My New Kitchen Counter top-From the Start to a Beautiful Finish
This journey to home improvement has been long and somewhat costly but very enlightening. When it was suggested that I update my kitchen by replacing my existing formica counter top I was not quite sure where to start. Advice from some friends in the trades lead me to Menards and Home Depot where I picked out some laminate samples that would compliment the walls and appliances.
Pricing Your Laminate Counter Top
Menards charges by the edge you choose. In this case the edge was "Modern" and cost $9.00 per square foot. They created a computerized graphic of the finished project and cost estimate.
At Home Depot they charge by the laminate sample you pick and the chosen edge is included. The laminate I picked was $7.00 per square foot uninstalled and $17.00 per square foot installed! That more than doubled the price of the countertop so we decided to save some money and install it ourselves. It was a big decision but keep in mind that their installation price is for the counter top only. They do not have anything to do with plumbing or electrical.
Accurate Measurements are Important!
If they are not going to do the installation they require you to "accurately" measure the counter top, submit those measurements and take full responsibility if the counter top does not fit.
We measured (a few times to be sure) and drew a picture with the many measurements, arrows and explanations and placed the order. Three weeks later it arrived at my home...beautiful craftsmanship, all edges finished, 45 degree angles all put together (no gaps!!) and reinforced with wood underneath and a sink hole cut in the middle!
We thought we would have to cut the sink hole ourselves, weren't quite sure how they knew what size to cut and worried the sink would not fit. We were also surprised the counter top came in one piece as it was a custom size and we were told we would have to screw those angled pieces together and fill in any gaps with our custom colored caulk. Additionally we were told we would have to glue the edges on the endcaps but they were nicely finished for us. These surprises turned out to be blessings that made the installation so much easier.
Remove the Existing Counter Top
- The first thing you have to do is remove the existing sink and faucet.
- Turn off the water supply valves and disconnect all the water supply and drain fittings.
- Disconnect the garbage disposal.
- Remove the existing counter top.
- We cut the caulk around the backsplashes with a utility knife so we wouldn't rip the dry wall during removal.
- Remove the many screws holding the counter top on the cabinets and dishwasher. Remember to keep those screws!
Get The New Counter Top In Place
- Getting the new counter top in the house was a bit tricky!
- Hint: They stapled plastic pieces on the corners for protection during shipping. Removal of these made the countertop easier to angle into the house. Don't just rip off the plastic pieces. Make sure you remove the staples completely. The counter top will not lay flat when dropped in place if pieces of the staples remain.
- Lay the counter top on the cabinets and gently slide into position.
- Make the necessary adjustments:
- The smaller angled piece was 1/8" too long next to the stove (and those pesky staples had to be pulled out so it would lay flat).
- A small cabinet on the other side of the stove was easily moved over to accommodate that extra length.
- Other than that it was a beautiful fit and the sink hole was dead center!
Install The New Counter Top
- Make sure the counter top is aligned and as square as possible
- Screw the new countertop into place. Hint: The screws are not all the same length!
- The last thing you want to do is punch through the new counter top with a screw!!
- Look around before you begin and you will see where a longer screw is needed.
- Using an electric drill on a slower speed will minmize your chance for error
- To complete this part of the project make sure you repair any areas where the drywall may have been damaged during removal of the old counter top.
- You will then need to caulk along the backsplashes.
- Walls are just not square!
- There will be some larger gaps that will require more caulk to fill them.
- Once the caulk is dry you can touch up the paint that got scratched during the process.
Install the New Sink
- Now you will put the new sink in position.
- The opening was a little smaller than the sink and it had to be sanded on one or two edges to enlarge it.
- Put waterproof caulk underneath the edges of the sink before you drop it in and follow the instructions for installation.
- Our Neptune Double 8" Bowl Stainless Steel Sink claimed "Easy 1,2,3 Install"...understated to say the least, but a nice sink once installed
- Wipe off the excess caulk that squished out while the sink was secured in place.
Install the New Faucet
- Next you will install the new faucet.
- Before you begin make sure your sink has the required amount of holes for the faucet you are installing!
- Put Plumbers Putty on the base of the faucet, sit it square on the holes.
- Hint: Make sure the faucet is facing forward! I was holding the faucet in place while it was being secured and realized the handle was backwards. Easy enough to fix before it is completely installed.
- Next you will install the drain fittings.
- Note that you will have to buy drain fittings/basket assemblies separately. They do not come with the sink.
- Put Plumbers Putty around the top flange of the drain and drop the fitting in. I held the drain fitting in place with needle nose pliers while it was being tightened. Make sure you keep it centered during this process. (one person cannot possibly do this without an assistant!)
- Attach the water supply risers to the faucet.
- Reassemble and connect the PVC fittings. We did have to buy some new supplies to complete the plumbing and make it fit the new sink, drains and faucet.
- Turn the water on and check for leaks. If (probably "when") you find a leak, tighten things up until the leak is no longer present.
Another project complete! It was time consuming and a little labor intensive but it looks sooo good and saved us quite a bit of money!! When all is said and done it was well worth it.