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Is it easy to fit a kitchen worktop?

A hard-wearing, hygienic worktop is now an essential for any modern kitchen. Whether you’re fitting a new worktop or replacing an old one, there are a huge range of styles, designs and materials to choose from.

The most popular kitchen worktops are made from laminate, solid wood, composite laminate, stone and granite. Each of these materials has slightly different cutting and fitting requirements. Stone and granite kitchen worktops should only be cut and fitted by qualified professionals. However it’s fairly straightforward to fit the other types yourself, as long as you have planned and prepared thoroughly.

This guide covers how to fit pre-cut laminate worktops. But first of all you need to plan how much work surface you need, and where any cuts are going to be made. The following tips may help your planning:

  • Avoid mistakes by measuring twice, so you only need to cut once
  • Try to make the best use of the factory-cut edges in your planning, so you keep your own cutting to a minimum. Factory-cut edges will always be perfectly square
  • Plan so that any joints are properly supported by the unit frames beneath
  • Make sure any joints between pieces are at least 100mm away from any sinks or cut-outs for appliances
  • Position any hob cut-outs at least 50mm from the front edge and 60mm from the rear edge

    Cutting a kitchen worktop

    If you’re cutting laminate, composite laminate, or solid wood worktops, there are a few basic rules to follow to ensure your safety, and that you make a clean cut.

    • Make sure your worktop is firmly secured before you start sawing. A circular power saw with a fine-tooth, thin blade is best for cutting the worktop. Clamp down a straight edge to guide the saw
    • When using a hacksaw or power saw, wear safety goggles and a dust mask, and make sure the room is well ventilated
    • If possible, practice cutting on a small piece of excess or offcut worktop first, so you get used to the method

    If you need to trim or cut the worktop to length, mark a cutting line on the underside with a pencil. Double check the measurements and then cut using a power saw. Use a file or sandpaper to smooth down any rough edges.

    Due to the length and weight of the worktops, you will usually need somebody to help you install them.

    Before you

    It’s important to let your worktops acclimatise for 24hrs after they have been delivered. Stack them horizontally on the floor, separated by packers or blocks of some kind. After 24hrs they need to be fitted as soon as possible.

    Keep the protective plastic covering on the unit door fronts until your worktops have been fully installed.

    Installing a kitchen worktop

    Step 1

    Position the pre-cut laminate worktop sections on the base units, checking that the overhang is the same across all lengths. In this guide we’re working with standard 600mm deep units which have a 10mm overhang at the front. The worktops have also been cut to allow a 20mm overhang at the ends.

    Once you’ve put the worktops in place, check the fastening positions.


    Step 2

    To join two pieces of worktop, measure the width of the worktop and cut a joining strip to the same length, using a hacksaw.


    Step 3

    Place the joining strip against one of the cut edges and screw it into place using the pre-drilled holes in the strip.


    Step 4

    Apply some silicone sealant to the joining strip before pushing it into position against the adjoining worktop. Double check to make sure the join is clean, neat and even.


    Step 5

    Clamp the worktop onto the base units and fix from the underside. Some manufacturers provide brackets or fixing blocks with the worktops.


    Step 6

    Set the length of your drill bit to less than the depth of the worktop, to prevent drilling through. Drill three holes in each of the back and front support struts that are attached to the cabinet – a hole at either end of the strut and one in the middle.


    Step 7

    Screw the units to the worktop using 5mm diameter wood screws. Be careful not to over-tighten the screws.


    Step 8

    To finish a cut end, use the strip supplied with the worktop. Tape it to the end of the worktop and run a pencil around the edges to create an accurate template. Remove the end strip and carefully cut along your lines to make the template.


    Step 9

    Put down a strip of masking tape running along the top edge of the worktop. This helps protect it from the contact adhesive you’re about to use.


    Step 10

    Carefully brush contact adhesive onto the end strip and the end of the worktop. Wait 15 minutes before fixing the end strip in place.


    Step 11

    Peel off the masking tape, and if the end strip still protrudes slightly then use a file or sandpaper to smooth it down.