How to protect a butcher block countertop: Sealing Butcher Block Countertops: Waterlox vs. Mineral Oil

Sealing Butcher Block Countertops: Waterlox vs. Mineral Oil

Updated: by Kris Jarrett

Wondering you should use for sealing butcher block countertops? I tried both Waterlox and mineral oil and am sharing what worked best for me!

After sharing our new coffee station last week, several of you had questions about what we used to seal our new butcher block countertops so I’m going to fill you in on those details today. (post includes affiliate links – full disclosure statement available {here}). As you known, we only have them in a small area at the far end of our kitchen where we ripped out the old, ugly tiled countertop:

Scroll & Click/Tap to Shop the Look!

Turn on your JavaScript to view content


Once installed, it’s important to treat or seal the butcher block to keep it from drying out and staining. There are a lot of options for products to treat butcher block, but one of the simplest and least expensive is mineral oil. And that’s what I went with for the first several months.

Sealing Butcher Block Countertops with Mineral Oil

To seal butcher block with mineral oil, you simply apply the mineral oil generously, let it soak in, and wipe off the excess. You need to do it fairly regularly at first but then only about once a month after you’ve gotten through several applications. But here’s the problem that I found with mineral oil. Any paper that you lay down on it will absorb the oil from the butcher block and stain the paper. Even if it’s been weeks since you oiled it. I’d love to say that our kitchen is always neat as can be with no random school papers strewn about but…not so much. After several papers got ruined by laying them down in the wrong place, I knew that mineral oil wasn’t going to work for us.

Sealing Butcher Block Countertops with Waterlox

So after a lot of research into other options, I ended up trying Waterlox and I’m so glad I did – I love it! It’s a blend of Tung oil and resin with a water-resistant finish that’s also food safe. The company has great instructions on application of Waterlox on their website that are a must-read before using it, but the main steps are to sand the butcher block, clean it with mineral spirits, and then apply 3-5 coats of Waterlox with 24 hour dry time between coats.

Waterlox comes in three different sheens but it’s recommended that you start with Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish (available {here}) for the first coats and just do the last coat in either the satin or high-gloss finish if you want a different sheen. I’m not a big fan of shiny countertops so after three coats of the Sealer/Finish, I applied a coat of the Waterlox Satin (available {here}) which is less glossy. The color of the butcher block definitely changes depending upon the treatment that you choose with the Waterlox making the butcher block a deeper, just slightly more orangey color than the mineral oil.

You can see the difference even more clearly looking at this angle – the countertop was sealed with Waterlox and the board on top of it was treated with mineral oil:

Honestly, I prefer the lighter look of the oiled countertop to the darker Waterloxed countertop but with all of the other advantages of Waterlox (no more oil spots on stray kitchen papers, no more monthly maintenance, and better water resistance) it was the way to go for us.

If you’re thinking about using Waterlox too, be sure to read {this info on care and cleaning of Waterlox} so you are aware of what products you should and should not use on Waterloxed countertops.

So that’s my long-winded answer to your short question about our countertops. Butcher block countertops aren’t for everyone and we only have them in this one spot with granite in the rest of the kitchen but I love them and honestly wouldn’t hesitate to use them throughout a kitchen. How about you?

  • Pin
  • Share
  • Email

Categories: Decorating Tips


5 Secrets to Reinventing Your Home on a Budget

Simple tips to instantly transform five rooms in your home!

Reader Interactions


Sharing is caring!


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.

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?

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!

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.


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.

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.

What do you think? Will you try this method?


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.

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!)

Turn on your JavaScript to view content

Thanks for visiting today!

I hope you will stick around for more awesomeness!



How to protect countertop joints from moisture?

In this article we will tell you about the methods of protecting laminated chipboard countertops.

Plastic coated worktops have a number of advantages:
• affordable cost;
• variety of colors and textures;
• stability of color to influence of an ultraviolet;
• relative resistance to mechanical damage, thermal effects, food acids;
• the laminated coating has no pores, therefore it is resistant to moisture, hygienic.

There are also disadvantages (but we will tell you how to deal with them):
• chipboard can absorb moisture and swell if there are parts left uncovered by the edge, or the lamination has been damaged;
• Alkalis and concentrated acids can damage the lamination, it is also not recommended to cut products directly on the countertop – there will be scratches that worsen its appearance and performance.
• the board contains formaldehyde, a compound harmful to health. But in modern high-quality chipboards, its content and emission are minimal, and the sealing of all open cuts prevents its release;

Silicone sealant

To prevent swelling of the countertop and increase its service life, it is recommended to treat all cuts and all kinds of joints with a special silicone sealant. It can act as an independent method of hydroprotection, or in combination with other components.

