A butcher block countertop is an attractive addition to any kitchen because of its versatility, durability, and overall functionality in the space. But how does acacia compare to birchwood butcher block?
Butcher blocks are ideal for cooking prep or simple household tasks like chopping up vegetables or fruit for a snack. These make excellent cutting boards, and can be crafted from various types of wood.
Each type of wood has different benefits depending on your preferences and lifestyle. But will a butcher block countertop withstand daily use?
Considering a birchwood butcher block for an island top in your kitchen? Thinking about creating a flat grain countertop for your space?
In this post, we discuss the differences between acacia and birch butcher blocks to offer in-depth insight into these woods.
A Bit About Acacia
Acacia is a natural wood that is becoming trendy and popular for use in cutting boards, dining tables, luxury countertop and island design, and more. But it’s more than a simple trend.
Historically, acacia, also known as Asian walnut, has been a prized wood because of its beauty and strength. The natural edge acacia wood offers still has live edge lovers ordering high-quality cutting boards, countertop pieces, and island fittings for their luxury interior designs.
Let’s not forget, it’s also a sustainable wood that requires minimal maintenance to keep it looking incredible. A dab of oil here and there and your asian walnut wood continues looking as amazing as the day you bought it.
But what about Birch?
Birch, not to be mistaken for beech, is one of the most popular choices for butcher block countertops because of its affordability and availability. This wood is easy to work with and available in a variety of finishes and styles.
Acacia and birchwood are both very popular types of wood countertops, but they have their own unique qualities that make them stand out from each other.
Acacia vs Birch Characteristics
Acacia wood comes from acacia trees, which are can be found in Australia, throughout Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa, and parts of America. There are over a thousand distinct types of Acacia trees. The hardwood these trees produce allows our shop to create long-lasting furniture and home decor products.
Jamjuree acacia tree is one of the sought-after wood types found in Thailand. It is considered as one of the finest wood types, which can be used to make furniture and home decor products such as cabinets, dining and coffee tables, tabletops, island designs, countertops, and more.
These trees grow throughout Europe and North America. However, they’re mostly found in cold climates (ranging from Russia to Canada). This tree has white bark with horizontal streaks of black, which produces a very unique color pattern.
Birchwood trees can be found all throughout North America, although the most prevalent are white, yellow, and black species. The yellow and white species are two of the most commonly used in woodworking.
The most popular type of wood for furniture is yellow. It’s pale in hue and has a smooth grain. Over time, this wood becomes more yellow in color.
How to Choose Butcher Block Countertops
When choosing a butcher block counter, it might be difficult to determine which wood to select. Wood types that are available include mahogany, cherry, white oak, teak, walnut, hard maple, maple, beech, ash, bamboo, and oak butcher block countertops.
Our shop prefers to work with acacia. But regardless of which wood you choose, hardwoods are a good choice for kitchen countertops. This is because this wood has a long lifespan.
Anyways, if you’re reading this post, you’ve likely eliminated the many alternatives. Birchwood is the most popular choice for butcher block countertops now. But acacia is also an excellent choice for luxury island aesthetics and exotic kitchen countertops.
What about the characteristics and qualities of each wood? Are there any advantages of using these materials for butcher block countertops?
Which is the best wood for your countertop?
Consider the Color Combination in Your Kitchen
Choosing butcher block countertops is a tough decision. So, one of the first things worth considering is your current kitchen decor and feel. The design will affect which material will work best for you.
Acacia can easily blend in with your kitchen’s decors despite its unique grain.
The color range for acacia wood is generally medium to dark with light edges. This makes it an easy match for your current color scheme as it has both light and dark shades.
Birchwood is also a popular style for kitchens because of its uniform grain and brighter colors. It helps brighten up your kitchen and offers a light, airy, and modern feel. It’s commonly used as an accent color for cabinets and flooring.
Durability & Hardness
If you’re building a butcher block countertop from scratch, the wood used is also important. Both durability and style will be also be determined by the types of grain you choose.
The end grain butcher block is the most durable type of kitchen countertop and cutting board. It’s made by putting up the end side of wooden boards and gluing them together to produce a checkerboard pattern.
Chopping boards are commonly made from end grain for two reasons: the pattern looks nice and it keeps the knives sharper. The knife goes between the wood fibers rather than smashing against them, similar to when you cut through a hard brush.
You’ll notice that your blade edges are more effective and that there are fewer knife marks on the board. Once you finish chopping on a butcher block cutting board, all you need to do is remove excess food particles and wipe it down with water.
An edge grain butcher block countertop uses the long side of a wooden board, also known as staves, as its surface. This type of butcher block countertop will show a horizontal pattern from pieces of wood that are glued together.
An edge grain cutting board is sturdier than a face grain cutting board. But it’s not as durable as an end grain one. This style of butcher block countertop can bring a surprising sense of stability and warmth to your room.
A face grain butcher block countertop can exemplify the beauty of the wood of your choice. While the straight edge butcher block countertop is utilitarian, the live edge butcher block countertop gives a distinctive natural feel.
