Options For Extra-Long Countertops (Because I Need A 20-Foot Countertop For My Studio)

I’ve been putting off a pretty important decision for the studio, and that’s deciding on a countertop for the long wall of cabinets. It’s a challenge because I need an extra-long countertop. After all, that wall is 19.5 feet wide, and the countertop will span the entire width.

There really aren’t any perfect options for a countertop that long, and just about every option I could come up with will require a seam or joint right in the middle. That’s not ideal, but I may not have any other option. I have come up with one option that would not have an obvious seam in the middle, but it might be a huge gamble that may or may not turn out looking nice.

Here are the options I’ve come up with so far…

Butcherblock Countertops

I remember our condo days when I bought beautiful butcherblock countertops for our condo kitchen for less than $200 per 8-foot slab. Those days are long gone. Butcherblock is still a far less than a lot of solid surface countertop options, but it’s certainly not cheap anymore. And finding really long butcherblock countertops is pretty difficult.

I did find birch butcherblock at Home Depot that comes in 10-foot lengths for $519.

unfinished birch butcher block countertop from Home Depot, comes in lengths up to 10-foot

That’s not a horrible price, but because I’m cheap, and because I’d need a total of three to finish the room (two for the main wall, and one for the side wall of cabinets), that’s over $1500 for studio countertops. And, of course, that would leave me with a joint between two butcher block pieces right in the middle of the long countertop.

It is beautiful, though. And I do love butcherblock. Here’s a picture of that same butcherblock with just an oiled finish. It’s a very pretty color.

birch butcher block countertop with an oiled finish, from Home Depot, installed in a kitchen

This particular birch butcherblock has really good customer reviews. Lowe’s also has a 10-foot birch butcher block countertop, and while the price is just a bit lower ($50 less per slab), the reviews on it aren’t so good.

So while butcherblock is a good option, I just don’t know how I feel about spending over $1500 for countertops, while still having to deal with that joint between two slabs right in the middle of the long wall.

Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops would be a much cheaper option than butcher block. And since this is a studio and not a kitchen, and since laminate is durable holds up very well to art supplies, paint drips, and general daily use, I think it’s a great option for studio countertops.

A while back, I built two really large work tables for the studio, and I used laminate tops on those. I chose to use white laminate for those tables.

large DIY workroom craft table -- two tables that can be clamped together to form one huge 5-foot by 10-foot table

So if I go with laminate on the cabinets, I’d opt for something completely different. I really like the idea of bring a warm wood into the room, which is why butcher block appeals to me. So I could do a similar look in laminate. One option would be this Wilsonart Fawn Cypress laminate, which is $169.58 for a 60″ x 120″ piece.

Wilsonart Fawn Cypress laminate sheet from Lowe's, 60" x 120"

That would be enough laminate for the whole long wall, which means that with the cost of the substrate (I’d probably use MDF) and supplies (Contact Cement, rollers, etc.), I could do the entire 20-foot countertop for about $420. That’s a considerable savings over the $1125 that butcher block would cost for the same 20-foot countertop.

This particular Wilsonart Fawn Cypress has a very neutral color to it, and it’s a pretty medium-toned wood color, which you can see on this countertop.

Wilsonart Fawn Cypress laminate shown in a bathroom as a vanity countertop

But of course, there are hundreds of laminate options out there, from several different companies, so I’m sure I could find one that would work perfectly in the studio. So laminate is a very good options, and it’s also relatively inexpensive. But yet again, I’d be left with a seam right in the middle since the longest length I can find in laminate is 12 feet.

My Crazy DIY Idea

While those two options are good, they still leave me with a seam or joint right in the middle of the 20-foot wall. That’s fine if there are no other options, but I have been able to come up with one option that may work, and that may produce a result that gives the impression of one solid 20-foot piece of wood countertop.

You know how butcher block countertops are made up of lots of little strips of wood that are all glued together to produce one long solid wood countertop? Again, I’ll refer you back to Option 1, the butcher block from Home Depot…

Well, what if I simulate that look using real wood veneer? My idea is to put down my countertop substrate all along the 20-foot wall and make sure it’s smooth all the way across (i.e., that no joints can be felt since I’ll have to use three separate pieces to span the full length), and then cut strips of real wood veneer and attach them so that they simulate that look of butcherblock.

