Completing a Kitchen After 20 Years

After photo of wood countertops
Chris and Michelle Estes get a kitchen renovation 20 years in the making, featuring butcher block countertops and an apron sink.

For the last 20 years, this house has been home to the Estes family. Now, Chris and Michelle’s daughter, Kaitlyn, is off at college and they have the place to themselves.

And they have some time to focus on a long-awaited kitchen renovation — and we’re here to guide that project along!

The Projects


Replace countertops

Before photo of laminate countertops
These laminate countertops will be replaced with butcher block.

The couple installed laminate countertops about 15 years ago and they want to replace them with butcher block that they’ve already purchased.

First, we need to size the wood. Ordinarily, we’d freehand crosscuts, but not on a countertop. Its edges have to be perfect so we’re using a saw edge guide from Woodcraft to cut them as straight as an arrow.

After we complete cuts for the countertop sections, we also cut a piece of the butcher block for the bar section. Then we’re ready to dry fit them.

Before we install the countertops, we take them outside to sand them with 320-grit sandpaper, stain them with Beltex pads and wear our respirators to finish them with Waterlox Original Sealer / Finish.

Then we install corner braces in the cabinets with Titebond II Wood Glue and nails and adhere the finished countertops to the corner braces with Titebond Construction Adhesive.

Install apron sink

Butcher block countertops
This apron sink, from Kohler, is a major upgrade from the Estes’ old sink. In fact, there’s enough room for Michelle to bathe her small dog in it.

We’re adding a stainless steel apron sink that will require removal of the front of the counter in order to fit.

So we put the countertop’s seam right in the middle because the sink will be cut out from the front, and just a tiny seam in the back of the sink will be visible.

Once the sink is cut out, we mark the cabinets to accommodate the sink’s depth.


  1. A year ago I had granite countertops installed in my kitchen. Someone asked is I sealed the granite. How does one keep granite clean?

  2. I like the butcher block countertop. I currently have a new dual mount sink with my old laminate kitchen countertop. When I replace my countertop in the future and if I wanted to do a butcher block countertop, can an undermount sink be used with a butcher block countertop? Thank you.

    • Hi, Kathy!
      It’s possible — just seal that butcher block tight! Waterlox is a great option.
      Good luck!

  3. Do not like the little connector piece of wood between the counter top and bar top. Everything else is nice.

  4. We are planning a move, and I’m totally over granite. We are looking at butcher block as a possibility, but I don’t know how thick it should be. Any ideas?

    • Hi, Mary Alice! That’s up to you, but generally, butcher block countertops are between 2 and 12 inches thick.

  5. I am in need of a new “Flush Button” (2 buttons) for my EcoFlush toilet.
    Is such available and what is the cost?
    (There are several numbers stamped on the inside of the tank:
    4339, 4349 & 4349 There is also: 2020)
    Please advise.


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