my Old Workshop

How to replace your kitchen countertop (Part 1 of 3)

That old countertop has been burned, scratched and abused one too many times. Here’s how to replace it.

If you’re considering more expensive, durable materials, such as granite or man-made composites, you might want to consider getting a professional to do it. Or you might want to tile the countertop with ceramic tile, using techniques we’ve discussed in the past. But the easiest and most economical method is laminated wood countertops. The laminates come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, and can approximate the look of more expensive materials. And it won’t take you long to install.

Start by checking how true your wall is and whether corners are truly right angles. Place a straightedge along the walls to check for curves. If there’s more than a 3/8″ variance, it’s not as easy to fit, but it’s not impossible. Check square by measuring, from the corner, 3 feet along one wall, four along the other and measuring the distance between these two points. If this length is more than 1/4″ off 60″, note this when ordering. It’s best to order your countertops with the mitered angles pre-cut, and this will help determine the angle.

If things look relatively square and straight, measure what you need and choose your countertop. If your cabinet dimensions are standard, you should be able to order a countertop with lip and built-in backsplash. A “profile” top, which has a 3/8″ lip where the backsplash meets the wall, allows you to sand and fit the backsplash tight to a wall that’s a little out of true. Where the counter meets a wall, ordering an endsplash section is a good idea. Also get heat-activated endcaps to cover the edges where you need to cut.

More next time.