When choosing countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, two popular options are butcher block and quartz. But which one costs more? Here is an in-depth comparison of butcher block vs quartz countertops, including prices, pros and cons, maintenance, durability, and more.
Kitchen and bathroom countertops are a major investment, so it’s important to understand the costs involved before deciding on a material. Both butcher block and quartz offer distinct advantages, but their pricing can vary significantly.
This article provides a detailed cost comparison between butcher block and quartz countertops. We’ll look at factors like:
- Initial price range for materials and installation
- Ongoing maintenance costs
- Durability and lifespan
- Pros and cons of each material
- Cost vs value over time
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to determine whether butcher block or quartz is the more budget-friendly choice for your home improvement project. Let’s dive in!
Butcher Block Countertop Costs
Butcher block countertops are made from solid wood glued and pressed together to form a thick, heavy slab. The most common types of wood used are maple, walnut, cherry, and teak.
Here’s a look at typical costs for butcher block countertops:
- $50 – $100 per square foot for the butcher block alone. This can vary based on the wood species. Exotic woods like teak will fall at the higher end.
- Maple is often the most affordable option, starting around $50 per square foot.
- Expect to pay $75 – $100 per square foot for woods like cherry, walnut, hickory, or acacia.
- Installation costs about $40 – $70 per square foot for a simple DIY butcher block countertop installation.
- Hiring a professional to fabricate and install custom butcher block counters can cost $100 – $200 per square foot.
- Total costs for materials + installation range from $150 – $300 per square foot for typical professionally installed butcher block counters.
- Sealing and finishing adds $3 – $8 per square foot for materials.
- Edge profiles, inlays, special cuts, and other customizations can significantly increase the final price.
- Shipping can be $100 – $1000+ for delivered slabs depending on vendor policies and location.
Quartz Countertop Costs
Quartz countertops are made from ground quartz stone blended with polyresin binders. The material is engineered for uniformity and fabricated into slabs.
Here is the pricing breakdown for quartz counters:
- $40 – $100 per square foot is typical for quartz slabs from Lowe’s, Home Depot, or other major brands like Caesarstone.
- Boutique or designer quartz brands range from $70 – $150+ per square foot.
- Unique colors and patterns can also run on the more expensive end.
- Expect installation costs of $50 – $100 per square foot for quartz countertops.
- Hiring a pro usually starts around $100 per square foot including materials and labor.
- In total, expect to pay $150 – $250 per square foot installed for quartz counters from major brands.
- Designer quartz or luxury installations can cost $200 – $400+ per square foot.
- Additional charges may apply for edge profiles, intricate cutouts, and other customizations.
- Shipping fees can add a few hundred dollars depending on vendor policies.
Cost Comparison: Butcher Block vs Quartz
Now that we’ve looked at pricing for both materials, how do they compare?
- Quartz is generally more expensive upfront. Basic quartz starts around $100 per square foot while basic butcher block can be found for $50-75 per square foot.
- Higher-end options for both materials are comparable. Exotic butcher blocks and luxury quartz brands both run $100-200+ per square foot.
- Butcher block requires more routine maintenance. Oiling and sealing can add to long-term costs.
- Quartz costs more for fabrication and installation. Its hardness makes cutting and fitting more labor intensive.
- Butcher block can last longer with proper care. Some woods like teak and walnut resist wear for 100+ years.
- Quartz offers greater consistency. Its engineered nature provides reliable performance across fabrication.
Ultimately, quartz tends to cost 20-50% more upfront compared to basic butcher block. However, longevity and maintenance are also major factors to weigh.
Next, we’ll look closely at the durability, maintenance, and lifespan of each material.
Durability and Maintenance
How well butcher block and quartz hold up over time significantly impacts their long-term costs and value.
Butcher Block Durability and Care
- With routine oiling, butcher block can last 50-100+ years. Certain dense tropical woods like teak and ipe can even withstand outdoor use.
- Butcher block scratches and dents relatively easily compared to quartz. Small damages can be sanded out.
- Water and drying can warp or crack butcher block without proper sealing and care. Always wipe up spills quickly.
- Expect to oil butcher block monthly, or every 3-6 months for heavier duty finishes like polyurethane. Oiling maintains water resistance and luster.
- Re-sanding and re-finishing may be needed every 5-15 years depending on wear. This generally costs a few hundred dollars.
- Butcher block needs extra attention near sinks and stovetops to prevent water damage. Take care to avoid standing liquid.
With routine maintenance, butcher block rivals the lifespan of quartz while showing wear and age more gracefully over time. The tradeoff is the extra upkeep required.
