Just bought a new fridge that I measured twice in the store to make
sure it would fit the fridge alcove. I guess I should have measured
three times because when I got it to the house, I found it wouldn't
fit due to the width.
On the left of the fridge is a wall. Can't do much about that. On
the right is a laminate countertop. I estimate I need to shave off
about 1/4" from the countertop to make the fridge fit comfortably. I'm
just unsure the best way to do this.
I've read one source that says a belt sander with some 60 grit paper
will work well, but I think this might be tough to keep a straight
edge with. I've also read that a router will work. I've also thought
I could try to remove the countertop entirely and take it to someone
with a bandsaw so the edge will stay straight.
Unfortunately that won't work as there's a stove on the other side of
the counter. I'm not going to take the fridge back either. They
simply don't make the style we chose any narrower. Some friends at
work say the belt sander idea is probably the best one. I guess I'll
have to try that.
Take it back and get one that will fit the opening. Also ensure that
you have enough room to open the door sufficiently to remove the shelves
and drawers for cleaning else't you'll likely learn to really regret the
choice (and go ahead, amhikt)...
Not having a picture of the countertop and cabinets, I would also
consider moving the entire cabinet structure 1/4" or 3/8", if it can be
moved at all, and how long it is, and how many cabinets in the assembly
have to be moved. You are already considering taking the counter top off
and taking it somewhere to be cut, so it can't be that long. If there is
a sink in the counter, 1/4" or 3/8" wouldn't be a problem since the
existing plumbing can be adjusted for the difference.
I have cut laminate counter tops with a rotary (Skil) saw, but that was
before the countertop was installed, so it could be cut from the bottom
to get around the splashback, if it had one..
Wow! That's tough!
You're gonna be there for a year trying to sand down 3/8ths of an inch.
Then, too, you'll have some difficulty getting the sander close to the wall.
Here's a thought. Use a jig saw or the HF MiracleFunction tool to take off
MOST of the countertop, then a few hours with a sander should get you close.
Can you change locations between the fridge and the stove?
I had already removed the base molding before I even measured, so I
can't gain anything there. To Heybub - I think I've gotten off the
sanding idea. I have a friend at work who says if I can get the
countertop off I can feed it through his bandsaw. If it ruins the
countertop or something, I'll just have a new one made that's the
appropriate size. Matching the laminate might suck, though.
A 3x21 belt sander with 40 or 60 grit belt will remove a LOT of
material quickly, unless you are talking about a solid surface
counter, which will require dynamite.
Or, just clamp a straightedge to the counter to guide a common
circular saw, and make the cut.
First, I'd worry about the left side,
when you try and open the door. Is the
hinge on the left? On the right side,
I'm assuming that the countertop
overhangs the cabinet by at least 1/4".
If that's all ok, I would try to
remove the plastic laminate on the
counter edge. A lot depends on how it
was glued. But, I would 1st try a hot
iron to melt the glue and try pealing it
from the front edge. This can then be
reused to finish the end once it is cut.
Next use a router with straight edge
clamped on the counter or a router
guide. With a router guide the edge
must be smooth and not have any bumps.
The router won't get all the way to the
wall so you have to do some careful hand
work with a good, properly sharpened
chisel. This is easy. It's very fussy
work. You can then re-glue the laminate
back in place .... especially if it is
visible at the front edge. You could
also use a belt sander instead of a
router, but the edge might not be a
square or even .... but that may be ok
because it is hidden. If there's a
backsplash, more careful manual carving
would be required.
I had a similar problem, though I realized it before I bought the
refrigerator. I was able to move the wall a couple of inches. Well it
really wasn't a wall, it was built in shelving that now over hangs the
split level floor by an inch.
Presumably the doors of the refrigerator are forward of the end of the
Also, you probably want to take off more than 1/4". You can't easily
slide it in or out if you have no gap at all on either side. Probably
you want 3/4" extra. A band saw is likely to leave chips in the
laminate, but nothing you can do about that now.
I wasn't a fan of side by side refrigerators, but it actually works much
better in our kitchen because the doors don't open so far out into the
This is a side by side as well and that's one the reasons we chose it.
I don't know that I can shave off more than 1/4" because that's about
all the overhang there is on the countertop. The last option I've
been thinking about is that if all else fails I can just have a new
cabinet and countertop built that is of appropriate size to fit the
fridge next to. Might run in to some problems matching style and wood
color with the rest of the kitchen, but at least it would look the
Your laminated worktop can be cut perfectly easily. The key thing is
to cut it from the top surface if using a handsaw or from thre
underside if using a circular saw TC teeth are best, it goes blunt
really quickly.. The reason is if the cutting stroke is tending to
separate laminate from the base/particle board, it will make a hell of
a mess, the laminate is brittle & will shatter and peel off. The belt
sander will finish the job again making sure you only sand with te
belt going fom the laminate to the base. The router also does a good
job but goes blunt quite quickly.
You need to seal the cut edge to keep water out. If it can't be seen,
you could use a few coats of oil based paint. (If it's still available
I'd use a router with a flush cut bearing bit as a guide. It will cut
flush to the cabinet giving the maximum clearance. You won't be able to get
to the very end if the countertop is in place, but you can finish the last
couple of inches with a hand saw or sander. The router will give a nice
If the wall is the depth of the fridge and just a divider type of wall,
you could remove the drywall and replace it with something much thinner.
Once painted and the fridge pushed back in place, no one will even
notice that it is not drywall. Just my $.02
To rmorton; Tommy Silva used the idea you suggested on an episode of
ATOH. You could probably use 1/4" plywood or masonite hardboard.
No one has mentioned this yet but no matter which way you decide to
cut the counter top I would use a utility knife and scrbe a deep
scratch in the laminate. It should then break off at the scratch.
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