Doing that all the way across would eliminate the need for a center seam or joint, and if I do a good job and really take my time and get the pieces nice and tight against each other, I think I could end up with what looks like a 20-foot-wide piece of butcher block.

It’s a gamble, for sure! But I just can’t get this idea out of my mind, and I think it might actually work. It would be a big project, for sure. Cutting all of those pieces and then attaching them one by one might take a couple of days just for the one countertop. But it might be worth it to end up with what looks like one continuous, seamless, jointless wood countertop.

Does that sound like a crazy idea? Or does it sound like something that could actually work? Since I’d be using real wood veneer, the cost might be just a bit more than the laminate option, but it would still be a considerable savings over the real butcher block option. And its the only idea I could come up with that will give the impression of a seamless, jointless 20-foot countertop.

Should I go for it? Or should I stick with a tried-and-true safe option like real butcher block or laminate and just live with the seam or joint right in the middle of the countertop?


I finished my studio countertops! You can see the DIY process, as well as the finished 20-foot countertop, in this post:



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    1. I have a thought…it may seam (!) crazy but wanted to share, have you ever thought of centering the longest size available then completing with 2 side pieces? I realize you would have 2 seams but the visual of a smooth center might make it worth it. 🙂

    2. Stupid question, could you just finger joint the butcher block pieces together in a natural way as to disguise the seams? Maybe a little wood filler and sanding to hide any imperfections?

  1. Is it possible to have two seams placing them where they would be less of a concern visually and work wise?

    1. I was thinking the same thing. You could place the full length piece in the middle and have a cut piece on either end.

      1. I agree with that. Laminate will give you a solid surface to work on and/or write on. Why not go with white as on your other tables?

      2. That is exactly what my countertop installers did with my kitchen. No seam in the middle! Looks good and in fact, the seams are very had to see – especially with all the stuff on the counters!

    2. That’s exactly what I was thinking – if you have to live with a seam then live with two but offset so they are not dead centre. There’s also the possibility of inserting a narrow piece of wood with the grain running in the other direction to make the sections look intentional.

      The laminate strip thing is a neat idea but probably better suited to a smaller surface – and one that isn’t going to take the beating of being a working surface. It’s a lot of work that will surely be the genesis of immense frustration when something eventually happens to it.

      While I really like the butcher block – I would be inclined to go with a laminate surface for the reasons above. It will be hard wearing and easier to clean up slops and messes.

      IKEA also has laminated wood counters – you might want to look at those. One of them is a lovely herringbone although it might be too dark for your purposes.

    3. I was thinking the same thing. Kristi, you keep mentioning the seam being in the middle is what bothers you about having 2 pieces. I think that by having the full piece in the middle, then shorter pieces on each end, visually it may not be as disturbing. Plus, what are the chances that the countertop will be completely cleared all of the time? If there are projects you are working out or prepping, the seams will most likely be covered.

  2. Nope not crazy at all with your skills! In fact, while reading the post i was thinking, “she should just make her own butcher block.”
    I think it’ll be fun to try and even better if it works!

    1. That’s exactly what I thought. It might be easier to piece wood together in a random butcher block pattern that would result in covering the entire length of the wall without any seam, than to try and cut up and piece together wood veneer. You wouldn’t necessarily have to use expensive wood depending upon the finish you use.

  3. What about dividing the counter top into thirds (not necessarily equal in size)? The middle could be a different material from the sides and the seam(s) would not be in the middle. Or you could use all the same material but the seams would not be as obvious if not in the middle.

  4. What about doing something like a cutting mat in the center except instead of laying it on top of cabinet actually build it in? It could prove to be very useful as well as a problem solver.

    1. This!

      First, after reading your butcher block debate, I immediately though wood laminate! Are we best friends now? LOL. I think the wood laminate would work just fine and look great. I would worry about peeling and breaking corners on each piece, but that just might be the trauma from my wood laminate projects talking.

      I love the idea of the middle section (or a side section) being a different type of working surface. A cutting mat that flips over, like a game table, to a felt surface for ironing. Then that whole piece is removed to reveal a light box for paper art/stained glass work. Or maybe that section can be propped up like an easel/drafting table for your painting projects. You already have numerous flat areas. You enjoy numerous crafts, known and not yet discovered, that a convertible surface may come in handy. Plus it will be a unique as you <3!

