INSTALL POST-FORMED KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
Completion Time: 1 Day

Install the countertop completes the kitchen cabinet renovation. Your local home renovation centre offer laminate, or post-formed kitchen countertops, complete with an integrated backsplash and a curved front edge. With precise measurements in hand, you can purchase kitchen counters with either flush or 45o mitred ends.

Installing kitchen countertops is quite an easy project for most do-it-yourselfers. It that can be accomplished in less than a day with a few household tools.

TOOLS

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Belt sander
  • Drill & bits/screw bits
  • Square
  • Large clamps
  • Scriber compass
  • Caulking gun

  • Jigsaw
  • Level
  • Masking tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Screwdrivers
  • Safety glasses

MATERIALS

  • Mitre bolts
  • Post-formed countertops
  • Screws
  • Shims
  • Silicone caulk
BEFORE ASSEMBLY
PLAN THE INSTALLATION

Your local home renovation centre offer laminate, or post-formed kitchen countertops, complete with an integrated backsplash and a curved front edge.

With precise measurements in hand, you can purchase kitchen counters with either flush or 45o mitred ends. Cornered countertops are ideal for perfect squared corners. If your corner is out of square, cutting a miter is very hard, We recommend you have your countertop install by a professional. If your cabinets are not standard size, you might need to special order your counter as well.

MEASURING

Measure the surface the post-formed countertop will cover and include the countertop overhang (usually 1"). Measure your cabinets and ensure they are level. Make sure that your walls are square. In the case of a wall that bows either in or out slightly adjustments of up to 3/8" can be made to the backsplash to make the countertop fit.

STEPS
Although the base cabinets were levelled at installation, countertop level should be checked.

1.1 Place all the countertop sections on top of the base cabinets and against the wall.

1.2 Shims as required to make them level. The joint between the two adjoining pieces of countertop should close tightly with no space.

1.3 Once levelled, clamp the countertops on place.

1.4 Open and close cabinet doors and drawers to make sure they clear the countertop. If they catch or rub, the bottom of the countertop will have to be built-up so the lip of the counter clears the doors/drawers.

 LEVEL THE COUNTERTOPS 
Most small gaps will be fill in later with caulking. Since walls are rarely even, you might find larger gaps that cannont be filled with silicone. In this case, you will have to scribe the backsplash to the shape of the wall.

2.1 See how the backsplash fits with the wall behind it.

2.2 Set the compass span to the width of the largest gap.

2.3 Scribe along the top of the backsplash to mark the amount to take off to make a good fit against the wall.

2.4 Repeat with the other countertop sections.

2.5 Unclamp countertops and remove the excess material with a belt sander.

 FIT THE COUNTERTOPS

MARK THE LAYOUT UNDER THE COUNTERTOP

3.1 Lay countertop sections on sawhorses or flat surface. Make sure there is room underneath to install the anchors.

3.2 Apply a generous bead of a suitable silicone caulk to one end of the countertop and push the two ends together.

3.3 Fasten the mitre bolts in their factory cut slots. The bolts usually come with the countertop. Make sure that both sections are well aligned and mated.

3.4 Tighten the bolts with a small wrench until firm. Make sure the entire surface is flat and the seam flushed.

3.5 Remove any excess caulking that has squeezed out of the joint.

JOIN COUNTERTOP SECTIONS

JOIN COUNTERTOP SECTIONS 

For the installation of the countertops, you should be more than one person, as sections are large and heavy.

4.1 Place the now solidly joined countertops over the base cabinets. Make sure that the backsplashes are resting squarely against the wall.

4.2 Level all seams along the countertop.

4.3 Insert the fastening bolts at the four corners inside each base cabinets.

4.4 Screw down the countertops making sure the screws used are long enough to go through the cabinet and into the countertop and not through the counter surface. If gluing down the countertop, uses large clamps to hold in place until the glue has dried.

 ATTACH THE COUNTERTOPS TO THE CABINETS 
5.1 Determine the location of the kitchen sink. Check that the plumbing is correctly aligned and can easily be hooked up. Read manufacturer instruction regarding space surrounding the sink.

5.2 Tape in place the sink template on the countertop.

5.3 Trace around the template with a pencil and then remove the template.

5.4 Mark the location of the faucet and soap dispenser if needed.

5.5 Drill a pilot hole in one of the corners. Make sure to stay inside the line by ½".

5.6 Drill into the hole with a larger bit, one that will be able to fit the jigsaw blade or 5/8".

 TRACE THE KITCHEN SINK OPENING 
For a nice cut with less chipping, use a laminated blade that has more teeth than a regular blade.

6.1 Insert the jigsaw blade into the hole and cut out the opening staying on the line.

6.2 Insert a shim in the opening as you cut to reduce vibration that occurs with movement form the cut section.

6.3 Protect the backsplash from the jigsaw with a cardboard piece. If you cannot cut along the backsplash from atop, cut from the bottom. Make sure to mark with a guiding line first.

6.4 Insert the kitchen sink to make sure the opening is the right size and all corners are radiused (to alleviate stress cracking). Remove the sink.

6.5 Use a hole saw for the faucet and soap dispenser openings.

 CUT THE SINK OPENING 
7.1 Remove any dust along the joint between the backsplash and the wall with a clean cloth.

7.2 Apply two lengths of masking tape approximately ¼" apart, one along the wall and the other along the backsplash.

7.3 Apply a coat of silicone caulk to cover the gap between the wall and the backsplash.

7.4 Remove the masking tape.

7.5 Smooth the caulk joint with your finger, moistened with soapy water.

 APPLY THE SILICONE CAULK