How to Install Copper Countertops

Lisa East Hunter

You can order custom copper counters from a countertop fabricator. The counters will be expertly cut and installed and look perfect. But part of the appeal of copper counters is the charming imperfection of the surface. Water spots, dents and aged patina add to the warmth and character of the surface. Installing a copper counter yourself using copper sheets will give you similar results to a custom fabricator but give you control over the amount of distressing and patina. Buy copper sheets no heavier than 20 oz. per square foot.

Hammered copper is just one of your custom copper counter choices.
  1. Measure the tops of the cabinets where you'll add the countertops, using a tape measure. Cut 3/4-inch plywood to fit dimensions of your cabinets with a circular saw. Leave 1 inch of overhang around the plywood on all exposed edges.

  2. Set the plywood on top of the cabinets and drive 3-inch deck screws through the plywood into the cabinet frame. Attach the plywood to the cabinet frame every 6 inches.

  3. Trim the copper sheets with metal shears so that the copper will hang over the edge of the plywood by 1¾ inch. This will allow the copper sheet to bend around the 3/4-inch-thick plywood and leave 1 inch under the lip of the counter for attaching the copper sheet.

  4. Insert polyurethane-based adhesive into a caulk gun. Spread the adhesive on the top of the plywood, being careful to cover the edges with the glue as well. Only polyurethane-based adhesives are safe for use with copper.

  5. Position the copper sheet on top of the plywood so it hangs over the top of the plywood by 1 3/4 inch on each exposed side. Clamp the copper to the plywood with C-clamps and let the glue dry overnight.

  6. Hold the edge of the copper sheet with pliers. Bend the copper over the edge of the plywood, using the pliers as leverage. Trim the corners with metal shears to make the folded corners neat. Drive copper screws from underneath the counter through the copper sheet and into the plywood, using a screwdriver.

  7. Dip a soft cloth into beeswax. Smooth the wax into the counter to seal the copper. Buff with a soft, dry cloth.