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Cut a joining strip to the width of the countertop, then secure it using selant and screws. Apply sealant along the edge of the other countertop (Image 1).
Butt the sections together (Image 2), and use a cloth to remove any excess sealant.
Once a countertop has been cut to size, it should be secured in place using screws inserted through the countertop brackets that are attached to the units and rail. You will need someone to apply weight to the back of the units while you attach them.
Clamp the countertop to the cabinets along their front edge. Insert screws through the rail into the underside of the countertop (Image 1).
Apply weight from above while you secure the back of the countertop using mending brackets (Image 2).
These often have unfinished edges that require covering with laminate strips supplied by the manufacturer. The strips can sometimes be ironed on, but others will need contact adhesive. Once the strip is fastened in place and any adhesive is dry, you can trim the edges flush using a utility knife.
Solid surface countertops
Sawn edges of some types of solid surface can be sanded smooth. Always check manufacturer's guidelines.
Solid wood countertops
These are best sanded smooth, then stain-protected using the oil recommended by the manufacturer. Paint on several coats of oil, removing any excess with a dry cloth. Extra oil may be required at intervals to maintain the finish.
After installation, seal the exposed surfaces with a sealing product. The sealer prevents the surface from absorbing food stains and odors, and it makes it easier to clean. When dry, buff out the surface using an abrasive pad. Then apply a coat of acrylic clear finish. To achieve a high-gloss finish, buff the surface.
You can always seal your stone countertops, but keep in mind that a sealer does not make the stone unstainable. The sealer’s main job is to fill the pores in the stone and make the staining process slower, so you have more time to clean a spill before a stain sets in. Marble and granite surfaces should be sealed at least once every year.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009