So the last you saw the kitchen, we had happily completed all the cutting we needed to do on the Carrara marble effect acrylic worktops from Minerva. Wayne did an awesome job of cutting out the sink and installing the tap as well (so screw you, Craig!) so all that was left was levelling everything off and joining the worktops. I figured I’d share exactly how we did it – I promise it wasn’t actually all that hard!
If you want to scroll down to see the end result, please feel free! For those who are considering using acrylic worktops in their own kitchens, I wanted to share the process so you can see that it can indeed be a pretty quick and painless DIY. In fact, we had all 4 joins completed within an afternoon!
Now, levelling the worktops was a bit of a pain because our walls are all uneven so nothing is really 100% square – the joy of an older house! For this we used a three pronged solution: Adjusting the feet of the cupboards, making adjustments and in some cases changing the placement of the screws holding the worktops to the walls and for very minor adjustments, we used plastic shims. Once we were confident the cupboards were all level, the process of joining could begin.
Prepping the Joins
The first thing we did was sand the meeting edges down with 120 grit sandpaper and wiped them down with the isopropyl alcohol wipes provided in the joining kit.
We then masked off the tops of the worktops leaving a 3mm edge exposed.
Next step was using the small MDF blocks (also provided) and used a glue gun to attach them to the worktops. This was slightly scary I admit because my worktops are pretty – I didn’t want to put glue all over them! – but it was fine to do! Whew!
Applying the Glue
Once the surface is all prepped, it’s time for the jointing compound. It comes in a two part pack which you separate and then run the plastic piece over to mix the two compounds together. Once they are mixed, the chemicals start working so you have to act quickly after that.
The glue is then placed along both cut sides, smoothed out (we used a little plastic spatula) so that it’s evenly applied and the worktops are pressed together. The strange part was that you are then meant to separate the worktops ever so slightly, leaving about a 1mm gap between the worktops. Another line of glue is applied to fill in any gaps in the bead.
We then attached the small clamps we already had, using the MDF blocks as leverage to pull the worktops together. The excess glue is then lightly removed from the join and left to dry for 45 minutes and the tape is removed.
Sanding and Buffing the Joins
After the wait, the clamps are removed and a swift tap with a hammer will dislodge the blocks (the glue did no lasting damage – hurrah!). The join is then sanded three times. First, using the 120 grit, then the 240 grit and then, the 320 grit. Finally water is placed on the surface and using the red abrasive pad, it’s gone over one more time.
There were a few minor scratches in the surface of the worktops simply from when they were stored prior to installation and in their handling and these were all buffed out using the same method of sanding. They came out beautifully.
After that, once you’ve cleaned up the worktop of any dust, they are all done!
The final result
I have to say that the additional join we had to have due to the c*ck up of the retailer we ordered from (you can read about that here) was the one that ended up looking the best! It’s hardly noticeable at all unless you look for it.
Oh and I just wanted to reiterate, it wasn’t Minerva’s mistake but their retailer. If I was doing it all again, I would have ordered direct from Minerva but well, hindsight is always 20/20!
The two joins at the end are a little more obvious – not because we did anything wrong but just because the patterns don’t align quite as well and so you can see the difference in the pattern grain between them. To be completely honest, I’m okay with the slight differences as again, in person they really aren’t too noticeable.
My favourite thing however has to be around the windowsill. Adding an additional piece of worktop into the windowsill has made the whole thing look SO much better than the ugly piece of plastic that used to be there before.
I now have a lovely area to add plants and my dish soap and other paraphernalia.
So after all the chaos of trying to get these fitted, I have to say how totally proud I am of Wayne for managing to tackle these. He did a fantastic job and I doubt highly that we could have had any better of a result hiring this one out. We also saved ourselves around £300 so that was just a bonus really!
I’m extremely happy I chose these Minerva worktops as well. They feel very luxurious to the touch and not at all like acrylic. I’ve had a few people see them since they’ve been installed and every one thought they were real marble. The laminate worktops I had before felt a bit cheap and plastic-y (although they held up well so I can’t fault them for that, they just really weren’t my taste in terms of the style) and were always room temperature to the touch. These actually feel a bit cooler like real marble and have a smoothness to them that feels wonderful. I run my hands over them all the time! #weirdoalert
In total, the worktops cost us around £1850 which was cheaper than real marble and similar to what granite worktops would have cost but more expensive than laminate or butcherblock. The thing I like about these are that they are stain-resistant and non-absorbent. We’ve not noticed any more scratches in the surfaces so far but if they do happen, at least we know now how easy they are to buff out as they are solid worktops (unlike Corian which has a timber core). They also clean beautifully and are very hard-wearing.
Our next step is painting the lower cabinet doors. At the moment, we’re doing them in stages as Wayne is having to fill the grain in each one before spray painting them at work. I’ll explain the hows and whys in a future post once those are complete! Stay tuned!
In the meantime, what do you think of the final worktops? Is this a job you think you can handle? (Hint: you can) ;)