DIY Ikea Butcher Block Countertops

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About: I am a self taught maker that has fallen in love with making instead of buying. I create how-to videos about the projects I love and make. Check out my YouTube channel for more!

I made new countertops for my kitchen using a butcher block slab I bought from Ikea. This was a fairly easy and inexpensive remodel and a big upgrade from the old formica that came with the house. I hope you find some inspiration to do your own.

Check out the video here (or above) for a more detailed tutorial

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Tools and materials I used to make this project (affiliate)

Step 2: Cut the Butcher Block to Size

I started the project by measuring for my cuts. I then secured a straight edge guide to run my circular saw along and made my cuts. I also changed out my standard circular saw blade for a fine toothed blade for a super nice, clean cut. The large block was held up off the ground and supported by 2x4's.

Step 3: Sand the Slabs

I next worked my way to to 320 grit and sanded the slabs smooth with my orbital sander.

Step 4: Stain

Before I stain wood, I use a wood conditioner. This helps to even out the color and create a much more even stain coat. As for the stain, I chose walnut for this project. The longer you leave it on, the darker your stain will be.

Step 5: Seal and Finish

I put a lot of time into researching sealers and finishes for these counters because I really wanted to protect them well. To protect these countertops (especially against water and moisture), I chose to seal them with several applications of Waterlox.

I started by sealing the bottoms and sides with two coats of the Waterlox Original, letting them dry for 24 hours in between coats. I started by using a paint pad but ultimately ditched that and just used a good quality paint brush for the tops.

The tops needed more protection than the bottom. I started this step by applying two coats of Waterlox Original, with 24 hours of drying in between. I also sanded each coat before applying the next with a piece of super fine steel wool.

I wanted the countertops to have more of a matte finish, so I used a mixture of 50/50 Waterlox Original and Waterlox Satin Finish for the last two coats of sealing - for a total of 4 coats.

Step 6: Installation

I removed the old formica tops and slid the new ones in place. I used shims to make the tops completely level.

To secure them, Ikea conveniently provided some angle bracket hardware and screws. I pre-drilled the holes and then screwed one side to the cabinet base and then one side to the countertop.

To make sure I didn't cut too deep, I used painters tape to make a depth guide on my drill bit.

Step 7: Caulk the Edges

The last step to completing the countertops was to caulk the edges. We'd been wanting to add a backsplash so I added the tile backsplash before finishing with caulking the seams. And with that, the countertops were complete!

Step 8: Enjoy Your New Countertops!

Such an improvement! For more detailed instructions on the countertops, be sure and watch the video. I hope this inspires you and I'd love to see pics of your countertops if you decide to make your own!

Be sure and check out my YouTube channel for more builds. You can also find me on Instagram @makergray

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    28 Discussions

    The countertops look portable at the very first glance which really intrigued my interests. I have always wanted something sturdy while not looking ugly to complement the cabinets at home. The color choice also goes very well with the entire ensemble, so great job!

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    jpobst1

    14 days ago

    Those look great. Good job. When we remodeled our kitchen I used butcher block counter top from Menards. Is waterlox food safe? When I researched it the only food safe coating was watco finish and bees wax i think. I used watco but didn’t like the color. So we stained and sealed them in the end. We just don’t let raw food touch the counter tops.

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    amesgirl64jpobst1

    Reply 4 days ago

    Waterlox Original Tung oil finishes are water resistant, stand up to household spills and are non-toxic1 and food-safe when dry. Waterlox Original Tung oil finisheshave good heat resistance, can be used around stoves and are unaffected by boiling water and liquids. From their site.

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    Maker Grayjpobst1

    Reply 14 days ago

    Thanks so much! I don't believe Waterlox is food safe, but I'm not positive. We just don't put food directly on them. We use a cutting board, etc. I'm super happy with how the finish has held up after a year.

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    sybere

    13 days ago

    I'm so inspired by your project. Your cabinets looking relatively new...do you think this would work on older cabinets? did you replace the area around your sink? This is the section I need to fix most.

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    Maker Graysybere

    Reply 12 days ago

    Thank you! I do think these would work on older cabinets. You might have to shim some, but that's no big deal. We contemplated replacing the area around our sink, but ended up splurging for quartz. I'm glad we did because we don't have to worry much about water. But honestly if you put lots of coats of Waterlox on, you'd probably be okay there. These butcher block counters that I did are in a high use area, next to the stove and fridge, and they've held up so well. I'd feel pretty good around the sink after seeing how well they've done. But again, it all has to do with how well you seal them and how quick you are to clean up water around the sink.

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    JohanV85

    15 days ago

    Those came out great! Quick question, what circular saw guide did you use to cut the block? Bora?

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    Maker GrayJohanV85

    Reply 15 days ago

    Thanks so much! My guide was a crappy Pittsburgh from Harbor Freight. I'd definitely not recommend it, and I wish I'd invested in a better one before this project.

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    BrianG123

    15 days ago on Introduction

    To prevent tearout on the top, run your circular saw along the bottom of the piece, so the teeth are pulling into the finish surface. I do this when crosscutting oak plywood and preapplied formica counter tops as well.

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    Maker GrayBrianG123

    Reply 15 days ago

    Great advice. I've since learned this. Thankfully no tear out on this counter but I wish I'd known that earlier. Thanks so much!

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    tgvoss

    15 days ago

    We did this 4x years ago but left the original finish and just oil ours with mineral spirits. We love the look and feel of having more wood in our kitchen. Everyone told us it was a bad idea but we still love it!

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    obillo

    15 days ago on Step 8

    Very nice work, MaGr. As tyo the finish, I'm contemplating using West Marine epoxy. As to the cutting, I'm going to tilt saw blade 45 degrees, which result in an almost invisible cut line. A little practice may be necessary on scrap pieces, but I've seen pros do this an produce excellent work. For example, all my baseboards were cut that way.

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    Maker Grayobillo

    Reply 15 days ago

    Great ideas. I definitely would have considered a miter cut if I had joining pieces. I'd love to see the finished counters when you are done! And thanks :)

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    grendell

    15 days ago

    Interesting project.
    I have similar wooden counter tops which are in desperate
    need of renovation. Your finish looks excellent but I would be interested to hear how the finish is holding up to every day
    kitchen use.
    I was advised to use a 2 part lacquer intended for wooden floor
    protection but even this would not be heat proof.





    G

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    Maker Graygrendell

    Reply 15 days ago

    We've had these counters for just over a year now and I'm so happy to report that they've held up incredibly well to tons of use. There are a few small dents here and there, but hardly noticeable. I'm super happy with the finish too. No water damage at all. Although I'm sure you'd be great with your finish option as well.

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    seamster

    16 days ago

    These turned out excellent. I love these sort of half-diy solutions like this. Thank you, looking forward to all of your projects!! : )

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    Goatius Maximus

    17 days ago

    Very good! These look very beautiful. I recently made a pair butcher block countertops for a client, and these look better than mine! Very well done.