How to Install a Preformed Laminate Countertop

Installing a countertop can be simple and straightforward (if the countertop just runs straight) or very time consuming and frustrating particularly if the countertop needs to fit between two walls or go around a corner.

Installing a straight run countertop

For a DIY'er laminate countertops are what you are going to be working with since solid surface countertops need to be installed by professionals (to preserve their warranty) and stone tops like granite require special tools.

What you'll need Saber saw Masking tape Glue Screwdriver or Power drill and screwdriver bits. Drywall screws Square Large clamps Hammer Level Scriber compass Screwdriver Caulking gun and caulk Sandpaper Belt sander Large clamps Safety glasses

Determine the space you want the counter top to cover, include the countertop overhang (usually 1"), if your preformed countertop is too long you will have to cut it to fit.

Measure and mark the appropriate size on your preformed countertop. Place masking tape along the lines you want to cut and mark your cut line on the tape. (The masking tape will prevent any chipping of the laminate surface).

Cut the countertop to the appropriate size.

Apply carpenter's glue to the tops of the base cabinets framing, then align and place the countertop onto the cabinets.

Attach the countertop using drywall screws coming up through the cabinet framing to the underside of the countertop to hold the counter firmly in place.

Installing a countertop along a wall

Measure, mark and cut your countertop as above.

Place the countertop on the base cabinets and align it as close as possible to the wall. Quite likely the straight cut countertop won't fit closely along the wall.

Clamp the countertop in place and using the scriber compass mark the outline of the wall onto the countertop. (Open the compass about 1/2", run one leg along the wall and run the pencil leg along the countertop - making and exact profile of the wall).

Use your belt sander to carefully remove the excess marked by the scriber.

Test fit and do more sanding if required to fit the countertop to the wall.

Install the countertop onto the base cabinets as above, using glue and drywall screws.

Apply caulking along the seam between the countertop and the wall.

Installing a countertop with an

Install a preformed countertop in an "L" shape by putting together two pieces cut on 45-degree angles. You don't have to cut these pieces yourself they are readily available and include cut outs on the underside to help hold them together using specially designed fasteners.

Lay the two pieces upside down on a solid, level surface.

Spread carpenter's glue on the joining edges of both pieces.

Install and tighten the joining hardware/fasteners enough to hold the pieces close together.

Align the corners carefully and ensure the seam is smooth. (This is a slow, iterative process - tighten a little, realign, tighten a little more and realign). It's important that the corners line up and the joint is smooth.

Align the corners carefully and ensure the seam is smooth. (This is a slow, iterative process - tighten a little, realign, tighten a little more and realign). It's important that the corners line up and the joint is smooth.

Allow the glue to dry once the pieces are properly aligned.

Turn the countertop over (carefully), and install it as if it were a single section.

Things You Will Need

  • saber saw
  • masking tape
  • glue
  • hammer, screwdriver, drill and drill bits, evel
  • belt sander and sandpaper
  • caulking gun and caulk

Tips

  • After all your work getting the "L" shaped countertop aligned don't take a chance on ruining your efforts. Get someone to help you turn the countertop right side up and position it on the base cabinets.
  • Walls are virtually never going to be plumb and corners won't be square. Always figure on having to scribe a countertop to fit. Probably the only time you won't need to scribe your countertop is if you are installing a countertop that has a separate backsplash. In that case you can install the countertop close to the wall and the backsplash will cover any gaps.