Installing butcher block countertops typically costs $3,500 on average
Butcher block countertops are made up of hardwood strips that are glued together and placed on top of a cabinet or kitchen island to form a countertop. Long a favorite in the professional food world, this material is now widely used in residential kitchens. Hard maple is a common material used for butcher block countertops, as well as American Cherry or American Walnut.
A butcher block countertop is a warmer alternative to more expensive, colder food prep surfaces like granite or quartz. A typical butcher block countertop costs anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the size and quality you want. In some cases, you can pay $1,200 on the low end, but custom designs can hit $15,000.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Butcher Block Countertop Per Square Foot?
A butcher block countertop typically costs less per square foot than granite or quartz but will cost more than laminate. You can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $100 per square foot or $3,500 on average for materials and installation of your wood butcher block countertop.
Materials alone usually run around $20 to $70 per square foot. Butcher block countertops can cost between $2,000 and $5,000 for a 50-square- foot kitchen. For reference, in a typical older (pre-millennium) kitchen, countertop space is about 30 to 40 square feet and 50 to 60 square feet for a modern kitchen.
Large kitchens or those using expensive hardwoods might reach beyond $10,000 per project. Custom work may cost $200 per square foot or hit $15,000, depending on the complexity of the design.
Can You Install Butcher Block Countertops Yourself?
It’s possible to install butcher block countertops yourself if you have the tools, time, and skills to make it happen. However, since it usually takes a team of professionals a whole day to install, it will take you even longer. Plus, you'll definitely need some help because of the size and weight of the blocks.
Butcher block countertops are often subject to four main drawbacks when you install them yourself:
Cut and install risks: If you measure and cut the counter incorrectly, you will need to order a new variety and start over.
Injury risk: Due to the thick size (at least 1.5 inches) and bulky weight, it's not a beginner-level project. Always take DIY projects like these with precaution with safety glasses and proper handling to avoid a Homer Simpson moment.
Fabrication: You'll have to route the wood and install sink hole cutouts with an electric saw ($100–$300) or router ($150–$300), as well as stain ($10–$20) and oil ($10–$50). Each of these can be a big challenge for newbies.
Time: Although it may seem like a straightforward project, you will likely need two full days to get the installation done properly
You'll likely spend between $5 and $15 per square foot for professional installation. Due to this project's complexity, it's almost always a better idea to hire a local countertop installer.
Butcher Block Countertop Cost Breakdown
The cost of a butcher block countertop varies based on the design, hardwood type, size panel, as well as where you buy it:
Countertops: $1,000 to $7,000 per 100 square feet. The price includes delivery and enough material for future repairs.
Labor: $500 to over $3,000 per 100 square feet. This estimate includes sourcing the material, equipment, planning, prep, installation, and cleanup. The final cost varies depending on the number of surfaces and the size.
Materials and supplies: A custom-sized butcher block countertop usually costs approximately $100 to $250 for the materials on top of the installation. Includes fasteners, caulking, sealants, glue, and cleaning supplies.
Equipment: $30 to $100. Covers tools such as nailers, saws, sanders, and planers.
In addition to a regular butcher block countertop, you may want other parts of your kitchen done in butcher block at a price:
Butcher Block Backsplash
Butcher block backsplashes typically cost $100 to $500, including installation, in addition to countertops. Your installer will likely include installation costs for this in your overall countertop bill. They may vary depending on what materials and the amount you purchase.
The cost of a butcher block countertop backsplash varies depending on the type and length. A 4-inch maple backsplash that is 2 feet long, is often approximately $25. For a higher quality wood such as cherry, it can be between $50 to $60 for the same size.
Butcher Block Island Top
Installing a butcher block island costs the same as a countertop. A typical installation starts at around $40 per square foot of butcher block. Be ready for additional installation costs if you're installing an island with sinks and outlets, as these often require installation by an electrician before completing the job.
|Electrical wiring installation||$500 – $2,000|
|Sink installation||$200 – $600|
|Plumbing||$200 – $500|
How Much Does a Butcher Block Cost by Material Type?
You can expect higher or lower costs depending on the wood type and finish:
Raw vs. Finished
Butcher blocks are made of unfinished, raw wood and cost $100 to $650 per block. You can add an edge for $30 to $50, usually straight or bullnose (a curve along the top and bottom of the counter). Finished butcher block surfaces cost between $160 to $1,400 per block and already come with oil on them, with a straight, radius, or bullnose edge.
Common types of wood butcher blocks and their finished and unfinished costs include:
American Cherry: For a warm, rich hue, this reddish wood is the most durable. Unfinished American Cherry ranges between $300–$500 unfinished and $600–$1,000 for finished.
American Walnut: Walnut features a dark, rich coffee of chocolatey color. Typical American Walnut butcher block, unfinished, can run from $350–$600 and finished, $750–$1,200.
Maple: The most popular choice for butcher block countertops and the least expensive with a light look and a hard and clear grain. Unfinished maple costs between $250– $450, and unfinished wood runs from $400–$800.
Note: These prices reflect an eight-square-foot price without any cutouts or edging. And remember, wood prices will vary depending on the season, year, tree species, and inventory availability.
Best Wood Grain Types
When you go to pick out your butcher block, you will often find two different categories of wood grains within the materials:
End grain: The end of the wood fibers are exposed and showcase the natural beauty of wood, as they use the ends of boards to assemble. This design provides a longer-lasting board that resists cuts and warps over time.
Edge grain: Woodblocks are typically fashioned out of hardwood strips that run along the long side and alternately across the short side. Edge grain tops, while perfect for chopping and food prep, will wear faster than end grain tops. You can expect to pay $30 to $50 more on top of your total installation and materials for an edge grain.
FAQs About Butcher Block Countertops
Why should I pick butcher block countertops vs. granite?
Granite countertops cost around $80 per square foot. Butcher block counters are typically cheaper to purchase and install at about $40 to $100 per square foot. The shorter install time of butcher blocks comes with the trade-off of being slightly more challenging to work with than granite.
What should I consider when installing a butcher block countertop?
Butcher block is a high-maintenance countertop that requires more care than any other type of counter. Though the butcher block needs little care, regular maintenance helps to keep it looking good. Care prevents it from absorbing stains or splintering. Here's how to treat this unique type of countertop:
If unfinished, you should treat them with oil regularly once a month for the first year. Oil at least twice yearly after that to maintain their finish.
Stained countertops don't usually require any maintenance, but you might want to stain them again in three to five years.
Butcher block is durable, sanitary, and easy to clean as long as it's regularly maintained, but it can also pose sanitation issues in which moisture and bacteria become trapped inside the wood and grow. For worried home chefs, an epoxy sealant will ensure that the surface of your kitchen countertops stays germ-free.
What other projects should I do at the same time?
Since you're getting a fancy new butcher block countertop, it only makes sense to make some other fantastic upgrades to your home. How about hiring a local kitchen designer and home remodeler near you to revamp your kitchen or bar? You'll soon have a cohesive aesthetic to go along with your “Top Chef” look.