New laminate countertops are an affordable way to update an old kitchen. Today’s laminate tops are stylish, available in several colors, AND can be installed by the average DIYer.Here are a few things to check before buying your top.
First, measure your cabinet depth. To checklength, measure along the back wall for accuracy.Account for any overhangs, too, typically about ¾- of an inch to an inch.
Next, check backsplash height. Your new top will need to clear any outlets and window trim. Also, you’ll need to finish wall areas that will show.
Lastly, check to see if your walls are fairly straight with a square and level. A little bow is ok. You can trim the countertop to fit. Some cases might require a custom top.
If you haven’t already removed the old countertop do it now. Shut off and disconnect the electric and plumbing.Take off the sink brackets and pull it out.To take off the counter, detach it from the walls and cabinets. Pull a bit and it should come loose. If you’re installing new cabinets like we are, this is the time to do it. Then, once you have your new counter, you can cut the top to length. Mask the finished side where the cut line will be.
Flip the counter over and mark the length. DOUBLE CHECK your measurements.
Attach a guide to keep your cut straight.Make the cut on the BACKSIDE using a saw with a fine-tooth blade, then file any rough spots.
Only file toward the backing. Some countertops require build up strips to help lift and support,but check your directions. If the cabinet drawers won’t clear the counter’s front edge, you definitely need them. Hold them on the underside of the countertop and attach with nails.
About every 2-feet and 2-inches from the ends should do. Next, check the fit.Run a piece of tape along the top of the backsplash.
Set the counter in place, getting the mitered corner as tight as possible, and tighten the miter bolts.
You’ll most likely notice a gap along the wall. Take a compass, set it to the width of the widest gap, and scribe a line along the back edge.
Go ahead and take off the counters, and remove the excess with a belt sander. Use a file to take off any burrs then check the fit. Complete the look by adding return splashes where the counter meets walls and end caps on the counter overhangs.
Attach the build up strips, hold the piece on, and iron.
You can trim the edges with a file. At this point you’re ready for the sink, and rangetop if you have one. Some sinks come with a template. If you don’t have one, set the top in place,center up the sink, and trace the outline.
Your cut out will be a ¼- to ½-inch inside this line. Place some masking tape around the edges to protect the top. Drill a few small starter holes in the corners, and cut out the piece—don’t let it fall.
Then file any burrs. It’s smart to add some extra support near the edges of the cutouts, especially along the back.
To secure the top, you can drill through the corner brackets, or add angle brackets just below the build up strips.
Next, position the countertop, starting with the longest piece. Apply the recommended adhesive at the miter, and snug the miter bolts.
Tap the seam with scrap wood and hammer to get it even. Tighten the bolts all the way and clean up any excess glue.
Now use #8 screws to secure the top to the brackets.
Remember—use short screws. Don’t be one of those people who drills through their nice, new countertop. Finish up by setting your sink and rangetop, and applying silicone around the edges, Caulk along the back wall too.
Once you’ve connected the plumbing, reattach the cabinet doors, and drawers, and admire your work.