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Installing a Laminate Countertop

 
 
 Installing Laminate Countertops
 

Updating your countertop is a great way to extend the life of your cabinets while refreshing your kitchen or bath’s appearance. If you’re handy with a few common tools, you can install a new laminate countertop yourself. Be sure to measure for your countertop before going to the store. 


You can build a countertop from scratch or purchase a pre-manufactured countertop, which is called a post form countertop. Post form countertops are made in standard-sized lengths and come pre-assembled complete with backsplash. 


If necessary, you can purchase a post form countertop that’s a little longer than you need and cut it to fit. If your countertop is a non-standard length, you’ll need to have one custom made or build it yourself. This project guide provides step-by-step instructions for installing a post form laminate countertop.

 

Preparation

 

• When you measure for your countertop, be sure to include the counter overhang, which is usually 
  between 3/4" - 1" in front and on open ends.
• The point where two counters meet in a corner must be square. Make a mark 3' from the corner 
  on one wall and 4' from the corner on the other wall. If the distance between marks isn't 5', consider 
  having a professional make and install a custom counter.
• Make all measurements twice for accuracy.

 

Safety

 

• Always shut off water to the sink area when working in and around it with power tools
• Double-check to ensure your sawhorses are level and stable before placing the countertop on them.

 

Savings Tips

 

• Stretch your renovation dollars further by installing your kitchen countertop yourself.
• Save money by purchasing a pre-manufactured post form laminate countertop.  
• Save time and avoid mid-project interruptions by reviewing the tools and materials you need and 
  pick them up in one trip to the store beforehand.


WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS JOB:

TOOLS:

MATERIALS:


Step 1

Step 1: Set and level the Countertop

Set and Level the Countertop

 

1.  Set and clamp the countertop in place.  


2.  Shim as needed to make it level.  


3.  Check for gaps between the backsplash and the wall. If the gaps are narrow, 
     fill them in with caulk and proceed to step four. If the gaps are large, take the 
     actions in steps two and three below.

  

Step 2

Step 2: Mark Backsplash with Compass

Mark Backsplash with Compass

 

1.  Set a drawing compass to the span of the largest gap between the backsplash 
     and the wall.  


2.  Set the compass point next to the wall and the marker on the backsplash.  


3.  Pull the compass along the wall to mark what will need to be removed on 
     the backsplash.  

  

Step 3

Step 3: Remove Countertop and Clamp to Sawhorses

Remove Countertop and Clamp to Sawhorses

 

1.  Remove the countertop and clamp it in place on sawhorses.  


2.  Use a belt sander to sand the backsplash to the line drawn with the compass.  


3.  Place the countertop on the cabinet and ensure the backsplash is flush 
     against the wall.  

  

Step 4

Step 4: Glue Edges Together

Glue Edges Together

 

1.  Where two pieces of the cabinet meet, glue them together with the glue 
     from a miter-clamp kit. If the kit has no glue, apply a thin bead of silicone 
     caulk to the edges of both pieces.  


2.  Apply wood glue to the rest of the edges per instructions on the glue's packaging.  


3.  Press the edges together.  

  

Step 5

 Step 5: Tighten Miter Clamps

Tighten Miter Clamps   


1.  Make sure the entire surface is flush at the seam along the front edge of 
     the counter. 

 
2.  Tighten the nearest miter clamp.  


3.  Wipe away any excess glue.  


4.  Stand behind the backsplash and push the countertop up and down as needed 
     to make the seam flush along the back of the counter.  


5.  Tighten the miter clamp nearest the backsplash.  

  

Step 6

Step 6: Level the Countertop

Level the Countertop   


1.  If one side of the seam is higher than the other, protect the surface with a piece 
     of wood and tap the countertop with a rubber mallet.  


2.  When the seam is level, tighten the remaining miter clamps.  

  

Step 7

Step 7: Fasten the Countertop to the Cabinet

Fasten the Countertop to the Cabinet  

Note: Check the length of every screw carefully before driving it into the countertop.  

1.  If the cabinet has a top surface, fasten the countertop by screwing up through 
     the bottom of the cabinet top into the countertop. If the cabinets have no tops, 
     screw through the front rail and any blocks built into the cabinet.  


2.  Seal the seam between the backsplash and the wall with silicone caulk that 
     matches the color of the countertop.  


3.  Your countertop installation is complete.