FITTING A NEW KITCHEN – Worktops

I am assuming for the purpose of this post that you will be using joint strips between the worktop edges, you can of course cut a mitre joint using a router and jig but this is a task where I would use the services of a skilled joiner, these cuts have to be precise and the cost, not forgetting the wait for a replacement worktop, has in the past put me off having a go. If you are skilled and confident enough to cut a mitre joint, check first that your router has a collet big enough to take an half inch (13mm) router bit, as the ‘bits’ which cut to worktop depth usually as far as I am aware have an half inch (13mm) shank, whereas most DIY routers will only take up to an 8mm shank. Butt joints (worktops joining edge to edge) are easier but have to be cut accurately, on the reverse side of the worktop(s), slots have to be cut-out using a router and jig, clamping brackets which sit in these slots are then tightened from below when the worktop is in position on top of the kitchen units.Try not to have the joint too near any of  the ends of the base units as the clamps may be difficult to gain access to and tighten up. Coloured jointing sealant should be put onto one edge of the two sections of worktop and as you tighten the clamps check constantly how flush the worktop edges are simply by touch, take care not to over-tighten the clamps as the finished edge of the worktop might start to ‘lift’ . When you are satisfied with the quality of the joint, clean away surplus joint sealant with the solvent that should be supplied with it. Incidentally the coloured sealant is very handy to mask any small chips or scratches that may unfortunately occur during the fitting of the worktop(s).

Fitting kitchen worktops requires assistance, not only for cutting them to length, but also because of their size and weight, the last thing you want to do is to damage one when placing it on top of the new kitchen units. If you have a ‘U’ or ‘L’ shaped kitchen start with the centre or ‘back’ worktop. Before you cut the worktop to length measure along both the back and front edges of your base units just in case the walls are not quite square and transfer these measurements to your worktop. Double check your measurements and remember you can allow a few millimetres for any end that will have wall tiles overlapping the worktop edge, then do the cut, this can be done using a woodsaw, but a jigsaw certainly makes the task easier, just remember to use goggles and a face mask, if you can’t see your cutting mark on the worktop use masking tape and re-mark the cutting line. When positioning the worktops on the base units you may have to chase out a bit of plaster along the wall to allow the worktop front edge to line up with the base units, ideally the worktop should extend over the base units front edge by an equal amount along its whole length.

Now measure the other worktop(s) again, across both the front and back edges of the base units and cut to size allowing for the joint strip. Seal the end of the worktop with either pva glue or clear sealant before fitting the joint strip to stop any future liquid spillage from damaging the worktop. When you are satisfied the worktop(s) are sitting on the base units correctly you can mark out your cuts for the sink unit and hob, once again use masking tape if you cannot see your marking out clearly. If you are fortunate the sink unit and hob will come with templates to mark the worktop for cutting out. Generally the hole to be cut is around 5 – 10mm less than the circumference of the sink unit or the hob. The sink unit can be placed face down on the worktop, the circumference can be marked out, then reduce this cut by the appropriate measurement all round. The hob may have no template but should have the cut out dimensions supplied with it, these dimensions need to be marked out very accurately and make sure the hob is in the position you want it . Double check your measurements before making any cuts in the worktop (I fitted a hob recently which only had a 5mm edge that rested on the worktop so I must have checked my marking out at least several times). These cuts can then be made using a jigsaw. When you have completed the cuts and the worktop(s) are back in position they can be fixed using the screws supplied with the base units. Again seal the cut-outs of the worktops with pva glue or clear sealant prior to fitting the sink unit and hob.


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