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This Countertop Will Never Go Out of Style

Patricia Shannon

Concrete, granite, marble, and quartz—what do all of these materials have in common? At one time or another each one has taken the helm as the trendiest countertop surface around. While we doubt they’ll be falling off the grid anytime soon, they’re in a continuous flip-flop of appeal. Some years we’re gung ho concrete fans, whereas other times we’re ready to write it off as too cold, too harsh, or even too gray. Bah humbug. There is one countertop though that tends to stick around, hanging out just below the tumultuous trendsetters, on the radar and yet decidedly even-keeled. The butcher block has maintained a level of anonymity that sees to the fact that it always somehow seems to be just the right choice.

Butcher block countertops are synonymous with cottage style. They’re right at home with inset Shaker cabinets and antiqued brass hardware. They pack a warm-and-cozy punch that’s impossible not to love. They’re also one of the more affordable countertop options, clocking in around half of what you might shell out for stone and quartz options. But care can dissuade one from taking the plunge and going for this classic style. Follow a few simple guidelines and your butcher block countertops will stand the test of time.

To start, pick the right finish. If you’ll be using your butcher block countertop for meal prep, use a butcher block conditioner or a food-safe mineral oil. If your butcher block already has a varnish, you’ll need to sand it down before applying a more natural-looking finish. For more on how to care for, refinish, and condition your butcher block countertops, see here.

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A couple more things to remember:

Use Cutting Boards

Tempting, we know, but it’s best not to use your countertops as a giant cutting board—particularly when it comes to ease of cleanup. Skip the avoidable stains and nicks and reach for your trusty portable (ideally, dishwasher safe) cutting boards instead.

Don’t Let It Puddle

Spots and stains are inevitable, but you can cut down on their likelihood and potential damage by wiping up spills as soon as possible. But what happens when that first stain appears? We think you should just embrace it. Southerners love a bit of patina, don’t you agree? Also remember you can always sand down your butcher block and restain to freshen up the look.