    2. How about real wood like you did on a bathroom vanity previously? Or you could cut planks out if plywood and install like a laminate floor? I used real laminate flooring on a counter once and it looked amazing. I imagine you will be doing the messy stuff on your workbenches so it so the counter should last a long time.

  5. I have no doubt you could make the veneer option look like real butcherblock. You have the tenacity and perseverance to do it! One other option that I think you could pull off is a resin poured top. Maybe that would be far too expensive for the amount of resin you would need.

  6. If i may, my dad built a butcher block back in a college woodworking class and saved it for years and they ended up using it for their kitchen island. I think its doable and would be custom for your space.

    I dont know if you have something like this near you. but we did a custom live edge counter with a local to us company called dueling maples (duelingmaples.com) and we needed something wider than they had and they did such a great job it is invisible.

    1. This is what I was thinking. You can get thin flooring with real wood top, that might eliminate all the cutting…

    2. I think this idea is genius!!! Use unfinished flooring and finish it after it’s all put together, with a great craft-proof finish!

  7. Have you considered flooring for your countertops? Same appearance of what you are going for but way less work for you. Hubs did this for his workbench tops and it’s pretty and durable!

  8. I’d go with the laminate. I think your idea will break down over time and be a maintenance nightmare. I can almost write your post 2 years from now. 🤣. To avoid a seam in the middle, you could split one sheet of laminate in half, center the full sheet and stick the half pieces on each side. You’ll have 2 seams then, but wouldn’t be in the middle.

  9. How about real wood like you did on a bathroom vanity previously? Or you could cut planks out if plywood and install like a laminate floor? I used real laminate flooring on a counter once and it looked amazing. I imagine you will be doing the messy stuff on your workbenches so it so the counter should last a long time.

  10. It has been our experience ( my husband and I own a custom furniture business) that the seams can open over time. Changes in temperature and humidity do a number on the wood. Take that into consideration when making your decision.

  11. Butcher block slabs for kitchens are expensive. Check out butcher block for workshops. Much less expensive.
    Alternatively, put down a substrate and use flooring like you did in the pantry. That would eliminate the seam. You could do finished or unfinished. I love your pantry countertops and am actually considering using it in my kitchen for the island with granite countertops for sink/range L shape.

  12. I thought the laminate idea was the best solution, but that seam BOTHERS you so I would continue to look. The last project sounds good, as long as the WHOLE expanse is SEAMLESS when you are finished. Are you sure laminate doesn’t come longer??? I’m sure you have researched it, but it would certainly be the right solution. What about not centering the seam so it’s at the least used part of the top? Just a thought. Your skills are such that you should be able to NOT have a seam once you’ve sanded, sealed, whatever. I can’t believe that your skills wouldn’t overcome that.

  13. I just don’t feel like it would hold up, then you’d have put all of this effort into it for it to not hold up. I think using flooring for the countertop would be a lot more durable and less time-consuming to build.

  14. This may be a dumb idea, as I’ve never worked with laminate and have no idea how hard it is to trim or get a clean cut. But could you get butcher block laminate and trim out staggered strips off each end to fit two lengths of laminate together, like fingers intertwined? Kind of along the lines of how you’ve feathered in replacement planks of hardwood to make flooring look continuous between two rooms? Obviously the width of the pieces of wood in the laminate pattern would have to be consistent between sheets, and hopefully a staggered joint wouldn’t be a nightmare for durability. Just a thought! A giant center seam would absolutely drive my hyper-particular eye crazy as well. I know you’ll come up with a perfect solution and amaze us all!

  15. I offer this suggestion without having read the comments, so apologies if it’s already been considered. How about using oak flooring to make the countertops? You could put it on top of MDF substrate, or not, and the random lengths would look great You could put a veneer edge band across the front and it would look fabulous. Probably be fairly cheap and easy to do. If this doesn’t work for you, I’m on Team Laminate.

  16. What about two seams, with the longest piece in the middle? This way. your eye is drawn to the seamless middle. With two much smaller pieces on either side? Still symmetric, with no middle seam. I struggled with the seam dilemma on our 12 foot island. We opted for the seam by the sink, which was at one end, and the larger slab for the sitting area. Not an easy choice you have to make, but the veneer idea sounds like a lot of (your) labor? How much more effort are up for?

