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All the steps you need to install your kitchen worktop
A hardwearing, hygienic worktop is a must in any modern kitchen. Now that you’ve chosen the perfect kitchen worktop, it’s time to install it. You don’t need to hire the help of a professional, we’ll show you how to do it yourself with our step-by-step guide to fitting a kitchen worktop.
Steps can differ slightly depending on the type of worktop you’re installing. We’ll talk you through how to install a laminate, solid wood and compact laminate worktop.
Before beginning your installation, you should plan how much worktop you require and where you’ll need to cut it. We find the following tips come in handy when planning your worktop area:
- Avoid mistakes by double checking your measurements before making any cuts
- For kitchen fit measuring, a digital laser measure will come in handy
- Practise cutting on a small piece first to get used to cutting the material
- For neat, precision cuts use straight edges and cutting jigs with secure clamps to guide the tool
- Make sure joints between worktops are away from any sink or appliance cut-outs by at least 100 mm
- Position hob cut-outs at least 50 mm from the front edge and 60 mm from the back
- Before fitting your hob, apply heat insulation tape around the cut-out to protect the worktop
For kitchen fit sizing, you may need to make allowances for any worktop movement from humidity and temperature changes. Check the worktop fitting instructions to see whether you need to apply any additional clearances.
If there are any obstructions on the wall you may need to provide cut outs to clear these if they occur where using a combination of drilling and pad or jigsaw will likely be required for laminate worktops, or a combination of drilling and hand sawing for solid worktops.
Ensure the direction you’ll be cutting the worktop provides the cleanest edge - practise on a small section of worktop first.
Factory-cut edges will inevitably be more accurate than those you cut yourself so it’s a good idea to position factory cuts where the edge will show. Position your own cuts against the wall or at butt joints where they can be hidden by upstands or under a joining strip.
It’s essential to use a worktop profiling jig for cutting perfect joints in round-edge laminate worktops using a power router.
The jig is clamped securely in the correct position on the worktop to guide cutting – make sure that the clamp doesn’t mark or damage the worktop and follow the instructions provided with it. Apply masking tape where you’ll cut before marking out then cut through it.
To get used to cutting the material, it’s always a good idea to practise on a spare part first.
Watch this step-by-step guide below to find out how to install your HI-MACS® worktop.
Use matching laminate strips on exposed worktop edges. Cut the strip to the correct length allowing a little overlap. Put contact adhesive on the back of the edging strip and the worktop edge. Follow the adhesive instructions to stick it into place.
Once the adhesive has cured completely, trim the edge overlaps with a craft knife or better still, a dedicated hand worktop trimming tool. Smooth any rough edges with a fine abrasive paper.
Solid wood worktops need ongoing care to keep their appearance. Apply a worktop oil once installed to preserve the look and repeat regularly following the worktop instructional guidance.
Compact laminate worktops have a solid plastic appearance and can be as little as 12mm thick. Kitchen installation steps differ from laminate and solid timber types as screw fixing is not recommended.
The top is typically bonded to supporting surfaces using silicon sealant or a bespoke compact laminate adhesive. For joining worktop sections, colour matched adhesive/filler is used which when correctly finished, leaves inconspicuous joints. Compact laminate worktops don’t use edging strip or joining strips.
There are compact worktop installation kits available to include adhesive, fillers, applicators and cleaning accessories.
From kitchen fit sizing you may need to make allowance for movement from effects of temperature change. Apply any expansion allowances on cut sizes as the worktop fitting instructions direct.
You’ll need to use a power saw with a sharp, fine toothed blade to cut the worktop to length before you begin fitting it. You may also need to provide cut outs to clear wall features or other obstructions such as pipes if they occur.
Ensure the saw cutting direction provides the cleanest edge to the top surface. Use a clamped straight edge to keep the saw straight and its good practice to cut in several passes, each cut set deeper by approximately equal amounts to final parting. For optimum finish it may be beneficial to leave a couple of millimetres for a final skim from a suitable router bit - practise on a surplus section of worktop first.
Use fine abrasive papers to smooth edges and dull sharp edges.
Factory cut edges will inevitably be more accurate than those you cut yourself so it’s a good idea to position these where the edge will show – Your own cuts against the wall where they can be obscured by upstands or tiles.
