Why Sealing Butcher Block Countertops Is Important

sealing butcher block countertop

Sealing butcher block countertops is an essential step in preserving their beauty and functionality. As a homeowner or apartment renter, you may be wondering which sealant options are best suited for your countertop’s needs. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the various types of oil sealants available for sealing butcher block countertops, including evaporating oils and polymerizing oils. I bet you are glad that you clicked on the link. We are. It is important to seal your butcher block counters not only fr appearance but also for food safety.

We’ll also discuss popular products such as Waterlox Original Sealer Finish and explore alternative finishes like polyurethane and epoxy resin solutions. For those seeking eco-friendly options, we’ll introduce food-grade sealers.

Lastly, maintaining your sealed countertop finish is crucial to ensure its longevity; therefore, we’ll provide proper care tips and guidance on when refinishing may be necessary. By the end of this post, you will have gained valuable knowledge to make informed decisions about sealing your butcher block countertops effectively.

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Types of Oil Sealants for Butcher Block Countertops

When sealing butcher block countertops, there are two types of oil sealants to consider: evaporating oils and polymerizing oils. Evaporating oils give the wood a rich finish while polymerizing oils clog the pores to create a sealed surface. In this section, we will discuss these two categories and some popular products used on butcher block countertops such as Watco Butcher Block Oil, Pure Tung Oil, and Howard Butcher Block Oil, Conditioner, and Sealer Kit.

Evaporating Oils vs Polymerizing Oils

Evaporating oils, like mineral oil or linseed oil, soak into the wood fibers without hardening or forming a film. They provide an attractive appearance but require more frequent maintenance than their counterparts. On the other hand, polymerizing oils, such as Tung oil or Danish oil, undergo chemical reactions that cause them to harden within the wood’s pores creating a protective barrier against moisture and stains.

Popular Products for Sealing Butcher Block Countertops

Selecting the right sealant for your butcher block countertop depends on factors such as desired appearance, maintenance requirements, and intended use of the surface. To help you decide, let us explore some of the most common options in more detail.

The types of oil sealants for butcher block countertops depend on the type of finish you are looking to achieve and should be carefully considered before beginning any project. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how Waterlox Original Sealer Finish can provide an attractive and durable solution.

Key Takeaway: 


When sealing butcher block countertops, there are two types of oil sealants to consider: evaporating oils and polymerizing oils. Popular products for sealing include Waterlox Original Sealer Finish, Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac, wax, and polyurethane. Choosing the right sealant depends on factors such as desired appearance, maintenance requirements, and intended use of the surface.

Using Watco Butcher Block Oil and Finish

One popular option for sealing butcher block countertops is Watco Butcher Block Oil. This blend of Tung oil and resin provides a water-resistant finish that’s also food safe. In this section, we will discuss the benefits of using Waterlox Original Sealer Finish and guide you through the application process.

Benefits of Watco Butcher Block Oil and Finish

  • Durability: Watco creates a durable surface that can withstand daily use in your kitchen.
  • Food Safe: Unlike some other sealants, Watco is non-toxic when cured, making it safe for food preparation surfaces.
  • Aesthetics: The sealer enhances the natural beauty of wood by giving it a rich finish while preserving its texture and grain pattern.
  • Maintenance: With proper care, Watco finishes can last for years without needing to be reapplied or refinished frequently.

Application Process

  1. Clean the countertop surface: Prior to applying any sealant on your butcher block countertops, ensure they are clean from dust or debris. Use mild soap and water if necessary before allowing them to dry completely.

Watco Butcher Block Oil and Finish is an excellent choice for protecting butcher block countertops and provides a beautiful, durable finish. For those looking for an alternative to Watco, the next heading will discuss using Pure Tung Oil as another option.

Sealing Butcher Block Countertops with Pure Tung Oil

If you have butcher block countertops in your kitchen, you know how important it is to keep them protected from spills and stains. One way to do this is by sealing them with Pure Tung Oil

. This finish provides a durable barrier that can withstand the wear and tear of daily use while maintaining the natural beauty of your wood countertop.

Advantages of Pure Tung Oil Finishes

  • Durability: A well-applied Pure Tung Oil finish can last for years without needing refinishing, making it an excellent choice for busy kitchens.
  • Faster Drying Times: Unlike some other sealants like epoxy, Pure Tung Oil dries relatively quickly – usually within 12 hours – allowing you to use your countertop sooner after application.
  • Versatility: Available in various sheens the more that you apply.
  • Maintenance: Cleaning up spills on a Pure Tung Oil countertop is simple; just wipe them away with a damp cloth before they have time to penetrate the wood’s surface.

