Who to Hire to Replace Countertops in Your Kitchen

Kristin Luna
Written by Kristin Luna
Updated April 4, 2022
Mother and daughter at kitchen counter
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images

Be sure to check your countertop installation company’s portfolio, client references, and qualifications before signing on the dotted line

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When it comes to remodeling, installing countertops in your kitchen or bathroom is one of the trickier DIY projects. And while, sure, you could paint the countertops as a temporary solution to buy you a few years before replacing them entirely, at some point, you’ll probably want to go all-in with brand-new countertops. But how do you know what stone to pick and who to call for the job? Countertops contractors can help you with everything from design to fabrication to installation.

Benefits of Hiring Pro Countertop Contractors 

New countertops are typically very large, heavy slabs of rock or fabricated material. The sheer force it takes to a 1 3/4-inch chunk of thick stone may require special equipment and a couple sets of hands to move. The shaping and cutting of countertops also require heavy-duty machinery and a lot of space, in addition to having a truck to transport it once it’s cut.

Here are a few reasons why you’ll want to hire this home improvement project out to a countertop contractor: 

  • Transport: You’ll need at least three capable individuals to move a slab of countertop from a warehouse to your house.

  • Tools: The specialized machinery—stone saws, polishers, and routers—that countertop contractors use are well beyond what is found in a typical DIYer’s toolkit.

  • Insurance: Reputable contractors are licensed and insured, in the event of an on-the-job accident.

  • Liability: They are responsible for the countertop deliverables and installation quality.

How to Find a Countertop Pro

Finding a countertop pro can seem daunting, but there are several ways to get a referral if you don’t know where to start. Asking for word-of-mouth referrals from neighbors or friends is an excellent way to generate an initial list. You can also use Angi’s extensive database of professionals to find a countertop installer near you

Before Hiring a Countertop Pro or Countertop Installation Company

Before hiring a countertop installation company, you’ll want to check off the following steps:

Plan Your Countertop Project for Accurate Quotes

Having accurate kitchen measurements of your surfaces before you get a quote will go a long way toward helping you ascertain some of the many options you’ll have for materials and installation costs. Additionally, if you plan to add an island or modify the current countertops from their original shape, you’ll want to have a rough idea of what you want drawn up before reaching out to contractors. 

If you’re managing the entire project and intend to hire and oversee multiple subcontractors—like painting, flooring, or cabinet companies—you need to outline a plan to achieve your vision. Here are a few things to map out in your countertop plan:

  • Total square footage of countertops

  • Size and type of your kitchen sink

  • General, top-down dimensional plan of the room, including windows and door openings

  • Desired style of cabinets

  • Flooring 

  • Paint color, sheen, and material you want for cabinets and walls

Don’t just go with the first countertop installer you find, but get three competitive quotes from different pros to make sure that you have a high level of confidence in their communication with you, attention to detail, and a solid timeline for completing the work. 

Check Your Countertop Pro’s Qualifications and References

Licensing, insurance, and bonding are important metrics in determining whether or not your countertop installer is a reputable professional.

Ask for a list of references of the countertop installer’s past customers or, if you know someone who has used the company, inquire directly about their experience. Did the company finish the job on time and on budget? Was their communication timely and thorough? Was the past client happy with the finished result?

A professional contractor or home renovation company should have a website or portfolio of completed projects readily available or, at the very least, will have been reviewed online via search engines. Request a link or access to images from past projects; before-and-after photos, in particular, will show you a lot about the caliber of work you can expect from that countertop company. If possible, visiting completed job sites to see the work in person will help ensure the quality is up to your expectations.

Questions to Ask Your Countertop Pro

When interviewing a countertop installer, here are a few questions to ask to help you make your final pick:

  • Can you show me pictures of completed projects you’ve done?

  • What is the process to pick out materials?

  • How do you base your pricing (e.g., square feet or per project)?

  • How long will it take to complete the job from the time I’ve chosen the stone and signed off on a contract?

Hiring Your Countertop Pro Tips

Clean kitchen with marble countertop
Photo: Bill Oxford / Getty Images

Interview With Your Countertop Pro

It’s essential to go with your gut and trust any vibe you’re getting from your interactions with a professional countertop installer. If you’re not getting clear answers to your questions about materials, process, and scope, you’ll likely want to move on to the next candidate. 

Do a Background Check

A basic internet query of the countertop contractor’s name or company is the first step in doing your research—but it shouldn’t stop there. Before you start making calls to schedule a meeting, look into their state license certifications by contacting the relevant organizations directly. 

Get a Contract and Arrange Payments With Your Countertop Pro

Before proceeding with any home renovation job, you’ll want a contract you’re comfortable with. To fully cover your bases: The down payment, payment structure, final payoff, materials, and a loose timeframe for installation are all things that should be agreed upon before signing a construction contract with a countertop professional. 

Keep Records of Your Countertop Project

Besides maintaining a clear line of communication about the expectations of work with your contractor, you’ll also want to keep receipts so that there are no misunderstandings. Often, countertop installers will have you purchase the stone slab on your own and have it shipped to their manufacturing facility, for example, and you’ll want to ensure that you have a record of that. 

Look for Red Flags and Prepare to Troubleshoot

Early signs of communication difficulties between you and the contracting professional are good indicators that you might have more problems down the road with the project. Also, first impressions matter: If they don’t show up on time for your initial meeting or can’t produce references or photos of past projects immediately upon request, you might want to take a pause and re-bid the project to another company. 

After Your Countertop Pro Has Finished

Once the countertops are in, check the installation thoroughly for good workmanship before writing a final check. This includes ensuring that the stone is perfectly polished, the edges abutting the backsplash are cleanly caulked, and the sink has been properly secured to the countertop.

If you are satisfied with the completed job and would recommend working with your countertop installation company, pay it forward and let them know you’d like to be a reference in the future.

FAQs About Countertop Installation

Can I DIY my countertop replacement?

If you’re dealing with softer, more easily manipulated materials like wood and laminate, it is possible to DIY a countertop project. There are a lot of countertop options for butcher block tops or shaped laminate counters. While it’s not a common endeavor for homeowners, if you have woodworking tools and the skills to use them, you can pull off replacing your countertops on your own. 

Conversely, if you want granite, marble, or quartz countertops as the surface for your kitchen remodel, it isn’t easy to envision this as a casual DIY project. The tools alone are a huge barrier to entry, as is the muscle required to move these slabs of material from one place to another.

Can I hire a cabinet maker to replace my countertops?

Many professional cabinet makers will provide countertop replacements as part of their overall project scope. They will rarely have the capabilities to execute the stone cutting and installation; however, it’s likely that they have a good relationship with a professional countertop installation company to whom they will subcontract the work. 

How do contractors install countertops? 

A countertop contractor will wait until the new cabinets are installed before coming to your home to measure for your countertops. Once the cabinets are in, the countertop installation company will do a site visit to take accurate measurements and typically create a temporary wooden template that they can take back to their shop to work with for fabrication. 

Once in the shop, the countertop contractor will use this template to manufacture the individual pieces of your kitchen countertops, complete with seams, corners, and the kitchen sink cutout. 

After everything is cut, honed, and shaped, the contractor will deliver the countertops, along with a few strong individuals to perform the installation. They’ll heave the countertops onto the cabinets, verify that the positioning is correct, and do any final trim work like backsplashes or epoxy.

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