Are butcher block countertops durable? Yes - if you follow this expert low maintenance advice

If you're considering a butcher block countertop but are unsure about its durability, longevity and strength, then these essential points are worth keeping in mind

A kitchen with a butcher's block
(Image credit: Jill Weller. Studio credit Arterberry Cooke)

If you're wondering are butcher block countertops durable then you're not alone. While this style of counter is pretty common in many kitchens – made from individual wooden strips fused into a sleek slab – whether it is timeless or simply just trendy can be a valid doubt. Plus, does this counter stand up to kitchen accidents, high traffic, and more?

To find out if this material is right for your modern kitchen, read through these expert-suggested ideas, tips, pros, and cons before committing to an installation.

Are butcher block countertops durable?

A kitchen with a butcher block

(Image credit: Robyn Walker. Studio credit SALT Architects)

When it comes to kitchen countertop ideas, a butcher's block is a popular selection, available in several types of woods, like maple, cherry, walnut, and oak. These counters last around 20 years, when compared to other countertops like granite. So yes, they are durable. However, they do require monthly resealing to have a long lifespan. 

'Butcher block is a great alternative to standard stone and stone-like alternatives and adds natural warmth of wood tones to kitchen interiors,' says Julia Mack, founder of Julia Mack Design. 'No longer just for rustic interiors, butcher block adds the luxury of wood to otherwise standard kitchen selections. Consider it primarily for your hard-working kitchens because it has long-term durability and easy maintenance. Clear, hard maple end grain is the premium choice and can also become your go-to multipurpose cutting board. Just be certain to keep it clean and germ-free.'

One thing to note is that butcher block countertops usually expand by ⅛ inch in summer and contract by the same amount in the winter. If you go in for this material, you need to keep this fluctuation into consideration by leaving enough room along its perimeter to avoid any warping or cracking.

Do butcher block countertops scratch easily?

A butcher's countertop in the kitchen

(Image credit: Jack Lovel. Studio credit Bryant Alsop)

While planning a modern kitchen redesign, you may wonder about the longevity and aesthetics of your countertop. Do butcher blocks stand the test of time?

'Over time, a butcher countertop will show scratches and dents,' says Kashi Shikunova, director at Yam Studios. 'While these imperfections can sometimes enhance its character, it's important to be careful and avoid cutting directly on the surface to preserve its longevity.'

What should you keep in mind for their maintenance? 

A kitchen with a butcher's block

(Image credit: Jill Weller. Studio credit Arterberry Cooke)

On how to care for butcher's block countertops, remember that this is a more hardy material than most others. While soap can streak or spot shiny glass or stainless countertops and acid-based cleaners can erode quartz countertops, both these can be easily used on a butcher's countertop. 

'Like all kitchen counters, be careful with standing water and heat, knowing that any imperfections can be sanded out and brought back to near perfection with a coat of mineral oil and light sandpaper,' says Julia.

'Wood surfaces can become easily stained, so it's crucial to be mindful of this as well,' says Kashi. 

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.