Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Butcher Block Countertop Progress

Hello, Friends,
How are you?
I hope and pray that you are doing well. 

We started installing the butcher block countertops at our house in East Texas. 
Please refer to this blog page. You can read all about the house, the property and how we are fixing it up to be our cozy get-away place. 

Here are two before photos of the kitchen the day we looked at the house for the second time. 
The first time we looked at it, I was unimpressed so I didn't take a single photo.  

Bill really wanted the property so I was willing to give the house a second look. He could see the potential. 

Upon a second look, I liked the layout of the kitchen. We've never had a peninsula. I love what Angela @ Parisienne Farmgirl did to her 1980's kitchen so I could see some potential. I knew right off of the bat that I would paint the cabinets, install flooring, take down some upper cabinets, switch out the light fixtures, and add butcher block counters. 
We have also added knobs to the doors and drawers and added crown to the top of the cabinets to make them look finished. 

Instead of painting the cabinets a color to coordinate with the olive counters, I ignored them because I knew butcher block was coming eventually. If we were keeping the olive counters, the cabinets could have been painted a creamier white. We didn't hate the counters so that is why we didn't rip them out sooner.  There were more pressing projects to do. 

Why am I going with butcher block? 
Will there be maintenance? 

I wanted a natural product so laminate was never seriously considered. It would have been nice to for someone else to do the install but it wasn't really an option. I feel it is expensive for what it is. 

DIY concrete? Nope. 

Quartz was an absolute no. We had a bathroom counter in that material and it changed color in about two years. We've seen serious yellowing of cultured marble so I was not going to risk that again in a quartz. 

Natural stone wasn't considered either. The cabinets aren't that great, so I didn't want stone on them. Stone is a bit fancy for this house, anyway. We've had stone in town since 2015. It chips and it's hard to see gunk. I think our granite is beautiful but I feel it's a tad overrated. 

So we'll have maintenance. I say "we" but I mean me. Bill will count on me to care for the butcher block. 
I've oiled a sample to see how it holds up to coffee, oil and wine. We won't be cutting directly on it so cuts are not an issue. Little surface abrasions won't bother either of us. 

Let's get in to the nitty gritty of the install. 
Removing the old counters was not difficult at all. They were held in place by some long staples so they essentially popped right off. 

The first section went in without any problem. Bill started with the easiest part first. 
He used the old piece as the template. 
He was done with it by breakfast. 

He had to run to the hardware store for a new saw blade on the second piece but once cut that went on with out issue.  
He did the wide peninsula next.
The glue holding the blocks together didn't hold in two places. 
We were able to cut most of that end off but we weren't happy with the quality. The piece really needed to be re-glued and clamped together but we feel that it will hold now that it is on the cabinets. 

The wall is not straight so it took some finesse to get it in place. He didn't use the old piece as the template and he regretted that a bit. I think he may have used geometry but I'm not sure because I black out whenever math comes into play. 
At this point we should have stopped but we had accomplished quite a bit and we felt buoyed by the success.

In my concern about the curved wall, I made a stupid, stupid design decision. Bill acquiesced since he was tired and concerned too. The countertops are heavy, so we got physically tired pretty quickly. One of the other sections had some additional flaws so rather than use it, we pieced in a small portion of counter under the coffee cabinet.
It was late, we hadn't had dinner. Water was in sight so Bill proceeded with the sink cut. 
He cut the template but the saw had kick back and marred the wood. 
We went to put in the new sink and the sink was broken on one corner. 

Because I was exhausted and over it, I said the old sink would be fine. Bill reinstalled the old sink. It fit in the cut out but didn't cover the flaw caused by the saw. 
I was disappointed but too tired to even know that I was disappointed. 
The next morning, I knew we would not be happy with the pieced section under the coffee cabinet and the cut near the sink. 
We could live with both problems, but I knew we would be kicking ourselves that we didn't take the time to do things right. 
I wasn't happy about the old sink. There was a look that I wanted and the stainless sink wasn't going to cut it. 

Bill quickly came up with plan B. The section around the sink will be removed. Bill will make a cut in the middle of the sink and join another section there. That is what we should have done in the first place.  That seam will be easier to join than the other seams, fingers crossed. 
He exchanged the sink so we will be getting a new sink and faucet. He made that call in deference to me which is very sweet.  
Work will continue this weekend.  

I noticed immediately that the new counters brighten the space. The old countertop seemed to suck light out of the room. There is very little natural light in this room. 

I've oiled the finished section of counter. I plan on a two more coats just to be on the safe side. 

I'll keep you updated on the second weekend of countertop DIYs. 
Until then, stay safe. 


  1. The new kitchen is just beautiful! Thank you for sharing- getting ideas....
    Love your thrifty, practical style

  2. I love butcher block. It adds texture and warmth to a room. Love it with the white cabinets. xoxo Kris

  3. It looks very nice. I love your kitchen!

  4. It looks gorgeous, so light and bright, clean and fresh. I have bb on the island and it needs to be oiled frequently but I don't get it done as often as I should. Love it with the white paint on the cabinets. It's all looking beautiful!

  5. It looks fabulous, Katie. This is what I want at home. It's bright -- it would work great in my space and I'm glad to hear it doesn't require huge maintenance. Four star!

    Are you able to access your reading list on your blogger dashboard? Mine keeps coming up empty, that no one has posted anything. Obviously you have -- I'm here!

  6. Katie,
    Love your new butcher block countertops. The kitchen looks so much brighter with the upper cabinets removed, the lower cabinets painted white, and the new natural color butcher block counters.


  7. Katie, you are certainly transforming your little summer cottage. The counters look wonderful and it does look much bigger..Happy Summertime..xxoJudy