When you design a kitchen, you'll be looking for form and functionality first, closely followed by a great appearance. You may well have chosen a nice-looking, solid countertop for your workplace and now want to install your appliances. You need to ensure that your cooktop fits well into your countertop so that it not only looks good but also is safe. You might think that all you need to do is screw or clamp the cooktop to the surface beneath, but this could be problematic down the road. What do you need to bear in mind?
Using a Fabricator
Firstly, you need to make sure that the cutout is very precisely created. You will need to engage a professional fabricator for this task unless you are skilled and have the right type of powerful cutting equipment for the job. The fabrication must take into account the potential for contraction and expansion, as the cooking area gets hot.
Allowing for Movement
There should be an extra allowance around the circumference of the cooktop when the area is cut out from the counter. It's best to ensure that each corner is fabricated as a curve rather than a square. This will help to reduce the risk of cracks through tension.
Using Support Blocks
Small reinforcing blocks should be attached and set back under each corner. These blocks should be securely attached with seaming adhesive before being trimmed to fit flush with the curves in place at each corner. Finally, using a sander ensure all surfaces and edges are graded until smooth.
Setting a Framework
Make sure that everything is supported properly. The countertop and cooktop should never rest on a solid particleboard piece underneath. Instead, a framework of wooden strips should be created in order to receive the counter and cooktops. Always ensure that an adequate number of these strip supports are there before work continues.
Using Aluminium Tape
Reflective aluminium tape should be applied all around the edge of the cutout. This will help to deflect any heat generated when the cooktop is in use. The tape should extend beyond the flanks of the cooktop and can be trimmed accordingly when the cooktop is finally situated.
Using Adhesive, Not Clamps
You should avoid using metal clamps when you introduce the cooktop to the counter. If too much force is exerted on a solid surface, cracking and failure can result. A better method is to use some silicon adhesive and place this several inches apart around the area of the cutout. Press this into place and clean away any adhesive that is squeezed out during the process. This will ensure that the cooktop stays in place, but you will also avoid the risk of cracking the countertop itself.