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(Note: I don't think this is a duplicate. Most questions like this are about supporting an overhang using a kneewall, which is very different than a counter side.)

I am having a new granite countertop installed on an existing kitchen island. The counter is planned to overhang the cabinet at the end of its length (so the short end, ~36" wide) by about 18". The installer told me that it would need support brackets, and recommended that I get metal ones rather than the wooden corbel I have on an existing overhang in my kitchen.

I went to Lowes and asked four different associates - not one had any idea what I was talking about, but one was kind enough to show me the regular L-brackets that they had and sold me the strongest one. (I bought two, since the overhang will be about 36" wide.)

Is this the right thing to use? In this question, the asker was told to use corbels instead of brackets and that those would be fine to install on a cabinet wall. Is my installer incorrect that brackets would be stronger than wooden corbels? The cabinet wall is beadboard, but there seems to be another layer underneath. I have another counter in the kitchen with a smaller (~10") overhang supported by a wooden corbel.

UPDATE:

After a discussion in the comments to @dmoore 's answer, I am wondering if a t-brace (like this) might work without any additional support, since the best option suggested by dmoore might be difficult to implement in my specific case.

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    Any well-made corbel (proper grain orientation, robust mounting) will carry the load just fine, assuming it's mounted properly. It'll tear out of the cabinet face before failing, just as the steel bracket would. It's a little bit difficult to answer your question not knowing what corbels you have or what the situation looks like. Photos of both would be great. – isherwood Feb 5 at 21:28
  • I think the installer's issue is that some corbels are made primarily to be decorative and they may have had bad experiences with that. If you do want a metal bracket it needs to be very heavy duty - probably not sold in stock at your local big-box store. – JPhi1618 Feb 5 at 21:36
  • Steel L brackets, unless they are really, really hefty, will bend too easily and not protect the granite from cracking. They might protect the kid playing underneath when dad sits on the counter (crack but doesn't fall). Somewhere I read, design it so a man can sit on it, because someday, someone probably will. – Mattman944 Feb 5 at 21:45
  • Thank you! So a wooden corbel would be better than an L-bracket? Is that kind of corbel sold in a regular home improvement store? – user101270 Feb 5 at 22:02
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    A wooden corbel is not better than an L bracket. If the L bracket is at least 3/8" it is not bending or moving. People who have had issues with L brackets got something way underqualified for the job. – DMoore Feb 5 at 22:07
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I have gone through this on about 20 installs and have gotten better from my first ones. The thicker the L-bracket the better. A lot of time the big box doesn't sell ones that are made for countertop jobs. This is something I usually order online because I get these cheaper and better quality.

I am going to give you pointers based on you making these as invisible as possible without the granite company scribing for them. For the granite installer to do this you would have needed to be set up during their measurements. They could have a "wide" scribe but I wouldn't go this way.

Steps:

  1. Take current countertop off cabinet.

  2. Take drawers or anything else out and out of the way.

  3. On the top of your cabinets where the L bracket is coming out cut out a indentions so that your L bracket is level with the top of the cabinet.
  4. Even with the bottom of the cutouts you are going to install a 2x4 (or 6) across the back inside of the cabinet.
  5. Great to get screws on this but I have used liquid nails before. (prop it up while glue dries if you go this way)
  6. Test it out. Make sure that L bracket is level and lines up (you can do this before glue dries if glueing) - you are installing the L bracket inside the cabinet.
  7. Do not screw in L brackets!!!
  8. When countertop guys arrive set the L brackets in place and let them install counter on top of them. This will assure they are positioned to support the counter. You could be microns off and will need to support that with a shim on the 2x side.
  9. Use a rubber shim if needed (seen wood shims fall out), and screw it in.
  10. Your installers may want you to epoxy the counters to the L bracket... don't. This does nothing but make it harder to uninstall.

Note for your install you want it out about 10-12 inches - I will say 12 to be safe. 12 inches plus 1.5 inches for 2x plus .5 inch misc.... means you need a 14" L bracket. I suggest you hit the side of the L bracket with an angle grinder on the corners facing the seated people to curve them out.

