Granite Countertops or Butcher Block?
You're looking at your kitchen renovation, and you're going through the plethora of options that lie before you--am I right? Let's say you're going to stay simple and all you're doing is putting in new cabinets and counter tops and you will probably upgrade the sink and move it over some. Even this simple kitchen renovation is going to eat up a lot of your time--cabinet style, color and drawer opening method are just the beginning. While you're addressing all that, you also need to make some choices about what you might be looking at the most: your countertops.
Unless you're one of the few who intend to chop on your top like a butcher, I'm going to actually going to start with aesthetics. (And look, if you are looking to chop on this like an episode of Chopped, then you definitely should be getting a wood top).
First, keep in mind that unlike granite, wood will change in color overtime. If you got the natural route, you'll eventually get stains (hey, stuff happens), but that isn't actually what I'm talking about. Even if it is varnished, the extent to which it is exposed to the sun will change the color, often making it lighter. Think keeping it in the shade will keep it neutral? Nope. Eventually, it will change however little for however many years. Granite won't. Does this make granite better? We don't think so--we come with the premise that you're taking something that was once alive and it changing is part of its appeal. It's exactly that which gives wood its warmth.
Second, wood will expand and shrink; granite won't. If you're going with long grain (aka face grain or edge grain), then you don't need to worry really. The change you'll see is minor and you'll probably not even notice it. End grain? Oh, that will shrink and expand A LOT. We've seen it do so as much as 7% over 6 months--and this is with the wood already have been kiln dried. A lot of this has to do with the fact that homes tend to be drier and warmer than lumber yards and shops. Obviously, it doesn't shrink forever. At this point, any further change will be nominal. However, for this reason, we recommend only using end grain on kitchen islands--and never for tight spaces.
Third, wood can chip--but--it can be repaired; granite cannot be repaired (at least to my knowledge!). I think this area is the smoking gun for wood. Chipped granite just means getting a new granite top, and that's the worst news. Or it means it sticks around for years. I take it back, that's the worst news. Wood stains? So you can sand it. There's a dent? You can potentially fix it with a hot iron and a towel. It chipped somehow? A new piece can be glued on to replace it. Obviously, none of us want this to happen, but if it has to happen, it's actually if it happens to wood.
We think it is largely personal preferences and design choices, but the one key advantage wood has is its flexibility when compared to granite. Lastly, if you want to slice and dice like a butcher then go with a classic butcher block.