If you need to replace a kitchen countertop, you might be wondering if there’s a way to do it yourself. In fact, there is. The question is, do you really want to? Having a professional replace a kitchen countertop for you is likely a better option. But, no one knows your skillset better than you. So, we’re here to keep you informed, so you can make that decision yourself. Without further ado, here’s how you can replace your countertop.
Remove the Old Countertop
This is actually much more complicated than you might think. It’s not as simple as demolition. To start, you have to remove the sink. To do so, turn off any water valves, take apart the drain, and locate how the sink is fixed to the counter. As most sinks are drop-in, you’ll be looking for some hooks or screws securing it to the underside of the counter, which means sticking your head under the sink with a flashlight and having a look around. Once you’ve gotten the clips or screws removed, you should be able to lift the sink straight out of the counter.
Next up is unscrewing the countertop. This is a lot more sticking your head into cabinets with a flashlight, only this time, you’ll also need a drill – preferably cordless. Hunt down and unscrew any screws leading up into the countertop. When they’re removed, try lifting the countertop from the cabinets. If it doesn’t life easily, you need to find the screws you missed. If you try to force it, you may end up breaking it. This might take some trial and error and a few trips back and forth from the cabinets before you manage to get them all.
From there, the countertop should lift right out.
Get a Measurement
After removing the countertop, you can get a measurement in one of two ways:
- Measure the cabinets where the old countertop was sitting.
- Measure the underside of the old countertop.
When you’ve got your countertop measurement, you can then use it to order or buy a new countertop. Be sure to also get a trace of the sink size on some parchment paper if you’ll be buying a countertop in person. This will give anyone helping you cut pieces or assemble the countertop the exact size and shape hole you need for the sink.
Secure a New Countertop
With your countertop measurements, you can either craft your own countertop from wood or other materials, or buy one. If you’re planning to buy one, send your measurements to the crafter who’s making it, or bring them with you to the nearest hardware store.
Install the Countertop
Once you’ve got your new countertop, it’s installation time! There are quite a lot of steps to replace a kitchen countertop, so we’ll keep it relatively simple.
First, place the countertop on the lower cabinets and ensure it’s the right fit. Next, press down many areas of the surface. Anywhere where it dips or feels unstable will need a shim underneath it to fill the gap between it and the cabinet beams. This happens when placing a new countertop on old cabinets. It’s recommended to replace old cabinets instead of relying on their strength to carry a new countertop into its own old age.
When the countertop no longer has areas of weakness, it’s time to attach it. You’ll need either a weight or a buddy to place on top of the countertop. This weight will help hold the countertop in place while screwing upward from below. Just ensure that no living weight is anywhere close to where you’re drilling.
When you’re done screwing the countertop into place, you can then go about replacing the sink and installing the back trim. Don’t forget to apply caulking along the seams between the trim and counter as well as the trim and wall. Even more important, don’t forget to calk around the sink. Or, if you want a more invisible seal, place long strips of putty under the sink edge before placing it down. The putty will squeeze out as the sink is clipped into place under the counter. You can then wipe away excess and it will be nicely sealed.