Do Countertops or Appliances Go First?

Date: January 8, 2020
Author: Jon Smith
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Remodeling a kitchen can be a daunting task if not planned properly. One of the most troublesome areas for first-time kitchen remodelers is deciding if the countertops or appliances go in first. This may seem insignificant but doing this incorrectly can add hours – and dollars –  to the project.

Do Countertops or Appliances Go First?

Countertops should always go first. Although it’s important to have a good understanding as to which appliances are going to go where the countertops will be installed first. It will be much easier to install your appliances once you’ve accurately measured everything and the countertops are in place. 

Below is a breakdown of different appliances and accessories that are important to have before installation or measurements are taken.

  1. Stove - Should be purchased and at your home before you have your measurements taken so that your measurements include space for your stove.
  2. Refrigerator - Should be purchased and at your home before you have your measurements taken so that your measurements include space for your refrigerator.
  3. Dishwasher - Should be purchased and ready by the time of install. The installer will mount the dishwasher using a dishwasher bracket so have it in place and ready. Not needed for measurements.
  4. Cooktop - This should be purchased and ready for measurements are taken so that the size information can be provided and cut out before installation or during installation.
  5. Sinks - The sink for your kitchen should be purchased before measurements are taken because the staff measuring your cabinets will likely take your sink or the template with him to cut it out during the fabrication of your countertops. Bathroom sinks that are drop-in will likely be cut on-site during installation but all companies do things slightly differently.
  6. Faucets - Your faucet holes are typically cut during the installation but some companies with CNC technology may have them cut at the shop so be sure to find out. Often you will just need to have the faucets at the home during installation.

It is best to communicate with your countertop provider about any concerns you have during your initial visit. They should provide details on what they need depending on how their process works. Be sure to ask about your appliances and kitchen accessories before they come to measure and allow ample time for delivery if you have to order anything.

Should You Install the Dishwasher Before or After Countertops

The only appliance you may consider having installed before your countertops are installed would be your dishwasher. This will need to be in place so that the installer can use a dishwasher bracket to attach your dishwasher to your cabinets to prevent it from leaning forward when you open the door to your dishwasher. It is suggested that you have them at the location of the countertop install just in case a measurement is needed during the measurement step of your countertop installation however most of us professionals know that a dishwasher is 24 inches wide. You should always purchase your appliances before you have your countertops measured so that everything goes smoothly during the installation of your countertops.

In some cases, you may want the stove and other appliances in place to get a more accurate measurement for your countertop materials. If you have a slide-in range/stove there will be a piece that will go behind the stove called a stove strip.

Countertops and appliances are both essential parts of a kitchen. A novice would believe you could choose whichever appliances and countertops you want, and they will all fit together. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. There are many factors that go into countertop installation, such as appliance size, room size, and type of material used.

Check out these countertop appliances that you can purchase for after your countertop installation. These appliances make life easier for any family or single-member home. You can place an order now and have them ready for when you move into your new home with your new countertops. 🙂

Do Countertops Go in Before Appliances?

Technically, countertops should be installed first, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t think about your appliances beforehand. Countertops will be influenced by the type of appliances you buy.

For example, if you are looking to buy an oversized refrigerator, then you must consider that before installing countertops. Here are a few other appliances you should be mindful of when remodeling your kitchen

  • A range that’s larger/smaller than the 30-inch standard
  • Drop-in cooktop
  • Dishwasher
  • Trash compartment/ compactor
  • Sinks

Before the Countertops

Once these appliances are figured out, you will be able to refer to their dimensions and figure out where the countertop should go. The best wat to accurately do this is by using these dimensions with a paper template of your kitchen’s floorplan.

Virtually put the sink in first, and then layout where you want to put your appliances. From there, you will have a rough estimate of how much countertop you will need. Be mindful of counter space, storage, and overall design.

When you finally have an idea as to how you want your new kitchen to look, it’s time to take out the tape measurer. The first thing you will need is the dimensions of your kitchen. Take the “rough-in” measurements found on each appliance and measure it out exactly where you want it in your kitchen and mark the floor with a pencil. Then measure out exactly how much counter space you need based on the space you have. The countertop material is often expensive, so it’s best to be as accurate as possible for the dimensions.

Installation

Many factors play into installing countertops, and appliances are only the beginning. The type of material used for your countertop will determine how you install it.