Drying, silicone sealant forms a protective film that prevents the penetration of moisture. Most often, a thick layer of sealant is applied to the joint between the countertop and the wall, cutouts for the sink and hob, purchased in our store.


End plate

Corner plank

Connecting bar

An aluminum bar can be used to protect the ends of the countertop, it can be angular to protect the joint or connecting, if your countertop is shorter than the kitchen. The saw cut must be pre-treated with a transparent silicone sealant. In this case, when joining the two parts, a thinner layer is applied for a snug fit “without gaps”.

BOARD Before assembling the modules, make sure the specialist is qualified. He must carefully coat with silicone all the unfinished ends on the parts and get to work until the sealant has hardened.

Code: 600002636

End strip 38 mm R3

Code: 600002637

Worktop plank 38 mm R3 T-shaped

Code: 600002638

Corner plank 38 mm R3

Code: 600002029

Black corner strip 38 mm R8


The end edge protects the edges of the countertop from moisture.

Code: 600002527

Edge for worktop with glue 45 mm Lazio marble 3 m


Skirting boards are a functional part of the kitchen interior, they perform decorative and protective functions. They hide the joint between the countertop and the wall treated with a thick layer of sealant, and prevent moisture from entering.

Code: 642000447

Plinth for worktops LB23 White 3 m

Code: 600000633

Plinth for worktops LB23 Beads 3 m

Care after installation

To extend the life of the kitchen countertop and maintain its attractiveness, it is recommended to follow simple care rules:

  • keep water out of the joints
  • do not spill boiling water on the work surface
  • do not leave frozen food on the table for a long time
  • Any stains, water and splashes should preferably be wiped up immediately

Perhaps these are all recommendations for protecting countertops from moisture.
Follow them and the kitchen will serve you for decades.

Butcher block countertop: pros and cons



  • getCancelledCats().length > 0″ ng-click=”catSuggester.reacceptAll()”> Cancel
  • In English-speaking countries, massive wooden countertops that look like cutting boards are called butcher block-counters. An interesting solution for the design of a kitchen set, arrangement of a working area. The RMNT website will talk about its advantages and disadvantages.


    Butcher blocks are made not from a single piece of wood, but from individual straight cuts, planks of wood, which are connected with wood glue under pressure into massive slabs. It turns out a colorful tabletop that retains the texture and color of natural wood. For the manufacture of cutting blocks, maple is more often used – a durable, hard wood with a clear texture, more affordable than oak, cedar, teak and other valuable species. The thickness of the “butcher blocks” varies from 20 to 50 millimeters, the standard is 38-40 millimeters.

    Photo: reddit. com

    The advantages of “butcher counters” are as follows:

    1. They look beautiful, original, stylish. Natural wood adds texture and warmth to the interior, and goes well with kitchen fronts of different shades. “Butcher’s block” is most appropriate in farmhouse, rustic, ranch and rustic kitchens. However, a tabletop made of wood planks can also fit into a modern interior – contrasting combinations and a mixture of styles are now in vogue.
    2. It is possible to choose the type of wood, the appearance of the tabletop. Maple and acacia will give a light shade, walnut and cherry a darker one. The tabletop will be unique, it will not be possible to create two identical ones due to the characteristics of natural wood.
    3. Wood has natural antibacterial properties. If you want to turn part of your countertop into a cutting board, opt for a butcher block with oiled finishes. They are safe for food, the work area will be an ideal place for slicing. Often, owners opt for a “meat counter” for their kitchen island, which turns into one large cutting board.
    4. You can make a wooden tabletop from planks of wood and boards with your own hands – there is a detailed instruction with photo examples on the portal. This is a significant money saver. If you ordered a wooden countertop in a carpentry workshop, you can install it yourself – also savings.
    5. Wood is easy to repair. The scratched sections of the countertop are polished, special wood putties are used to mask the defects. The work surface, which has become dull, has lost its original appearance, can be re-opened with natural oil.


    Disadvantages of “butcher blocks” in the kitchen are noticeable:

    1. Due to high humidity and excessive dryness, wooden planks will swell and shrink, deform. Next to the sink, the countertop will have to be carefully sealed, immediately clean up spilled liquids.
    2. Hot pots and pans should not be placed on the plank worktop – it is not heat resistant. There will be noticeable marks, the surface will be damaged, special hot pads are required.