Installing new countertops can completely transform the look and feel of a kitchen or bathroom. As a contractor, executing a seamless countertop installation requires careful planning, precision, and attention to detail. Follow these pro tips to ensure success from start to finish.

Selecting the Right Countertop Material

Choosing the optimal countertop material is the first step. Consider these factors:


What material can you afford? Granite and quartz are premium options at $80-150 per square foot installed. Laminate is budget-friendly at $20-50 per square foot. Know your clients’ budget constraints.


Which material aligns with your clients’ style? Granite and marble have natural patters. Quartz offers a consistent look. Laminate comes in unlimited colors. Visit client homes and suggest materials that work with the space.


Consider how clients use the space. Laminate resists scratches. Granite and quartz are extremely durable. Marble stains easily. Advise clients based on countertop usage and traffic.


Some materials need more upkeep. Laminate only requires occasional cleaning. Marble needs frequent sealing. Share realistic maintenance expectations.

Once you settle on the right material, it’s time to measure and place the order.

Carefully Measuring the Space

Precision measurements ensure countertops fit perfectly with no gaps or overhang. Follow these steps:

Gather Supplies

Have these supplies on hand:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Laser measure (optional)

Map Out the Kitchen

Sketch a rough layout of the full kitchen including all countertops, cabinets, walls, windows, and appliances.

Measure Length

Measure the length of each countertop section in inches. Account for corners and angled edges.

Measure Depth

Measure depth from the wall to the front edge of the countertop. Standard depth is 25 inches.


Measure any overhangs on peninsulas or islands. Standard overhang is 1-2 inches.

Take Pictures

Snap photos of the existing space from multiple angles to submit with the order.

Confirm Measurements

Double-check all measurements to verify accuracy before placing the order.

Precise measurements ensure a perfect custom fit and avoid costly rework down the line.

Placing the Countertop Order

With measurements in hand, it’s time to officially order the materials. Here’s how:

Choose a Fabricator

Select a reputable local countertop fabricator with good reviews and fair prices. Get quotes from 3-4 shops.

Submit the Order

Provide the fabricator with the drawings, measurements, photos, material selection, edge profiles, and any cutouts needed.

Choose Edges

Select the edge treatment like rounded, beveled, ogee, or squared. This must be finalized upfront.

Confirm Timeline

Ask for a production schedule. Countertop fabrication typically takes 2-3 weeks. Replacing an existing counter may take only 1 week.

Arrange Transportation

Discuss how the fabricator will deliver the countertops. Most provide installation services too.

Order early to avoid delays! Now you’re ready for some pre-installation tasks.

Prepping the Space for Installation

Ahead of installation day, complete these tasks to get the space ready:

Clear Countertops

Remove everything from existing countertops like small appliances and kitchenware.

Detach Backsplashes

Carefully detach any existing tile or glass backsplashes. New backsplash will be installed after.

Remove Sink & Faucet

Disconnect supply lines and drains and remove sink basins and faucets.

Shut Off Water Supply

Turn off water supply lines to avoid leaks when reinstalling sinks.

Remove Cabinets If Needed

If replacing full slabs, remove existing countertops and cabinets first if necessary.

Clean Surfaces

Clean countertop surfaces and walls so they are debris-free for installation.

Thorough pre-work allows for smooth installation. The fun part is next – demo day!

Demolishing the Old Countertop

If removing an existing countertop, demo day takes a bit of work. Follow these steps:

Use Proper PPE

Wear safety goggles, mask, gloves, ear and foot protection.

Outline Cuts

Measure and mark where countertop meets walls. Cut with circular saw just deep enough to go through countertop.

Disconnect from Walls

Carefully pry away from walls using a crowbar. Watch for adhesive.

Make Relief Cuts

Make shallow relief cuts across the surface to break up the countertop into manageable sections for carrying.

Lift Sections Out

Lift and remove sections one at a time. Two people are best for large pieces. Dispose properly.

