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How to Install a Laminate Countertop

Installing a laminate countertop is a big job but not difficult, and certainly within the ability of most DIYers. Learn how to install a new countertop with these easy step-by-step directions.

More in Kitchen

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  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Remove the Old Sink

Remove the sink, drop-in stovetop and any other fixtures or accessories attached to your old countertop.

Use kraft paper to trace the shape of the holes made by these penetrations. Cut out the hole shapes to use later if you intend to reinstall the same fixtures.
Remove all drawers and put them out of the way.

Step 2: Remove the Old Countertop

From below, remove the screws from the mounting brackets that are usually located in the corners and top rails of the cabinets, above the drawer slots and around the sink hole (Image 1).

If the old countertop was built in sections and connected by “draw-tight” fasteners from below, remove the screws and retaining clips, if any (Image 2).

Use a utility knife to cut away the caulk (which can be either silicone or acrylic) bead, if applicable, where the counter or its backsplash meets the wall.
With the countertop free of any connections below, lift it off the cabinets and remove it (you may need help with large, heavy sections) (Image 3).

Step 3: Install the New Countertop

The home center or cabinet shop that makes your new countertop will, at your request, fabricate it in any number of sections for convenient handling. They will also install concealed fasteners so that you can reassemble it with tight, perfectly matched joints. Ensure that the shop test-fits all parts and that seams, especially in corners, align properly before you pay the bill and take it home. If you prefer, the shop will pre-assemble difficult sections such as corners, but make sure you have the means to transport and handle such large, unwieldy pieces.

Before installing your new countertop, check that your original base cabinets are solidly in place, and that they are level and have not settled over time. Cabinets that are out of level or alignment can cause countertops to warp or crack, especially at joints or where the counter changes direction, such as at corners.

Lift the new countertop into place. Check that it is level from end to end and front to back at multiple points along its length. Insert wood shims where necessary or to fill any gaps between the cabinet tops and underside of the counter.

Replace the screws in the mounting brackets below. If you drill pilot holes for the screws, be careful not to penetrate the counter surface.

If you are reusing your original sink, measure and mark the location, then trace the kraft paper hole pattern onto the countertop in the proper place.
Use a jigsaw to cut the sink hole in the countertop. To prevent chipping the surface, especially with laminate-surface countertops, first score the cutout line with a sharp utility knife, and drill a pilot hole for the jigsaw blade.

Install the sink and reconnect the water and drain lines.

Apply a bead of caulking where the countertop or its backsplash meets the wall.

use jigsaw to cut  sink hole in countertop

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