How to Install Countertops

Installing countertops is a simple, beginner-friendly project. Learning how to install countertops can save yourself hundreds of dollars and is relatively easy to do if you have a few extra sets of hands. This particular installation was shot at Tori’s parents’ house in MN.

While visiting MN, we offered to help Tori’s parents renovate their wet bar. Tori’s mom is a food blogger and wanted to eliminate the sink, paint the cabinets, and update the counters and backsplash to create a more aesthetically pleasing backdrop for her videos.

Tori’s mom had already removed the old backsplash, so the first project was installing countertops to replace the original beige and green laminate. Tori’s parents chose a pretty, gray-veined quartz from Menards named “Bella Carrara” from the Riverstone line.

How to Install Countertops

Removing the old laminate was supposed to be easy, but it didn’t want to leave without a fight. All of the screws securing the counter to the cabinets were stripped, and after trying many tricks, so the only option was to use a multi-tool to shear off the screws completely.

Unscrew old countertop

Since this is a wet bar, we also had to disconnect all of the plumbing. Make sure to have towels and a bowl ready, because even though they never use this sink, it still had water trapped in the pipes.

Disconnect plumbing to replace countertop

Finally, we lifted the sink until it cleared the cabinets and then carried it on its side to keep it from breaking in half.

Removing old countertops

After having a friend with a truck meet us at Menards, the quartz slab came home in a giant, A-frame pallet. The pallet was opened in the truck bed, where it was easier to slide it out and carry it inside.

Countertop removed

Installing the countertop was pretty simple. We did a dry fit of the counter and decided to cut some notches in the drywall to help the counter sit more flush with the walls. After a few more dry fittings and fine-tuning the drywall holes, we were able to get the counter perfectly flush on all sides.

To secure the slab, we lifted the slab and applied 100% silicone caulk on several spots on the cabinets. We slowly lowered the counter and triple checked that it was in the right spot before leaving it to dry overnight. The caulk had a strong scent, so it was nice to let it air out overnight while everyone was sleeping far away from the kitchen.

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How to Install Countertops

Supplies needed:

Step 1: Remove old countertops

Unscrew the laminate countertops from the cabinets. If your screws are stripped, use a multi-tool to shear off the screws completely. If there is a sink, detach all plumbing. Lift countertops straight up until you’ve cleared the cabinets, and then turn on its side to carry and prevent breaking it in half.

Step 2: Dry fit new countertops

Carefully lay down your new countertop on the cabinets. Slide your slab until it’s flush with the walls or has an equal amount of overhang on each side, depending on where you’re installing the slab. If you’re installing in a corner, cut notches out of the drywall corner to help the counter sit flush with the wall.

Step 3: Secure countertops

Insert your silicone tube into the caulking gun and cut the tube open at an angle, leaving a 1/4″ hole. Have 2-3 people tilt the slab up off the cabinet and apply quarter-sized dollops across the entire cabinet top. Gently lower the cabinet, sliding it into place, so it’s flush with the wall(s). The silicone does have a strong scent, so the area may need to air out for a couple of hours.

installing quartz countertops

This space still has a lot of work left including drywall repair, backsplash installation, under cabinet lighting, painting the cabinets, and building an island to roll in front of this space when shooting videos. So, those tutorials with be headed to the blog soon!

Learning how to install countertops can feel overwhelming because it’s an expensive project to mess up, but we know you can do it! Tag us in your projects (@thebuildits) so we can cheer you on!

FAQs

Is it hard to install countertops?

No, installing countertops is really simple and beginner-friendly. It does require several people to lift and adjust the countertop because it is extremely heavy, so don’t attempt this one alone.

Can you install countertops yourself?

Yes, you can learn how to install countertops yourself! Slabs without joints or sinks are extremely easy to install because you’re just ensuring the slab is flush with the wall or the overhang on the island is even. You can also install slabs with sinks and joints yourself, it just requires very careful templating and a couple of extra steps.

How long does installation take?

Installing countertops takes about 45 minutes to unpack, dry fit, notch the drywall, and apply the adhesive to secure the countertop.

Should I empty cabinets before installing the countertop?

You don’t have to empty cabinets before installing countertops, but you risk the contents getting dusty if you cut the drywall to make the counter sit more flush. You also risk getting silicone caulking on the cabinet contents if it drips or oozes while installing the countertop. If you empty to them, it’s easy to just vacuum or wipe up any mess.

Should I install the countertop or backsplash first?

If you’re replacing both, install your countertop first. The backsplash hovers just above the countertop, so installing countertops after backsplash is a trickier maneuver.

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