  17. Kristi…girl!!…you CAN do it!! Look around your beautiful home at all the “unconventional” things you have dreamed of and then brought to life. God has gifted you in such amazing ways! He has given you such a creative mind, a desire to honor Him in your work and the gift of teaching others. Don’t doubt your abilities. And I would love to see the how to. I dream of butcher block for our little kitchen but with the spike in prices we haven’t been able to move forward. If you do this, I am so doing it too. My vote is go for it!! ☺️

  18. I like the idea of using laminate. It is such a sturdy surface for working on. Maybe find a pattern where the seam will show the least and do it in three sections instead of two. Maybe with the seams lining up at the edge of a window, they would be less obvious

  19. You might check with an actual kitchen/bath/flooring company. They might be able to special order material in any length were Lowes/HD is limited. I also found a store that sells bulk/surplus items and bought 12′ slabs of butcherblock counters that were $399 and they are a solid 2″ thick. Northern OK if you feel like traveling! LOL

  20. Oooooohhhhhh I like this idea! I hope you do! I have been looking for an option for my island that is 10’x7’ and this sounds amazing!!

  21. The fact that you could and would do a beautiful custom butcher block countertop goes without saying. You’ve proven yourself repeatedly. If you want to devote a lot of time and stress to it then go for it. It would be stress as it’d be working out logistics. Laminate is reasonably priced, readily available and extremely durable and easy to clean. Butcher block being wood would be considerably less durable and would you be concerned to damage it with all the work going on? Once you decide how important it looks versus durability, price, ease of installation etc your choice will be easy.

  22. I am an artist and work on a laminate butcher block table. It is perfect for clean up. Wood would be wrecked and cause distress.

  23. I gotta say, laminate would be my choice because the way I work, wood is a big pain. I think you are being a little crazy, obsessing over a seam that is only visible in one place in that huge room. Sorry.

  24. Having stains from paints, inks etc. would bother me much more than a seam over the middle cabinet. I vote for laminate. Someone suggested a cutting area over the seam and that’s a great idea. You can decoupage the back of a self-healing cutting mat and then it’s a decorative piece on the counter and you don’t have to see the seam.

  25. Would using luxury vinyl tile in a wood pattern or porcelain floor tile in a wood patern work? If that wood look is the finished look you want. Using either one the seams wouldn’t be visible. Just a crazy thought.

  26. I like the laminate idea. Easy to clean and wipe up any messes. They might be able to special order a 20′ roll for you.

  27. This what I would do. Use the laminate. but cut it in 3rds. That way you will save a lot of money and you won’t have a middle seam. Make the two seams as tight as possible. You will probably have so much stuff on the countertop that you won’t notice the seams since it will not be right in the middle. You have lots of stuff to buy for the studio so you don’t what to spend it all on countertops. You will be getting all kinds of paints and other building goo on the countertops, and you would not be happy if all your work ended up ruined on wood whether it is real wood, butcher block, or whatever. Laminate can be scrubbed off and will last a long time. I would be wanting to move forward and get the job done so I could go back and finish the porch. Or finish the porch, then tackle the studio. You are doing a fine job just don’t paint yourself into the corner!

  28. Well, it’s a studio of creativity, so it just makes sense to experiment and have fun DIYing the countertop! My nephew created an awesome looking kitchen backsplash using cut up yard sticks. On another note, if you were to do laminate (of which I am a fan), you could run a 12′ section right dead center and seam the remaining 4′ pieces to the right and left. IF that sounds any better to you.

  29. I put Wilsonart Premium in my kitchen last year & am very happy with it. It is durable, clean up is easy & the patterns are very nice. I went with a white stone look with very subtle light grey & taupe stone texture. I swear by their products. My brother put in a Wilson Art floor with a beautiful marbled texture. It has been 20 years & it still looks like new. On the other hand, we found a man locally that stabbed walnut trunks & got a slab for $59 (6′ long) for our bar area. Tung oil gave it a beautiful finish

  30. Would it look odd to run the butcher block with the boards running front to back of the countertop instead of the length of the countertop? Would it be possible to join/glue the butcher block slabs together along the sides to do that? Another option I’d consider is using a shorter cabinet between the windows and making it into a bench with storage. Then your countertops wouldn’t require a seam.

