DIY Countertop Installs Could Yield Costly Mistakes

Updated June 8, 2016
Contact a professional to install your brand new countertop. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Seiple)

Two highly rated countertop installers share DIY countertop installation horror stories.

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In light of the struggling economy, homeowners might be looking for ways to cut the cost of a kitchen or bathroom remodel, especially when it comes to the more expensive items such as countertops.

With labor being a large expense, homeowners might opt to do the installation themselves. While there are many DIY tasks the homeowner can tackle, a countertop installation can prove to be difficult, and a costly mistake to correct.

Mistakes

With labor being a large expense, homeowners might opt to do the installation themselves. While there are many DIY tasks the homeowner can tackle, a countertop installation can prove to be difficult, and a costly mistake to correct.

“I always see people getting the measurements wrong and having to reorder slabs that fit.” says Dewayne Randle of highly rated Irving Counter Top in Irving, Texas. “Lots of people mess up on that and end up having to spend more money to fix the mistake.”

“Another big mistake people make is dropping the slab,” the Dallas-area countertop installer says. “Quartz and granite are very heavy and not good for DIY and all.”

Irving is so against homeowners installing the material themselves that he refuses to sell granite and quartz to his clients for DIY projects. “We’ll sell any other material, just not granite or quartz,” he explains. “It’s just too dangerous, and it’s better that we handle that ourselves.”

Joe Papp of highly rated Solid Surfaces in Greenfield, Ind., says he’s seen similar problems among his own clients.

“So many people accidentally order mismatches or they mess up the measurements,” he says. “They don’t account for the movement in the wall or the sink. Little things like that are easy to mess up.”

“Also, they really need to be careful when they take it home to install themselves,” says the Indianapolis-area countertop installer. “It’s easy to drop the top and break it, and then you’ll have to buy a whole new one.”

Papp says not only is it easy to mess up, but it’s dangerous, too. “I’ve even done it myself,” he admits. “I was unloading the slab and I just slipped somehow and I dropped it. I got my fingers caught under the slab and they got smashed.”

Papp warns homeowners, “If you’re doing a DIY and you mess up, you’re responsible for the cost of fixing the mistake. But if you let us handle it and we mess up, it’s on us to fix it.”

Tools

Randle names another cost that people don’t take into account when considering a countertop DIY project – tools.

“It requires certain tools that are very specific to the project or the materials you’re working with, and they are not cheap,” he says. “By the time you go out and by those tools, you could have hired a professional. And then consider, how often will you use those tools? It’s just not worth it.”

Randle says hiring a professional for your countertops is no different than any other service.

“You don’t want your dog working on your car, and you don’t want a mechanic doing foot surgery,” he says. “So why isn’t this the same? Leave it to the professional.”

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on Jan. 1, 2012.

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