DIY Butcher Block Countertop

Doing a kitchen remodel is no easy task. Check out Mar’s before and after to see what I mean. If you’ve been considering re-doing anything in your kitchen a great place to start is the counters. While Mars opted for granite (which looks amazing) we have chosen to go with butcher block. It’s very affordable and comes in several lengths and widths depending on what you need.

Prepping cabinets prior to countertop installation

First you have to install the countertops. Unless you are handy you may want a professionals help for this part. It’s important to make sure your cabinets are level and square prior to installation. Because our floors were not level we had a tricky time but eventually got everything situated. Once you have the countertop in you need to install your sink and make a water tight seal around the perimeter. Wood needs to be protected from water so take your time with this part. We also had our appliances delivered the same week- things are coming together!

Installed countertops with sink and appliances

No onto the DIY part of this. You need to sand and seal your countertop. First sanding. The counters were fairly smooth when purchased but not smooth enough. I bought a 180 wood grit sanding block and sanded with the grain. Be sure you get the front lip of the counters too. I sanded it four times cleaning off the surface between each time. This project can get tough on the hands so you may want to take it in steps or have a buddy.


Next, it needs to have a food safe seal. Not a stain! Butcher block countertops need regular maintenance to keep them in good shape once every other month or so. But a new countertop needs to be ‘seasoned’ this means applying several coats of food grade sealer. I found two kinds at the home center one just the oil and the second added a wax to it.

  • I took a spare piece of block and did a test area to see what I liked better before putting it on my real counters. I recommend this!
  • I liked how the wax sealer allowed water to bead up and roll off better than the plain oil version. But it does make the counter darker so weigh your options.
  • Because it’s a wax I suggest putting the whole bottle into a tub of hot water to warm it up and allow the wax to melt and penetrate into the wood.
  • Set a timer between coats per the directions on the bottle. You will need to do 3-4 coats to properly ‘season’ your new countertop. Be sure to apply with the grain.


So here you go, this is after sanding and three coats of the wax based sealer. It gives off a warm glow that makes the kitchen feel cozy. The wax did take a couple days to fully penetrate into the wood. A bit of oil residue on the surface prior to it sinking in is totally normal. I hope this post was helpful. Please subscribe if you like what you see.


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