You can usually install new laminate right on top of existing countertops that have an existing flat laminate and in good condition. Often, if you are remodeling the entire kitchen, then you will most likely be getting new cabinet bases to match your new overhead cabinets.

For solid composite-type countertops, such as tile or poured concrete, the entire cabinet tops must be removed. This will reveal the cabinet bases, which will require new tops to be installed before the countertops.

Follow the manufacturer's guide for specific directions on how to prepare your cabinet top for your new countertop. Sometimes a layer of plywood or concrete boards will be recommended as bases for certain types of countertops.

Types of Countertops

You’ve decided what kind of appliances you want and how much countertop you need with all of the appliances in their places.

Now it’s time for another important factor: the type of countertops. The type of countertop can determine how it’s installed, as well as be the complementing piece to your cabinets.

  • Granite- This material can make any kitchen into a luxurious space. Unfortunately, there is a price to pay for that luxury. Granite is a very expensive material and very difficult to install due to its weight and imperfections. However, if installed correctly, it does add value to your home, it’s very durable, practically heat resistant, and comes in a variety of colors.
  • Marble- Another elegant and luxurious material, but also at a high price, is marble. Because marble does have such a high price tag, the material is often only used for islands or specific areas of the kitchen. This material also increases the value of the home as well as being waterproof and heatproof.
  • Quartz- Quartz countertops are engineered stone meant to be a better-performing material compared to the previous two. It’s still an expensive material, but it is much easier to maintain and doesn’t require annual sealing, unlike granite or marble. It’s also easier to install by yourself, and slabs can be modified into any size or shape with no imperfections.
  • Solid-Surface Material- For a little bit more affordable material, try a solid-surface material, which is a blend of acrylic particles and resins. These are more realistic if you want to cover all counter space with the same material, but don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket doing so. This material is very hard to stain, and surface damage can be sanded out with ease. Unfortunately, this material is susceptible to damage from hot pans and requires experts to install.
  • Ceramic Tile- This material is ideal for anyone who wants to install their countertops themselves at a low cost. Ceramic tiles are very affordable and easy to install and clean.

They also bring an immense amount of style and originality to the kitchen, being the most colorful/ vibrant material on this list. Unfortunately, this material is easy to crack and isn’t as respected by most homeowners as the previous materials.

  • Laminate- Another inexpensive material for your countertops could be laminate. These come in hundreds of options and are very easy to maintain. Unfortunately, this material is sometimes viewed as “low-end” and is almost important to fix when damaged.
  • Butcher Block- Maybe these materials just don’t fit your style and you are looking for a warmer environment to cook your meals. Butcher blocks could be your answer. This material is very easy to clean, and damages can easily be sanded and resealed. If cared for properly, this material could last a very long time.
  • Stainless Steel- On the opposite spectrum of materials, stainless steel could give your kitchen an industrial look. Out of all the materials on this list, stainless steel is the easiest to clean.

You also won’t have to worry about any heat damage to this material, and it adds value to the property. On the other hand, this material is very noisy and can easily surface damage from sharp objects.

Possible Problems When Installing Countertops and Appliances

The biggest problem you can have from installing countertops and appliances is not properly measuring out the space you have. Always double- and triple-check your measurements before moving anything in.

If you ever feel like you are unsure of a kitchen remodel, then call in an expert and have them help you. These materials are often very heavy and require multiple people to move it. Doing it yourself without the proper experience can lead to some serious problems.

One such problem could be a ruptured countertop surface. This can be caused by several things, such as being installed over uneven surfaces or the glue not having enough time to dry. The size of the rupture will determine how to fix it. For smaller cracks, a simple adhesive could do the trick. Bigger cracks will require much more work and equipment to fix.

Other problems can be avoided by carefully reading the manual of the countertop you bought. Often it will explain what kind of materials or temperatures it can withstand. For example, be aware of water build-up on granite countertops.

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About Jon - Website Owner

Jon Smith

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith. I have been in the granite business for many years and have worked my way up from an installer helper to an installer and then a countertop business owner. 

I started my countertop company with very little and grew extremely fast because of my knowledge and helpfulness. I started this countertop resource for 1 main reason. That reason is that there are no countertop websites with all the correct information and none of them are from an industry expert like myself. 

I am still in the trade every single day installing countertops, educating people on the type of material they are using for their homes, and making people's dream kitchens a reality.

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