Doing the work yourself, when it is completed correctly, is a great money saver. Old countertops are fairly easily removed. Installing new quartz countertops is a challenge that only seasoned DIY homeowners should tackle!
This quartz countertop installation guide will give you pointers for doing the work yourself. See our Quartz Countertop Price Guide to see how much you can save with DIY installation. If you’re hiring a contractor, it will help you to discuss the work with those you’re interviewing and discern whether they’ve got the required expertise.
Removing Old Countertops, Sinks and Cabinetry
Getting rid of the old kitchen components is fairly easy. A few basic tools and a helper should be all you need. These tools will come in handy:
- Adjustable wrench
- Screwdriver or drill and bits
- Pry bar
- Towel or bucket
Step 1: Turn off the water supplies to the faucet.
Step 2: Disconnect the water lines from the underside of the faucet. You might need a wrench for this job. The lines will contain a small amount of water, so keep the towel or buck handy.
Step 3: Disconnect the sink drain line using the wrench.
Step 4: Take the drawers out of the cabinetry to make the work easier.
Step 5: Remove the fasteners and clips, and take out the sink.
Step 6: Remove clips and fasteners holding the countertop in place. Use the pry bar to pry it off cabinetry, if it’s been glued. You might need to break any countertop seams too. Remove the countertop pieces.
Step 7: Remove the fasteners securing the cabinets, and take away the cabinets.
Doing this part of the job yourself and disposing of the materials might save you 10% or more of the labor cost on cabinets and countertops.
Installing New Kitchen Countertops
It takes good DIY skills to do a good job. If you want an excellent job done, you must either possess excellent DIY skills or leave the work to a professional.
Countertop installation tools and supplies:
- Dust mask
- Dry-cut diamond blade
- Countertop glue
- Mending plates and brackets with screws
- Caulk gun
- Silicone caulk
- Resin seam kit
- Craft paper
Once the base cabinets are in place, you’re ready to cover them with your gorgeous quartz countertops! You should have cut-to-fit pieces from the factory.
These instructions are intended for overview purposes and are not meant to be an exhaustive guide to countertop installation.
Step 1: Add a 3/4″ (for 2cm quartz) or a 5/8” (for 2cm quartz) layer of plywood to the top of the cabinets. Most installations require this. Talk to your countertop provider to confirm. If you don’t add a layer of plywood, you’ll likely have to add plywood supports are crucial areas to eliminate sagging and stress on the quartz.
Step 2: Set the plywood atop the cabinets. If there are gaps between the plywood and wall because the wall doesn’t run perfectly straight, you’ll need to trim the plywood. To do this, cut a piece of wood the width of the widest gap to serve as a guide. With the plywood pieces in place, run the guide along the place where the plywood meets the wall. Hold a pencil lead to the plywood where the outside of the piece of wood meets it to create a trim line.
Step 3: With a jigsaw, cut along the wall side of the pencil line you’ve made. This should create a custom fit for the plywood pieces.
Step 4: Glue the edges of the pieces together, and add mending plates from below to secure them.
Step 5: Glue the tops of the base cabinets, and install the plywood surface. Secure it to studs or the base cabinets with mending brackets.
Step 6: If you trimmed the plywood pieces to fit the wall, you’ll need to trim the quartz too. Use craft paper atop the plywood to create a template for the countertop. Use the template to mark where the quartz pieces need to be trimmed. Use a grinder or circular saw with a diamond bit to slowly and gently remove quartz material to create a tailored fit with the wall.
Step 7: Lift each quartz piece into place to check the fit. Check them with a six-foot level, and where they’re not level, use wood screws to level them. From below, drill pilot holes every two inches. Insert the wood screws through the pilot holes, and use them to raise the level of the quartz to fit adjoining pieces.
Step 8: Use glue recommended for quartz such as Liquid Nails. Apply a bead around the perimeter of the plywood or the top of the cabinets, install the quartz pieces, and apply slight downward pressure to hold them in place.
Step 9: Choose a tint color for your seam sealer so that it will match the countertops. Fill the seams with an epoxy seam sealer recommended by the countertop retailer.
Quartz Kitchen Countertop Installation FAQ
How much can be saved with DIY installation?
Quartz countertop installation estimates range from $15 to $22 per square foot depending on how difficult the work is. Do it correctly, and the cost is nothing. Just keep in mind that the greater expense is in the cost of the quartz, and if you make a mistake and have to replace a piece of quartz, you’ve lost your savings. The point is: make sure your skills and knowledge are up to the task!
What skills should I possess?
Past experience with countertop installation is very helpful. You should be comfortable cutting hard material with a circular saw, leveling materials and working with 2-part epoxy (used for the seams).
How much will I spend on DIY tools?
A good circular saw with a diamond-tipped blade can cost $200 or more. For all the tools and supplies you need, expect to spend more than $300.
How long does it take to install quartz countertops?
Removing old countertops and cabinetry will take several hours. Most installation jobs take a day or two to complete.
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