Our Expert Recommends Doing These Steps Before A Kitchen Countertop Installation

You know you're nearing the end of your kitchen remodel when it's time to install the countertops. During this time, you have your electrical finished, your drywall up, and your cabinets installed. All that is left is to put in your chosen counters, whether they're marble, stainless steel, or quartz. But this step isn't as simple as waiting for the installers to show up and slide them on top of your lower cabinets. There are some steps you should take to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Doing this isn't going above and beyond; instead, taking extra precautions can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration by not allowing things to go off the rails. In an exclusive interview with Matthew DiBara, a fourth generation contractor and co-founder of The Contractor Consultants, we asked what steps you should take before a kitchen countertop installation. 

According to DiBara, taking the time to re-measure the counters and island is just one thing you can do to help you avoid frustration before the materials are delivered. Checking your numbers — and the company's — will ensure everyone is on the same page and the final counters will fit as imagined. While it might seem Type-A to do this, it will help catch any mistakes while the product is still at the fabricator's, making it their responsibility to change if they got the numbers wrong. Here is a closer look at how to avoid easy-to-make mistakes before installing new countertops. 

Measure your layout to ensure the fit will be perfect

You can't order countertops until you've installed your cabinets, and for good reason. Your fabricator will either send someone to measure the counter space, or your trusted contractor will do so and send them the numbers. However, human error is a real thing, and sometimes, numbers can get switched around. To make sure the fabricator's digits match your countertop layout, take the extra step to create a stencil. "The number one tip is to create a stencil of the countertop and dry-fit it first to ensure everything aligns properly," DiBara exclusively tells House Digest. "People often forget to ensure that there is enough access to bring in the required equipment and appliances, which can cause significant delays and complications during the installation." By creating a cardboard stencil that you can slip over the bottom cabinets, you can catch those irregularities before the counter is delivered. 

While you're at it, DiBara also suggests ensuring your walls are level. "Another commonly overlooked step is checking the level of walls," he shares. "Neglecting this can result in misalignment and installation issues, leading to potential additional costs and time-consuming adjustments." If they don't run in a perfectly straight line, you run the risk of some counter sections not sitting flush against the wall. This can result in either a sloppy installation or expensive workarounds.

Plan for unusual considerations

While a fabricator will always seal the stone for you prior to delivering the counters, you want to begin to plan how you will upkeep it in the future. If your countertops are made of porous stone such as concrete, granite, or marble, you will need to reseal the surface annually. This will help keep your natural stone countertops looking their best. Being aware of this, you can plan what questions to ask when the installers arrive. Specifically, what sealers you should use and how to apply them. "Unusual considerations include using materials that are not readily available. For example, custom concrete countertops require special maintenance considerations, such as the type of sealer used," DiBara tells House Digest exclusively. "Planning for potential alterations or repairs is essential, as these materials can be difficult to maintain and repair." 

If you know your sealer isn't readily available on the market, you can ask the installers how to obtain it. They will point you in the right direction, recommending trusted retailers. If the sealer isn't something that should be DIYed, then they will be able to explain what a resealing service entails and offer you a quote. This will allow you to plan ahead, ensuring your countertops will continue to look as pristine as the day they were installed.