Why I’d Never Get This Overrated Countertop in My Kitchen Again (I Thought I’d Love It!)

published Jun 7, 2024
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A clean, natural-lit white kitchen with wood countertops
Credit: Lana Kenney

When I found out butcher block countertops were all the rage among celebrities, I rolled my eyes a little bit. I inherited wooden countertops from the previous owners’ remodel when we moved into our home about a year ago. And while I thought they looked super chic and timeless when we toured the house, I quickly grew to loathe them. 

Before I get into why I have such strong feelings about my countertops, I need to make a confession — I’m about 50% sure they’re true butcher block. After a lot of half-ass internet research, I’ve discovered that butcher block counters mean that the strips of hardwood are glued together to create a durable surface, usually laid on their side (edge grain) or facing up (end grain). Our countertops have planks of wood facing up (to picture this, think of how hardwood floors are laid out) and are about 1-inch thick. They look “fused” together, as many butcher block explainers describe, but maybe they’re just wooden counters? (Please let me know in the comments below if you know, because the lack of clarity is annoying me to an irrational extreme.) Regardless, trendy butcher block or just plain wooden, it doesn’t matter — I would never recommend them to anyone. 

Credit: Lauren Miyashiro

Why I Hate My Wooden Countertops

Part of the major appeal of butcher block countertops is that they’re supposed to be durable and functional. Even if it turns out my counters are merely wooden, and not butcher block, I still think there should be a major asterisk here when you’re weighing the pros and cons. For one, both types of countertops require a good amount of maintenance with regular sanding and oiling. From someone who feels majorly accomplished if I have the energy to wash and moisturize my face at night, I would appreciate it if my kitchen counters were lower maintenance than I am. 

Credit: Lauren Miyashiro

The bigger problem, though, is the area by the sink. My husband and I work from home, have two kids, and have a small dishwasher, so we hand-wash a decent amount of dishes every day. We also have an itty-bitty sink — rinsing a Dutch oven in there can lead to an embarrassing amount of splashing on the counters, and even though we try to wipe it up quickly, it’s really worn down the surface and oil of the wood. It’s not just an eyesore — I’m also nervous that we may develop mold

As for cutting directly on the counters, we don’t. Mainly because I don’t want to deal with sanding out knicks and scratches, but also because it feels chaotic. Just imagining all the broccoli dust I’d need to wipe up after cutting my florets gives me anxiety. I’m counting down the days until I can get them replaced. 

What are your thoughts on the butcher block countertop trend? Overrated or obsessed?