Proper Application Techniques

To achieve optimal results when using polyurethane as a sealant for butcher block countertops, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the countertop surfaces with a gentle cleanser, ensuring all dirt and particles are eliminated before wiping off. Allow it to dry completely before proceeding.
  2. Sand down the entire surface evenly using fine-grit sandpaper (120-200 grit). This can facilitate the polyurethane to better bond with the wood and make a sleek finish.
  3. Apply the first coat of Pure Tung Oil using a high-quality brush or foam applicator, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow it to dry according to the recommended time on the product label.
  4. Sand lightly between coats with fine-grit sandpaper (220-320 grit) for an even smoother finish. Remove any dust before applying additional coats.

By choosing Pure Tung Oil as your sealing option for butcher block countertops, you can enjoy long-lasting protection while preserving their natural beauty and functionality in your kitchen space.

Pure Tung Oil is a great alternative for those looking to seal their butcher block countertops, as it offers durability and ease of application. However, epoxy resin solutions may be the best choice for some applications due to its increased strength and customizability with color.

Key Takeaway: 


Sealing butcher block countertops with polyurethane provides a durable barrier against spills and stains while maintaining the natural beauty of the wood. Polyurethane finishes are versatile, fast-drying, and easy to maintain, making them an excellent choice for busy kitchens. To apply polyurethane properly, clean the surface thoroughly, sand it down evenly using fine-grit sandpaper before applying at least three coats of polyurethane.

Howard Butcher Block Kit

Another popular choice for sealing butcher block countertops is Howard Butcher Block Kit, which offers superior durability compared to other finishes like polyurethane or shellac. In this section, we will explore why Howard Butcher Block Kit is an excellent solution when looking for long-lasting protection against spills on your counters’ surfaces.

Howard Butcher Block Kit Compared to Other Finishes

Howard Butcher Block Kit is renowned for its robustness and toughness, making it a top pick for those wanting to ensure their butcher block countertops remain in great condition over the long haul. Unlike other finishes that may require regular maintenance or refinishing over time, Howard Butcher Block Kit creates a tough barrier that protects the wood from moisture, stains, and scratches. Additionally, it’s resistant to heat and chemicals – perfect for busy kitchens where accidents happen. Here’s an informative guide on applying Howard Butcher Block Kit countertop coating.

Key Takeaway: 


Epoxy resin is a popular choice for sealing butcher block countertops due to its durability and resistance to wear and tear. It creates a tough barrier that protects the wood from moisture, stains, scratches, heat, and chemicals. Additionally, customizing epoxy with color can add personality while hiding minor imperfections over time.

Eco-Friendly Sealing Options

For those seeking an eco-friendly alternative without sacrificing performance or aesthetics, consider using HOPE’S 100% Pure Tung Oil. This low VOC product has minimal odor yet offers excellent protection against spills on your butcher block countertops when applied correctly following manufacturer instructions (typically involving lint-free rags).

Benefits of Low VOC Products

  • Environmentally friendly: Low VOC products release fewer volatile organic compounds into the air, reducing their impact on indoor air quality and the environment.
  • Better for health: Exposure to high levels of VOCs can cause respiratory issues and other health problems. Using a low-VOC sealant helps protect you and your family from these risks.
  • No strong odors: Unlike some traditional sealing options, low-VOC products have little to no smell during the application, making them more pleasant to work with.

Application Process for HOPE’S 100% Pure Tung Oil

  1. Clean the butcher block countertop thoroughly by removing any dust or debris. Allow it to dry completely before proceeding.
  2. Gently stir the HOPE’S 100% Pure Tung Oil until well mixed. Do not shake as this may introduce bubbles into the finish.
  3. Pour a small amount of finish onto a clean, lint-free rag or applicator pad. Apply evenly across the entire surface in long strokes along the wood grain direction.
  4. Allow each coat to dry according to manufacturer recommendations (usually about two hours) before applying additional coats. Two to three coats are typically sufficient for a durable, water-resistant finish.
  5. Once the final coat has dried, buffing with a clean cloth to create a smooth, satin sheen will ensure that your butcher block countertops are properly sealed and protected.

Maintaining your butcher block countertops with eco-friendly sealing options like HOPE’S 100% Pure Tung Oil not only protects your investment but also contributes to a healthier living environment for you and your family.

