If you are considering installing butcher block countertops in your kitchen, as Ben and Erin Napier have, bear in mind that you will need to take some precautions when cooking, as Erin is doing in this Instagram post. Wood is naturally absorbent, which can pose an issue in the kitchen. Spilling liquid on your butcher block countertops can lead to warping if the liquid is left to sit. Wood’s natural absorption qualities also mean it can take on germs and mold spores that can settle into the counter, making it an unhygienic surface to cook on. Colored liquids such as drinks or sauce can also absorb into the wood and stain it if the mess isn’t cleaned up right away. To prevent absorption, you need to use a sealer that is both water-resistant and food-safe, such as a mineral or tung oil. For the most protection, apply the oil multiple times, allowing it to dry completely between coats. You will have to reseal your countertops every month to keep the wood protected for the first year.
You must also be cautious with heat when you have butcher block countertops. Since wood is prone to burning, you must be careful with hot pots, pans, and baking sheets. This material cannot withstand high-texture exposure, so you should never place hot items from the stove or the oven directly onto wood countertops. Instead, you should use a metal trivet to keep the heat from coming into contact with the wood.