Countertop remodels update your kitchen’s appearance and can even improve your home’s property value. But they aren’t simple DIY projects to try on a whim. Replacing a kitchen countertop requires planning and preparation.
This article will provide you with an overview of everything you need to know to prepare for replacing your kitchen countertops. We’ll also include helpful tips we’ve picked up from decades working with professionals and homeowners who have updated their own kitchens with our products.
Before Your Kitchen Counter Remodel
Starting your remodeling project off on the right foot will help make the entire process much smoother. Before you plug in the first power tool or have a contractor start work, there are a few items that need to be addressed to install your countertops with as little hassle as possible.
Evaluate Project Timelines
Setting a realistic project timeline will make your life less stressful, save you money, and save you some time.
There are two timelines that you need to establish: an entire timeline for your project that covers when you select your countertop to the final installation, and a timeline specific to the duration of the countertop installation process.
Tip: Consider Countertop Sourcing & Lead Times
Something to note is that lead times for sourcing your countertop will vary depending on the material, your location, shipping method, and how custom your countertop will need to be. Communicate with the supplier of your countertop about all of these factors so you can correctly calculate this portion of the project timeline.
Tip: Communicate With Your Contractor To Determine a Realistic Installation Timeline
A second thing to keep in mind is that many countertop manufacturers will include a recommended installation timeline in their warranty. Some materials must be installed in a timely manner to avoid damage or degradation that may affect the final appearance of your countertop.
Be sure to communicate clearly with your contractor (something we’ll return to later), so that your countertop can be installed in the timeframe recommended by the manufacturer. This timeline needs to account for removal of the old countertops.
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Determine What Items Need To Be Stored
After you know precisely how long the project will take, you can begin planning other aspects of the remodel. This should include setting aside time to properly clear the area of objects that will impede your efforts.
Be sure to identify everything currently on or around the countertop that needs to be moved. If other areas are also being remodeled, such as cabinets, take inventory of what is in this area as well.
Tip: Create A List And Know What You Need For Storage
This is a time when proper preparation is vital. Taking the extra time to list all of the items that need to be stored will pay dividends when it comes time to actually prep and start the remodel project.
The list will also help you determine how much storage you’ll need, including boxes and other containers to more easily collect and store items from your kitchen.
Plan For Moving Large Appliances
Kitchens are one of the most appliance-heavy areas of the house. While smaller appliances, like microwave ovens and toasters, can easily be stored, larger appliances, like your stove and dishwasher, are more difficult to move.
Know which appliances must be moved and plan on where you’ll move them before it’s time to start your renovations.
Tip: Have The Right Tools For Moving Heavy Objects
If you don’t already have them, be sure you have what you need to safely move heavy appliances or furniture. Textured gloves can help provide a more secure hold on smooth appliances while protecting your hands from cuts. Meanwhile, a hand truck can make moving them safer and help protect your floors, walls, and doorways.
During the Countertop Remodel
You’ve completed your pre-project checklist. Excellent! The day of your kitchen countertop remodel is fast approaching, but there are a few to-do items you need to consider leading up to and during the counter installation.
Working With Your Contractor
Selecting the right contractor, including how to identify a good project bid, are out of scope for this article, but there are a few other tips we can share to help make your countertop installation go smoothly.
Before starting the project, make sure your contractor has acquired all of the necessary (and correct) permits for the job. This is incredibly important and can save you from serious headaches down the road.
Generally, you’ll only need to worry about permits during a kitchen remodel if you plan to move or add plumbing, electrical, or walls within your home. So, most basic countertop remodels won’t require any permits. However, always check with your contractor to be sure.
Tip: Communication Is Key
When working with your contractor, be sure to regularly check in on the job and have all of the correct contact information, including a direct line if possible. This is especially helpful for multi-day projects.
Keeping in touch with your contractor and communicating clearly goes a long way to ensure a countertop installation is done correctly and stays on track.
Plan For Pets
If your home includes pets, make sure you have a plan for them when the countertops are installed. Cats and small dogs can become a hazard and find themselves in harm's way if they’re left to roam while the remodel is being done.
Some pets may also be startled by loud noises, placing them into a stressful situation while the counters are installed. If possible, find a way to get animals out of the house during the remodeling project. If that’s not feasible, cordone them off in another part of the house, as far away from the work-in-progress as possible.
Tip: Make Sure Your Pets Have Everything They Need
If you secure your pets in another part of the house during the remodeling, bring everything they’ll need. Food and water are a must, but don’t forget the litter box for cats! Toys can also help ease any stress from being cooped up.
Focus On One Project
Updating your home is exciting. Whether you're a new homeowner or have been in the same property for decades, adding a personal touch can revitalize your love for a room. But don’t let that cause you to bite off more than you can chew.
While installing new countertops, complete other kitchen upgrades before or after this project. It may be tempting to repaint the kitchen while installing new countertops, but juggling multiple projects in the same room can be a lot to manage. It can also lead to problems.
Be sure to finish one kitchen project before starting another. This way you can adequately plan (and budget) for both.
Final Touches & Routine Maintenance
Your new countertop is installed. Congratulations! If the project was completed correctly, your kitchen should have a brand new look and feel.
While the hard work is done, caring for any type of countertop is a long term investment. Be sure you know what your countertops need to maintain their appearance for years to come. Proper maintenance will help extend their life and preserve their value if you ever decide to sell the property.
Tip: Wood Countertops Require Additional Maintenance
Wood countertops are beautiful – we should know: we’ve been milling them for decades. But with the beauty of natural wood comes added responsibility.
To maintain its pristine condition, butcher block and other wood countertops should be finished. If you’ve ordered your wood countertop unfinished, be sure to apply commercial grade polyurethane or Waterlox finish. Follow manufacturer's instructions on the polyurethane or Waterlox for finishing coats (usually three or four coats).
You’ll also need to reseason your wood countertops by should applying food safe oil or conditioner as needed to reseal the pores and keep butcher blocks and wide plank tops from drying out.
Find The Perfect Butcher Block Countertops From The Hardwood Lumber Company
If you’re ready to remodel your kitchen counters, butcher block is a timeless material that can revitalize the look and feel of the entire room.
With decades of experience, The Hardwood Lumber Company is a trusted manufacturer of butcher block countertops for kitchens. Shop our full selection of edge grain, end grain, and wide plank options to find the perfect look for your home.