Sealing Butcher Block Countertops: Polyurethane Vs. Tung Oil Finishes

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sealing butcher block countertops

There two types of finishes that are widely used for sealing butcher block countertops: polyurethane and tung oil. Butcher block countertops are usually made of wood, and it’s a good selection for kitchen islands. Besides, the wood offers grain, warmth, and natural look to the kitchen space that the other materials are incapable of offering. However, wood requires excellent protection to keep wine, water, or any food spills from damaging it. Polyurethane and tung oil are the two best products to overcome this get this job done.



It’s a liquid substance that will perfectly soak into a film of plastic. This is a good choice for sealing butcher block countertops. It will stay on the countertops surface and will dry within around 12 hours. The wood also only needs two polyurethane coatings in order to seal the wood surface. Besides for butcher block, polyurethane is also the ideal finish option for furniture that are not prone to extreme temperatures like bookshelves, tables, photo frames, and so on.

This liquid finish is available on two forms, spray and wipe. If you have no issue about the butcher block that will be yellowing, plyurethane is definitely the best alternative. Compared to another finish, the main drawback of this liquid substance is in its applying process. The finish will be as smooth as the countertops surface if the countertops are completely free from dust. If the dust particle left on the surface, then it will be stay in it forever.

Tung Oil

Tung Oil

The other alternative for sealing a butcher block top is Tung Oil. This finish will be incorporated into the butcher block surface and will dry within 48 hours. To make the surface entirely waterproof, it usually requires seven coatings. Moreover, it requires a lot of touch-ups for years in order to make the surface keep looking sleek.

Tung Oil gives the wood surface a grainy and granulated texture by increasing the natural grain. The wood surface will not be coated like polyurethane. Tung Oil can be applied for many times if you want your butcher block looks shinier. Besides, the best thing about Tung Oil is that this finish doesn’t contain toxic materials. Compared to its counterpart, Tung Oil won’t darken the surface.

Butcher block is an excellent choice to be placed on the kitchen. In order to protect the surface from water, wine, or any food spills, it requires adequate protection. Polyurethane and Tung Oil are two widely used finishes for sealing butcher block countertops.

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