Installing a new quartz countertop can greatly improve the look and functionality of your kitchen. However, accurately measuring your existing countertop space is crucial for a proper fit. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to measure countertop for quartz.
Quartz countertops, made of ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, have become increasingly popular in recent years. With their durability, low maintenance, and customizability, quartz offers an attractive alternative to natural stone and laminate.
When remodeling your kitchen with new quartz countertops, precise measurements are key. Even small measurement mistakes can lead to gaps, overhangs, or countertops that don’t fit at all. Follow this guide to learn the proper techniques for measuring your existing countertop space prior to ordering quartz slabs.
Gather the Necessary Tools
Before starting any measurement project, ensure you have the right tools on hand. Here are the basic items needed:
- Measuring tape. A standard 25-foot retractable measuring tape is ideal. Make sure it is not stretched out or damaged.
- Pencil and paper. Have a pencil and eraser along with a notebook, legal pad, or graph paper to record measurements.
- Carpenter’s square. A sturdy, steel carpenter’s square with a 90-degree angle can help mark cuts and measure corners.
- Tape measure app. Downloading a tape measure app provides a digital backup or alternative. Just make sure your phone is charged.
- Chalk line. A chalk line can snap straight lines across countertops to mark cutting guides. Blue chalk works well.
- Ruler. Keep a 12-inch stainless steel ruler handy for small measurements.
- Masking tape. Masking tape or painter’s tape can temporarily mark measurements.
Clear Countertop Surface
Before starting the measuring process, thoroughly clear off all countertops. Remove everything from the surface, including small appliances, kitchen tools, dish racks, soap containers, and any decor items.
It is vital that no obstructions impede the measuring tape. One small decor item left behind can throw off entire measurements.
Check drawers and cabinets below the counter to ensure no large items stick up above the surface. Anything protruding upwards can block the tape and impact accuracy.
The first step is measuring the length of the countertop runs.
- Starting at one end, lay the measuring tape flat across the surface, pulling it tight over any seams or gaps.
- If the countertop is straight, simply measure endpoint to endpoint for the total length. Record the exact measurement.
- For countertops with corners and turns, measure each straight run individually, recording the length of each segment. Measure from the exact corner of each turn.
- To measure for a seamless quartz installation, measure the total length as if the countertop continues around corners.
- For L-shaped runs, measure the length of both sections. Note which side is the longer side.
- Remember the old adage, “measure twice, cut once.” Double-check all length measurements before recording.
After recording all length measurements, the next step is measuring depth.
- At each endpoint of the length, measure from the front edge of the countertop straight back to the wall.
- Standard depth is about 25”, but older homes may have shallower base cabinet depths.
- For corner installations, measure depth starting at each corner, heading backwards 90 degrees from the adjoining countertop sections.
- Note any spots where depth changes, like where backsplashes meet the wall or islands extend deeper than the wall counter.
- For corners and L-shapes, check that the depth remains consistent on adjoining sections.
Check for Level
With length and depth measurements complete, check that the existing base cabinets are level.
- Place the carpenter’s square vertically against the counter edge. The level should sit flush against both the countertop and the front of the cabinet.
- Check level in multiple spots along the countertop, including the corners.
- If you find areas that are out of level, measure the diagonal dimensions to determine the severity.
- Make notes on which areas are higher or lower than others. The installers can scribe and cut the quartz to adapt to unlevel spans.
Measure Backsplash Height
In addition to the countertop itself, take measurements for any existing backsplash areas.
- Measure from the countertop up to the point where the backsplash ends. Standard backsplash height is 4 inches.
- For full-height backsplashes, measure from the countertop to the underside of the wall cabinets above.
- Note any areas where the backsplash is a different height, such as around a window or non-standard wall cabinet.
Measure Sink and Cooktop Cutouts
Existing sinks and cooktops will need to be carefully measured to cut the quartz countertop around them.
For sink areas:
- Measure the sink front to back and side to side, recording the outer dimensions.
- Measure the depth from the top of the sink rim down to the bottom.
- Note whether it is undermount, top mount, or another installation style.
- Measure the outer width and depth of the cooktop opening.
- Measure any corners and turns if the opening is an irregular shape.
- Note the dimensions of the lip at the top surface.
- Specify if it is a flush mount, raised, or dropped installation.
Check for Obstructions
Inspect the base cabinets carefully for any obstructions that may interfere with quartz installation.
- Look for cabinet doors and handles that extend up past the base and could prevent the countertop from sitting flush.
- Check for pipes, electrical conduits, ductwork, or other elements that protrude into the countertop space.
- Take measurements from the floor to the top of the obstruction where applicable.
- Make note of any problem areas that will need to be addressed prior to countertop installation.
Take Pictures from All Angles
It is highly advisable to take photos of the existing countertops from multiple angles once the measurements are complete. Pictures provide helpful visual references for installers.
Key angles to photograph include:
- Directly above each countertop section
- From each end looking straight down the length
- Any problem areas like corners, obstructions or uneven sections
- Backsplash height and transition points
- Sink and cooktop cutouts
Verify Required Overhang
The final step is verifying the overhang size. The overhang is the countertop edge that extends past the front and sides of the base cabinets.
- Standard overhang is 1 1⁄4”. Minimal overhang is 3⁄4” or 1” for tight fits.
- Measure from the cabinet front to the existing countertop edge to confirm desired overhang.
- Consider if edge details like bullnose edges or apron fronts affect the overhang space.
- Communicate preferred overhang measurements to the fabricator.
How accurate do measurements need to be?
Aim for accuracy within 1/16 of an inch. Small measurement mistakes can lead to big installation problems.
What if walls or cabinets are uneven?
Make note of any areas that are not square or plumb. Installers can make adjustments during templating and installation.
Should overhangs be consistent across all sides?
Consistency in overhang dimensions is recommended, but variations can be accommodated when needed.
What about spaces with multiple countertop levels?
Measure each level independently. Communicate to fabricators where and how the elevations change.
How are rounded edges and cutouts handled?
The fabricator will make detailed templates to capture the dimensions of any rounded shapes or intricate cutouts.
Measuring countertops precisely is a key first step in a successful quartz installation. With an accurate set of measurements, professional fabricators can cut and install your slabs for a perfect fit. Pay close attention to all length, depth, height, and overhang dimensions. And don’t forget important sink, cooktop, and backsplash measurements. With some patience and the right tools, you can gather the necessary measurements to achieve stunning new quartz countertops.