Maintenance and Care for Kitchen Islands and Butcher Blocks Countertops


Wood is considered the universal building material in the world. It is used for almost all homes and can last for long periods of time with very little maintenance or protection. It is important to note that wood is a natural living thing and therefore will react to different environments than a man-made product will. That is why if you follow some simple basic rules about what you can do with wood, it is possible to create a beautiful and functional wood countertop or butcher blocks.

Finishing Butcher Block with Mineral Oil

By: Rachel Demsick PHOTO

When you are caring for a butcher block counter care should be taken with sides, bottom, and top. Special care should be given to the end grain area of the counter since this is the area that will likely absorb moisture. Every place where the wood surface has been penetrated such as nail, screw holes should be oiled completely. Wood is porous and any damage to the integrity of the surface becomes a potential moisture hazard. All wood counters should be oiled with a product such as Proterra mineral oil that has been designed for use with food preparation. It is also advisable that counters or wood surfaces that come into contact humidity (water faucets, sinks, etc.) should also be coated with some type of polyurethane or a similar product.

When you apply the mineral it should be applied on all sides and then spread evenly with a brush. The oil should be allowed to sit on the wood surface for a period of time (approximately 20-30 minutes) and then wipe clean with a paper towel. The counter should be oiled 2-3 times upon installation, then repeated as needed or at least every couple of months. If the counter becomes scratched or cut then a new coat of oil should be applied. You will need to repeat the applications until the damage marks begin to disappear.

Butcher Block Maintenance

By: John “Jay” Glenn

To keep your wooden counter clean, you need to periodically brush and scrape away all food residues and dirt from the counter surface. You can then wash your Butcher Block with a mixture of soapy warm water and then dry it using paper towels or a clean soft towel. After cleaning it might be necessary to apply a new coat of mineral oil. Remember the mineral oil is to maintain the wood finish and the polyurethane is preventing moisture from getting into your wood counter and staining your countertop.

As an extra layer of protection, you can mix mineral oil and beeswax in a 1:4 combination until they are smooth and well blended and then apply this to the countertop as well.This mixture will also give you extra protection from humidity and stains.

Butcher block countertops have a huge upside but heat insulation is not one of them. You do not want to place hot dishes on Butcher Block without appropriate insulation. You also want to avoid spilling vinegar or acid liquids on the wood surface. This will lead to cracking or cupping. You also want to avoid using cleaning compounds that have abrasive material or harsh detergents as this can also cause damage.

Repairing Butcher Block

Butcher Block is an outstanding countertop that is quite attractive and if reasonable maintenance is performed it will last a long time. However, sometimes through hostile environmental conditions or improper maintenance, some problems can arise.

– Warping and Cupping

This is a problem when significant moisture gets into the different layers of the Butcher Block. One method is to wood face down on a level and hard surface and then place weighted objects on the bottom of the block. This could take as long as 12-18 hours for the wood block to straighten out. This is definitely the simple fix. If you can straighten out the block then you will need to apply at least one, maybe more, coats of mineral oil.

If you are unable to straighten the block out by simply adding weight then you can apply mineral oil and repeat the procedure. This may require several coats of mineral oil before you see any results.

– End splits

This is a condition that occurs when a Butcher Block is placed in an extremely dry environment and it has not been properly sealed. This can be repaired by mixing a small amount of sand with a water-based wood glue and filling the cracks completely. You should allow this mixture to sit for about 20 minutes and then sand using a 120 grit sandpaper, Then coat the area with mineral oil.

Top with a Polyurethane Finish

Polyurethane finish should provide all of the extra protection that you will need for any Butcher Block Countertop.

Remember to enjoy your Butcher Block countertop!!

Originally posted 2018-05-07 20:00:00.

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