Build-up sticks are used between the top of the cabinets and the bottom of the countertop. Build-up sticks are 3/4" material about 1-1/4" wide and vary in length depending on cabinet width. Particle board or pine make very good build-up sticks. Usually build-up sticks are supplied with the countertop, sometimes you may need to make your own. Build-up sticks act like spacers that support the countertop. In almost every case build-up sticks are used. There are exceptions and this should be discussed with the sales associate when you are purchasing your countertops. There are many different ways to attach these sticks. Two preferred methods are described below. Use method 1 if you are NOT attaching the countertops to corner blocks with screws. Method 2 describes how to attach countertops with screws to corner blocks. Both methods cause the least amount of damage to cabinets the next time new countertops are installed. Tools needed include; hammer if using nails, power screw driver and driver bit, drill bits, padded saw horses, saw to cut build-up strips to length and caulk gun if using panel adhesive. Supplies needed are; wood glue or panel adhesive, build-up strips, 2" finish nails (method 1), 1-1/4" screws or nails (method 2), pencil or marking pen and rags for clean-up.
Steps to Fasten Countertops to Cabinets
- With countertop scribed to the wall and sitting on some loose build-up sticks on cabinets, mark location of permanent build-up sticks directly on cabinets, working from under side of countertop. You don't want a build-up stick on cabinet to contact the nose stick on the countertop, leave a small gap, it may prevent the countertop from fitting tight to wall. Run the sticks from front to back and parallel to wall and front of cabinets. Sticks running from front to back should be placed on cabinet dividers. Around sink support is needed but should not interfere with attaching sink if sink clips are used. Cut short pieces of stick to place in-between clips (Fig.1) at a couple locations on both front and back of sink. If cabinet is narrow short pieces of stick may be needed on both sides of sink instead of full length sticks.
- Remove countertop and place build-up sticks in locations previously marked on cabinets. Pre-drill (Fig.2) all holes slightly smaller than nail diameter to prevent face frames and dividers from splitting. Secure sticks in position with 2" finish nails (Fig.3) into cabinet face frame and cabinet dividers.
- Now place countertop on cabinet again to double check placement of sticks and that the countertop is tight to the wall.
- Remove countertop and apply panel adhesive to sticks (Fig.4), taking care not to use so much that squeeze-out drips on cabinets.
- Place countertop on sticks and push firmly to wall. Apply weight to countertop or cut short flexible sticks to wedge between upper cabinets and countertop (Fig.5) to apply downward pressure, taking care not to damage upper cabinet or countertop.
- Wipe up any squeeze out and allow to dry according to adhesive manufacturers specifications. This method holds countertop securely yet the nails make it easy to remove and if done carefully will not cause damage to cabinets. Never use panel adhesive directly on cabinets, this can cause severe damage to cabinets when countertop is removed.
- With countertop scribed to the wall and sitting on some loose build-up sticks on cabinets, mark location of permanent build-up sticks directly on bottom of countertop, working from under side of countertop. A build up stick can contact the nose stick on the countertop. If countertop has end cap all ready applied another build-up stick may be placed next to the build-up stick that is all ready attached to countertop. Run sticks from front to back above corner blocks, cabinet dividers and also parallel to wall and front of cabinets. Around sink support is needed but should not interfere with attaching sink if sink clips are used. Cut short pieces of stick to place in-between clips at a couple locations on both front and back of sink. If cabinet is narrow short pieces of stick may be needed on both sides of sink instead of full length sticks.
- Remove countertop and place upside-down on sturdy surface that will not scratch laminate surface. Padded saw horses work well for this.
- Build-up strips should be pre-drilled a slightly smaller diameter than the size of the nails or screws used (Fig.6). Wood glue or panel adhesive should be used between bottom of countertop and build-up sticks (Fig.7). Follow directions on adhesive package. Using 1-1/4" nails or screws, nail or screw build-up strips to bottom of countertop (Fig.8) at locations previously marked .
- With build-up strips secured to the bottom of countertop, you can now place the countertop back on the cabinets.
- With countertop in position and tight to wall, secure with screws through corner blocks (Fig.9) and into bottom of build-up strips. Screw length is determined by thickness of corner block and distance from corner block to bottom of build-up strip. Size these screws carefully. It is very important that the screws do not penetrate or raise laminate surface.
Click on photos to enlarge.