Friday, October 19

Day 19 - Build a Wood Countertop

I hope you're ready for something a little different today! You can see links to the complete series here, and learn about my Lowe's gift card giveaway here. In this series, we are seeing what we can make out of 2x4s. I want to keep it cheap, keep it easy, and keep it totally doable for anyone. Like I said, today's project is going to be a little different... we're making a countertop out of 2x4s!

I always love the look of butcher block countertops, but they can be a little pricey. So today we're looking at how to get a similar look for less using 2x4's! This project would be great for a classic, rustic kitchen. Or make a 2x4 top for an island to accent any kitchen! Ready to get started?

Shopping List:

7  -  2x4  @ 8' long

Jig Saw (if you need a sink cutout or rounded corners)
4" screws (or Kreg Jig & 2 1/2" self tapping screws)
Wood glue
Wood filler

2x4 Cut List:
(A)  -  7  @ desired length :)

Dimensions: 24 1/2" deep x 1 1/2" thick x however long you want!

Please read all the directions before beginning, and cut your pieces as you go, measuring before each cut. Use 4” screws or pocket holes with 2 1/2" screws unless otherwise indicated. Always use glue. Pre-drill and countersink your screws. I have not built from these plans yet, so measure lots to make sure things work out! 

Step 1: Build the Tops
Any countertops sections you build will be 7 boards deep, so cut 7 2x4s to the desired length an attach them side by side as shown below. This is a great project for a Kreg Jig, but you could get by drilling through the sides of the boards with 4" screws and glue to connect them. This is great because it gives you lots of flexibility to work with

Step 2: Installation & Finishing
If you need to make a cutout for a sink, go ahead and do that (make sure there aren't any screws where you need to cut!). New sinks usually include a template for making the sink cutout. To install the tops you need to attach them to the cabinets. You can do this by drilling down through the top into the cabinets and then filling the holes. But if you want a more seamless look you should attach them from below. Most new cabinets have braces in the corners you could drill up through into the top. If not, you could use the portable feature of your Kreg Jig to make pocket holes in the cabinets.

To finish your countertop start by filling any holes in the top if you have any. Then sand the dickens out of this thing (you may want to give it a good sanding outside before installing it, then do touch up sanding after it's installed and any holes are filled). You really want to get this all smoothed out and as even as possible. Now you need to finish and seal your countertop - be sure to use food safe products! Check with Lowe's to see the options for sealing butcher block tops.

Notes on 2x4 Countertops:
  • It is in the nature of 2x4s (and wood in general) to show wear and tear such as scratches and dents. It can add to the butcher block charm! Just be warned that with time you will see some wear on your tops.
  • Be sure to seal you countertops, and to use a food safe sealer like butcher block oil.
  • These tops only have a 1/2" overhang on the front edge (over standard 24" deep cabinets). Most counertops will have a 1-1 1/2" overhang, so measure first to make sure this will be deep enough for your cabinets.
  • Do not use treated wood for your coutnertops - you don't want any of those chemicals around your food!
  • Be prepared for lots of sanding to get everything nice and even. You don't want any crevices or cracks to collect food or dirt. Use wood filler to fill any spots (like knot holes) you won't be able to sand away. 
  • Make sure your walls are square behind your cabinets. If a wall out of square, your tops won't sit snugly against it. You may be able to correct the problem by sanding down the back side of the countertop where it hits any uneven spots on the wall, but remember you only have 1/2" of overhang to work with. This project would be especially great for an island where you don't have to worry about walls.
Project 2x4 Cost for an 8' Section:
$2.50  -  7  2x4s @ 8' ($2.50 each)
$17.50 Total

See giveaway winners here.

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Day 18 31 Days of 2x4 Projects - Full List Day 20


  1. I will remember this when I need new coutertops.

  2. This will be so much cheaper than regular countertops!

  3. This is great! Definitely going to bookmark this to do when we buy a home!

  4. I would be worried about food in the cracks!

  5. Quick novice question. How exactly do I attach the boards to one another for each part of the counter? Do you have a tutorial for that because I love everything else I have seen on your site!

    1. You can use whats called a Kreg jig. It makes pocket screw holes. You can find it at lowes or home depot

  6. You can do this by drilling down through the top into the cabinets and then filling the holes. But if you want a more seamless look you should attach them from below. Most new cabinets have braces in the corners you could drill up through into the top.

  7. I've been wanting to do this exact thing for my kitchen island, which is big. I've been searching to see if others have done it before and I'm glad I found this!!! I want to set my 2x4's on their sides though, so my island will be 4" thick (ok, well 3.5 actually) I know it'll use a lot more wood but I'll get the thickness I need. ALOT of sanding to get it even I know....

    1. This sounds great, love the idea of turning them sideways for more height!

  8. Would you recommend running the 2x4's through a table saw to square the edges for a tighter fit? Or did the rounded edges and the cracks they left behind work just fine?

    1. I would definitely go with the table saw if you have one available! :)

  9. First off, love this post. Second of all, what would I do if I wanted to extend the counter top in order to create bar seating on an island?

    Thank you!

    1. Thank you! I can think of two ideas for creating a bar overhang. One would be to put a layer of 1/2" plywood under the the entire countertop to support them on the overhang (if it's more than 9-10" you'd probably need braces, as well). You could cut it an inch or so short of the 2x4s so it wouldn't be so obvious, but it may still be slightly visible. The other option would be to turn your 2x4s to run front-to-back across the countertop (instead of running side-to-side along the length). Then you can just cut them as long as you need for the overhang (example: 24" for cabinet depth + 1" front overhang + 10" bar overhang = cut each board 35" long). Hope that helps!

  10. Great post we are fixing to undertake this project!

    1. Thanks! I'd love to hear how it turns out! :)

  11. Hi, I'm curious to hear how the countertops have held up after a couple of years of use? Both in terms of dings/scratches, and also how the finish has worked out. Thanks!

    1. Hi! I haven't actually built this 2x4 top, but I've used the same kind of wood for a tabletop (sealed with polycrylic) and it's gotten the normal marks and dings I'd expect from a soft wood. It adds some great character! As far as a food-safe finish, though, we've had some trouble finding something that works for our butcherblock island. You can read about everything we've tried here: