How to Install a Laminate Worktop

How to Install a Laminate Worktop

A worktop is an essential part of your kitchen, and it's important you install it properly. That's why we've put together this article taking you through the process from start to finish.   

We'll be covering laminate worktops in this article. If you have any doubts or concerns, we recommend consulting a professional before undertaking any work yourself.

Anyone installing a worktop will need the following tools: 

  • Tape Measure
  • Metal Ruler
  • Masking Tape
  • Pencil
  • Pair of Compasses
  • Sandpaper
  • Jigsaw
  • Trestle
  • Worktop Jig
  • Worktop Router
  • Power Drill (cordless is ideal)
  • Screws
  • Contact Adhesive
  • Craft Knife
  • Metal File
  • 1. Measuring

The first thing you need to do is measure the space you'll be installing the worktop in. If you have an existing worktop, you can simply measure this one to get an idea of how big your new worktop should be. You can also use a metal tape measure to get accurate measurements of the space your worktop needs to fill.

If you don't have a worktop in place, you can use your kitchen units as inspiration. A worktop should completely cover the top of the units, and also overhang the front of them slightly. 

We recommend buying a worktop that is slightly longer and deeper than the space you need to fill. This is because you may need to trim or cut down the worktop if you have uneven walls or other issues. 

2. Planning the Joins

Many kitchens will use two or more worktops, joined together to create a single work surface. You should think carefully about where these joins will fall before you start cutting the worktop.

If you install a kitchen sink or hob near a worktop join, you will be regularly exposing it to excess moisture, heat and stray food splashes. You will also be putting a lot of weight on a thin strip of worktop material. All of these things will come together to reduce the lifespan and cleanliness of your work surface. 

Where possible, we suggest you position worktop joins where the units underneath can support them. This will further reduce stress on the join, ensuring you maximise your worktop's lifespan. 

3. Scribing

At this point, you will be ready to install your worktop. To ensure it sits flush with your kitchen wall, you may need to 'scribe' one of your worktop's edges.

Start by placing your new worktop on top of your kitchen units. Press the worktop against the kitchen wall, ensuring it hangs evenly over the kitchen units. 

Run a strip of masking tape along the top of your worktop, as close to the rear wall as you can. Then, take a pencil and a pair of compasses. Press the compass arm furthest from the pencil against the wall, and then run the pencil over the masking tape. By cutting along this line with a jigsaw, you will be able to install the worktop flush with the wall.

You may want to cut just shy of the line, and then sand down any splinters or rough patches for a neater finish. This is also a good idea if your hands are a little unsteady. 

4. Cutting 

Once you've scribed a worktop you can start cutting it to size. We recommend cutting the worktop on a trestle and having someone on hand to support the worktop. This prevents a part of the worktop falling and getting damaged. 

When you start cutting a worktop, we also recommend you turn it upside down before you start to cut. This is because the teeth of a saw blade cut upwards; by flipping the worktop, you reduce the risk of chipping it.

You can ensure you cut in a straight line by clamping a metal ruler to the worktop. You can then follow this with the saw. You should start the blade running before you lower it to the worktop itself, to minimise damage to the work surface.

You should also cut from front to back, so the blade runs towards the edge of the worktop that sits against the wall. 

A worktop is an essential part of your kitchen, and it's important you install it properly. That's why we've put together this article taking you through the process from start to finish. 

We'll be covering both laminate and solid surface worktops in this article. If you have any doubts or concerns, we recommend consulting a professional before undertaking any work yourself. 

5. Joining 

When you've cut your worktops to size, you will need to join them together. You will also need to join the worktops to the kitchen units underneath them. 

Start by drilling clearance holes into the support panels of your kitchen units; you will later drill up through these into the worktop. A 4mm gauge bit is a good choice. We recommend drilling six holes—three at the front, three at the back—of each unit. 

The best option is to mitre your worktops, or cut the edges so that they slot together. Think of the two worktops as two jigsaw puzzle pieces; one is the inverse of the other. 

We mitre a worktop using a special sheet of metal called a jig, which guides your worktop router. Using the jig, you will need to cut a 'male' joint in one worktop and a 'female' joint in another. You will also need to cut grooves in the worktop to accommodate connecting bolts, which join the worktops to one another. 

Before you mitre each worktop, remember to turn them upside down so you don't damage the surface. Then, clamp the jig in place on the worktop to ensure the jig doesn't move around.

When you're cutting the mitre joints, don't try to cut through the whole worktop in one go. Instead, make a shallow, 10mm cut in the worktop to begin with. Make sure the blade has stopped moving before you remove the router.

Lower the blade by 10mm each time until you have cut through the entire worktop. Then reposition the jig, and take the same approach for the worktop bolts. You will need to cut halfway down the worktop for the jointing bolts. 

When you have mitred all of your worktops, placed them on top of your kitchen units and make sure they join together neatly. Then, run some worktop adhesive (of a matching colour) along the joins before carefully pushing them together and clamping them in place.

6. Finishing

With the worktops in place, insert the jointing bolts into the grooves you made earlier. Using a spanner, tighten the bolts from below to ensure a really tight fit. Then use a cloth and a little acetone to wipe off any excess adhesive on the top of the worktop. 

Once you have the worktops positioned on top of your kitchen units, it's time to connect the two together. To do this, you'll need to drill upwards into the worktop through each unit's clearance holes. Make sure you don't drill too far! 

You can prevent any accidents by wrapping a piece of tape around your drill bit to serve as a guide.  By not drilling past the tape, you'll ensure the hole is exactly as deep as it needs to be. Once all the holes are drilled, use a screwdriver to push the screws up into the worktop.  

If there are any raw edges exposed on your worktop once it's installed, you will need to attach an edging strip to them. Our laminate worktops all come with strips of edging in a matching finish. Simply cut a strip of edging to size, and apply a little contact adhesive to both the edging and the worktop before sticking the two together. It may take some time for the adhesive to dry completely. 

If there are any loose edges on the strip, trim them off with a craft knife and use a file to get rid of any rough edges.