Post-form laminate countertops are the most convenient do-it-yourself countertops available. These countertops are prefabricated in various colours, styles and lengths. They are constructed with a rolled front edge and a preformed backsplash. Most home improvement centres sell them in 4-feet, 8-feet and 10-feet lengths.
Three main things to keep in mind when installing laminate countertops: Take extremely accurate measurements; ensure that the countertops are level on the base cabinets; and cut carefully and slowly to avoid splintering the countertop edges. Installation of countertops in an average-sized kitchen is a weekend-long project.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw
- Scriber compass
- Construction adhesive
- Caulk gun
- Utility knife
- Belt sander
- Masking tape
- Drill/Screw gun
- Drywall screws
- Wood shims
- Edging stickers
Measure the area for the new countertop; allow 1-inch for an overhang at each end of the cabinets, if applicable.
Measure and mark the cut for the countertop. Place a strip of masking tape along the edge of the cut line to avoid splintering. Score your measuring line with the utility knife to avoid chipping the laminate surface. Use the circular saw to cut your line.
Place the countertop onto the cabinets and test for accuracy and levelness.
Use the scriber compass to trace the outline of the wall on the backsplash lip of the countertop. Remove the countertop from the cabinets.
Use the belt sander to sand away the extra backsplash material, making the backsplash lip line up evenly along the contours of the wall.
Apply construction adhesive with the caulk gun to the top wooden edges of the cabinets.
Place the countertop onto the cabinets.
Use the level to test the levelness of the countertop--it must be perfectly level. Use the hammer to lightly tap wood shims under the countertop where they rest on the cabinets to make them level.
Go under the countertop (in the cabinets) and drill the drywall screws up through the base cabinet framing into the countertop.
Follow manufacturer's instructions for applying the edging stickers--either iron on or glue on as required.
Lay the two "L" shaped pieces on a large, smooth surface.
Use the construction adhesive and caulk gun to spread a large bead at the seam where the two pieces will connect.
Connect the two pieces.
Use the included joining hardware and a screwdriver to tighten the pieces together.
Check for a smooth seam on the topside of the countertop. Loosen or tighten the joining hardware as needed.
Allow the glue to completely dry. Turn the countertop right side up and install onto the cabinets.
Check the manufacturer's instructions on how to install the sink. Most instructions include a cutout paper template. Draw the cutout of the sink on the countertop.
Use the jigsaw to cut the opening for the sink, making sure that the hole is about 1-inch smaller than the sink to allow for the overhang of the sink's lip.
Use sandpaper to smooth any sharp or fractured edges around the cutout hole.
Tips and warnings
- Secure masking tape onto the backsplash lip before marking it with the scribing compass; the pencil will draw better on the tape than on the slick laminate surface.
- Get a helper to assist you in hoisting the heavy countertops onto the cabinets, especially if you are installing an "L" shaped countertop form.
- Do not use drywalls screws that are too long or the screws will pierce the surface of the laminate countertop.
- When planning the cutout hole for the sink, check to make sure that the cabinet framing will not interfere with the placement of the sink.
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