How to Attach a Kitchen Island Top

Lead Image for How to Attach a Kitchen Island Top
  • 8-10 hours
  • Advanced
  • 800-1,900
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Wood screws
Masking tape
Backsplash (may be optional)

The finishing touch to your island renovation is to attach a kitchen island top. The type and design for the top will dictate the installment method.


Make sure that the kitchen island is completely prepared to accept the top before proceeding. Check the top of the frame surface areas, making sure all connections are firmly in place. If installing a tile top, check to see that you have all tiles cut properly by performing a “dry run” installation layout first. Make sure to practice proper safety procedures by wearing safety goggles and gloves when cutting tile with a saw or other tile cutter. Mix enough thinset with water for your application process. Do NOT mix any grout at this point. When purchasing a solid, pre-cut top, allow for an inch on all sides if you want an overhang. If your kitchen island is backed by a wall, make sure to order a pre-cut backsplash.

Pre-cut Installation

Set your pre-cut countertop in place on top of the base frame. Make sure it's level before proceeding. Check to see if there are any drawers or doors that open without hitting either the top surface area or possibly an overhang. If necessary, you may need to do some planning or add wood shims to adjust for the successful operation of any drawers or doors to open.

Connect to Base

Connect the kitchen island top to the base using round-headed wood screws. Secure these from the underneath through the frame rails and into the bottom of the top, at least 1/2 inch to its core.


If a backsplash is needed, apply it to the wall using laminate adhesive glue.

Tile Installation

Use a trowel to apply a layer of thinset across the unfinished top of your kitchen island. Apply an even coat that covers the entire surface area, leaving no space open.

Set Tiles

Start at one edge and firmly set the tile into the thinset layer, applying with a side-to-side motion of pressure to ensure that you create a successful bond between the back of the tile and the surface of the countertop. Place tile spacers as you lay additional tiles. When arriving at a corner, if applicable, measure for the necessary dimensions and then cut the tile to fit. Remove all spacers. Allow all set tiles 24 hours before proceeding.


Mix enough grout to proceed. Using a grout float, force the mixture into the spaces between all tiles. There is no need to worry about getting excessive grout on top of tiles. Wait 20 minutes to check the grout hardening. Tap your finger where the grout seam forms with a tile. If the mixture pulls away on your finger, the grout is too wet to continue. Wait until it doesn't pull away, and wipe off any excess with a damp sponge to complete the project.