Installing the countertops is a key stage in a kitchen renovation project and getting the countertops in place will mean your new kitchen is well on the way to being finished. Knowing how long it will take to install kitchen countertops means you can plan for how long you need to manage without them.
On average, it can take between 2 to 7 hours to install kitchen countertops, depending on the size of the kitchen and how complex the design is. Countertops with more cut-outs will take longer to install. This time frame doesn’t consider time for creating a countertop template, fabricating, or delivery.
Renovating a kitchen is a huge job and often an inconvenient one, as it involves upheaval in the busiest room in the house. This guide will help you plan your kitchen renovation, so you know how long installation will take.
The stages of installing kitchen countertops and how long they take
When you decide you want to replace your kitchen countertops, either as part of a full kitchen refurbishment or just to update your counters, you’ll need to visit a fabricator. A fabricator is a specialist tradesperson experienced in measuring, cutting and fitting granite countertops.
Choosing a fabricator
A good fabricator will help you with every step of the installation project, from helping you choose the right material for your countertops, to measuring, creating a template, and installing the countertops.
No matter what material you choose for a countertop, you’ll need the help of a fabricator, unless you have enough DIY experience to measure and fit the countertops yourself. Even if you buy countertops from a large DIY retailer, they will likely provide their own fabricators to install your new countertops or use contractors to do the job.
Natural and engineered stone countertops, such as granite and quartz, require skilled fabricators who are experts at cutting and fitting these materials. If you’ve decided on quartz or granite countertops installation, then visit a company that specialises in the fabrication and installation of custom-made stone countertops.
A specialist company will be your one port-of-call for everything related to your countertop installation, from choosing the material to measuring and fitting.
Measuring your kitchen
A fabricator will measure your kitchen countertops, whether you’re replacing your existing worktops or completely refurbishing your kitchen. Most fabricators use a laser to accurately measure the dimensions of the countertop, before adding in details for the cut-outs required, such as for the sink and faucet.
They will then create a template based on these measurements so they can precisely cut and install the countertops. Depending on the size and complexity of your kitchen, it should take around 2 hours for a fabricator to measure your countertops and create a template.
Choosing your countertop
Countertops vary massively in price, from inexpensive laminate countertops to high end natural stone such as granite. As stone countertops are expensive it’s best to visit a local stone countertop showroom to get an idea of the look, feel and finish of the stones on offer.
Stone countertops are one of a kind, so the fun part is choosing a unique slab of stone for your project. As stone countertops vary so much in pattern and color, when you view the granite and quartz countertops available in person, you can handpick the right one for your kitchen.
Your fabricator will be able to advise you which slabs are suitable for your kitchen, based on your design and the amount of stone you need.
If you’re looking to install granite countertops, but aren’t sure where to start, read our blog post How To Shop For Granite Countertops: 7 Things To Remember.
The fabrication process
Once you’ve chosen your stone, the fabricators will cut it to ensure it’s the precise fit for your kitchen, including any cut-outs and custom edges. Any countertop will need to go through the fabrication process, no matter what the material.
Stone countertops will usually take longer to prepare, compared with other materials, as they require specialist skills to achieve a flawless finish. It can take around 10 to 14 days for a stone countertop to be fabricated so it’s ready for installation.
The installation process
The final stage in the installation process is fitting the new countertops in your kitchen. Before this can happen, your cabinets and appliances must be in place, as the fabricators will use special adhesives to secure the stone countertops to the cabinets. In some cases, the fabricators will adhere the countertops to a plywood base (known as a sub-top) before fitting them.
On the day of your installation, make sure the existing countertops are clear and that the cabinets are empty so the fabricators can come in and get straight on with the task.
Once the new countertops are in place, your fabricators will clean them down and may need to apply a sealant to the surface, depending on the material your countertops are made from. Granite and wood counter tops will need sealing to protect them from moisture. If you’re having quartz countertops installed, then they won’t require sealing.
The installation process will take between 2 and 7 hours, depending how many countertops are being fitted and if any of them require minor adjustments before being secured in place. Quartz and granite countertops installation typically takes longer than other material, as it may need to be finished on site and is extremely heavy to move around.
How long after granite or quartz is installed can you use it?
If you’ve had granite countertops installed, then you’ll need to wait 24 hours before using the countertops. This is because granite needs to be sealed after installation to protect the porous surface from moisture. Quartz countertops can be used straight away as they don’t need sealing.
Do you install the sink before the countertop?
Undermount sinks (sinks that sit below the countertop and therefore don’t have a lip) should be installed before the countertops are set in place. Not fitting an undermount sink before installing the countertops will mean the sink won’t be able to be sealed properly, and the sink may not fit through the cut-out at all!
For sinks that do have a lip that sits on top of the counter (also known as drop-in sinks), fabricators will create the cut-out and then ‘drop’ the sink in place from above. So, for drop-in sinks, the countertop will need to be in place before this type of sink is fitted.
Do appliances go in before countertops?
Countertops are one of the last things to be fitted during the kitchen remodelling process. All your home and kitchen appliances, including your cooker or range, will be in place before the countertops are fitted. On most projects, the flooring will also be in place before the countertops are installed.
In fact, fabricators will need all the above in place before making the template they’ll use to cut the granite or quartz. Having everything installed and ready will ensure there are no delays to the countertop installation.
In summary, how long it takes to install kitchen countertops will depend on the size and complexity of your kitchen design, along with what material you choose.
If you’re considering granite or quartz countertops installation, then we’d love to give you a free estimate on new countertops. If you’re local to our Beltsville Maryland granite showroom, you can view over 2,500 slabs of this beautiful stone, as well as quartz, marble, and quartzite slabs.