Kitchen Fitting

How To Replace a Worktop

black kitchen worktop

Difficulty: Medium

This task may be tricky so will suit you if you’re experienced in DIY, or simply love a challenge. Before you get started on any of our ‘how to’ guides, please take a moment to read through our DIY safety tips.

Tools: plane, steel rule, screwdrivers, jigsaw, cordless drill, flatwood drill bit set, spirit level, sealant, craft knife, files

1. Measuring up

First things first – it’s important to measure up accurately before you get cracking! Obviously you only have to measure the old worktop if you’re just replacing it with one that’s the same shape. If you’re changing the shape and size of the worktop, remember that you’ll need to maintain an even overhang along the front edge of the kitchen cabinets. Aim for a 10mm-20mm overhang but add on some extra to play with. Here’s an example: buy a 600mm worktop to overhang 560mm-deep cabinets. This extra 40mm could come in handy if you need to trim a bit off the worktop’s back edge so it fits flush against your wall. Also allow 25mm for overhang at either end of your new worktop.

2. Scribing the worktop to fit

The wall you’re fitting your worktop against is likely to be slightly uneven so there will be gaps to fill. To do this you trim or ‘scribe’ the worktop. This is how you scribe:

  • Position your worktop with its back edge against the wall. Make sure the overhang at the front of the cabinets is exactly the same all the way along.
  • Measure the largest gap between the wall and the back of the worktop.
  • Cut a small block of wood exactly the width of this gap. This is called a ‘scribing’ block (fig. 1).
  • Stick a strip of masking tape along the entire length of the back edge of the worktop.
  • Starting at one end of the worktop, run the scribing block against the wall and use a pencil to mark a line along the masking tape (fig. 1).
  • This mark is a copy of the shape of your wall and acts as the guide line for trimming.
  • Cut along this line with a jigsaw. Where only small amounts need removing, use a sander or plane instead.
  • You can now replace the worktop and check it fits. Make sure the front overhang front is still even all the way along.

Helpful hint

If your worktop is too deep, trim the depth at the same time as scribing. Measure up for your scribing block, then deduct this measurement from the amount you need to trim off the depth of the worktop. Now cut your scribing block this width and proceed as before.

Figure 1

3. Cutting the worktop length

When you cut your worktop to the correct length, allow for a 25mm overhang at each end.

To cut a straight line without damaging the surface, first mark the line in pencil. Cover the pencil line with masking tape – you should still be able to see the line through the tape. To get a straight edge, clamp a steel ruler along the pencil line and use a craft knife to score a groove down the line. Then follow the groove with a jigsaw (fig. 2).

Remove the ruler and cut along the line with a panel saw. Make sure the worktop is well supported at both sides. When you’ve finished, remove the masking tape and smooth off the end with a plane. Always plane away from the top surface so you don’t damage it.

Figure 2

4. Joining lengths of worktop in a straight line

You can join lengths of worktop without the need for a joining strip. Here’s how:

  • Cut the two pieces of worktop being joined together to the right length. Scribe them to fit if you need to (see section 2).
  • From underneath, secure the two worktops together with fixing plates. Mark the screw positions and drill pilot holes while applying some weight to the top of the worktops (fig. 3).
  • Apply wood glue to the edge of one worktop and push the two together.
  • Use three fixing plates to secure the join properly.
  • Wipe away any excess glue be