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Installing a Post-form Countertop


Materials List
Post-form countertop
Wood glue
Joint fastener bolts
Siliconized latex caulk
End cap kit
Wood shims
Sand paper (80 grit)
Tools List (click item to shop)
Construction adhesive
Adjustable wrench
Circular saw with crosscut blade
Jigsaw
Electric drill and 3/8 bit
Belt sander
File (fine)
C-clamps
Iron
Level
Rubber mallet
Tape measure
Caulking gun
Scribing compass
Safety glasses
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IMPORTANT: Read this before you start


Introduction
There are many different types of countertops, but of all those available, post-form countertops are probably the quickest and easiest to install. Post-form countertops consist of a laminate surface that is glued to a particleboard base. Typically, the base is shaped so that there is a curved front edge and an integrated backsplash with either squared off or 45-degree angle ends available.

If there is one drawback to post-form countertops it is that they are somewhat fragile until they are installed. Therefore, you should be careful how you handle and support the counters. Also, while installation can be easy, it can also be very intimidating because errors are not easy to correct or hide. A careful, methodical approach works best. Remember, a little extra time with measuring and cutting is quicker that going back to the home center for a new counter.


Skill Level & Time To Complete
• Beginner - 5 to 6 hours
• Intermediate - 4 to 5 hours
• Advanced - 3 to 4 hours

Cautions
Make sure you have someone to help you lift the counter. It is easy to hurt your back while lifting and setting the counter in position.

Helpful Tips
Make sure while transporting and storing the counter that it lies flat and fully supported. Also, be careful when cutouts are made in the counter for sinks, etc. The counter is very vulnerable to breakage at those points.

When using a circular saw, start your cut from the underside of the counter so that the circular motion of the teeth on the blade will cut into the laminate first and exit through the particleboard above. In this way the laminate side of the counter will not get chipped along the cut. This rule should also be followed when using a jigsaw.

In addition to cutting from the underside, place a strip of masking tape on the laminate side of the counter, directly over the cut that you will make. The tape will provide additional protection against chipping.

Paint the underside and edges of the countertop in areas surrounding sink cutouts. Particleboard is very vulnerable to water damage and the paint will help protect it.

1. Measure for any cuts you will need to make in the counter, allowing for approximately 1-inch overhang on exposed ends and 1/16 to 1/8 inch gap for edges that butt into an appliance. In this way it is possible to "shimmy" appliances like stoves and refrigerators in and out without scratching them.
2. Cut the counter to length using the jig in the illustration. Always cut from the underside of the counter and in one fluid motion, rotating the saw downward as you cut the backsplash.
3. With the counter still upside down trace the outline for any sink or cook top that you might install. Try to use templates supplied by the manufacturer so that the hole will be the correct size. If reinstalling an old fixture take measurements from the old hole in the previous countertop.
4. Once you have your outline, drill a hole inside the outline and use the jig saw to cut out the opening. Remember to support the portion being cut out so that it does not prematurely break off along with a piece of your new counter.
5. Install the end cap kit by first gluing the battens into place and securing them with C-clamps. Make sure to put a block of wood between the laminate on the countertop and the C-clamp so that the clamp will not scratch the surface. Allow the glue to dry for about an hour before removing the clamps.
6. With the C-clamps removed, sand any high points down. Do not over sand, you want the edge to be straight and the edges sharp, it is not important that it be smooth. Next, hold the end cap in position and activate the adhesive by pressing an iron at medium heat against the laminate. Cool with a damp cloth.
7. Bring the edges on the end cap flush with the countertop by using a fine file. Remember to file only towards the countertop so that you do not pull the end cap off, or worse, chip the laminate.
8. Place the countertop on top of the cabinets and check to see how the backsplash mates with the wall behind it. If there are sizable gaps, (as is often the case) scribe along the top of the backsplash and remove the excess material with a belt sander held perpendicular to the backsplash. Make sure the belt is moving down towards the countertop to avoid chipping the laminate.
9. To attach two 45-degree edges together, first put them in position to insure that they will mate correctly. Then spread them apart slightly and apply a generous bead of siliconized caulk to each end and push the two ends together.
10. From under the cabinet insert the joint fastening bolts in their factory cut slots. Tighten the bolts with the adjustable wrench until firm. Make minor adjustments by tapping the counter with a rubber mallet before making the bolts tight.
11. With the counter in its final position, gently insert shims to lift the counter up approximately 1/4 inch above the cabinets. Next apply construction adhesive between the countertop and cabinets. Remove the shims and let the adhesive dry for 24 hours.
12. Finally, apply a bead of caulk along the joint between the backsplash and wall and where ever else appropriate, such as along a sink or stove.



 
 
 

 

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