Making sure your walls are straight will make this job a lot easier. Perfect 90-degree corners are also a very good idea. If you can get these sorts of perfect dimensions it will make this job very much easier.
This is not an easy job and you may be more comfortable getting an expert in to help you with the cutting and fitting. Perhaps a dry run on a piece of plywood would be a good idea so you are certain about your measurements and cutting technique. If you are using granite or another very hard surface then a professional fitting is recommended.
A dry and large working area will be needed for cutting your worktops. They are large and heavy and so a helper may also be a good idea. A worktop is easily damaged on exposed edges so take care at all times not to knock it or drop it on it’s edge.
- Worktop jig – these can be hired and come with instructions
- Masking tape
- Adhesive and sealant to match in colour to the worktop
- Tape measure
Cutting and measuring
Measure the length of the longest section of worktop. Work out where the joins will be. It is best to arrange the joins so that there are as few pieces as possible and that the pieces are continuous wherever possible.
Apply masking tape to the area being cut, this will prevent the laminate from cracking along the edge. Use clamps to hold the piece steady while cutting and use a jigsaw or handsaw.
Cutting with a jig
For the edges which must butt up against other pieces of worktop, a jig will be required to get the best fit.
Place pegs into the jig to cut either a female or a male joint. The pegs will either be in the slot marked “M” or “F” and in the hole which matches the width of your worktop. The jig can be turned upside down depending on which side you are cutting.
Turn the worktop either face side down or right side up depending on if you are cutting a male or female joint. Obviously a male joint always meets up with a female joint.
Attach the jig to the worktop in the correct cutting position clamping it to the rounded edge. Clamp all of this to the workbench before cutting ensure it is all secure.
Re-check all measurements at this stage.
Place the router in the left edge of the cutting slot and make a 15mm pass. Continue to increase the depth by 15mm at a time until a clean cut has been made. Do not try to cut it all in one go.
If your worktop is designed to be bolted together, the jig can be used to cut these recesses. Use pegs in the slots marked B and cut on the underside of the worktop. Use the same process of clamping and measuring and cut to a depth of 20mm. The instructions for the worktop bolt will have more information on the positions.
Joining the worktop edges
Place all pieces of worktop in position and make sure all joins look tight. Apply joint sealer to one edge by lifting the worktop slightly. Lower the edge and wipe away any excess which squeezes out.
Always use a sealant which matches the colour of your worktop as close as possible. Most DIY stores will sell sealant alongside their own worktops, so finding a match shouldn’t be too hard.
Once the sealant is in place go underneath and fit and tighten the bolts. Just tighten them slightly at first working along the join. Remove excess sealant as you go and continue to tighten the bolts slowly. Tap the edges into place until the join is completely flush. The join should be almost invisible.
Protecting the worktop ends
Aluminium end caps or protective laminate edging strips can be used to protect cut edges.
Aluminium end caps are very durable and will last longer. They are simply cut to size and screwed into place.
Laminate edge strips must be applied with adhesive and filed along the edge until flush. They are less hard-wearing but less obvious to look at.
Finally, attach the worktop to your cabinets by screwing through the top rails of the base cabinets. Sometimes cabinets will come with brackets for this purpose.