Quartz Countertop Durability and Maintenance
- Quartz easily lasts 10-15 years with little maintenance. It retains its polish and resists scratches better than butcher block.
- Quartz is non-porous and doesn’t need sealing or conditioning. Simply cleaning with soap and water is enough for routine care.
- While durable, quartz can crack or chip from heavy impacts. Heat can also damage the resin binders causing discoloration near stovetops.
- Refinishing and polishing can rejuvenate worn quartz counters, costing $300 – $1000 professionally.
- Quartz is generally lower maintenance than butcher block but still requires some periodic upkeep.
Thanks to its resilient engineered composition, quartz offers excellent durability that typically outlasts butcher block before needing replacement. But it lacks the natural patina and aging that many people love about wood counters.
Cost vs Value Over Time
When considering the total cost equation of butcher block vs quartz, you have to weigh upfront costs against durability, maintenance needs, and lifespan.
In terms of overall value, quartz often comes out ahead for most homeowners. The higher initial investment pays for itself over time thanks to quartz’s superior ease of care and longevity.
However, for those who don’t mind the routine sealing and oiling, bucher block provides unparalleled beauty and craftsmanship at a more affordable price point. With proper maintenance, wood counters can last several decades before needing replacement.
Ultimately, deciding between butcher block vs quartz requires prioritizing your needs:
- Quartz offers greater convenience and consistency for busy homeowners who want a low-maintenance surface.
- Butcher block provides a timeless, natural look appreciated by DIYers willing to invest a little regular upkeep.
Now that we’ve compared costs and value factors, let’s summarize the pros and cons of each material.
Butcher Block Countertop Pros and Cons
Butcher Block Pros:
- Warm, natural aesthetic that develops a patina over time
- Huge variety of wood species and grain patterns
- Can be refinished and maintained indefinitely
- Relatively affordable compared to other natural stone and quartz
- Can be installed as a DIY project to save on labor
Butcher Block Cons:
- Requires sealing and oiling for upkeep
- Prone to scratching, staining, and water damage if not cared for
- Needs extra maintenance near sinks and stoves
- Not as resistant to impact damage as quartz
- Can develop cracks and warping over time without care
- Exotic woods can get very expensive
Quartz Countertop Pros and Cons
- Extremely durable and scratch-resistant surface
- Requires minimal maintenance compared to natural stone
- Resists staining, etching, and water damage
- Consistent performance across slabs
- Hundreds of colors and patterns available
- 15+ year lifespan with little maintenance
- Less natural look and feel than materials like wood and stone
- Can chip or crack if subjected to impact
- Requires professional installation
- Slightly more expensive than butcher block upfront
- Exotic patterns and designer brands get very pricey
- Can lose polish and require refinishing over time
Price Comparison FAQs
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the cost of butcher block vs quartz:
Is butcher block or quartz more expensive overall?
Quartz generally costs 20-50% more upfront. But factoring in longevity and maintenance, quartz often comes out as better value over a 10-15 year period before needing replacement.
Which material costs more for installation?
Quartz usually costs $50-100 more per square foot to install due to the material’s hardness and fabrication methods. Butcher block is easier for DIY installation as a simple countertop overlay.
Can quartz get damaged from heat?
Yes, the resin binders in quartz can scorch, resulting in discoloration around stovetops. Butcher block is more resistant to localized heat damage.
Does butcher block need sealing?
Yes, it’s highly recommended to apply a sealant like polyurethane every 3-6 months. This waterproofs the wood and prevents warping, mold growth, and staining.
Can you refinish quartz countertops?
Quartz can be refinished by a professional to restore the polished surface. Typical costs are $300 – $1000 depending on the size of the counters.
Is teak or walnut more expensive for butcher block?
Teak is generally the most expensive wood for butcher block costing $125 – $200 per square foot. Walnut costs $100 – $150 per square foot on average.
When comparing butcher block vs quartz countertops, quartz generally costs 20-50% more upfront. However, quartz makes up for its higher initial price over time thanks to its superior durability and lower maintenance needs.
Butcher block provides natural beauty unmatched by quartz, but requires diligent sealing and oiling to maintain its lifespan and performance. Those willing to invest some periodic upkeep will appreciate butcher block’s timeless, hand-crafted qualities.
Ultimately, choosing between quartz and butcher block comes down to your priorities. Quartz delivers reliable, low-maintenance functionality. Butcher block offers an unparalleled organic, natural aesthetic.
Carefully weigh the pros and cons, costs, and value comparisons in this article. This will ensure you select the best countertop material to suit your lifestyle, budget, and vision for your kitchen or bath design.