First and foremost, you want your kitchen counters to look great and to complement the overall décor of your entire home, not just your kitchen. After all, the kitchen is the focal point of most homes, as well as their central gathering place. Think of yours as your family’s Grand Central Station, Town Square or Safe Harbor - where family members meet or sometimes merely pass by one another in the night, headed to destinations near or far, exciting or mundane. Regardless, you want each voyager’s experience to be memorable and reassuring.
While beauty and experience are certainly important, so too are practicality and functionality, since you rely on kitchen counters to support the everyday needs of you and your family. Not only do you want your kitchen countertops to look great, you need them to perform great. And how might we determine whether a countertop truly performs? Think in practical terms. Does/will a countertop support key functional expectations? Will it provide a solid, reliable surface on which to prepare and serve meals? Is it durable; able to stand up to tough abuse yet last for years without showing signs of wear and tear? And how much maintenance will any countertop require to keep it in tip-top shape? Just as important is the question: can I repair and recondition my countertop if it's marred or otherwise shows the signs of age and strenuous use?
Although wood counters do require regular maintenance – cleaning of spills and messes and regular reapplication of butcher block oil or cream in order to protect and preserve the wood – they are arguably the most versatile kitchen work surface anyone could want. Butcher block is a tough, rigid and durable surface. If well cared for, it will last decades. Not only can it be cut upon, it’s ideal for baking tasks; is perfect as a serving surface; and it looks gorgeous to boot. And unlike most alternatives, butcher block countertops can be renewed and reconditioned with a little bit of sanding and the application of naturally-derived butcher block oil or cream. In sharp contrast, once marred or stained, other countertops can never be restored to their original lustre and appeal.
Given all their virtues, it’s likely you’re wondering how expensive are butcher block countertops and how does the price of butcher block compare to alternative countertop materials? It’s equally likely you’ll be surprised by the answer. According to the website countertopguides.com, most popular varieties of butcher block are extremely cost competitive – in fact, they're among the most affordable options available for kitchen counters. As you can see from the chart below, popular varieties of butcher block counters cost as little as $30 to $40 per square foot, making them one of your lowest-cost options for attractive but durable kitchen countertops. The chart reveals one other especially interesting aspect of butcher block: there are many varieties of wood species, grain styles and cuts available. If your budget is tight, you'll might want to limit your consideration to maple or oak blended or edge-grain-style butcher block in thicknesses of no more than 2.25 inches. If you have some spending flexibility, you might want to consider thicker cuts of cherry or walnut butcher block, especially in end-grain style. In the chart below, the latter varieties are included in the "ultra-premium" category, which interestingly, is more affordable than granite despite its advantage of being sustainable and renewable. To gain more insight into the key drivers of variability in the cost of butcher block countertops, such as wood type, grain style, and thickness, check out our cost comparison of butcher block countertop varieties.
NOTE: Price comparison data was last updated in January, 2015
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