If you are at all handy there is no reason why you cannot install your own countertops when you do your kitchen renovations. Here is a brief guide to installing solid wood countertops.
Solid wood countertops are made from the wood of trees that’s about 100 years old. Because wood is a living, breathing material it has a tendency to absorb moisture which causes it to expand. That’s why it’s very important that you use only kiln dried wood for your countertop project.
It’s also important that wood countertops have a seal on them to protect them from the high moisture level found in a kitchen. A kitchen’s humidity level is often around 70% and without the seal, your countertop would soon begin to warp and buckle.
You will need to begin by removing your existing countertops. Depending on how they are installed will determine how you remove them. If you are keeping your existing cabinets then you might consider refinishing them now while you are replacing the counters.
You will need to attach the wood top with wood screws and washers to the cabinet box. If you like you can set it using wood glue and then attach with the screws and washers. The problem with using glue is the countertop and box will usually expand and contract differently which can eventually lead to cracking.
The professional method of installing your wood countertop is to use metal fixings along with the box. These fixings should be evenly distributed the entire length of the top one inch apart. Then the top is affixed to each of the metal supports using screws front, rear, and center. You need to make sure everything is perfectly level otherwise the stress will lead to cracks or warping down the road.
It’s best to pre drill the screw holes in the countertop. This will ensure you don’t land up with a split or crack. You also need to make sure you don’t tighten the screws too tight or it can cause splitting.
Exposing your countertop to normal kitchen humidity levels will cause the top to expand about 1/12”. But if the level is higher than 80% you can expect it to expand by as much as ½”. You need to take this into account when you are fitting and installing your counters. If you don’t you can land up with tension that causes the top to stress and split or crack.
Once the countertop is firmly attached you need to use clear silicone and run a bead along where the wall and countertop meet. This will ensure no moisture or debris gets trapped along the join.
That’s it. Now all that’s left to do is step back and enjoy your handy work. Your kitchen will look fabulous with your new wood countertops!