As part of his training, LWK Kitchens recently sent our newest recruit out on site with our kitchen and worktop installers. We wanted him to learn and discover first-hand how LWK Kitchens work…but also share this with our customers. So whilst there, he documented his experience; He has detailed the process of templating, cutting and fitting kitchen worktops, which will be relayed in this 3 part mini-series. In part one, we will look at how kitchen worktops are templated.
What is a worktop template?
A kitchen worktop template has to take place on site to ensure the worktop(s) are the right size for the intended kitchen space. The worktop template is a mock-up, or model, for the kitchen worktop and is required before any kitchen worktop can be installed. Following the templating process, the worktop is cut to match the dimensions of the template, before being returned to site for installation.
Preparing for the worktop template
Before a worktop template can begin, all kitchen preparation works must be completed for the area(s) where worktops are being introduced. For example, all kitchen units requiring worktops must already be fitted and levelled in place. It is also helpful to have the sink already fitted by the time of the template (though not essential).
Hobs, appliances and taps shouldn’t be fitted but should ideally be on site to allow accurate positioning of cut-outs. If not present, details of them including specifications and dimensions must be available.
Finally all plasterwork required should be completed before template, and the client must have decided and made known their preference for location of appliances, tap holes and worktop drainer grooves.
Final pre- worktop template checks
The worktop fitters will study all kitchen plans and specifications before beginning the template. This lets them check what is needed and identify any irregularities, additions or features that they need to allow for during measuring and fitting. This might be any one or more of the following:-
- Checking there is an unobstructed passageway into the kitchen so the worktops can fit on entry. This would be determined during the planning stage but sometimes if too narrow, it isn’t possible to carry a single piece of worktop into the kitchen. Unless an alternative entry point can be arranged, more than one worktop piece is necessary for a single run, and this means a subtle join will be visible. If so, the best location for this must be decided during the worktop template stage.
- The walls might need plastered again if not finished well enough.
- Once fitted, glass splashbacks require an allowance of 6-9mm for the width of the glass and its adhesive.
- Similarly, upstands require an allowance of approximately 10-15mm.
Measuring for kitchen worktops
Depending on the shape and size of the kitchen, some worktops cannot be fitted in one continuous piece. This means there will be a visible (but subtle) join between the two worktop pieces. If this is the case the worktop fitters begin by measuring the full kitchen area, to work out the best possible locations for such joins, ensuring they will appear as discreet as possible.
The process for measuring is as follows:
1) Once they have a measurement of the length and depth of each worktop site, the fitters will begin cutting plastic Correx sheets to the rough size of each area, and edge into place.
2) Starting from one side, the worktop fitters will line up each sheet square with the front edge of the units, and adjacent to the wall or tall units. Whether your kitchen is handled or handleless will influence how far the front edge of the worktop extends beyond the unit. For a standard handleless kitchen the worktop extends 20mm beyond the door. For a handled door this is usually more, but varies depending on the chosen handle.
3) Once they have ensured the template sheet is level all the way along the front edge of the units, the Correx sheet is then secured in place.
4) This step is repeated for all runs and areas where worktops are to be fitted.
5) There is often a shortfall in the distance between the template sheet and the back wall, which needs to be accounted for. If so, the additional length required is measured and then marked onto the template sheet to ensure it is included when cutting, and the worktop isn’t subsequently cut too short. This also applies for any side area and for worktop intended for a kitchen island.
6) Areas which are going to have polished edges need to be marked.
7) The location of joins must also be marked, and labelled to distinguish each from the next (i.e. Join A, B, C if more than one).
8) Provided the sink has been fitted its location can be drawn onto the template, allowing a 5mm overhang, as well as the correct radius for any corner.
9) If you want centred appliances, you need to find the central point of a unit, or else the central point within a run of units (depending where you want them).
Using the appliance dimensions the fitter will mark the cut-out size needed for the appliances on the template sheet. This cut line runs from the front of the top-side of the template sheet, and indicates how far in to begin cutting the worktop.
10) Once this process is complete it is repeated for any downstands, legs or upstands, marking where they will have polished edges, as well as the dimensions needed for these sections. This is done through measuring the areas manually, and providing a small diagram.
11) Finally all worktop template sheets are marked with the details surrounding the job. This includes the customer name, material, finish, and who measured it. This is in case of any queries.
The sheets are also numbered. i.e. ‘1of 4,’ so that the person cutting knows exactly how many sheets they need to cut.