Laminate, Granite, Marble, Quartz… Even Wood!
We install hundreds of countertops every year, either as a stand alone replacement or as part of an entire kitchen or bathroom remodeling project. The process is straight forward if you have the tools and the experience. There is some plumbing involved, since the sink or basin will need to be removed and replaced either with the same unit, or with a new one.
The challenge encountered with a DIY job, comes in having to deal with the tool requirements, and the order in which things need to be done. Both the tools needed, and the installation order (and removal) can be quite different, depending on the type of countertop being installed and if you’ll be replacing the sink and/or faucet.
For example, laminated countertops can be ordered in one piece, and don’t require any other substrates or support. Other countertop materials (like stone or tiles) need additional work and support pieces for the installation.
Save Money on a Countertop Installation
Countertops are large surface areas and imperfect installations can become very obvious, having spent good money on the purchase of the countertop it would be a shame to have to buy another. This is not an attempt to discourage you from doing our own install, it’s just something to keep in mind. Even if you can “live with it”, when it comes time to sell, it’ll be obvious to the new buyer that it was a DIY job. Which may bring into question any other improvements you may have made to your home.
The value of your home upon resale can be impacted, potentially, by something as basic as a poor countertop installation. Home inspectors can tell usually determine whether a job was done by a construction professional or not.
Unless you’re confident in your skills and have familiarity with all the required tools, (or have a lot of time), countertop installations really should be done by a professional. After you consider your time, the cost of the tools and the trial-and-error approach, your perceived savings could evaporate quickly.
Selecting the Right Countertop
Your choice of countertops will depend on a number of factors. They are:
♦ The type of cabinets you have
♦ The type of sink you have – or want to install
♦ The age of your cabinets
♦ The countertop styles generally installed in your neighborhood
♦ The cost of the countertop
It may seem like we’re telling you keep up with the Jone’s next door when we refer to your neighborhood. To some extent that’s exactly true. If your home improvements are significantly of lower (or higher) quality, it will impact the value of your home. Over-improve and no one will pay for it when you try to sell your home. Under-improve, and it will lower the value of your home when compared to other similar homes in your neighborhood.
The type of cabinets you have may or may not be suitable for your choice of countertop, and to some extent it’s a design issue, but one of quality as well. Granite counters on an old cabinet base will not add value. It’ll look like you found a good deal and just wanted it to fit in – which is usually what has happened when you see something like this. And the older the cabinets, the less realistic it is to spend money on a new countertop. It’s like putting a great new coat over dirty work clothes. Some sink styles will only work with certain countertop materials, so you’ll need to check that too. We’re always happy to guide our customers on any countertop installation to make sure that in the end not only are you pleased with it, but that it adds value to your home. Not to mention beauty and functionality.
Countertops need not be very expensive to deliver the results – in look, value and function. They just need to be properly selected and installed.
Generally, the process of installing a new countertop starts with very accurate measurements. By accurate, we mean down to an eighth of an inch. In many cases there is an existing backsplash, and it’s thickness (as well as that of the adhesive) needs to be accounted for. Also, depending on the counter style, you may have a splashguard at the rear – or will have one with the new counter.
Depending on the type of counter, it may be manufactured “install ready” – based on your measurements, and in some cases you’ll end up with the various pieces which will need to be fastened (or connected with an adhesive) on site. In all cases, the measurements at the edges – like near your stove – need to be taken into account. If the overhang is too large, the stove will not fit. If it’s too small, there’ll be a gaping hole between the countertop and the stove.
Once the countertop style and type (laminate, granite, marble, quartz, wood or even soapstone – to name a few) has been selected, and accurate measurements have been taken, it can be ordered.
Professional installation will probably take only one day – including re-connecting and installing your new (or existing) sink.
Making the Right Decision: DIY or Pro Countertop Install
If you’re a competent DIY person and have the time (if you’re retired or on vacation), then a basic laminate countertop installation over your existing older cabinets is possible. This of course presumes that you’re not planning to install a complicated pattern or an expensive countertop. Mistakes in measurement can render the countertop useless, and serious damage during installation could mean the same. Most countertops cannot be repaired effectively.
Also, if your existing kitchen (or bathroom) cabinets are quite old, a new countertop will rarely deliver the satisfaction you expect. If you’re not sure about all this, it’s best to give us a call and we’d be happy to install it for you.
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