How to Install Laminate Countertops

Understanding how to install laminate countertops isn't particularly difficult. Laminate countertops are inexpensive, and most home centers can deliver pre-formed laminate countertops to match the size and configuration of you kitchen. With basic carpentry skills, you could install laminate countertops in a weekend.

How To Install Laminate Countertops Like A Pro

  • Made to order. The first, and most important, step is to measure your existing countertops accurately. Measure the width and length in several places to insure accuracy. Make a map of your kitchen and be sure to locate and label sinks, appliances and exposed countertop edges. The company you order your countertops from may require a cardboard template of your countertops for the best fit. You'll also want to check that your kitchen walls are plumb and even. Differences of more than ¼" may require extra material on the wall end of the countertop.
  • Out with the old. Once, you've ordered and received your new laminate countertops, you'll want to remove the old countertops. Start by disconnecting all water, power and gas lines. Next, remove sinks and appliances. Slice through the bead of caulk where the countertop meets the wall and remove any screws or nails from the underside of the countertop. Pry the countertop away from the wall with a stiff putty knife or pry bar and remove the old countertop.
  • On the level. Check the cabinet bases for level and be prepared to shim under the new countertop as needed to create a level surface. An uneven base can lead to warping or cracking of the laminate surface of your new countertops.
  • A custom edge. Place the new countertop in position on the cabinet base and press it against the wall. Run a scribing tool along the wall and back surface of the countertop. The scribing tool will create a pencil line along the edge of the countertop that measures the profile of the wall. With a belt sander, remove any excess material on the wall side of the pencil mark to create a surface that matches the wall.
  • Mounting. Reposition the countertop and attach it to the cabinet base. Modern laminate countertops are mounted using brackets made of wood, plastic or metal. These brackets attach to the corners of the cabinet base and screws are driven though the bracket and into the underside of the countertop.
  • That sinking feeling. Once the countertop has been installed, you may need to make a cutout for your sink. Make a sink template by setting your sink down on a large sheet of paper (wrapping paper works well) and tracing the outline of the sink. Position and transfer to out line to the countertop surface. Score the outline of the sink with a sharp utility knife to keep the surface from chipping. Drill a pilot hole in one corner of the sink outline and then use a jigsaw with a fine-toothed blade to cut out the sink entry.
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