Five Important Things To Know Before Installing Butcher Block Countertops

Five Important Things To Know Before Installing Butcher Block Countertops

We sell a lot of butcher block countertops to DIY homeowners, contractors and designers. As “the experts in all thing butcher block,” we are happy to share our knowledge and tips to all of our customers and readers. Probably the MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE we can give you about your butcher block countertop, is how to install it correctly! I can’t emphasize enough, the importance of these 5 things to know BEFORE installing butcher block countertops.

  • ACCLIMATE YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP
  • USE EXPANSION HOLES IN THE BASE SUPPORTING YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP
  • DRILL PILOT HOLES IN THE BOTTOM OF YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP
  • DO NOT USE GLUE TO MOUNT YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP
  • NEVER INSTALL BUTCHER BLOCK OVER A SOLID SURFACE (SUB-TOP)

A very important consideration when installing butcher block countertops, that even some contractors forget about, is to be certain to DRILL EXPANSION HOLES IN THE BASE that will support your butcher block.installing butcher block to base

ACCLIMATE YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP

  • WHY? It’s important to allow a butcher block to adjust to its new environment prior to installation, to prevent cracking or splitting.
  • At least 72 hours prior to installation, place the countertop in the room where it will be installed.
  • Do not place it directly on a floor or table to acclimate as this could cause warping. Instead, place the block on 2 x 4s set on their ends and spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. This should allow air to flow freely across the butcher block’s top and bottom.

USE EXPANSION HOLES IN THE BASE SUPPORTING YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP

  • WHY? Expansion holes will ultimately allow the installed butcher block to “float” or slightly move as it will want to do with changes in temperature or humidity in the surrounding environment.
  • Using a 3/8” bit, drill expansion holes in the sub-top, or base cabinet near the corners where the butcher block will be attached.
  • Tops installed without expansion holes will likely NOT be covered under warranty.

DRILL PILOT HOLES IN THE BOTTOM OF YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP

  • WHY? Screwing into butcher block without pilot holes might crack the wood!
  • Place the countertop in position. On its underside, mark the location of each expansion hole and drill pilot holes into the top’s underside using a 5/32” drill bit.
  • Make the pilot holes only deep enough to accommodate the full length of the screws you selected.
  • General rule is, the screw should be only long enough to go 1/2 way into the thickness of the block.
  • Place a washer on a screw and drive the screw upward,from the underside of the sub-top, through an expansion hole and into a pilot hole. Make sure the washer is large enough to cover the expansion hole. Do not over-tighten the screw. Repeat the procedure for each expansion/pilot hole.

DO NOT USE GLUE TO MOUNT YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP

  • WHY? Glue anchors the wood too tightly and might cause it to crack and warp sometime after installing butcher block.
  • Do not glue your butcher block to any supporting structure. Because wood will slightly expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity you must allow it to move.
  • While silicone glue is more pliable, it is still not recommended.
  • Any resulting damage from using glue will likely NOT be covered under warranty, so don’t take any chances.

NEVER INSTALL BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOPS OVER A SOLID SURFACE

  • WHY? Butcher block needs “breathing” room on all surfaces, given it will slightly expand and contract with changes in temperature and moisture.
  • The standard procedure for mounting countertops is to place them over the base kitchen cabinets.
  • If you are remodeling, be sure to remove the prior kitchen countertop completely before you mount a butcher block countertop.
  • If it’s not possible/practical to remove underlayment such as particle board or MDF, cut large holes in it to promote ventilation.

Please reference this blog post before installing butcher block countertops to help prevent damage and keep your warranty in place. Plus, view our detailed installation instructions for John Boos butcher block countertops.

Visit our website to see our standard size butcher block countertops or use our online instant quote tool for pricing custom butcher block countertops from John Boos and Butcher Block Co.

 

 

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