Also you want these about 6 inches from edges - can get away with 8 inches - you are really right on the edge of needing three brackets and someone doing a conservative install would use three.

enter image description here

Edit for one-off challenges:

  1. It is on the end of the island.

This should be installed the same way if possible.

  1. I have a sink that is going to take up a lot of room.

I have installed A LOT of undermount sinks... If I install them the way I want to I brace them with 2x4s. I could take a picture of my kitchen undermount in my home and I have a 2x4 on each side. Why? Usually you have about 2" of play on each side (I actually put the 2x4 after install/caulk - so about 2 days after). For normal big double basin undermount you will get that 2 inches. Given your sink is big if you put a lot of stuff in it (water) the caulk will not be able to hold it up. Caulk is a really a lazy way for granite guys to hold sinks up anyway. I actually first thought of doing this on one my installs after one of my sons was born the wife wanted to use sink to wash baby...

I calculated about 40-50 pounds in the sink. So being paranoid I added the 2x4s. I have done this is 20+ kitchens with zero failures when before I had people calling up about caulk failing and shaky sink. So get these in there if you can, helping you brace your L bracket is just a plus.

  1. I really don't have room because of sink or drawers.

This is OK and have ran into this issue because of drawers. Time to get your creative juices going. What we have done in the past is router a 2x4 with beveled edges and some patterns and installed it as a decorative edging to the top outer part of the cabinet. You won't even see it unless you bend down and look under the island and it is basically the exact same install as up above - albeit you will have to chisel out the top for brackets, you will need 1.5" less length on L bracket and your island actually isn't overhanging as much. I would say the minimum depth here is 1" plus island backer if you don't want to go with 2x4 - the "deluxe island L brackets" might call for 1.5" though.

  1. Can I use a T bracket?

Yes yes yes. T-brackets are better than L brackets because they do a better job innately at making sure the supported material is aligned to the bracket. Like I mentioned above you will probably have to shim to get your L bracket aligned. You would have to do the same thing with the T-bracket but it will force you to shim where the L-bracket will just move to whatever is pushing the most. The reason it was not mentioned is that the question involved installing a sink, and you would not be able to use a T-bracket. Also it is much harder to find a quality T-bracket for countertops, especially longer ones.

| improve this answer | |
  • Loving this method +1 – Kris Feb 5 at 23:43
  • This is a great suggestion, thank you so much! Two questions regarding my specific case: 1) There will be a sink in the cabinet next to the overhang, pretty much filling up the whole space, so there won't be room for a 2x4 inside. Will this method still be strong enough without the 2x4? The cabinet wall is ~1" thick. – user101270 Feb 6 at 17:46
  • 2) The picture shows an overhang on the long end of the island. Will anything change about the instructions or the efficacy of this method if my overhang is on the short end (~36" wide)? – user101270 Feb 6 at 17:47
  • @user101270 - OK yea this happens - I will edit the answer to add in some one-off info. – DMoore Feb 6 at 22:21
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    @Mazura countertopbracket.com - ordered from them 3-4 times. You don't want a grainger/big-box one that isn't made for countertops because they will be silver. Black looks professional and even with a light colored countertop you don't notice it. There is also the beveling of the edges and things that are more display than functional. – DMoore Feb 10 at 18:12
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DMoore has a great answer. Let me add that you want a bracket designed for this purpose. 3/8" with gussets. 1/4" without a gusset is way too wimpy, unless it is as wide as your overhang. Mine is custom 1/4", made up of several pieces that span the entire width.

enter image description here

https://www.countertopbracket.com/

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  • If I use DMoore's method, how can I use a gusseted bracket? Where will the gusset fit? – user101270 Feb 6 at 17:44
  • There are also straight gusseted brackets that you can attach inside the cabinet. I used that style recently... but I cannot find the reference right now. Maybe later. – DaveM Feb 9 at 6:03

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