Butcher Block vs Granite Countertops: How To Decide

Choosing the Best Kitchen Countertop Material
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The kitchen is one part of the home that most people use extensively, so its layout and appearance can make a huge difference to the rest of the home and how you feel when you’re using it. Since countertops are a huge factor when remodeling a kitchen, and one of the biggest costs, it’s worth getting to know the best options for materials. 


Butcher blocks and granite countertops are two of the most popular options for kitchens; granite is popular because no two stones are the same, making every countertop unique. Butcher block countertops are popular because they double as a sanitary food prep station and are easy to install. 


Let’s take a look at the cost of each material’s pros and cons so you can decide which is best for you.

 

Are butcher block countertops more expensive than granite? 

A butcher block’s cost depends on the type of wood you use, but a typical edge-grain maple countertop will cost you between $35 and $38 per square foot. This makes it cheaper than granite but dearer than laminate. Of course, this doesn’t include the price of labor or any additional materials. 


Granite is typically sold by the square foot. Again this doesn’t include the costs of the edging and sink installation. Granite is fabricated and installed by professionals, so you’ll often find that the installation cost is added to the cost of the granite itself. Granite can cost anywhere from $30 to $500 per square foot. However, most stones cost between $40-$75 per square foot. The cost of edging is calculated per linear foot, which starts around $10 per foot. 

 

What is a cheaper alternative to granite countertops?

Ceramic or porcelain tile countertops are one of the cheapest alternatives to granite countertops. Costing as low as $5 per square foot, tile countertops are an attractive option for the budget-conscious. Tiles are also an excellent choice for creative homeowners as they can be customized to suit the homeowners’ taste and color scheme. Tile countertops are certainly a cheap option, but they can be relatively high maintenance, requiring a resealing of grout every year.  


Laminate is another cheap option for homeowners who are redoing kitchen countertops. At $25-$50 per square foot, laminate countertops provide an inexpensive alternative to installing new counters. Laminate countertops are low maintenance and easy to cover with replacement laminate. However, this material’s lifespan is probably the shortest of all the granite alternatives. Laminate may be cheap, but it’s easy to damage, so it is generally only used for shorter-term solutions.  

 

Are butcher blocks sanitary?

Wood has a natural hygroscopic effect, meaning that it divests bacteria of water it needs to survive and multiply.


The harder and denser the wood used to make your butcher blocks is, the more hygienic it will be. For example, butcher blocks made with solid common hornbeam wood are durable and easy to clean. To clean butcher blocks, use a wet sponge with some dish soap, and be sure to dry your surfaces once they’re clean. For an extra antiseptic effect, use table vinegar instead of dish soap. The mixture might not smell as nice as your dish soap, but it’s an effective way of keeping your surfaces clean. 

 

What is the best butcher block countertop?

Butcher block countertops can be made from any type of wood, but maple wood is one of the most popular types of wood for this purpose.


Edge grain is the most commonly used material for countertops because it is inexpensive, strong, and stable. Edge grain countertops are made with long boards placed on their sides and joined so that their long and narrow edges face upwards to form the surface. 


End grain is a more expensive solution than edge grain, but it’s the strongest type of butcher block. End grain butcher block counters are made using small, rectangular blocks arranged with the ends are visible on the surface. Physically, it looks more exciting than edge grain, but its high price point often deters people from using it as their entire countertop material. 

 

What is the best granite countertop?

Granite comes in many colors and features countless patterns and veins, but some of the most popular granite countertops are white. White River granite is particularly popular; this light stone has a rich, gray vein that often looks broken or flecked. This granite’s tone is consistent and is rarely seen in darker hues. Its small deposits of red minerals make it a unique option for countertops.


Another commonly used type of granite is imperial red granite. This dynamic stone is a warm red with specks of black, gray and white, and was particularly popular between the 1970s and 1990s. 


Black galaxy granite is popular this decade as it lends itself to minimalist, modern design. With flecks of silvery-white, it gives a sense of glamour and is also known as Fortune Black Galaxy. 


The best granite countertop for you depends on your taste, budget and chosen color scheme. Granite is a deceptively sturdy and resilient material and works well with so many design styles. 

 

How often do you have to oil butcher block countertops?

After a while, the surface of your butcher block counter will become lighter in color. To prevent your countertops from deteriorating, rub sunflower oil on the surface of the wood and leave it to soak overnight. The next day, wipe off any remaining oil with a paper towel. You should aim to do this every six months (though more frequently immediately after installation). 


This treatment will give your countertops a nice luster, protecting the wood against excess moisture and stains. It also preserves the wood’s natural antibacterial properties. Sunflower oil is generally seen as the best option for butcher block countertops because it soaks into the wood quickly, is odorless and colorless.

 

Which type of kitchen countertop is best for me?

There are so many choices when it comes to selecting the right kitchen countertop, with seemingly endless colors, materials, veining patterns, maintenance requirements and durability levels. So here are some questions to consider when making your decision: 


  1. What’s my budget? As we learned earlier, a butcher block is cheaper and easier to install, but granite countertops are more costly and installed only by a trained professional. While it’s expected to spend a little more than planned in your renovation process, you don’t want to spend that much more than expected, so consider your total budget and factor that in. 
  2. What style or theme am I aiming for? Answering this question will help you decide as certain materials lend themselves to a particular design style. For example, if you’re going for a sleek and modern look, granite may be the best option as it looks clean and up-to-date. However, if you’re going for a more cozy, vintage feel, butcher blocks may complement that style instead. 
  3. What color scheme am I planning? Granite can be a fun option if you’re looking for less traditional wall and cabinet colors, as you can find granite with specks of color that match your cabinets. Granite is also popular with calming white and grey and can enhance the kitchen’s spacious feeling if you go for a lighter color.  Butcher blocks are versatile and go well with any wall or cabinet color, whether beachy sage or dramatic forest green.
  4. What will I use my countertops for? If it’s just you and a partner in the home, or you don’t cook every day, a durable countertop might not be as important to someone in a family with lots of children to feed. If you fit into the former category, a granite countertop might suit you better, and if you fit the latter, go for a butcher block.  
  5. How much maintenance am I willing to do with my countertops? Both granite and butcher block countertops require regular sealing. Butcher block countertops also need cleaning after food preparation and should be refinished to keep their natural luster. If you go for granite countertops, you’ll want to prevent stains by sealing them periodically, but granite doesn’t require as much upkeep as wood because it’s porous and will soak up the finish. These factors are all worth thinking about before you latch on to the idea of one or the other. 

 

Kitchen countertops are a sizable investment and are certainly worth considering before you make your decision. After cabinets, countertops are the most expensive part of any kitchen, and, as the place you prepare all your meals, it’ll be something you have to look at daily. 

 

At Skipp, we know how many questions are involved in remodeling any part of the home. We know that costs can add up, and we’re passionate about helping our customers achieve their dream kitchen. In our quick initial process, we’ll do a 30-minute scan of your kitchen and generate layout options, which we’ll then narrow down to suit your needs. Then, once we know your requirements, we’ll put you in touch with our top-tier design professionals, trusted contractors and architect-grade planners. Click here to start your free renovation estimate today. 

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