  31. Depends on the cost of the laminate. I would hate to go with the cheapest option only to learn the right look in laminate ends up costing more than maybe granite.

    As others have suggested, maybe center a whole piece. If measurements allow, put the flanking seams under or at the edge of your upper shelves.

  32. Love the idea of putting a cutting surface in the middle for work projects that would protect the counters and then laminate on either side. There are so many great options…I have a white leather look finish on my master bath counters for 34 years and they still look brand new and current and fresh!

  33. Go for it! Love that you are stepping into something new. We don’t get anywhere new by doing the same old thing.
    Can you test it on a small scrap? Will you need to add an epoxy pour on top?
    I’m excited to see you try.

  34. Make the seam work for you. Like they have at the fabric shop: The metal-lined groove in the table where they cut the fabric to make a straight cut. In my mind, to prevent fabric from bunching, I would cut out an area at the back of the countertop for the cut fabric to fall into.

  35. Kristi – Of the three options you have mentioned the only one I personally feel is viable is the laminate, it’s the most durable. Yes you are going to have a seam, but only one and I know you will glue the devil out of it so that it does not separate. The butcher block is going to get dinged up, paint splatter on it and generally roughed up, the same goes for the custom made butcher block using a wood veneer. I know this is going on top of your storage cabinets but Kristi, DIYing is not neat, You will be putting paint cans and brushes, tools, nails, screws, tile, etc down on that countertop. It needs to be durable. And butcher block will get dinged, stained and scratched up in no time. You will constantly be sanding it down to make it look right and you can’t sand veneer repeatedly.

    That said, I do like the tile option like you did in the pantry that several have made. That’s a second viable option in my opinion. Good Luck deciding.

  36. What about making your countertops out of the unfinished oak (or something else) hardwood flooring? My husband and I made our kitchen countertops like that almost 8 years ago by gluing and nailing flooring onto a plywood base we built. It looks similar to butcherblock, but was easier and faster to do. We have more experience now and would do some things differently if we were to do it again, but it has held up well, and overall we’re very happy with it.

  37. How do you plan to use the countertop? Your “work” surface is the 2 tables, right? (cutting, painting, etc.)
    Maybe the function will help guide your decision.

    1. Best comment here. I concur.

      Being realistic about what jobs you are going to undertake on that counter should guide your choice. And I think it is fairly obvious that putting down protection on a surface before you use any kind of product or do anything is not usual for you. You are eager to begin.

      In this case, function should win over form because this is a workspace primarily. If you entertain in there I don’t know if the inevitable splats, spills, and marks will be a matter of concern to you or guests wherever they will be: on the counter, the floor, or the tables.

      Laminate seems most practical. And plenty of comments suggest a seam at both ends rather than in the middle. Just like when cutting fabric for curtains or drapes.

  38. I understand many of your special needs for balance, symmetry and the like but if I couldn’t feel the seam I’d be fine with it. Would a lap joint help?
    I’m still a big fan of laminate. I’d rather have a laminate I love in my kitchen than the awful granite I have now!

  39. I love the 3rd idea! That is what I would do because I hate seams. I used a butcher block top from IKEA in my craft/sewing room and I love it.

  40. Christy – you don’t have to put the seam in the middle. When I’ve run into this situation, I put one long piece in the center, cut the other piece in half and put one on each end. Yes, it gives you two seams but I like that they’re not right in the middle.

  41. I love the idea of laminate but the wood look seems like such a wasted opportunity for something fun and bold. Especially against your fab wallpaper. Go big, Sis!

    1. Or, what about blending two materials for mixed use? Like have butcher block under the windows and either white or a fun laminate in the middle section for certain types of messier projects (kind of like the cutting mat idea some others have mentioned).

  42. Using real wood for butcher block tops means it would get stained over time. Have you considered using laminate floor planks? You can get a wide variety of finishes, some look like wood or even butcher block if that’s the look you want. They would be more durable than a real wood countertop.

