Urgent - ss counter diy install

eleenaMarch 13, 2013

If I have the counter made, can we install it ourselves?

According to what the fabricator told me, all we have to do is put it in place and caulk around.

I am having a scheduling conflict due to delays and would like this one item done "at my convenience", if possible, not when all other pieces come together.


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What are your DIY skills.

I know we would not be willing to take this on but there are many skilled DIYers here. Here are some questions that pop into my head. Will the holes for faucets etc already be pre-cut? What about the sink? My counter guys installed my sink. There seemed to be some skill involved there. Is there any edge work that needs to be done on site? Is there any stainless specific things to take care of to prevent dings and scratches?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:07PM
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I have no idea. But if you have enough DIY experience to not panic if you hit a snag, might be worth a go. I can do basic things with some reassuring research, but it seems everything I touch has a problem. I even ventured to switch out the tub toggle that closes the drain to match the fixtures, should just be unscrew, pull out, push new in, re-screw. But of course I managed to uncouple the rods by twisting just the wrong way as I pushed, so it all fell to the bottom INSIDE the tub wall! If I panicked and called the plumber, $$$$. But I stayed calm and fixed it, so just the cost of the part.

Walk through it mentally and write down your questions. Sounds easy enough if you are prepared. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:32PM
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Skills - not very good, almost none, I'd say, but we are willing to proceed carefully and we are capable of following the instructions.

Sink is integrated, hole is drilled. I am not worried about the faucet. The guys can install it when they get here. But the substrate needs to be attached to the cabinets and the counter glued onto it and caulked around. Then it has to sit undisturbed for 24 hours, that is the problem as it takes two visits to complete the installation.

I am wondering only about the attaching the counter part. DW hook-up and faucet install will be done by the plumber. Sorry that I was not clear.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:33PM
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"Skills - not very good, almost none, I'd say"

Then NO, don't even think about this. A small straight section for an experienced DIYer? Maybe.

You will need to get the particle board substrate perfectly level side to side and front to back.That may (WILL) mean shimming. You'll also have to roll out the contact cement on the particle board, and know how to apply it to the stainless, and know when it's dry enough to put them together, and then be able to get it positioned in one whack. No second chances. It lands and sticks. If there are any corners involved, it's not even very experienced DIY friendly.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:59PM
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Thanks, LWO!

That is what I thought.

BTW, I added a "thank you" post for you and hollysprings to my thread on the remodeling board.

Really appreciate your help.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:15PM
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I would place myself on the low end of DIY skills, but was able to install an L-shaped SS counter with integrated sink without any major issues.

Do you already have a particleboard or plywood substrate in place for the SS counter to sit on? If so, it's pretty much just a case of spreading liquid nails on the top of the substrate -- make sure to get good coverage, dropping your counter on top, and putting some weights / clamps on top, maybe on top of some plywood so you're applying pressure across as much of the counter as possible - ideally every spot where there's glue will have some weight on it -- bulk foods, boxes of books, etc.

Remember, once your adhesive is applied, you will have only 5-10 minutes to get the countertop down, so you definitely should dry fit it once without glue, to make sure that everything fits and work out how you'll maneuver it into place (ours was the width of our kitchen, so just moving it around took some planning. If yours is an island or a peninsula, this will be much more straightforward.)

Here's some photos that another homeowner put up of their install process: http://www.christonium.com/HomeProject/diy-installing-stainless-steel-counters.

Possible challenges:
-Fit: the long leg of our counter has a wall at each end, and it was measured as an _extremely_ tight fit. In fact, it was so tight that we had to sand away part of the wall (old house, walls aren't true) to make room to get the counter installed. Not a big deal because we were tiling over that wall next, but it did add some time to the installation.

-Weight: SS counters are not heavy, particularly compared to granite, but they are not light either, and they are pretty flexy, so they can be awkward to carry / move around. In our case, i was worried of kinking the leg of the L, and it took two people to move it around, with a third supporting the sink as needed.

-Glue coverage. If you look at the blog that I linked, you'll see that they just squirt out their construction adhesive, without spreading it with a squeegee etc. I took the same approach, and there is one spot where we skimped on the glue and it's not bonded to the subtop. One day i'll drill a hole below that spot and inject some liquid nails up in there, but it's not a priority now.

On the other hand, if you glop on the adhesive too thick, it will keep the countertop from lying flat on the subtop. So, I would go with a small / medium bead of adhesive and aim for about 2" between passes so it's really well-covered. Make sure to hit the front edge in particular - that's a place where a lift will be especially conspicuous.

You mentioned caulking around the edges; is that just to seal them, or is it to hold the countertop down? Good coverage of liquid glue would be all you need to hold the countertop down, but you might want to caulk around the edges to keep water from infiltrating. Or, if you're installing a backsplash that will come down to the SS counter, you might wait until after the backsplash is installed.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 4:00AM
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