It is essential to use a worktop profiling jig for complex cuts - it’s a guide for cutting perfect edges and, where the worktop thickness allows, worktop tie bolt pockets using a power router. The jig is clamped securely in the correct position on the worktop before cutting. Follow the instructions provided. Make sure the clamping of the jig doesn’t mark or damage the worktop. For good line definition apply masking tape at intended cut line markings. It’s always a good idea to practise on an offcut first to understand the characteristics of the cutting.
Tools & materials for the job
- Hand drill
- Small power drill
- Circular power saw with fine tooth blade
- Power jig saw
- Power router and bits
- Worktop profiling jig
- Straight edge
- Quick release clamps
- 2 x work horses or workmate
- Torch (head worn type is best)
- Fine tooth padsaw
- Small spanner set
- Craft knife
- Fine abrasive paper
- Sanding blocks
- Screwdriver set
- Metric drill bit set
- Tape measure
- Silicone sealant and applicator gun
- Masking tape
- Compact laminate installation kit - adhesive / filler
- Worktop tie bolts
- Worktop joint biscuits
- Hot glue gun
- Protective gloves
- Protective glasses
Prepare worktop sizing carefully. Measure precisely the worktop lengths required. Identify if any expansion allowance needs to be considered and apply it. Double check sizes before undertaking cuts.
In most instances your worktop will be mounted on pre-fitted kitchen base cabinets and overhang at the front by around 10mm. Adherence will be provided by a bead of silicon sealant or bespoke compact worktop adhesive on the upper cabinet edges. If the worktop is planned to bridge a gap between cabinets or between a cabinet and sidewall (typically over an appliance) it will need to sit on timber battens, screw fastened to the wall at matching height.
Best approach is to install each worktop length in turn starting at one corner and working along and around.
For worktop joints prepare carefully. If the requirement is to butt two worktops together as for a corner or straight run continuation, there needs to be a joint created. Ideally a factory end cut will feature here. If this is not possible, any cut created must be square and straight using a guided, sharp, fine tooth blade power saw.
To assure there is no step between the worktops in final fitting, mating edges need to be slotted at equal dimension for the fitting of ‘joint biscuits’ to key and level the two worktops as brought together. Apply the slots at precise fit for the biscuits using the correct size router bit. A dedicated power tool is available.
In final installation avoid having worktop joints immediately over cabinet joints in order to reduce risk of cabinet level discrepancies affecting the worktop.
Once the worktop has been profiled to suit intended location make a final ‘dry fit’ check for alignment and clearances by placing in position. Get help from an assistant for long sections in lifting and aligning.
When all is confirmed good, set the worktop aside carefully and proceed to apply the silicon bonding by applicator gun to the cabinet top edges that bare the worktop and any supporting batten surfaces.
Re-introduce the worktop, aligning as precisely as possible within a few millimetres before finally lowering to position. Aim to keep any final adjustment minimal to avoid excessive silicon loss at the edges.
Remove any surplus emerging.
For joining worktop sections key the edges with medium abrasive paper and then wipe away any contaminate with acetone. Make sure they are dry.
Before final joint installation make a final check for the quality of the fit – apply worktop biscuits to the edge slots, bring the worktops together and check that the top surfaces at the butted joint and edges are level. For final fixing it will be necessary to hold the joint together - If worktop ties are not figuring a means to do this is to temporarily bond wooden or MDF blocks on both worktops each side of the joint using hot melt adhesive. Light clamping can now be applied over opposite blocks to pull the joint together.
Considering adhesive cure time the next step will need to be conducted rapidly. Apply silicone sealant at the supporting edges of the supporting base cabinets. Following the instructions on the worktop adhesive / filler. Apply a good coverage to both edges including the ‘biscuit’ slots. Insert the biscuits.
With assistance, sight, lower and push the worktop to close the joint. Lightly clamp to secure the joint making sure not to overtighten.
Remove the worst of any adhesive or sealer emerging from the joints using a soft plastic scraper and finish with a soft cloth, follow the fillers instructions for any specific details. Leave the adhesive to cure following the pack instructions. If blocks have been used to clamp, remove the clamps, tap the blocks with a light hammer to remove them, peel off any hot melt remaining on the worktops.