THE VERMONT BUTCHER BLOCK COMPANY

Installing butcher block countertop

How to install butcher block countertops

NOTE: Incorrect butcher block installation by the customer or contractor will void the warranty.

Precautions

  • It is best to unwrap your butcher block countertop and let it acclimate to the room it will be installed in for 48 hours.  This allows the wood to stabilize in the new environment, which will help to minimize the amount of movement once the top is installed.
  • Do not lay your butcher block countertop on the floor once you receive and unwrap it.  This may cause cupping as the wood acclimates to the environment.  It is best to lay it out supported by pieces of 2 x 4 wood - placed on their edge - that are long enough to span the entire width of the top and spaced about 18 inches apart.  This allows for adequate air movement for acclimatization.
  • If your butcher block countertop arrived unfinished, you will need to apply a finish to all faces of the top. See detailed instructions here.
  • Do not install your butcher block countertop directly on a solid surface such as plywood, MDF, etc.  It is important that the wood on the underside of your top is allowed to breath.
  • Never use adhesives to secure your Vermont Butcherblock countertop to the cabinet surface, as this prevents wood movement and can cause warping and cracking of your butcher block countertop. Using construction adhesive or silicone caulk during installation will void the warranty.
  • When butcher block countertops are installed next to any hard surface (such as granite countertops), adequate room must be provided for the expansion and contraction of the wood.  Failure to do so may cause problems with either your wood top or the adjoining top.
  • If your butcher block countertop is installed over an appliance that generates heat, insulation should be placed between the appliance and the countertop to cut down on the transfer of heat.  Ensure adequate ventilation.
  • When sinks or cooktops are fitted, they must not restrict the natural movement of the wood.  Ensure there is at least 1/4 inch clearance around the appliance, and install insulation between any surfaces that may be affected by heat.
  • It is critically important that under-mount sinks are sealed.  Use a silicone sealant between any sink and your Vermont Butcherblock Company countertop to prevent moisture or leaks from seeping into the wood.

Guidelines for installation

  • Prepare your cabinets for installation by drilling a ⅝ inch hole in each of the four corners of the cabinet assembly.  In addition, ⅝ inch holes should be drilled along the back and front sides of the cabinets, approximately every 24 to 30 inches. For most butcher block countertops (typically 25 ½ inches in depth), this will be all that is needed.  For butcher block countertops or island tops more than 30 inches deep, a row of holes should be drilled in the middle of the cabinets, parallel to the holes drilled along the back and front.
  • Once your butcher block countertop is set in place on the cabinets, drill ⅛ inch pilot holes into the bottom side of the countertop by drilling up through the ⅝ inch holes. Be sure these holes are centered within the holes, and be very careful not to drill all the way through the countertop! 
  • Secure the countertop to the cabinets using 1½ inches diameter fender washers and #10 pan head screws that will penetrate at least one half of the thickness of your top.  For example, a top that is 1½ inches thick should have screws that go into the top at least ¾ inch. 
  • The combination of the oversized ⅝ inch holes and the fender washer/panhead screw assemblies gives the screw room to move as your wood top expands and contracts with the seasonal changes in temperature and humidity. Without this movement your butcher block countertop can cup and/or damage your cabinets.

Overhang

  • To keep your top from sagging when it extends over an unsupported end or side (overhang), you may need to install support brackets. 
  • If your counter top has an overhang of more than 8 inches perpendicular to the grain it will need to be supported with brackets approximately every 24 inches underneath.  
  • If your butcher block countertop has an overhang of more than 12 inches in the direction of the grain, it will need to be supported with brackets approximately every 24 inches underneath.

Watch the video below to see Lucas Jenson - the owner of The Vermont Butcherblock Company - install a Vermont Butcherblock Company countertop.