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How to fit a laminate or wooden kitchen worktop

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 06/07/18


Make your countertop a perfect fit every time

Preparation

Before proceeding, it is assumed that your kitchen floor units are fully installed, are fixed in their permanent positions and have been adequately levelled to prevent any issues with fitting the worktop correctly. If not, please ensure you have sufficiently levelled the floor units and secured them in place before attempting to fit a kitchen worktop.

If you wish to fit a granite, quartz or solid surface material such as corian, this must be carried out by a fully qualified professional who will create an accurate template of your kitchen and prepare the worktop off-site before delivering and fully fitting. This tutorial will only concentrate on cuttable surfaces such as laminate, solid wood or butchers block.

Finally, make sure all of your kitchen floor units are clean and free from debris such as sawdust or any other contaminants that may affect your final finish. You also want to ensure all surfaces are sufficiently prepared, flat and true such as the back walls behind the units, before attaching the worktop.

Tools Required

As with any DIY project, you need the best tools to get the best results. For this job, you’ll need:

  • kitchen worktop (laminate, wood or butchers block)
  • worktop joining strips
  • length of timber baton
  • 2 x G-clamps
  • circular saw
  • eye goggles
  • gloves
  • measuring tape
  • utility square
  • pencil (for marking up)
  • electric or Phillips screwdriver
  • sandpaper
  • hacksaw
  • electric drill and drillbits
  • masking tape
  • scissors
  • screws

Setting Out

Planning ahead or what professionals refer to as “setting out” is incredibly important, as it will help give you a clear plan of how you will lay your worktop onto the units, where longer lengths of worktop will fit and where adjoining pieces will fit. Where possible, you want to do as little cutting as possible and take advantage of the factory cut edges for adjoining pieces. They will be very square and true and most likely give a neater edge than cutting with a handsaw or electric circular saw. You also want to have as fewer joins as possible so that your worktop looks like one continuous piece.

If for example, you have a U-shaped or L-shaped kitchen, you should use longer pieces of worktop along the longest walls and use smaller pieces for adjoining sections. You want to place joining strips in places that will be least visible and will not spoil the final finish.

Once you have worked out how and where you wish to lay your worktop, you are ready to start.

Measuring & Cutting

Firstly, start with the longest wall and measure the length of worktop you need to fit with one continuous piece from end-to-end. If there are any exposed edges, make sure you compensate for a sufficient overhang over the kitchen unit’s edge, usually at least 20mm and then mark up the kitchen worktop on the underside using a measuring tape, a pencil and a square.

Now with the worktop on a cutting table or saw horse with the underside facing upwards, clamp a piece of timber baton to the worktop as a cutting guide for your circulate saw, so that the blade exactly lines up with the pencil mark you have just made. Make sure that the baton is securely in place and squarely aligned with the pencil marking. The baton will act as a secure cutting guide that your circular saw with press against and ensure the cut is as straight and as clean as possible.

When ready to cut, make sure you wear a pair of protective goggles and gloves. Then cut the worktop with your circular saw in one smooth continuous motion. Do not stop halfway through as this may lead to splintering of the worktop and ruin the final finish.

After cutting, you may need to give the edge a light sandpaper just to remove any nicks or odd edges. Make sure not to sand the visible worktop surfaces and only concentrate on the sides.

Fitting the Worktop

Now lift the cut worktop into position and lay it on top of the base units precisely where you intend to fit it. Push it correctly into position and check that the back is firmly pressed against the rear wall, the overhang at the front is even and any side overhangs are correct. Once satisfied, use a couple of G-clamps to hold the worktop firmly to the units below ready for attaching.

Some suppliers use L-Brackets whilst others require you to drill through the underneath of your units into the worktop and screw them together directly. Either way, you will need to use an electric drill to drill pilot holes from your base units into the worktop. Make sure not to drill too far so that you do not pierce the worktop and ruin the surface. Pilot holes only need to be short just to make attaching the units to the worktops easier and quicker.

Once you have drilled your pilot holes through the base cabinets into the worktop, simply screw them together using the supplied screws and a screwdriver. You should connect the worktop at both the front and towards the back of the base units to ensure a firm, snug fit that will not move.

You should now have your first piece of worktop fitted in place.

Repeat the process above for your additional pieces, ensuring that your cuts are neat and compensate for any overhangs. If you are cutting an adjoining piece, you will most likely need to attach a joining strip to the edge to give a neater, flush edge.

Simply measure the length of strip required and cut it to length using a hacksaw. Then attach the joining strip to the required edge of your worktop using the supplied screws and slide into place. Then when you are satisfied the worktop is positioned correctly, attach it to the base units as described above.

Finishing Touches

If you have any exposed cut edges on surfaces such as laminate, you may need to glue a finishing strip to the edge. Finishing strips are usually supplied in lengths that will need to be cut down. So firstly, tape it to the edge of your worktop using some masking tape and draw the shape using a pencil by templating around the edge of the worktop profile. Then cut the end strip with scissors to carefully create a perfect fitting edge.

Use the glue supplied, ensuring the room has sufficient ventilation due to fumes and apply to both the end strip and the worktop edge. Once it has cured and is ready (usually around 15 minutes), press the end strip in place and use some masking tape to hold it in place until the glue has fully set. Once set, remove the masking tape and your end strip should be firmly affixed.

If the end strips show any odds edges that protrude, you can use a light sandpaper to gently file off any rough edges to make the finish as smooth as possible.

You should now be ready to install all of your remaining kitchen worktops by following the above instructions.

See It in Action

If you are still unsure how to follow our guidelines, watch the useful video below by Wickes for really helpful instructions on fitting a laminate or sold wood kitchen worktop: