When it comes time to replace or install new countertops in your kitchen, proper measurement is crucial for success. Accurate measurements ensure that your countertops will fit perfectly with minimal gaps or overhang. Carefully measuring allows you to order the right amount of material and avoid costly errors or reorders. Let’s walk through the step-by-step process for correctly measuring your kitchen countertops.
Assemble The Necessary Tools
Get organized first by gathering the tools you’ll need for measuring:
- Measuring tape – Make sure it’s long enough to measure the entire distance of each section. A 25-foot tape measure is best.
- Pencil and paper – For marking and recording measurements.
- Spray paint or chalk – To mark directly on the cabinets for clear reference points.
- Carpenter’s level – Helps keep measurements consistent on uneven walls.
- Camera or smartphone – To take pictures of the space and measurements for reference.
Having these supplies ready ahead of time will make the process faster and easier.
Prepare The Countertop Area
Before starting measurements, clear everything off the existing countertops. Remove appliances, dishes, cookware and any decor. This gives you a clean slate and makes it easier to place the measuring tape.
Now take time to examine the space. Look for any problem areas, like walls or cabinets that aren’t square. Make notes on the layout, such as corners, built-in cooktops or sinks. These details impact your measurements.
Lastly, use spray paint or chalk to mark the edges and seams of the cabinets directly on the surface. This provides visible starting and stopping points for measurements.
Measure In Sections
Measure each section of the countertop individually from one end to the other. Break up the space into logical sections based on the cabinet layout. Common approaches are:
- Measure wall to wall, stopping at the corners of cabinets.
- Measure from inside edge to inside edge of each cabinet run.
- Measure from the cabinet opening to the next cabinet opening.
Make sure you have reference points marked to indicate where each section begins and ends. Record the measurements for each section. It’s smart to take pictures for reference as you go.
Tips For Accuracy
Use the following techniques to ensure maximum accuracy in your measurements:
- Have two people measure—one to hold the tape and read measurements while the other records. This prevents mistakes.
- Make sure the measuring tape is straight and taut, not curved or sagging, which can result in an incorrect measurement.
- Use a level when measuring countertops on uneven walls to keep the tape measure even and perpendicular.
- Take multiple measurements of each section as a double-check. Make sure they align.
- Measure in fractions of an inch for the closest accuracy. Many countertops require 1/8″ precision.
- For corners and angles, measure to the very endpoints to capture the full width and length.
Certain obstacles require additional steps to measure correctly:
Built-in appliances: Measure past and around appliances, adding their dimensions to the total. Leave some extra space for gaps between appliances.
Sinks: Measure the sink opening independently from point to point. Add this number to the total countertop measurement to accommodate the sink cutout.
Irregular walls: Use cardboard templates to capture uneven wall shapes on countertops that aren’t square. Then measure the template.
Islands: Measure each side of the island individually. Island countertops require measurements on all four sides since they are detached.
Once all measurements are complete, add up the totals for each section. Provide these numbers to your countertop fabricator or supplier to order the materials. Be sure to indicate which measurements are for separate sections.
Also specify the dimensions of sink cutouts, islands, protruding appliances and any unique shapes. Bring your photos, notes and cardboard templates to show details. Build a few inches into your measurements for overhangs along walls or cuts for cooktops and sinks.
With careful measurement and clear communication to your countertop provider, you’ll get back perfectly customized countertops fitted to your kitchen’s exact specifications. Just follow the step-by-step process and utilize the tips provided above for smooth installation. You’ll have a beautiful and functional new surface in your kitchen in no time!