What's a good, affordable kitchen surface
June 14, 2012 4:02 PM   Subscribe

Cutting board and countertop options?

I need some help thinking about options for a cutting board surface for a custom sized countertop.

I have a cabinet that I am relocating to my kitchen, and I need something better for the top. Currently, it has a poly-coated particle board top, surrounded by a molded edge that is about 2 inches high, so the actual counter surface is recessed. I don't think I can remove the old surface without having to reconstruct the entire thing, so I want something I can just cover the particle board with. The surface I need to fill is about 46"x16", and I have about 2" of room for something kind of thick.

I'm thinking about trying to use a basic, durable cutting board material, but I don't know about a few things:

1.) Where can I get cutting boards in specific sizes for cheap? I have a local resource to check tomorrow, but I am thinking I might need to shop online instead. I found a few places with google, but nothing that is coming in under $70, and that seems expensive. I'd like it to be at least .5" thick, and under 1.5" thick.

2.) If you had a counter with a cutting board top, would you want it to be seamless, or would you prefer 2 separate boards that could be lifted out and cleaned individually? Whether it's a single or double board setup, the surface can be lifted out, but it seems like 2 might be better just for the ease of cleaning individually. But, it might be trickier to get 2 boards to fit snugly. Thoughts?

3.) Any ideas from the hive about alternatives to basic, plastic, cutting board stuff? I would love to get a custom sized butcher slab for it, but I think that is way too expensive, unless someone has an idea about finding one cheap. It would also be awesome to have it half-plastic half-wood (side by side), but I think that would be costly, too.

I'm renting my house out in August, so I don't know how the tenants will use the surface, but I imagine it as supplemental counter space for food prep, with storage for cookware underneath.

So, any big ideas from ole' MeFi on this one?
posted by broadway bill to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you're close to one you can probably get away with an Ikea Lagan beech counter. Beech isn't the best material for cutting boards but it if you're looking to get something reasonably good looking and cheap this is about as good as you're going to do.

It's slightly bigger than your space, but you can cut it down. Finish with some mineral oil (available at any drugstore).
posted by true at 4:17 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, that would work perfectly, but my closest Ikea is 1.5 hours away.

Anyone got ideas on how to acquire Ikea stuff that is not sold online without actually going to Ikea? I really doubt anyone I know will be going up there soon, or I would just have someone grab it for me...
posted by broadway bill at 4:28 PM on June 14, 2012

Keep in mind that if the surface is intended for use as an actual cutting board, they will get scarred over time, which increases bacteria risk. So both for aesthetic and health reasons you may end up having to replace them much sooner than regular counter-tops.
posted by platinum at 4:46 PM on June 14, 2012

Response by poster: Yeah, I should clarify that I doubt there will be much actual cutting going on. I'm mostly just looking to make it look better for new tenants and to provide a little supplemental space for cooking prep. There's regular counters around the stove area, so most cutting goes on there using a regular cutting sheet.
posted by broadway bill at 4:53 PM on June 14, 2012

Since you say you do not really think it will be used much for cutting, you could consider granite or marble. They make great prep surfaces for things like rolling out dough and also are good for placing hot pots or pans on. One trick I read to keep the cost down is to use the largest granite tile you can find with the smallest grout line instead of purchasing granite slab.
posted by Michele in California at 5:43 PM on June 14, 2012

You might want to tile your countertop. Either with granite tiles or ceramic. It's an easy project, and inexpensive.

I had the Ikea Pronomen countertop and it was a disaster. Looked like crap due to staining, knife cuts, and curled up like a potato chip. But I used it for 5 years, so there's that.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:04 PM on June 14, 2012

The previous tenants in the house we are currently renting actually did this and I think they just picked up a thick piece of wood (I don't know what kind) from Home Depot and screwed it in to the top of the cabinet. What they didn't do was coat it with anything (not even oil) so now it's got water rings all over. I really need to sand it down and stain it at some point.
posted by echo0720 at 6:51 PM on June 14, 2012

I have a butcher-block countertop similar to that Ikea piece. (That's a really great price, btw... I was going to suggest you build your own butcher-block top, but unless you already have a well-equipped shop, you'd have a tough time doing it yourself for less than 40 bucks.)

My butcher-block counter comes clean nicely with a scrub sponge and soapy water, and I re-oil it from time to time. I've already re-sanded it once, and will do so again soon. Gets rid of the scarring and surface stains, and looks brand new. Easily done in a weekend morning.
posted by xedrik at 7:17 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

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