Solid-Surface Countertops 101

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Solid-surface countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners. Better Homes and Gardens contributing editor Danny Lipford explains how to install one in your home.

Advantages of Solid Surface

Solid-surface countertops are a popular choice with homeowners. They are made from a plastic type material and are available in a wide range of colors and patterns to fit any decor. The durable, nonporous surface resists heat, stains, mold, and bacteria.

Countertop Choices

Solid-surface countertops come in several thicknesses ranging from 1/4 to 3/4 inch. Individual sections can be glued together on site to form a seamless surface with no visible joints. Because the color penetrates all the way through the material, a variety of edge profiles can be routed into the surface. Much of the fabrication of solid-surface countertops occurs in the shop before arriving at the job site. This allows much of the delicate work to be completed under controlled shop conditions and reduces installation time.

Shim Countertops

When installing solid-surface countertops, a strip of plywood may need to be added to the top of the base cabinets in order to raise the cabinet height and accommodate a thicker edge.

Scribe Countertops

The sections of countertop are delivered slightly wider and longer than needed so they can be scribed for an exact fit on irregular walls or out-of-square corners.

Fit Countertops

A power planer is used to remove material when adjusting the fit of the countertop against a wall.

Cut Countertops

Cutouts in solid-surface countertops can be made with a jigsaw.

Sand Edges

Once they have been trimmed and checked for fit, rough edges are sanded and buffed to a smooth finish.

Apply Adhesive

When everything is ready, an adhesive is applied to the cabinets.

Attach Countertops

The countertops are then carefully lowered into place and the adhesive allowed to dry.

Join Countertops

Long sections of countertop are joined together using a special adhesive.

Clamp Countertops

After the adhesive has been applied, the pieces are clamped together until dry.

Sand Seams

Once the adhesive has cured, the clamps are removed, and the joints sanded smooth using a belt sander.

Smooth Seams

Any remaining rough spots are buffed smooth.

Finished Countertops

Once the countertop installers have worked their magic, it's hard to tell where the two pieces were joined together.

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