Remove Adhesive Residue

Scrape away all old caulk and adhesive from walls using a putty knife.

Clean & Vacuum

Sweep and vacuum thoroughly once demolished. Area should be pristine for new installation.

Demolition is dirty work but very satisfying! Time to put in the beautiful new counters.

Installing New Countertops

Installation day finally arrives. Follow these best practices:

Inspect Countertops

Upon delivery, inspect all countertops and edges for any defects or damage.

Cover Floors & Cabinets

Lay drop cloths over floors and cabinets to protect from debris.

Lift with Care

Carefully lift and position each countertop section. Get help lifting larger pieces.

Check Fit

Ensure each section fits snugly against walls and cabinets with no gaps.

Apply Adhesive

Run a bead of adhesive along the underside perimeter and any seams.

Secure in Place

After adhesive is applied, gently lower and press countertops into final position.

Clamp Seams

Use C-clamps along seams while adhesive dries for a tight fit.

Caulk Edges

Run a bead of caulk along all edges and seams for a seamless finish.

Clean Surfaces

Remove any adhesive or debris. Clean surfaces with appropriate cleaners.

Let adhesive fully cure overnight before using new counters! Finish up with final touches.

Completing the Finishing Touches

The last steps include:

Reinstall Backsplash

Apply adhesive and reinstall the original backsplash or install a new one.

Reinstall Sink & Faucet

Position sink basin back in countertop cutout, reconnect supply lines and drainage. Reinstall faucet. Test for leaks.

Add Accessories

Reinstall any countertop accessories like soap dispensers, knobs, and electrical outlets.

Seal Countertops

Apply sealant if needed based on material. Marble, granite, and grout will need sealing.

Perform Final Cleanup

Remove drop cloths, vacuum, and take out trash. Area should be pristine.

Inform Clients

Let clients know their new countertops are ready to enjoy! Share care instructions.

With attention to every step, you can guarantee a successful, seamless countertop installation from start to finish.

FAQs About Countertop Installation

What is the typical cost per square foot for countertop installation?

Countertop installation costs range from $40 to $100 per square foot on average depending on the material. More affordable options like laminate may cost around $40-50 per square foot. Premium materials like granite and quartz tend to cost $80-100 per square foot installed.

How long does it take to install kitchen countertops?

The average kitchen countertop installation takes 1-3 days from start to finish depending on size. Demolition can take 4-6 hours. Installation takes another 1-2 days including adhesive cure time. Smaller surfaces may only take a single day while larger projects run 2-3 days.

What tools are needed to install laminate countertops?

Basic tools for laminate countertop installation include a circular saw, jigsaw, router, drill, tape measure, level, caulk gun, putty knife, hammer, utility knife, and carpenter’s square. You’ll also need adhesive, caulk, and a countertop roller.

Should you caulk between countertop and backsplash?

Yes, caulking between the countertop and backsplash is recommended. Caulk forms a waterproof seal that prevents liquids from penetrating behind the countertop. Use a flexible, mold-resistant caulk designed for kitchen and bath.

How long does liquid nails take to dry before installing countertops?

On average, liquid nails adhesive reaches an initial set in about 6 hours but requires 24 hours to fully cure when installing countertops. This extended cure time allows the bond to reach maximum strength. Avoid any direct pressure on the countertop for at least 24 hours.

What mistakes should be avoided when installing granite countertops?

Avoid these common mistakes when installing granite countertops: inadequately supporting slabs, failing to use spacers, not using caulk or adhesive, improper corner joining technique, allowing poor seams, failing to follow recommended practices from the fabricator, and not waiting for adhesive to fully cure before use.


Installing new countertops successfully involves careful planning, precision measurements, methodical demolition for replacements, seamless installation, and quality finishing touches. By following these pro contractor tips and best practices throughout the process from start to finish, you can achieve stunning results that will impress clients and add value to any kitchen or bath. Paying attention to all the details delivers a smooth installation clients will love.