Upgrade Your Kitchen With A Stylish New Work Surface
Replacing your kitchen worktops can seem like a daunting task, but our top tips will help you to avoid pitfalls and achieve a professional finish.
Fitting new worktops is a great way of giving your kitchen a new lease of life and, with a bit of work, is something that can be easily undertaken as a DIY project. We’ve put together some hints and tips to guide you through the process.
As with most DIY jobs, it’s important to plan thoroughly and do your research. YouTube is always a great source of ‘how-to’ videos, or for a first-hand insight you could even go and look at how professional kitchen worktop installers do it.
Before starting the job, it’s important to undertake some initial planning and preparation. As well as measuring up your kitchen, you will also need to plan out the design of your worktops so that you can figure out where the joins will land. Where possible, try to avoid positioning joins close to apertures and appliances, such as a hob or sink.
You should also give some thought to the type of worktop you want to install. Kitchen counters come in a wide range of materials including laminated chipboard, granite, wood, stone and marble. Of these, laminate is the easiest to fit, so if this is your first time undertaking this kind of project, it might be a good option for you.
Getting The Right Tools
As with any DIY project, it’s imperative that you have the right tools for the job. Worktop fitting requires a specific set of tools and equipment, including a circular saw, jigsaw, battery drill and drill bits, worktop jig, router with collet and fluted router bits and strong clamps. There’s nothing worse than starting a job and then realising you don’t have everything you need, so check that you have all the tools in full working order before you begin.
Making The Cuts
Once you have everything you need for the job, it’s time to start cutting your worktops to size. If the edge you are cutting will be fitted against the wall (and therefore not seen), you can cut it using a circular saw. To do this, first turn the counter upside down and then cut from the front to the back to avoid chipping or marking the surface. For exposed edges, you will need to clamp a straight edge to the worktop and use a router to make the cut.
It’s important that the counters are well supported while you are cutting. For this you can use planks on trestles or, alternatively you can position the worktop on the floor and place several battens along its length.
Fitting the worktop
After the cutting, it’s time to move on to actually fitting the new worktops. Lengths of worktop can be joined together by securing underneath with fixing plates and applying wood glue. Alternatively, they can joined together using male and female masons’ miters which are cut with a special worktop jig and a router.
If you are joining two lengths of worktop with rounded edges, you will need to use a metal joining strip to attach the two together. After measuring and cutting the joining strip to length, apply silicone sealant to the edge of one of the worktops, push the strip into position and screw it in place, before applying sealant to the edge of the other worktop and pushing it up against the joining strip.
To secure your worktop to your cabinets you will need to use screws and fixing brackets to attach it from underneath. At this stage, you will also need to have somebody on hand who can apply pressure to the worktop from above.
Once the worktop is fitted to your satisfaction, it’s time for those all-important finishing touches – and these will depend on the material of your worktop. Laminated counters generally come with finishing strips which can be cut to length and fixed to any exposed edges using adhesive. If you have a solid wood worktop you will need to first sand the unfinished edges and then use a stain-proofing oil to protect them.
Worktops have a habit of getting wet, so once everything is in place it’s worth applying a flexible sanitary silicone sealant around all the joints – especially around the sink and where the worktop meets the walls.
It may seem daunting, but replacing your kitchen worktops is certainly an achievable DIY project. So give it a go. With a bit of elbow grease and a lot of care and attention, you can create a stylish new kitchen that you can really feel proud of.