Butcher block laminate — a ’72 classic

formica butcher block“Fake butcher block countertops” are another one of those original vintage house features that I often hear called “hideous” on other websites. (Crikey, how I have come to despise that word — it is overkill, please refrain.) I, on the other hand, not only have “no problem” with butcher block laminate, I am 100% on its side, especially for late 1960s and 1970s homes. I even put some in my house. I asked Formica, and they report that their butcher block laminate — the pattern shown at the left — has been in production since 1972. How is that for enduring! I did some research, and found only two manufacturers that still make 1970s-era butcher block laminate:

formica butcher block countertopIn fact, I ordered butcher block laminate for the countertops in two areas of our house. Now, don’t be put off because neither place is glamorous like a kitchen. But, first, we ordered butcher block laminate to make a countertop in my husband’s basement workroom. It sits on top of two old Ikea playroom storage thingies that weebit no longer used — as I recall, we paid $75 or less for this piece of countertop from Home Depot. I’m kind of fuzzy on the details, but as I recall, at the time we put this in, Home Depot carried this countertop as a stock item — you could walk right out the door with it. (Everything back there is faux granite.) I’m also fuzzy on the maker of this laminate. I’m thinking it’s Pionite. Reason being: When I was finishing up our kitchen, we had aquamarine cabinets left over that I installed in the garage. We needed countertops made to size for those, and, yes: We ordered butcher block laminate, again. I’m pretty sure they were Pionite, for some reason that’s what’s stuck in my brain, and I tend to be good remembering silly details like that. For the two sections in the garage — manufactured to our size specifications and including a corner turn — I think we paid around $150.

butcher block countertop

As we know from trying to buy Formica boomerangs: Anytime you can buy laminate or laminate countertops for the Big Box stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, etc.: You are going to save big bucks vs. going to a specialty place.

wilsonart truss maple butcher block laminate And above: Wilsonart Truss Maple 7972 appears to be a sleeker version of butcher block. 

Hey: Butcher block laminate is “authentic” — and the price is right. Don’t let anyone else sway you because it’s “dated.” Didn’t you hear: The ’70s are B-A-C-K.

Tip: Are you researching laminates?
See my story about all the manufacturers to check —
8 companies that make and sell laminate in the U.S.

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  1. Mrs Canada says

    My mom has had these in her kitchen since 1973. As a child I thought they were “hideous” compaired to the McMansion granite expanses of my posh school friends. Now, I am shocked that after 30 years of kids and dogs and dying clothes and rinsing paint brushes and truely apathetic treatment, they still look perfect! Real butcher block is so high maintenance that I personally think these are a great choice for any style of home and am considering them if i need to replace countertops in our next home.

  2. nicole says

    I have butcher block laminate countertops complete with the built in glass cutting board that you featured in another story.Even tho it has seen better days,I have always thought it was charming.I also love the herb identification pattern thats under the cutting board.We are sadly moving soon but in thinking of taking that darn thing with me!

  3. Terri says

    My knotty pine kitchen has a circa 70s butcherblock laminate counter. I like it and can certainly live with it until I can do a 50s makeover (then the countertop will be free to a good home.) All these years later it is still very pretty and functional and doesn’t clash or look outdated with the knotty pine.

  4. TappanTrailerTami says

    Just a reminder, at least for the Formica brand butcher block counters: a slight improvement (at least I think so) is that Formica now does Ideal Edge so that the dark brown seams at the counter edge do not show…so it looks a bit more “real”. They show the butcher block being available on page 2 of the gallery photos :-)


  5. Denise Yaeger says

    We bought our 1940’s Bungalow home back in 1991. First, we painted all the cupboards a country blue, painted the ceiling & trim ecru, put up ecru with country blue & burgundy hearts wallpaper, & then we replaced the ugly countertops with butcher block laminate ones. They looked great then & still look great 23 years later!

  6. Sharon says


    We bought an old 1970s lake house and I have painted the cabinets, upgraded the hardware and put subway tile on the back splash. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the laminate butcher block countertops! I read somewhere that you could put minwax polyshade on them to make them darker. I am wondering if anyone has tried this or what other ideas you have other then just painting them. Thanks!

    • pam kueber says

      Ummm… we like butcher block laminate countertops here. Is there a reason you want to change them?

  7. Erika says

    I love butcher block; I am in the process of purchasing a 1960’s brick rancher, and sadly, the kitchen needs some work. I’m definitely considering butcher block as an affordable, durable option. I’ll have white cabinets and I really like butcher block with those.

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