How to Install a Laminate Countertop
Time Required: Over 1 day
Install a laminate countertop to refresh your kitchen or bath’s appearance.
You can build a laminate 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.
This project guide provides step-by-step instructions for installing a post-form laminate countertop.
- When you measure for your countertop, be sure to include the counter overhang, which is usually between 3/4-1 inch in front and on open ends.
- The point where two counters meet in a corner must be square. Make a mark 3 feet from the corner on one wall and 4 feet from the corner on the other wall. If the distance between marks isn't 5 feet, consider having a professional make and install a custom counter.
- Measure twice for accuracy.
- 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.
Tools & Materials
- Set and clamp the countertop in place.
- Shim as needed to make it level.
- Check for gaps between the backsplash and the wall. If the gaps are narrow, fill them with caulk and proceed to Step 4. If the gaps are large, follow Steps 2 and 3.
- Set a drawing compass to the span of the largest gap between the backsplash and the wall.
- Set the compass point next to the wall and the marker on the backsplash.
- Pull the compass along the wall to mark what will need to be removed on the backsplash.
- Remove the countertop and clamp it in place on sawhorses.
- Use a belt sander to sand the backsplash to the line drawn with the compass.
- Place the countertop on the cabinet and ensure the backsplash is flush against the wall.
- 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.
- Apply wood glue to the rest of the edges per instructions on the glue’s packaging.
- Press the edges together.
- Make sure the entire surface is flush at the seam along the front edge of the counter.
- Tighten the nearest miter clamp.
- Wipe away any excess glue.
- Stand behind the backsplash and push the countertop up and down as needed to make the seam flush along the back of the counter.
- Tighten the miter clamp nearest the backsplash.
- 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.
- When the seam is level, tighten the remaining miter clamps.
Tip: Check the length of every screw carefully before driving it into the countertop.
- 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.
- Seal the seam between the backsplash and the wall with silicone caulk that matches the color of the countertop.