Sealing your butcher block countertop with a low VOC product is an excellent way to protect the surface and keep it looking great for years. With proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that your finish will last even longer; let’s look at how best to maintain your butcher block countertop finish.

Key Takeaway: 


To seal butcher block countertops in an eco-friendly way, consider using Waterlox’s TrueTone Buff-in Tung Oil finish. This low VOC product has minimal odor and offers excellent protection against spills while being better for the environment and your health. The application process involves cleaning the surface thoroughly, applying two to three coats of the finish with a lint-free rag or applicator pad, and buffing it after drying to achieve a smooth sheen.

Maintaining Your Butcher Block Countertop Finish

Regardless of which method you choose for sealing your butcher block countertops, it’s essential to take proper care of the finish. By following these maintenance tips and knowing when refinishing is necessary, you can ensure your countertops remain in excellent condition for years to come.

Proper Care and Maintenance Tips

  • Clean regularly: Wipe down your countertop with a damp cloth or sponge after each use. For stubborn stains or residues, use a mild dish soap mixed with warm water. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may damage the sealant.
  • Avoid excessive moisture: While sealed butcher block countertops are more resistant to water damage than untreated surfaces, it’s still crucial to prevent prolonged exposure to moisture by wiping up spills promptly and using trivets or coasters under hot pots and pans.
  • Sanding scratches: If minor scratches occur on the surface of your countertop, gently sand them out with fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit) before reapplying oil or another protective finish as needed.

When Refinishing is Necessary

If properly maintained, sealed butcher block countertops should last many years without needing significant refinishing work. However, there are some instances where refinishing becomes necessary:

  1. The surface has become excessively worn due to heavy use over time – this typically requires complete removal of the old finish followed by reapplication of new sealant.
  2. Water damage or stains have penetrated the sealant, causing discoloration and potential structural issues – in this case, you’ll need to sand down the affected area before resealing it.

In these situations, consult a professional or follow detailed refinishing instructions to ensure your butcher block countertops are restored to their original beauty and functionality. By staying vigilant with proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy your sealed butcher block countertops for many years to come.

Key Takeaway: 


To maintain your butcher block countertop finish, clean it regularly with a damp cloth or sponge and avoid excessive moisture. If refinishing becomes necessary due to heavy use over time or water damage, consult a professional or follow detailed instructions for restoration. By taking proper care of the finish and knowing when to refinish, you can enjoy your sealed butcher block countertops for many years.

FAQs in Relation to Sealing Butcher Block Countertops

Are You Supposed to Seal Butcher Block Countertops?

Yes, sealing butcher block countertops is essential to protect the wood from moisture, stains, and bacteria. Sealing also enhances the appearance of the countertop and prolongs its lifespan. There are various sealants available such as oil-based finishes, polyurethane coatings, epoxy resins, and eco-friendly options.

What Is the Best Sealant for Butcher Block Countertops?

The best sealant for butcher block countertops depends on your preferences and usage requirements. Popular choices include polymerizing oils like tung oil or linseed oil; HOPE’S 100% Pure Tung Oil which provides a durable finish; Howard Butcher Block Kit for a more water-resistant surface.

What Should a Butcher Block Be Sealed With?

A butcher block can be sealed with various products depending on desired aesthetics and functionality. Options include evaporating oils (mineral oil), polymerizing oils (tung or linseed oil), Howard Butcher Block Kit, polyurethane coatings, epoxy resins or eco-friendly low VOC alternatives like HOPE’S 100% Pure Tung Oil . Each option has specific application processes and maintenance requirements.

What Happens If You Don’t Seal a Butcher Block Countertop?

If left unsealed, a butcher-block countertop will absorb moisture leading to warping or swelling of the wood over time. Additionally, it may become susceptible to staining from food spills while harboring harmful bacteria in porous surfaces making it less hygienic than properly sealed counterparts. Unsealed wooden surfaces tend to wear out faster requiring frequent refinishing compared to those that have been appropriately treated with a sealant.


There are a variety of sealant options available to homeowners and apartment renters alike, from evaporating oils to epoxy resin solutions. It is crucial to think about your particular requirements before selecting a product, as each kind has its own benefits.

To ensure the longevity of your countertop finish, proper care and maintenance are essential. This includes regular cleaning with mild soap and water, avoiding harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, and reapplying sealant as needed.

Tom Whitford
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