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How to Install a Level Countertop

Here's how to remove a slanted countertop, cut a replacement and install it so the counter is nice and level.

Installing a new countertop can be a challenge, and here's how you can do it successfully.

Materials and Tools:

nippers
hand plane
circular saw
hammer
router
jigsaw
combination square
power drill
putty knife
folding rule
pry bars
block of wood
towel
paintbrush
pencil
level
rubber gloves
safety glasses
dust mask
2x4
wood screws
contact cement
replacement countertop
laminate
brads

Steps:

1. Remove any trim pieces along the wall that may interfere with removing the countertop. Use the pry bars to carefully remove the old countertop. Pry off the trim pieces along the underside on the countertop and save them for use with the new counter.

2. In this case, the countertop was attached to the ends of studs with nails. The nails did not have enough gripping power and the counter became tilted. For a more secure installation, install support blocks cut from a 2 x 4 between the studs.

3. Measure between the studs with a folding rule.

4. Cut the supports from a 2 x 4. Pre-drill holes at an angle in the ends of the support blocks and insert wood screws partially through the blocks.

5. Install the support blocks between studs. Check for level before driving the wood screws into the studs.

6. Clean up old counter and place face down on underside of replacement counter piece. Use the old counter as a template and trace a line on the new counter piece.

7. Put on safety glasses and cut new counter using the jigsaw. Use a hand plane to make sure the corners are smooth.

8. Install trim pieces from original counter on underside of replacement counter.

9. Install new counter and check for level.

10. Apply contact cement to edge of counter and to laminate strips cut to fit the edge of the counter. Press laminate onto sides of counter. Put on safety glasses and use a router to trim the laminate so it's even with the top of the counter.

11. Spread contact cement over top of counter and install your top laminate on the top. Use the router again to trim the edges.

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