How to Refinish and Maintain Butcher Block Countertops

How to Refinish and Maintain Butcher Block Countertops. Butcher block counters are a classic and timeless yet utilitarian addition to any kitchen, but they can accumulate scratches, stains, and dents over time, just like any other surface. Fortunately, refinishing them is a simple process that may give your kitchen a new look without breaking the bank. In this post, I’ll show you how to refinish your butcher block countertops, as well as what supplies to use and maintenance advice to keep them looking wonderful for years to come.

How to Refinish and Maintain Butcher Block Countertops

What exactly is butcher block?

It’s worth noting that not all wood counters are butcher block. So you’re probably wondering, “What is butcher block?” Let me explain it to you in layman’s words. Butcher block countertops are made of wood, but they are not solid slabs. Butcher block countertops are constructed by glueing together thick, straight slices of wood to create a solid and durable slab that may be cut on, similar to a wood cutting board. They got their name from the fact that they were originally used in butcher shops to cut and ready meat.

Can butcher block counters be refinished?

Yes, without a doubt! If your butcher block countertops are looking a little damaged and weathered, don’t worry! Butcher block countertops do not need to be replaced. You can make them seem beautiful again in a matter of hours. This is one of several jobs we completed as part of Thea’s $997 kitchen renovation, and let me tell you, it made a significant difference for less than $30. This is how they used to look: discoloured, scratched, and quite battered up.

How to Refinish and Maintain Butcher Block Countertops

Butcher Block Countertop Refinishing

  • Materials required
  • Electric orbital sander (our favourite and most frequently used)
  • Sandpaper (grits 60, 100, and 150)
  • (To keep the mess to a minimum, use a shop vac.)
  • For wood, use hemp oil.
  • Paintbrush made of foam
  • rags or old t-shirts

Time required: 2 hours

Refinishing your butcher block countertops is a simple process. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours, and the results will astound you.

Prepare the space.

If you are concerned about accidently hitting your kitchen backsplash with your sander, clear it off and tape it off. We had recently finished painting the tile backsplash, so we were extra cautious!

How to Refinish and Maintain Butcher Block Countertops


You may now begin sanding your butcher block counters! An electric orbital sander will speed up the process, and they are very inexpensive. I’d recommend beginning with 60 grit sandpaper to remove any stains, burn marks, or knife gouges as thoroughly as possible. Just be careful not to sand too much and leave a divot in the counter. Then, using 100 grit sandpaper, sand the entire countertop. Finally, sand the entire countertop with 150-grit sandpaper to smooth it out. We finished all of the sanding in less than 15 minutes. We like to have one person suck up as much sawdust as possible with the shop vac while the other person sands!

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butcher block countertop sanding

2. Remove all of the dust.

Remove all dust from the counter top using an old T-shirt or tack cloth. The photo below shows how much of a difference the sanding made. On the left is the sanded surface.

3. Butcher block countertops should be sealed.

You are now ready to improve the colour of your butcher block countertops while also protecting them with Hemp Oil. I just poured some hemp oil into a plastic cup and applied it to the counters with a foam brush, brushing in the same direction as the wood grain. I cleaned out the excess with some old cloths after letting it soak in for approximately an hour. Then I went through the entire process again. Brush it on and wash it off quickly. It took less than 15 minutes (excluding drying time).

How to Refinish and Maintain Butcher Block Countertops

4. hemp oil, as well as a sponge brush

These once damaged butcher block countertops looked wonderful again in less than 2 hours and for less than $30 (we used less than 15 of the bottle of Hemp Oil and very little sandpaper).

Questions and Answers

Butcher block countertops require special cleaning and maintenance.

Wipe off your countertops with a moist cloth on a daily basis. Harsh chemicals and abrasive scrubbers should be avoided since they can damage the wood.

Then, every few weeks, use a light soap and water mixture to clean the surface of your butcher block counters. When you’re finished, make sure to remove as much water as possible.

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To remove harder stains or odours, sprinkle table salt on the surface of your counters and scrub with a lemon half. Rinse the surface with water and carefully dry it.

Apply a food-safe oil or wax to the surface every few months to keep the wood conditioned and from drying out. Beeswax, hemp oil, mineral oil, and walnut oil are all excellent alternatives.

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How do you take care of butcher block countertops?

Applying a food-grade conditioner to your butcher block countertop is an important step that protects it from drying out, cracking, and warping while also bringing out its inherent beauty. Hemp oil, mineral oil, beeswax, or a mix of these materials can be used. The application directions varies based on the product, but they are all quite simple to follow.

How frequently should butcher block countertops be oiled or condition?

This will vary depending on how frequently you use and clean your counters. However, I would recommend treating them every 2 to 3 months to keep them in good condition and restore their natural sheen.

Why did you decide on hemp oil?

We started by applying Tung Oil, which is typically used on butcher block counters. And it absolutely NOTHING to improve the appearance of Thea’s counters. We had some Hemp Oil on hand and decided to give it a try because we knew it was absolutely non-toxic and food-safe. It worked perfectly! It quickly brought out the rich warm tones of the wood. It’s also an excellent wood conditioner because it penetrates to preserve from the inside out. Furthermore, hemp oil does not leave a surface coating that can chip or scratch.

Is it possible to stain butcher block?

Staining is a terrific way to modify the colour of your butcher block countertop or disguise any faults. It is critical to use a food-safe and non-toxic wood stain, such as a water-based stain or a natural dye, and to apply it evenly using a brush or a cloth in the direction of the grain. Allow it to soak for around 10-15 minutes before wiping out the excess with a clean towel and allowing it to dry for several hours. After staining your butcher block, seal it with a food-safe sealer, such as polyurethane.

There you have it, a thorough instruction on how to repair your butcher block countertops and restore its beauty! Remember that proper sanding and conditioning are essential. By following these instructions and practising regular maintenance, your butcher block countertop will become the focal point of your kitchen and will last for years!

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