How to Level a Kitchen Counter

Kitchen counters, constructed of materials ranging from granite to laminated pressboard, are cut to fit the shape and layout of your kitchen cabinet framework and appliances.
Counters should be leveled during the installation process.Counters should be leveled during the installation process.
Since kitchen countertops sit atop your cabinets, they must be leveled before final installation. If your counters aren't leveled properly, the flaw may be visible once they're fastened in place. The process of leveling your kitchen counters requires a bit of DIY skill and basic tools.

Step 1

Use the level to check that every cabinet frame is flush. Place the level onto each of the four sides of the cabinet frame and check for plumbness front to back, and side to side. Check each cabinet separately.

Step 2

Hammer in wooden shims beneath the side of the cabinet that's too low. Continually adjust the shims and level until the positioning is correct. Repeat the process with each cabinet, ensuring that the tops of all cabinets are even so the countertops have a steady foundation on which to rest.

Step 3

Place your new countertop onto the cabinet framework. The countertop should fit evenly over the cabinets, with an overhang at the front measuring from 3/4- to 1-inch deep. Use the level to check the countertop from back to front and side to side.

Step 4

Insert wooden shims beneath the edge of your countertop to raise it into the proper position. Continue to place shims wherever needed, then retest with the level. Once the countertop is level from end to end, fasten it in place.

Things You Will Need

  • Level
  • Wooden shims
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver

Tips

  • If you need to level your existing countertop, locate the securing angle brackets on the underside of the counter. Use the screwdriver to loosen the brackets and wooden shims to prop up the counter as needed. Once level, reinstall the bracket screws.
  • Place shims so they're not visible from the outside. Shims are easily cut with a hand saw and can be fitted to any space. Excess shim material can extend on the inside of the cabinet only.

Warning

  • Find a helper to assist you when moving and adjusting heavy countertops.

About the Author

Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.