  43. I was a huge skeptic of your hallway bathroom pine vanity top. I think you recently thought of changing it but my concern at the time was due to water. I think it cost $20 for pine studs and it looked fantastic. In this instance there’s no water concern. I recently installed a Lowe’s butcher block and I see no downside to making it yourself. Except the effort and we all know you’re not one to shy away from effort!

  44. I think all of those ideas are great. Personally, if I were faced with the seams, I would think about having a section in the middle full length, and then have the other slab cut in half and installed to the outside parts of the counter. You would still have seams, of course, but not in the middle.

  45. If you piece 2, 8 ft and 1, 6 ft section of the home depot birch ($877.00 vs $1000+) you should have enough length to finger join / interweave sections together… But the joined ends should be well supported. This might be less work than all the veneer joining you plan to do. Good luck either way!

  46. Personally l love the laminate strip idea. Being my OCD self i couldnt live with a joint in the middle. Another option is put the longest section in the center of counter top and have the joins on each end. You would then have two joins but not as obvious as one in the center. I put laminate in my studio and it held up great. There used to be a butcher block design. What ever you decide will be beautiful.

  47. Personally, I love the butcher block-even if it is less practical. We had them in our kitchen for several years (bought from Ikea) and they held up very well and I could easily repair them by sanding/waxing.

    Either way, it’ll look great!

  48. In a similar situation involving a long length of granite, we leaned into the seam, making it a contrasting color stripe, about 3 inches wide, that related to other design choices in the room. It’s striking and looks intentional.

  49. I think building your own countertop is a brilliant idea! Our carpenter built my kitchen countertop from scraps after laying down my red oak hardwood floors. It looks great!

  50. Didn’t you make the butcher block counter in your hall bath? Couldn’t you do the same thing for the studio? I think HD and Lowe’s (even LL Flooring) butcher blocks are a little pricey.

    This is a CA company so you’d have to add in shipping/freight (Maybe search for a TX company that does the same?). https://www.perfectplank.com/maple_butcher_block_tops.html The closest you could come to 20′ would be 16′. But, like others have said, do it in 3 sections so it looks balanced and purposeful. We seamed butcher block in a rental house and it looked beautiful. The trick is to brace it on the other side- with a mitre bolt as you glue it ( https://thedailydiy.net/how-to-join-two-pieces-of-countertop/ ).

  51. Veneer peels up if the humidity is not correct or if something is spilled on it. It is paper thin strips of wood. It is easily scratched dented or splintered. Because this is a studio, I assume you will be working on it with tools, heat, etc. I suggest you build your 20foot long by x width base atop your correct counter height support minus one inch. Then make a 1 inch high frame around the counter. Staple waterproofing material around the seam where the side and top meet. Layer whatever unique articles yo like on the bottom. The should be much shorter than 2 inch, for example pennies or leaves, etc. Then pour epoxy resin to the height of the frame. Sealing in the objects. The water proof barrier shd prevent any leakage. Try a small project first to learn the technique before tackling the 20 footer. You cd even use butcher block as your base and cover the seam with pennies or whatever and then seal the butcher block in resin. The marine epoxy resin is longer wearing.

  52. So here in an idea for the unavoidable seams you have with any material you choose:
    Cut a full half circle out on one end of both lengths of counter (so you have two pointy ends connected with an arc).
    Join the newly cut ends in the middle, so now you have a circular hole where they come together.
    Insert the half circle cutouts to fill the hole, but rotate them 90 degrees, so it is an intentional design choice.
    Or alternatively fill the circle void (or any shape you want to cut out really) with another material – stone, a different color laminate or butcher block, copper, tile etc and make it a design feature.

  53. So I’m coming late, so you’ve probably already made a decision. 🙂 But yes, you probably COULD make an awesome seamless countertop with the veneer. And maybe you can try it somewhere just to see if you can. However, this is a STUDIO, and you are not typically a careful crafter. I think ultimately the cleanability of laminate is better than a seamless veneer counter. Could you maybe try your veneer idea as a top for your desk in the studio? Without the refinishing/sanding abilities of true butcherblock I think you’ll find yourself redoing the counters within a couple of years if you go with the veneer idea.

  54. Not sure of the cost, but why not try wood flooring? There are a lot of options, and because they come in uniform width, with tongue and groove, it would be far easier than messing around with laminates and a lot more durable.