Q: What's involved in making a "template" of your kitchen wall, and what would the cost be if a kitchen contractor were to perform this procedure?

— Sam, Bellport, New York

A: Tom says: Well, on the cost, you'd have to talk to your kitchen contractor. It depends on the layout of the kitchen. If it could be a simple, straight run, it's pretty cheap. If your kitchen has a lot of jogs, curves and corners, it can be time-consuming, although still well worth the money in my opinion.

Let's say I needed to make a template for a kitchen. Basically what I would do is cut thin strips of plywood, about a quarter-inch thick. You take the strips and lay them against the wall, following the contour of the wall. Also lay them against the outside edge of the cabinets and wherever there is a cut-out. If I was making a solid-surface countertop, I would make out with my template where I wanted the sink. You then take another piece of plywood and hot-glue another piece on it where the seams connect, so that they overlap, giving you a continuous strip, and so on. What you end up with is a template of your kitchen, which you can then pick up in one piece and lay down on your substrate — be it laminate, marble, granite, etc. Then you copy the template and cut out the material.
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