Solid surface counters like Corian, Soapstone and Swanstone have become extremely popular for their attractive good looks, easy clean up and durability. If you’re considering installing the countertops yourself, these tips will help.
If you’re hiring a professional for the installation, these tips will let you know what to expect when the solid surface countertop installation contractor is on the job.
Level the Base Cabinets
Like all counters, solid surface countertops will rest directly on top of the cabinets. Use a level to make sure the cabinets are a consistent height. If they are too high in any spot, a belt sander or coping saw can be used to take them down. If they are too low, shims can elevate the countertop to keep the height consistent. As well as creating a uniform surface, being level will also reduce the potential for cracking of the countertops due to stress.
Add Supports where Needed
Where a dishwasher, compactor or small refrigerator will be installed, there won’t be a cabinet to rest the countertop upon. You might want to consider using 2x2 lengths of wood to span the distance and provide support. Screw the supports, sometimes called cleats, into the wall or into the cabinet bases on either side of the appliance. Do it where the cleats will not be seen or interfere.
Install the Countertop
Apply two-inch painter’s tape along the front of the top edge of the countertops to prevent glue from sticking to it. Use a quality construction adhesive. Apply a bead of it to the top of the cabinets. Get an extra pair of hands if needed, so you can gently set the solid surface countertop onto the cabinet tops.
When you’re sure the alignment is correct, push down gently on the countertop to cause it to bond with the adhesive. Where the countertop is too low, add a wood shim.
Cut the Hole Sink and Install the Sink
This may be the most difficult part of the job. Most sinks come with a template for cutting. Make sure the sink hole is set back far enough so that the sink avoids the base cabinet.
Sketch the template carefully, measuring to make sure that the back of the sink will be a consistent distance from the wall. Use a hole saw to create a starting place and a jigsaw to cut the opening for the sink.
Apply plumber’s putty around the lower edge of the sink to form a water-tight seal. Set the sink into the hole and push it down firmly. Remove any putty that squeezes out. Use the clamps provided with the sink to secure it to the countertops. Install the faucet and attach it to the plumbing.
These are the basic steps. Use the same approach to install adjoining sections of countertop and then seal the seams for uniform appearance. Clean your solid surface counters thoroughly, and they’re ready to use.