How to avoid mistakes when installing a solid surface countertop
The simplest way to avoid mistakes when installing a solid surface countertop is simply to have it done for you. Professional installations may add a little to the cost of your project, but will usually prevent mistakes and remove the stress of doing it yourself. However, selecting a contractor is not as simple as looking through the phone book and calling the first contractor you see. Here is a quick guide on how to select a contractor, and if you really want to install your countertop yourself, some tips on how to avoid mistakes will be provided as well.
Selecting a contractor
The best source for reliable contractors is through the retailer from whom you will be purchasing your countertop. Your retailer should be able to suggest a reliable contractor who can install your countertop for you.
Once you meet with the contractor, there are several things you ought to know before you sign a contract. Questions about the contractor's qualifications and policies are par for the course, and will help you determine whether the contractor is reputable or not. Building licenses are required in every state, and you ought to see these as well; most times they are prominently displayed in the contractor's office. Finally, make sure your other fixtures are protected during the installation of your countertop. Most contractors offer property insurance for other fixtures. Know the details of this before signing a contract.
Your contractor ought to call you to set a convenient installation date, once a contract has been signed. Details about disposal of your former countertop surface should also be discussed. Most contractors are willing to dispose of it for you.
While the piece is being installed, keep small children away from the project. They can hurt themselves on tools, or distract contractors from their work.
Ask how long the process ought to take. Generally, organic shapes such as squares, circles and rectangles are easier and quicker to install. Free-form shapes may take slightly longer.
If you have to be near the installation, be sure to wear a filtration mask. Dust or adhesive fumes can make you feel faint, or trigger allergies.
Make sure the contractor cleans up once the piece has been installed. Also, he or she ought to provide you with care and maintenance tips for your solid surface.
Check the items around the countertop for breakage. Bring these to the attention of the contractor immediately, if you find any. Usually, there is a two- to three-day grace period for filing complaints and insurance claims. After this period, the insurance on your belongings is nullified.
Take accurate measurements of the surface you want to cover. If the countertop you want hangs over the side of its support structure, account for this in your measurements. There should be a housing on your countertop's base, into which the support structure should fit. Measure this precisely as well.
Always wear a safety mask, goggles and work gloves when installing a countertop. Adhesive fumes may induce grogginess, and result in off-center installation.