Avoid This Easy-To-Make Mistake Before Installing New Countertops

Avoid This Easy-To-Make Mistake Before Installing New Countertops

Avoid This Easy-To-Make Mistake Before Installing New Countertops


There’s nothing quite like a kitchen remodeling project to spark the imagination. Whether you have one or 100 ideas for your kitchen remodeling project, such work always generates excitement. Making the choice of which kitchen countertop to add to your home is a key part of the remodeling. Although it may feel like the biggest mistake you can make is choosing the wrong style of counter, one of the most common mistakes occurs before style even comes into the equation: during the measurement-taking process. There are many aspects to measuring the space that you need to follow to make sure the installation project goes smoothly. Even if you take proper measurements, it’s also important to calculate the square footage properly, or you could have a significant problem when ordering materials.

Not only is a mistake in measuring the space frustrating because it could cause a delay in completing the job, but it also could be a costly error. High-end materials like quarts, granite, or stone could cost as much as $170 per square foot. An error in calculating how much material you need could leave you with a few thousand dollars of overage. Should you make an error in the placement of the sink or in the overall size, most countertops are custom made, meaning the cost is not refundable, potentially leaving you with a significant expense. To completely avoid these errors, you may want to have a pro take the measurements.

Tools you need to measure your countertops accurately

person measuring countertop


When you are ready to start measuring countertops, you need to collect a few tools. Start with a sturdy tape measure that’s at least as long as the space you have. For most spaces, 16 to 25 feet of length in the tape with a locking mechanism is adequate. You can pick up a medium-quality tape measure at Home Depot for less than $10.

One way to avoid a common mistake with this process is to purchase some graph paper to help with accurately drawing the countertop after you make the measurements. Use the graph paper’s squares to help you make drawings to scale. The graph paper also simplifies the process of marking the position of the sink correctly when taking the full space and the entire counter into account. Print legibly and make clear marks, so there’s no question about what you need when you are ordering materials.

Have a smartphone camera handy to take photos of the space, so the person helping with the order can gain a feel for what you need. If you make a significant error in taking measurements, the photos can help the person taking the order spot any issues before the order goes through. You may need the calculator app on the smartphone to help with calculating square footage, too.

Deciding whether to take countertop measurements yourself

person using level on countertop


Always measure the space twice to reduce the chance of making any errors. You should go to the nearest quarter of an inch when making the readings. Having more than one person helping with the process will ensure accuracy. Mentally divide the space into rectangular sections to simplify the calculations. If you want a rounded corner, measure it as a square corner for accuracy.

As you take measurements, draw each rectangular section of the countertop and island on your graph paper and label each section with the measurement numbers. Consider making each square of the graph paper equal to 2 inches of the countertop for an accurate scale. Make sure to mark the spaces for the sink or any other items. You also should draw the locations of appliances that will reside on the countertop. Add in the overhang that you may want, where the standard is about 1.5 inches.

Then, convert your measurement from fractions to decimals. Convert everything from feet to inches only to calculate the square inches. Calculate the square inches for each section and then add all the sections together. Divide the total by 144 to determine the square footage. If this all sounds like too much, you may want to have a pro take the measurements and perform the calculations for you. Many companies that sell and install countertops will come to your home and take the measurements for you for free with your order.

Charlotte Gammon

By Charlotte Gammon

Meet Charlotte Gammon, our expert and author. She's our true treasure, as she has got 20+ years of experience in gardening, winery and house design. In early 2000s, she worked for today.com magazine and was in charge of the gaardening section. Later on, Charlotte opened her own designer agency and worked as a designer and decorator. We are happy to have Charlotte with us, as she is our good friend. We value her experience and we're sure you will love the articles she created for our blog.