If you’ve recently installed new countertops in your kitchen and notice that they are not sitting flush against a bowed wall, don’t worry – there is a simple solution that can help fix this issue. Whether you are dealing with laminate or solid surface countertops (like granite or quartz), the main principles of fixing countertops against a bowed wall remains the same.
We’ve included 3 ways you or your countertop installer can address a gap between your countertop and a bowed wall. Plus, keep reading to see our before and after pictures of fixing our own countertop installation on a bowed wall.
What is a Bowed Wall?
A bowed wall is simply a wall that has become uneven or “bowed” over time due to various factors like the settlement of the home’s foundation, drywall screws pulling away from the studs in the wall, or other problems.
If you install cabinets or countertops, you may notice that they don’t sit flush against the wall either from top to bottom or side to side. This is likely because of bowed walls.
Are Bowed Walls an Issue?
No, bowed walls are very common in homes and are often not a big issue. They typically form from settling, which is a natural part of the aging process for houses. However, when installing cabinets or countertops, you’ll need to make sure everything sits flush to avoid any gaps or issues.
How to Install Countertop on a Bowed Wall: 3 Options
Cut into the Wall
The most common way to fix a bowed wall is to cut into the wall and remove the drywall where the wall is making contact.
This will allow you to make the wall straight again where the countertop is, and allow your countertops or cabinets to sit flush against it.
First, you’ll want to mark where your countertop is currently touching the wall tracing with a pencil. This will act as your guide for where you need to cut drywall.
Next, you’ll want to gauge how large the gaps between the countertop and wall are at the biggest points. This helps give you an idea of how much drywall you’ll need to remove.
Now, using a drywall saw, cut horizontally just below the lines traced to begin removing the drywall. Remember, you don’t need to go too deep at first. Instead, it’s better to cut away a bit, try the countertop and see how you’re progressing.
Once the countertop sits about flush, you’re all set, and you can proceed with caulking the countertop to the wall. This will also help hide any knicks or cuts on the wall or remaining gaps.
Scribe the countertop
Another option to make your countertop sit flush against a bowed wall is to scribe the countertop. This is pretty complex, though, and would likely require your countertop fabricators’ involvement. Depending on the severity of the wall, this could be the best option.
If your wall is significantly bowed, you can use a scribe tool to trace the contour of the bowed wall onto your countertop.
Next, your countertop fabricator would need to cut your countertop along the scribe line, essentially lining up the edge of the wall.
Once cut, the countertop should sit flush against the wall without any issues.
While this may be your only option, it is definitely a complex solution, so we would suggest first trying to cut away drywall, as mentioned above. If your walls are significantly bowed, you may be able to cut away enough drywall to solve the problem. That’s when scribing your countertop may be the best option.
If it’s only a small section of the countertop where you have an issue, you may be able to fill the gap mostly with wood shims so that you can caulk over it. This prevents you from needing to cut away a lot of drywall for a small hole and still gives you a clean, finished look.
The first step is to identify where along your countertops you are experiencing the problem. Use a level to check that the top edge of your counters is completely flush against the wall, and if it isn’t, draw a line along the top of your counter that corresponds with the area where you are experiencing the issue.
Once you know where to focus your efforts, lay a strip of painter’s tape along the wall and move your countertops into place against it. The painter’s tape will help keep the countertop in place without damaging it as you work on the issue.
Next, you will need to fill in the gaps on each side of your countertop with a wood shim or small pieces of plywood. You can use caulk or construction adhesive to hold these pieces in place. If using caulk, apply it liberally along the bottom edge of the counter and then push down the shims (like these) or plywood to hold them in place. Once the adhesive has dried, use a sharp utility knife to trim away any excess material from your countertops.
Finally, once your filler is dry and secured, you can sand down the surface of your countertops and then apply finish materials as needed. With this simple process, you can easily fix countertops against a bowed wall and enjoy your beautiful new kitchen counters!
Our Bowed Wall Installation – Before and After
During our home bar project, we discovered our wall was bowed after the countertop installer left our countertop with huge gaps to the wall. Since we purchased our countertops through Home Depot, we reached out to them, and they agreed to send another contractor for a second opinion.
He agreed it wasn’t right, and we discussed options. We both agreed the best option to fix our countertop was to cut away the drywall so the countertop would sit flush.
You can see our before and after pictures below – this definitely made a huge difference!
Before Cutting Drywall
After Cutting Drywall & Calk
If you are experiencing issues with your countertops sitting flush against a bowed wall, there are a few different options to consider. These include removing drywall in the affected area, scribing your countertop, or using wood shims and caulk to fill the gaps.
Ultimately, the best option will depend on the severity of your bowed wall. If you are unsure about what to do, we recommend consulting a professional for advice. Regardless of the method you choose, with a bit of time and effort, you can easily fix your countertops against a bowed wall and make them look beautiful!