granite does not scratch or burn, wood can do both. Wood also requires more frequent sealing and refinishing than granite. Both have similar cost ranges and timelines for installation.
Cost of Butcher Block Countertops vs Quartz
Quartz countertops and butcher block countertops are popular materials for the kitchen. They are different materials, however. Butcher block is made of natural wood that has been glued or laminated. Quartz countertops are made of roughly 93% natural quartz rock mixed with pigments and resins. This means quartz countertops are virtually maintenance-free, while butcher block countertops require ongoing maintenance and care.
The materials have similar cost ranges, but butcher block is more expensive. While the low end of butcher block countertops is lower than the least expensive quartz, the high end of butcher block countertops is more expensive than the costliest quartz. The average cost of a quartz countertop is between $1,750 and $3,000, while the average range of butcher block is $2,475 to $4,620.
Birch vs Maple Butcher Block
Butcher block countertops come in many colors, styles, and species. Maple is one of the most common materials for butcher block. It is a mid-range wood in cost and durability. It also has a clear color, with little grain, so it can take stain very well.
A lower-cost alternative to maple is birch. Birch can have a creamy, white color range, although it has a straighter and more prominent grain. It also tends more toward the brown tones than maple.
Birch is not as strong as maple, so it is more likely to dent and scratch over time than maple. This may mean the countertop needs to be sanded and refinished more often with birch than maple. Birch starts around $15 to $20 a square foot, while maple costs between $40 and $45 a square foot.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
If desired, you can have a cooktop undermounted into your countertop. You must have the countertop on hand when templating. There is a cutout fee of around $200 for this service, while the cooktop installation costs between $500 and $1,000.
Old Countertop Removal
When replacing your current countertops, you need to remove the old ones first. Some installation companies do this at no additional charge. Others charge a disposal fee of between $50 and $200, depending on the old countertop’s type and size.
Having a new countertop installed means you need to have a new sink installed or your old sink reinstalled. There is a charge of around $100 for the sink cutout fee. The sink installation costs between $150 and $500, depending on the sink.
While you can install new countertops on old cabinets, you may choose to get new cabinets made at the same time. This can be part of a complete kitchen renovation or a stand-alone project. The cost of new cabinets is approximately $4,000 to $9,000.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Discounts. Sometimes, you can get a discount if you have your countertop and backsplash done at the same time. This depends on the company because not all handle both materials. You can check to see if this can save you money.
- Cleaning. Butcher block countertops can be harder to keep clean than other surfaces. If they scratch, they may harbor bacteria in the cuts. For this reason, they should be cleaned well and frequently.
- Oil treatment. All butcher block countertops must be treated with oil, wax, or another product to protect from moisture and spills. Depending on which you choose, you may have to apply this monthly.
- Heat damage. Butcher block countertops can burn if a hot pot is placed directly on them. Always use a trivet or other heat-resistant surface rather than setting pots on the countertop.
- Sustainability. Butcher block countertops are completely recyclable. They can also be made using reclaimed wood, which makes them an eco-friendly and sustainable choice for countertops.
- Raw countertops. While many butcher block countertops are sold unfinished, they must be treated with some type of oil, wax, or another waterproofing method. Leaving it unfinished means it is more likely to stain, warp, or develop other issues.
- Is butcher block cheaper than granite?
While a few types of butcher block are less expensive than granite, butcher block is usually more costly.
- Are butcher block countertops high maintenance?
Yes, butcher block countertops must be sealed or oiled regularly - as often as once a month. They must be cleaned frequently and refinished periodically.
- What is the average cost of butcher block countertops?
The average cost is around $3,750 for 30 sq.ft. of butcher block countertops.
- How do you finish a butcher block countertop?
You can use mineral oil, tung oil, a mixture of oil and wax, or a mixture of oil and resin to finish the countertop. Depending on which you choose, it needs to be reapplied between once monthly and twice yearly.
- Do you seal both sides of butcher block countertops?
You only need to seal the side that will come in contact with moisture. If this is a countertop, then no, the underside does not need to be sealed.
- Can you waterproof a butcher block?
Yes, a mixture of tung oil and resin is the most effective way of waterproofing this material. You can also use oil and wax or oil on its own to protect from moisture.
- Can I use polyurethane on butcher block countertops?
Polyurethane is only recommended for areas that do not come in contact with food. So, bathroom countertops can be polyurethaned, but not kitchen countertops.
- Can you put hot pots on butcher blocks?
No, the material can burn and scorch. Always use a trivet or other heat-proof material between the pot and your countertop.
- How often should I oil my butcher block?
This depends on the type of oil. Mineral and tung oil should be applied monthly. If you have a mixture of oil and resin or oil and wax, this can be applied twice yearly.