This is where acacia’s amazing wood patterns truly shine for kitchen countertop and island design.
Acacia for Custom Kitchen Countertop & Island Designs
Acacia is one of the most beautiful and durable exotic woods. Whether you like a live or straight edge, the fine grain and vibrant pattern make it ideal for wood countertops.
This wood is most often found in its natural form, both unprocessed and stained, to make dining tables, living room furniture, beds, consoles, and more.
But acacia is also a great material for your butcher block because of its hardness, moisture resistance, and overall strength against damage from heavy use in the kitchen.
Acidic and alkaline foods such as meats, fish, vegetables, eggs, and dairy products will not degrade the structure of acacia wood.
Acacia is a highly durable hardwood that can be used for cutting boards. Its dense grain resists knife marks and stains better than most woods. And yes, this includes beech.
And let’s not forget, acacia is easy on the eyes with its natural grain and warm colors. This makes it a great choice for butcher blocks in both residential and commercial kitchens.
Resistance to Moisture & Heat
Unlike the kitchen countertops made of granite, stones, tiles, or marble, even the butcher block made from the best wood is susceptible to excessive moisture and heat.
Too much water might cause swelling and excessive heat could harm the surface of a hardwood butcher block counter. This is where oil or another finishing becomes essential.
A butcher block counter’s cutting surface in its natural state is food safe. On the other hand, it is not very waterproof and will absorb water, which may cause it to swell.
You may apply waterproofing oil, sealant, or stain to the countertop. But if you’re using the for food-safe cutting boards, make sure to go with a natural option like olive or coconut oil.
Acacia is more resistant to moisture and heat than other wood options. This means it’s less likely to warp or crack in a moist environment.
However, both kinds of wood will still hold up well against everyday use when cared for properly.
Birchwood has the tendency to expand and contract with any significant changes in humidity levels. This is the result of dry air-conditioning during the summer to humid air during the winter.
Nonetheless, if you want to keep your wood looking fresh, you should take some precautions. Keep it from sources of heat or moisture, such as stove burners and sinks. If you don’t, the life of your hardwood designs could be cut in half.
Maintenance of Butcher Block Countertop
Acacia wood countertop requires a light amount of upkeep because it is resistant to water damage and humidity. However, you can still expect to give your butcher block counters an occasional cleaning with soap and water or a specialized cleaner that will protect its surface from stains and spills.
Birchwood is still easy to maintain, but it may require a little bit more work than acacia due to its sensitivity to humidity. You’ll want to avoid leaving water on the butcher block countertop for a long period of time.
The butcher block countertop in your kitchen will benefit from being oiled with coconut or mineral oil every month or so. But this all depends on how often it’s used and cleaned.
If you use the butcher block countertop as a cutting board, clean it with soap and water or vinegar after every use. To extend the life of your kitchen countertop, use separate cutting boards instead of cutting directly on top of it.
Use mineral oil to protect the natural wood and sand down and fill in any nicks or scratches at least once a year. These countertops, if properly cared for, can last a long time.
Other Types of Butcher Block Wood Countertops
Maple has a light, creamy color, smooth grain pattern. Hard Maple is the most popular maple tree species in North America. There are dozens of species of maple trees worldwide.
Oak wood may take on almost any color; from light beige to brown and red. Over time, oak wood might darken somewhat due to exposure to oxygen and UV rays.
Bamboo is actually a type of grass that is as strong as woods. When bamboo is formed into woods, bamboo has a delicate yellow hue. Bamboo can be darker with a stain or with colors are added during manufacturing.
Pinewood is a relatively softer wood. As a result, the items that are constructed of pine wood are considered to be rather fragile.
Mahogany is often red, pink, or salmon when it’s first cut. The colors get deeper as the wood matures, developing a deep crimson or brown-red tint with black and orange streaks.
Cherry wood countertops are resistant to water damage and dampness. Cherry initially has a faint pink tinge that darkens over time to a deep crimson color.
Walnut is a very hard type of wood that is valued for its strength. The color can be described as warm and even, with the sapwood portion having an almost golden yellow tinge to it.
Teak is extremely dense. Teak wood is typically straight-grained, although it does have wavy lines on occasion. Teak is another wonderful imported hardwood; it is undeniably good but a rather expensive alternative.
Acacia or Birchwood, Which Makes Better Butcher Blocks?
Both woods are attractive options for butcher block. Each has its own unique benefits depending on your lifestyle, but they do share some important similarities as well.
For instance, each of these types of wood is strong enough to endure years of everyday use without showing signs of wear or damage. However, they are also capable of being sanded down and refinished to remove scratches or face chips if needed.
In this comparison, we have to go with acacia. This wood offers an all-around better aesthetic and boasts better usability. For anyone interested in adding some luxury to their home or commercial space, acacia is the best option.
However, other woods exist, of course. Feel free to learn about the other options available and how they compare to acacia.