Cost of Butcher Block Countertops vs Granite

by Amanda Kaiser / October 16, 2020

Table of Contents

Last updated on October 19, 2020

Granite has been an industry leader in countertop stone since before the 1970s but the butcher block has it beat going back all the way to the 19th century. Just like the rest of history trends tend to repeat themselves and the butcher block countertop is no exception. Over the last decade with the rise of rustic, cozy, and industrial farmhouse style kitchens the butcher block has become a popular choice for upscale kitchens. Granite and wood are both beautiful countertop options.

A butcher block countertop is a popular choice for kitchens since they are an affordable and stylish addition to any home. With regular maintenance, wood countertops will age beautifully. Granite is an attractive, durable, and versatile stone that comes in many colors and styles. Builders and decorators have relied on the beauty, strength, and quality of granite for years. Granite is one of the most popular countertop surfaces in residential homes and businesses. No matter what kitchen countertop material you decide on both granite and wood has the ability to create an elegant yet trendy look to your kitchen. Here is everything you need to know about the two.

What is a Butcher Block? 

Butcher block is made from different cuts of wood that are assembled and then joined together to make a strong and sturdy wooden surface. 

Types of Butcher Block Wood Countertops

There are various types of wood that can be used for a butcher block countertop. The most popular woods usually used are maple, walnut, red oak,  and cherry. 

It is important to note there are two types of grain wood: open grain and closed grain. The grain of the wood is the equivalent to the pores of skin closed-grain wood is a smooth surface will open grain is more textured. Open grain wood is not a good option for food preparation because it is more absorbent and prone to staining. 

Butcher Block countertops have the reliability and durability they will last you the long hall. Wood countertops are also perfect when paired with a gorgeous backsplash and stainless steel appliances.

Types of Grain

End Grain

End-grain construction is made from small square blocks joined together to create a cohesive surface. This grain is the most time consuming to construct. Since it is compiled of numerous rectangular blocks it is the strongest and most expensive type of butcher block.

Edge Grain

Edge grain is the one most commonly used for counters due to its strength and affordable price point. Edge grain is made by placing long wooden slabs on their sides and joining them together. This creates long narrow edges from the surface. 

Face Grain

Face-grain butcher block is made when combining long wooden planks. Face grain is the least sturdy and most susceptible surface for marks and scratches making it the worst grain to use for a kitchen with frequent food preparation.

 

Pros & Con of Butcher Block Countertops 

Pros: 

Perfect for anyone who loves to cook since wood is kind to your knife. Unlike stone countertops, wood will not dull kitchen tools. Butcher block countertops bring a chic and trendy “foodie” aesthetic to any kitchen. 

Con:

One of the biggest cons to butcher block countertops is how easy it can damage. Scratches, dings, and stain are all commonplace on wood surfaces. However, wood can easily be restored using sandpaper and oil. 
 

Butcher Block Countertop Maintenance

Butcher block countertops are considered to have moderate to high maintenance however it is all DIY and very easy to do. Moisture is the only way to ruin a wood countertop which is why the surface needs to be oiled. Oiling butcher block countertops prevent moisture from getting into the wood resulting in rot as well as keeps moisture in to prevent dryness. 

The maintenance of wood surfaces is different depending on its purpose. For food prep areas an oil finish should be applied once installed and then periodically reapplied over time. If the wood surface is for daily use it is best to use a lacquer finish.

Unlike stone, butcher block countertops should not be sealed. Sealed wood countertops are not meant to be used with food preparation since their surface is prone to marks from knives. If you would like to have a sealed countertop for the aesthetic and shine you just need to use a cutting board.

 

Butcher Block Wood Prices

Butcher block countertop costs anywhere between $35-$75 per square foot. The price changes based on the kind of wood, edge grain, and thickness of the slab. 

 

Sustainability

Wood countertops are recyclable, making them an eco-friendly choice for those who want something that is not going to cause too much damage to the environment.

 

Supplies to get for a Butcher Block Countertop:

  • Mineral Oil
  • Polyurethane Gel (optional)
  • Sandpaper
  • Sander (optional)

Types of Granite Countertops

Unlike other industries granite does not have a standard for the quality grading system. Granite is given its “grade” based on the retailer's standards. There are generally three levels of granite which include commercial/ builder-grade granite, Mid-grade granite, and high-quality granite. 

Commercial grade granite tends to be softer in minerals and has less variety of colors than mid-grade or high-quality granite. Commercial grade granite consists of the most common and accessible granite.

The distinctions between the different grades of granite are all pretty similar in physical quality. High-quality granite is marked as such due to its rarity. High-quality granite usually has rare patterns and a range of colors. In some cases, high-end granite is the only of its kind. 

 

Pros & Con of Granite Countertops 

Pros: 

Granite is a durable and low maintenance option for a home’s countertops. Granite is heat and scratchy resistant. Granite is also a stain-resistant material. When choosing granite, there are many options for color and pattern depending on the homeowner’s preference. One of the largest pros for granite is that it increases a home’s value.

Con:

Granite is a natural stone it is subject to imperfections such as stress marks and chipping. Repairs to a granite countertop need to be done by a professional and can be very expensive. Natural stone can’t be poured or formed to fit your kitchen therefore has to be cut creating seams. 

 

Granite Countertop Maintenance 

Granite is a low maintenance countertop material and only needed to be covered with a sealant to keep it looking as good as new. It is a very durable stone that is resistant to scratching, cracking, and chipping. Granite is also one of the most heat resistant countertop materials. A properly installed and sealed granite countertop will look like new for an entire lifetime under normal use and proper care. Granite usually does not require re-sealing.

 

Granite Prices

Granite typically retails anywhere between $35- $100 per square foot and goes up from there. The cost of granite is determined by thickness, appearance, porosity, and country of origin.

 

Sustainability

Granite is not an engineered stone making it an environmentally friendly material. The natural rock has been buffed and then sealed to create your countertop surface. Granite stone can be broken down and reused down the line.

 

Supplies to get for a Granite Countertop

Since granite countertops are so low maintenance there are not specific products needed for its care. If you want to keep your granite looking like new forever there are polishing, sealing, and cleaning products made specifically for granite countertops.

 

Combining Granite and Wood

Granite and wood countertops and also be combined to make a great pair! Use a butcher block wood countertop for your kitchen island where you do most of your food preparation. Then use granite for the surround countertops for a more low maintenance surface. 

 

Other Popular Countertop Options 

If you are looking to remodel your home or even just spruce up a room by replacing the countertops there are many options besides granite and wood. Some popular options for your kitchen design are corian countertops, soapstone countertops, concrete countertops, laminate countertops, quartz countertops, marble countertops, stainless steel countertops, and recycled glass countertops.

It is best to use a nonporous material for your countertop so air and liquids cannot penetrate the surface using damage.

 

Overall Comparison

It is important to note countertops cost and installation costs will vary depending on numerous factors. For both Granite and Wood countertops, there are low budget as well as expensive options. The average cost of installing countertops in the home is anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000. Do research into the t specification you would like in order to find the best fit for you and your budget.

 

Granite Countertop

Butcher Block Countertop

Aesthetic

Modern, Elegant, Luxurious

Rustic, Traditional, Chic

Price

High-end

$35- $100 & up per square foot 

Cost-effective 

$35-$75 & up per square foot.

Variety 

Unique variations, colors, and patterns

Limited colors and wood options

Maintenance

Low Maintenance 

Heat & Scratch Resistant 

Regular Treatment/ Refinishing

Installation 

Only by a professional, time-consuming

DIY, Fast installation 

 

 

 

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