You may have spent a fortune on your new kitchen countertops, but one way to recoup some of those costs is to install the counters yourself. Homeowners tend to shy away from working with expensive appliances, but as you will see, installing your own kitchen countertops is a job anyone can handle.
Below is a step-by-step guide for installing kitchen counters. For cabinets, please see How To Install Kitchen Cabinets.
Types of Kitchen Countertops
The following procedure can be used for any kitchen countertop material, assuming it has been cut with the exact dimensions you need. The manufacturer should do the cutting, especially if you’re working with marble or granite. After you decide on your material, know the dimensions and have your counters cut, all homeowners can follow our step-by-step guide below.
If you’re looking for other alternatives as far as cutting, many kitchen contractors can cut counters. Find one in your area!
Make Sure Counter Size and Cut is Perfect
The first thing you want to do is lay the countertop on your cabinet base or island top. Make sure it’s level and the edges align perfectly with your base. Additionally, if this is a counter for the sink, make sure the manufacture’s holes match the size of your sink. If any of the sizes are off, do not do the work. Send it back and make sure they get it right.
Do Not Install Just Yet: Add Sink First
The following steps only refer to countertops with sinks. Do not install the counters first. That will make installing the sink much more difficult. Instead, take the counter to a workstation with plenty of room and turn it over. This way, you won’t have to work below the counter the entire time. If you are not installing a counter without a sink, skip to Let’s Move Inside.
Get the Drill
Now, drill a hole in the counter for the faucet. You can use a hole saw or another drill suitable for the work. Drill the hole all the way through. While drilling, you can add some water to keep the drill cool. Make sure your hole is not much wider than the faucet itself. Then, add other holes around the cut in your counter for the brackets and anchors. Needless to say, these holes will largely depend on the sink. There are some that won’t require these brackets, but most need extra support. Make sure you do not drill all the way through.
Time to put the sink into place. Before doing that, add a layer of silicone or adhesive material around the edge of the counter hole. This is where the sink will connect below the countertop. You should ask your countertop manufacturer what type of adhesive material they recommend. Always go with their recommendation, especially if you are installing your own kitchen countertops. Put the sink in place. Then, add your anchors and screw in your brackets.
Finally, put the faucet through the first hole you drilled and add a thin layer of the same adhesive material around the faucet. Secure the faucet below the counter.
Let’s Move Inside
Before bringing your countertop inside, make sure you have support for the entire counter. There should be a cabinet base or support beam below the outside edge of your entire counter. If you are installing kitchen countertops in the corner, you will most likely not have enough support. Therefore, you need to add support ledges. Make sure they are level and drill them into the wall.
Installing the Countertop
For thin countertops, you may have to add a thin layer of protection. Most counters will be thick enough to stand on their own. When ready, add some adhesive caulk on the top of the counter base or island top. With a partner, carefully put the counter into place. Once again, make sure the size is right. Remember, an inch and a half should be hanging over the edge. Also, if the counter is up against a fridge or another counter, leave 1/16th of an inch to allow for easy install and removal.
After you put the kitchen counters into place, seal any joints with a color-matching adhesive (once again, ask the manufacturer). You need to seal the joints to make sure no food falls through the cracks.
Bonus Tip: A great way to seal the joints with no mess it to use painting tape. Put a thick layer of tape on both sides of the joints, about two centimeters away from the hole. Add your adhesive and thin it out with your finger. Pull the tape. No adhesive should hit the countertop.
Finish it Off: Connect Water Lines
If you are installing a kitchen counter with a sink, we need to connect the water lines. Make sure the faucet and lines are tightly connected. You will have to use some adhesive to connect the faucet to the wall. Turn on the water and make sure nothing is leaking. If a drop falls, make sure you tighten up the loose ends.
As long as the countertops are cut to the exact dimensions you need, installing kitchen counters is not a difficult DIY project. If you follow the simple steps above, combined with the manufacturer’s instructions, you should have little to no trouble installing your new kitchen counters.
On the other hand, some like to leave these big projects to the pros. Let us connect you with local contractors who can handle this or any other kitchen remodeling project.