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I have been living with my butcher block countertops for a few years now. Do you remember this awesome kitchen makeover?  This kitchen update is one of my favorites of all!

Today I am sharing my thoughts on how we like our butcher blocks,  what we have learned, and how we sealed the surface of our butcher block countertops.  Maybe this info will come handy for you if you decide to go that route one day or if you already have butcher blocks, but you haven’t sealed them. If you perhaps still thinking and leaning more towards marble countertops, check out THIS post.

Beautiful two toned kitchen with butcher block countertops!Butcher Block Countertops are good countertops?

I think they are! I love the warmth, look, and feel of it and, I would install them over and over again.

But we learned along the way that just the oil that penetrates the wood won’t make it for us. I wanted to seal the counter with something that would make the surface waterproof.

Living with my counters for a while definitely made me want to waterproof it for a few reasons:

  1. We had areas, the hard working areas, and around the sink – where the wood started to darken in patches.   All you need is water for mold to appear and grow and I think that’s what happened in our case.
  2. It’s much easier to keep the surface clean when it’s waterproof. No worries about wine spills!! Heck yeah!

What is the best finish for butcher block countertops?

Beautiful two toned kitchen with butcher block countertops!

There are many options out there. We treated our counters with wood oil for months – we used the retailer suggested wood oil, and we used the method they recommended. After installation, we applied oil every two days (YES!), then every week, then every two weeks, then every month and then six months after. It needed lots of attention, and it’s was a heck of a lot of work!

While the oil would bring out the color and luster of the wood and allow you direct contact with the warmth and distinctive texture of the wood – I could not love it!

Anytime I placed a can on the counter, it left a significant mark, and I hated it.

No fun!

Butcher Block Countertops stain.

So we finally followed one of my friend’s suggestion – the method he used for sealing his butcher block countertop in his bathroom.

I want to claim that this is the way we made our counter waterproof, and this is not the only way to do it!

I know there are SO MANY OTHER OPTIONS out there, so be sure to do your research first! This process worked for us, and I would love to know how it’s working for you if you are going to try this method.


Beautiful two toned kitchen with butcher block countertops!

So the first thing we did was that we sanded the counters well until it was clean! We used a Ryobi sander.

After an hour of sending and four numb hands(!), we had the counter smoothened and cleaned out.

We vacuumed the dirt off the surface and applied one coat of natural stain. The one below.

One coat of stain would make the surface waterproof itself, and it gave our counter a beautiful finish, but based on my friend’s suggestion, the stain wasn’t going to be enough.

We then used Polyurethane and applied a thick coat on the top of the stain.

Polyurethane for butcher block countertops.

Polyurethane is a liquid coating that dries into a plastic film and is excellent for sealing the countertop, but then there’s a layer of plastic between you and your pretty new wood.

We chose the fast-drying product, so shortly after the first coat was dry, we were able to apply the second coat as well.

Beautiful two toned kitchen with butcher block countertops!

The smell in the room was strong, so we left the house for a few hours.

The outcome was great. I love that I can spill anything on my counter without worrying about it now. It was a straightforward, few steps that we should have done for a long time.

Beautiful two toned kitchen with butcher block countertops!

What do you think? Will you try this method?

Beautiful two toned kitchen with butcher block countertops!

Beautiful two toned kitchen with butcher block countertops!


Upper cabinets: BEHR-Ultra white

Lower Cabinets: BEHR-Night Club

If you want to get on some organizing projects, be sure to check out the OPEN PANTRY that I tackled not too long ago, or if you are feeling to DIY something easy this weekend, be sure to check out this EASY DIY PICTURE FRAME or this IKEA TV STAND HACK tutorial.

Open pantry shelves!

Do you love the style of my kitchen? Here are a few things you can grab to mimic this style and look! ( affiliate links- read my disclosure here!)

Thanks for visiting today!

I hope you will stick around for more awesomeness!



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  1. Many people have asked what color your cabinets are. I am wondering too because I love it too! Do you have an answer to that?

    1. ALEAH, I am going to update the post shortly but here it is: Upper cabinets: BEHR-Ultra white

      Lower Cabinets: BEHR-Night Club. Hope it helps

  2. Hi Aniko,
    Did you find that the stain application lessened the appearance of contrast in the wood grain a bit? We recently did just poly over butchers block but the variation in the wood brought out by the poly is a bit much for me… Was just curious if the stain might lessen the contrast a bit.

  3. I was curious. How do your countertops look now that a year or so have passed? I am so tired if the upkeep since I just oiled my butcher block and am tired of the stains and also all my papers/ mail gets all oily. Has there been any problems since you first oiled them and changed your mind and polyurethaned them? Any bubbling or peeling?

  4. We just installed our butch block countertop 2 days ago. I’ve used 2 bottles of mineral oil so far.
    I’m thinking I will now polyurethane it.
    Do I have to sand it again if I only oiled it for 2 days?

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience! After reading this plus a nephews advice just like yours, this is the method we chose when we just had ours installed yesterday. (We chose not to stain ours and the polyurethane alone looks awesome and getting darker) 2 coats so far and I’m thinking 2 more today. Since ours is already installed, I hope you don’t have to do the underside too? Also, do you use matts or anything for under the coffee maker and other appliances? And what about a dish rack on counter top, is that safe/smart thing with polyurethane butcherblock counters?

    Yours look awesome and already after 2 coats so far, ours do too!

  6. Hello! My counters are butcher block and they are sealed so how to you clean them and maintain them after they are sealed?

  7. Thank you for the great article. We just purchased butcher blocks for our kitchen. We starting applying oil and realized after reading more information that we probably should have just sealed them with poly. I wanted to confirm that you oiled these for a long period of time and then applied the poly? My husband seems to think the poly will not work after applying oil. Thank you for any information you can supply.

  8. Hi there. We have been oiling our butcher block counter top now for at least 5 years with various butcher block/mineral oils. Although I like the look, I would like something more durable so I don’t freak out every time hubby puts something damp on the counter (and I’d like a little shine).
    My question is…is there any way to seal on top of the already oiled counter top? I’m not sure how deep I would have to sand to get to “fresh” un-oiled wood as the counter is not super thick.
    Thanks 🙂

  9. OMG, thank you for this! I want to get butcher block, but the maintenance always scared me away. Any idea how often you’ll need to reapply the poly? Or is it just based on how much it’s used?

  10. Poly will definitely seal out water and most staining liquids. The problems start when the poly surface is damaged. To repair poly you have to completely remove it down to the wood and reapply, spot repairs will never match and will stand out.
    Tung oil based varnish such as waterlox is durable and can be spot repaired. It’s commonly used on floors and fine furniture.

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