New counters can breathe life into a tired kitchen. While most fabricators will template your counter to get an accurate shape and size, measuring your counter beforehand can help you determine the cost of the new counter or allow you to purchase the correct size materials for a DIY job. Get accurate measurements for your new counter yourself quickly and get your job started right.
Measuring Kitchen Countertops
Kitchen counters are usually measured to fit after the counters are in, and all of the appliances, sinks and faucets are in the house. If you are just replacing the counter, you can use its existing size and shape as the basis for the new counter. Make sure the sink and faucet you plan on installing in the new countertop are available when you measure.
- Measuring tape
- Graph paper
- Craft paper (if not template available)
- Calculator (optional)
- Plan on measuring each section of your countertop separately from the rest. A section may be defined as any unbroken area, such as the two areas on either side of the stove, or a run of cabinets before a turn in the counter.
- Measure along the back edge of each run of cabinets or counter space in inches. Do not round up.
- Designate each of the squares on the graph paper as 2-inches and draw the back edge of the counter onto the graph paper. Label the line with the measurement. This will help you keep the measurements straight and allows you to have something to reference or give to a fabricator.
- Measure out 25-inches from the wall for new cabinets; for existing counters, measure out from the wall above any existing backsplash to the front edge of the counter, then measure the front edge.
- Mark these measurements on the graph paper.
- Measure the length and width of any special areas on the counter, such as peninsulas. Mark them on the graph paper.
- Measure, in inches, all the exposed edges of the counter. This is your linear "finished edge" measurement, or the amount of finished edging you will have to purchase for the new counter.
- Locate your sink base cabinet where the sink will be installed. Measure in from either end to get its location and mark it on the graph paper.
- Open the cabinet doors and measure the interior of the cabinet. This is the largest size sink you can install if you are dropping the cabinet in. If you are installing an undermount cabinet, subtract 3-inches; this is the largest size undermount sink you can install in this cabinet.
- Open the sink box and get the paper template for the sink; if there is no template turn the sink upside down on a sheet of craft paper and trace its edge. Measure in 1-inch from this edge and trace a line inside it; this is the line you will cut on to make the sink cutout. Keep the sink template with your graph paper measurements; your fabricator will need the template when making your counter. If you are installing the counter yourself, center the template over the sink base cabinet and cut along the indicated line.
- Measure in at least 3-inches from the front of the counter to indicate the front position of the sink; mark the hole positions for the faucets on your graph paper at the back of the sink area.
- Measure along the back edge of the counter where it meets the wall to get the linear measurement for the backsplash. Some counters will come with a 4-inch high backsplash that will run this length; you may also choose to have custom backsplash installed instead.
Enjoy Your New Counters
If you plan on installing the counters yourself, be sure to double check your measurements before you order materials or begin. If you are having the counter made and installed for you, make sure the fabricator or installer makes a template of the counter to double check size and shape before beginning. Getting the right measurements is just the first step you'll need to be on your way to new, great looking kitchen counters.