There are several things you can do to care for your wood countertop. Proper sanding and sealing can help minimize issues and prevent them. Periodic sanding will also help reduce warping and cracking, as well as prevent discoloration and burning. Proper care can help prevent these problems, but it will require more work than most homeowners are willing to invest. For these reasons, periodic sanding may be the best option.
Butcher block countertops
It is possible to install butcher block countertops yourself. You should have a good understanding of how to install wood countertops, but there are some things that you should keep in mind. For example, the material can expand and contract in different seasons. Before installing the wood countertops, they should acclimate to their new home and cabinetry. If you are doing this yourself, make sure you take into account the shimming of the cabinets.
Although they are considered “very bad” wood countertops, they can last for years with proper care. They do require routine maintenance, like applying oil every month. You can also use salt or lemon to remove tough stains. If you choose this type of countertop, make sure that you use food-grade mineral oil. You can also wipe them clean with a damp cloth. Then, you can use a dough scraper to remove any remaining stains or dirt.
Oiling butcher block countertops
While oiling your butcher block countertop may seem like an unnecessary step, it’s one that can protect your kitchen from scratches and other damages. The process of oiling your butcher block countertops will depend on how often you use your countertops and the humidity in your home. If you use your countertops regularly, you might only need to oil them once every two months. After you’ve applied the oil, make sure you allow it to soak into the wood for at least a couple of hours.
Once your butcher block countertops are properly sealed, you can apply a food-safe oil or a varnish. For best results, use mineral oil. Mineral oil is the most common type of oil for wood countertops. For an extra protective layer, use plant-based oils such as Butcher Block & Cutting Board Oil. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions for oiling butcher block countertops.
Repairing cracks and scratches on a butcher block countertop
If you’ve noticed a scratch or crack in your butcher block countertop, you can restore the look of your countertop by repairing it. The repair process can be done by sanding the affected area with a fine-grit sandpaper, preferably 150-grit. Then, wipe the counter clean with a damp paper towel to remove any excess dust. If the scratch is deep enough, you can use a sealing finish to prevent liquids from penetrating the wood. Food-grade mineral oil is a good choice. Avoid using olive oil or flax and linseed oils, as these can go rancid.
However, canning wax is also a great option for filling cracks. Simply pour it along the crack length and let it harden. Once the wax has dried, you can scrape the excess wax away using a plastic scraper. Alternatively, you can use wood glue and apply it under the crack, then cover it with masking tape. However, be careful not to use too much wood glue, as it may shrink while drying. Also, don’t use any flammable epoxies.
Protecting wood countertops from water
While you may not think about water on your wood countertop often, you might be surprised to know that wood is a porous material and can react badly to water. Water seepage can result in swelling, splitting, and wood rot. Fortunately, wood is relatively easy to maintain. A quick solution to prevent water seepage is to apply a protective coating. You can use mineral oil on butcher block counters, but avoid urethane finishes, as these are not food safe.
For countertops that are not used for chopping, you can use a stain or waterproof sealer. There are two types of sealers: penetrating and topical. Penetrating sealers, such as Rubio Monocoat, are hand-applied oils that contain resins and provide a water and stain resistant seal. Penetrating sealers will penetrate the wood surface and seal it from water, but they have a low sheen, which may hide the wood underneath.