Today, laminate countertops can give you the look of natural stone at a fraction of the cost. And, you can easily install your own laminate kitchen countertop.
Kitchen countertops can get expensive quick, but it’s possible to do the job without completely emptying your bank account if you plan it correctly. Choose a low-cost countertop material like laminate or ceramic tile and consider installing it yourself.
The process of installing a post-form laminate countertop (one that doesn’t have seams or edging) is very easy for any homeowner with even minimal do-it-yourself home improvement skills.
You can pick one up at a home improvement store or, if you’re looking for a unique color or finish, you might need to check with a countertop manufacturer.
Follow these simple steps to select and install your countertop:
- Measure the existing countertop, or if you don’t have one in place already, measure the cabinets. Then disconnect the plumbing and remove the sink. Remove the drawers. If there are any electrical appliances under the counter, shut off the power.
- Remove the existing countertop by taking out the screws that attach it to the cabinets and cutting the caulk that attaches it to the wall with a utility knife.
- Pick up your cabinets in the correct size. If you will have to join two separate countertop pieces at a corner, have the end cuts made for you and ask them to clamp the pieces together. This will insure that those ends fit together without gaps. If you have to make the cuts yourself, clamp a straight edge to insure that you’re going to cut straight and then make the cut with a jigsaw.
- You may need to attach what’s called an “endcap” to the end of the counter if it isn’t capped. An endcap kit is the easiest way to do this. Follow the kit instructions; generally you’ll need wood glue, brads, and an iron to attach it.
- Put the countertop into place and make sure that it’s both straight and level. Make sure that the cabinets and drawers open and close; it would be very unfortunate to find out after the installation is complete that your new countertop keeps the drawers from opening.
- If your countertop has a built-in backsplash, check to make sure that it’s flush with the wall. Sand down the back as necessary to make it lie flat against the wall. If your new backsplash is smaller than the old one, sand down and repaint the newly exposed area.
- If you need to cut out an area for a self-rimming sink, set the sink upside down on the counter and trace it. Drill a pilot hole inside the line and cut out the area with a jigsaw.
- If you weren’t able to get the store to the pieces together to make a corner, use silicone caulk and hold or clamp them together until it dries. Then install miter take-up bolts under the counter. (Ask for them when you have the pieces cut at the store.)
- Fasten the counter to the cabinets with wallboard screws. Make sure that the screws aren’t too long to crack the laminate.
- Seal the backsplash to the wall with silicone caulk and run a wet finger over it to smooth it.
- Install your sink and hook up the plumbing.
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